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Only A Slot Player? Think Again
Who is worth more to a casino, the slot player who plays three one-dollar coins in the machine or the basic strategy blackjack player who plays $25 a hand? Iím sure most people who arenít suspicious of such questions, would tend to think that the blackjack player who plays $25 a hand is the more valuable because, after all, $25 is a lot of money. Itís enough to go to the movies, have dinner at a diner, and maybe even buy something of interest for your significant other. Whatís $3? Even babysitters earn more than $3 to take care of screaming, bawling kids.
Well, hereís something that might surprise you - the slot player is more valuable by far! Letís take a look at why.
A blackjack player playing perfect basic strategy in most multiple-deck games (and most blackjack games are multiple deck now) will face about 60-80 decisions an hour at a crowded or semi-crowded table. That means our blackjack player will wager approximately $1500 to $2000 per hour. Now, if our blackjack player knows basic strategy down cold (basic strategy is the computer derived correct decision for every player hand vs. every dealer upcard), he will likely face a house edge of about one-half percent (0.005). Just as an aside, the overwhelming majority of blackjack players do not know basic strategy down cold and are giving the casino perhaps a 1 to 2 percent house edge!
Facing such a house edge, he can then be expected to lose approximately $7.50 to $10 per hour. Since comps of any magnitude usually require that a player spend about four hours at the games, to get ďfull compĒ means our blackjack playerís expectation is to lose $30 to $40 per day.
That sounds like a lot of money until you compare it to the staggering amount a one-dollar slot player will dump in the same period of time. Watch this:
If our slot player puts through $3 on every spin and does a moderate pace of 10-12 spins per minute (one every six or five seconds), he is putting through between $30 and $36 per minute or $25%0 to $2160 per hour. That would be similar to a $25 blackjack playerís betting handle. Unfortunately for the slot player, and fortunately for the casino, the house edge on most $1 slot machines is not one-half percent but more like 5 percent and sometime more like 8 percent.
The one-dollar slot player who plays three coins can expect to lose in one hour - hold your breath -- between $90 and $108! In four hours, he can expect to lose - close your eyes if you play the slots -- between $360 and $432.
The slot player can expect to lose therefore approximately ten times as much as a basic strategy blackjack player.
But it gets worse. If a slot playerís game of choice is something like Megabucks or some other linked progressive, which keeps approximately 15 percent of all the money played in the machine, the slot player can expect to lose (this is sooo cruel) a whopping, bankroll-chopping, staggering, (okay, okay, Iíll tell you) $1296 a day if he plays three coins!
Now, letís have some fun shall we? After all, if your game of choice is one-dollar slots you must be reeling from reading this. If the above statistics reflect a given slot player (perhaps you), then realize that even a $100 blackjack player, thatís right Mr. High Roller himself, is less valuable to the casino than are you. Our slot player is more valuable than a $150 baccarat player; more valuable than a $200 craps player.
But here is the irony in all this. In fact, itís a two-fold irony. First, most people play the slots because they think that betting $3 means they are betting less and therefore stand to lose less than betting $25 or $100 at a table game such as blackjack. On one decision, their idea is true, they are betting less. But in one minute or one hour, their bets will accumulate and the house edge will hack away at those bets, so that their losses are compounded and turn out to be greater than the blackjack playerís losses.
Second, slot players think that somehow or other table-game players are the lions of the casinos. This used to be true, but it isnít anymore. (I have the full story about this in my book, Break the One-Armed Bandits: How to Come Out Ahead When You Play the Slots!) Table game players are mere pussycats in the casino jungle; the slot players are the kings and queens of that landscape. If casinos had their druthers all players would play the machines, preferably for full coin, high-denominations like $5 and $25, and for long hours. Of course, this might end up with everyone who goes to the casinos not having enough money to ever go to casinos again.
Now, am I recommending that slot lovers stop playing the slots and switch to games that they donít enjoy just to keep the house edge at bay? No, I am not.
There are pitfalls in only looking at the math of the games as I have done above. After all, the blackjack player playing $100 a hand could lose 10 hands in a row and be down $1000 in short order, maybe ten minutes. The slot player would rarely face such a monetary losing streak since he couldnít put that much money through the machine in such a short period of time. This aspect of gambling is called volatility. The more you bet, the more money, in absolute terms, you can lose on a bad streak.
And what of the good streaks? Well, generally a $100 blackjack player would tend to win more with each good streak but - the slot player has the possibility for incredible, mind-blowing wins on a single spin. Thatís the primary allure of the slots after all - some can even change your life.
Next issue, I will explain ways to play the slot machines, any slot machines, to reduce the houseís horrible hungriness for your money and give you the same amount of fun to boot!
Frank Scoblete is the #1 best-selling gaming author in America. His books and tapes have sold over a million copies. He is also the director of The Golden Touch Craps dice-control seminars. His websites are www.goldentouchcraps.com and www.scoblete.com . For a free brochure of his books and tapes, or for information about Golden Touch dice-control seminars, call toll free: 1-800-944-0406 or write to: Paone Press, PO Box 610, Lynbrook, NY 11563.
Articles by Frank Scoblete