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Best of John Grochowski
Funbooks' Coupons Can Better Winnings13 September 2000
There's serious playing power in those coupons, provided you're a low roller with the patience to use them.
Many Las Vegas casinos offer funbooks at a promotions booth, the cashiers' cage or the hotel desk. Sometimes an out-of-state ID or a voucher are required to get the funbooks, but sometimes they're free for the asking. Vouchers for funbooks often are available in free magazines such as What's On in Las Vegas.
The funbooks usually include meal discounts and gift shop offers, along with gambling coupons. Big bettors will have little patience with the gambling coupons -- usually they're for a $2 payoff on a winning $1 bet, $3 for $2 or $7 for $5.
But for those with the patience to squeeze a small profit from low-stakes bets, the coupons actually yield a mathematical edge over the house.
Take roulette, which has one of the highest house advantages among casino table games. Of every $100 you wager at American double-zero roulette, you can expect to lose $5.26.
Let's say you're playing without coupons and bet $5 on red each spin of a perfect sequence of 38 spins in which each number on the wheel turns up once. You risk $190. You lose on the 18 black numbers, and on the green 0 and 00. On each of the 18 red numbers, you get back your $5 bet and collect $5 in winnings. That leaves you with $90 in bets returned to you plus $90 in winnings, for a total of $180. You've lost $10.
Now let's say you bet the same sequence, only this time each $5 wager is accompanied by a $7-for-$5 coupon. On each of the 18 red numbers, you still get your $5 bet back, but you also get $7 in winnings. Multiply by 18, and at the end of the sequence you've had $90 in bets returned to you, and you have $126 in winnings. That gives you a total of $216. You've won $26.
You've won no more bets than before, but you're a $26 winner instead of a $10 loser. That $7-for-$5 coupon has given you a 13.7 percent edge over the house.
If you never played without coupons, you would win money in the long run. In fact, there are coupon hustlers in Las Vegas, locals who scratch out meal money playing with coupons.
That requires tons of patience. There are only a few gambling coupons in each funbook, and players usually are restricted to one funbook per day, or even one per week. Dedicated hustlers might scrounge unused coupons, but pit supervisors can stop you from using extras.
Most vacationers won't go to those lengths. At the most, they'll do what your friend did and pick up funbooks wherever they visit while casino hopping. Scratching out a profit that way is a long, slow process, but as you've seen, over a few days the wins can stretch a low roller's budget.
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 email@example.com.
Best of John Grochowski