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The Oracle at Odds - Part 713 August 2001
This is the age of lists -- the top 100 movies of all time, the top 100 books of the 20th Century, the top 100 colleges for academic excellence or bargains or partying, and the top 100 women former President Bill Clinton scored with; plus all those weekly top 10 this list, and top 10 that list and top 10 those other things list. In the interests of keeping up with the list makers as well as the (Dow) Joneses, I decided to list the top 60 questions I am asked whenever I give talks about casino gambling. My list is in no particular order of importance, but these are the most-asked questions of yours truly and the answers that I give when I'm asked them. All value judgments are mine. So if I say this is the best thing, that is just my not-so-humble opinion. Of course, in my opinion my opinion is the correct opinion as today I assume my new identity as The Oracle at Odds -- Nostragamus! Ask and it shall be answered!
31. What are your favorite games?
Craps for excitement. Blackjack for sustained money-making play.
32. What are your least favorite games?
Any game that gives the casino a huge edge over the player is out. So the Big Wheel and Sic Bo are out. I also don't enjoy playing Caribbean Stud -- too many frustrating hands and a pretty high house edge to boot. I am also not a video poker lover -- even though some of the best games in the casino are in video poker. I spend a tremendous amount of time in front of my computer screen so that when I go to a casino I want to play games where I get to see people in action with me. Also video poker has many more losing sessions than winning sessions -- even when you have the edge -- because you have to hit your share of four-of-a-kinds and royal flushes to get into the black.
33. Which games make the most money for the casinos?
The most overall money is made from slots, followed by blackjack, with craps and roulette right behind. More people play those games than any others. However, there is another way to figure what the casinos make and that is on a per game per $100 bet ratio. This is called the win rate. Here are the most recent real-world win rates for the various games in both Atlantic City and Las Vegas. My guess is that other gambling jurisdictions such as Mississippi and Illinois are probably consistent with these results as well. However, these jurisdictions do not release their figures based on individual games. You can check the Casino Player slot charts for the returns on the machines. The percent means that for every $100 bet, the casino kept that percentage. Remember that the casino win rate is really the player loss rate! Hold your breath.
34. I thought Las Vegas had better games than Atlantic City but it seems that Vegas players are losing more?
It does and they are. You can find single and double-deck games in blackjack, 100X odds at craps, and the best of a variety of video poker machines in Las Vegas. It's heaven on earth for a good gambler. So why are the Vegas figures in this survey showing that Vegas players are hitting the deck at a greater rate in many of the games? Some of it can be attributed to the normal fluctuations that occur in gaming. When you look at long-range figures, you'll note that the casino win rates do fluctuate up and down from month to month. Some of it can also be attributed to the fact that many people who come to Vegas are first timers or just vacationers who really aren't schooled in the games. My own experience is that more Atlantic City blackjack players play basic strategy than their Vegas counterparts. Even in the eight-deck monstrosities of Atlantic City, a basic strategy player is facing a little more than a half percent house edge. But look at those figures carefully and realize just how much money people lose to the casinos -- money that they don't have to lose if they played the best strategies for the games of their choice. A sizeable percentage of those loss percentages is due to poor play!
35. What's the best buffet in Vegas?
Just about every major casino-hotel has a great buffet. I like the buffets at the Golden Nugget, Caesars and Rio, but I haven't tried every buffet in Vegas because I'm fat enough as it is.
This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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