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Best of John Grochowski

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Most valuable players

3 January 2016

QUESTION: I found it very interesting a while back when you explained slot players are more valuable to the casino than table players because they make so many more bets per hour. Does the same go for slot player vis a vis video poker players? I know video poker takes extra time to make the draw, and as a video poker player I get a lot less comps than my wife, who plays slots.

ANSWER: Wagers per hour are important in determining comps, but so are size of wagers and house edge.

Slot players are comped more generously than table players not just because they play so many more hands per hour, but because they’re playing games with an extremely high house edge.

Take a high house-edge game like double-zero roulette. It has a 5.26% house edge on nearly all bets, but it takes so much time to place the wagers, spin the wheel and settle the bets that there might be only 40 spins per hour.

If you’re betting $5 per spin, you risk $200 per hour, with an average hourly loss of $10.50.
Now let’s say you’re playing a 40-line penny slots at one credit per line, for a wager of 40 cents per spin. If you play 500 spins per hour – and that’s an easy pace; you can play a lot faster – you risk $200 per hour. An 88% return, which is normal for pennies, translates to a 12% house edge, leading to average hourly losses of $24.

A penny player making minimum bets risks as much money and loses more than twice as much as a $5 roulette player.

That’s a long lead-in to your question about video poker. You can play video poker just as fast as you can play video slots, where bonus events bring non-wagering play that more than offsets decision time on the poker machines. It’s still easy to play 500 hands an hour – most experienced players would find that a slow pace.

On a quarter machine, making maximum bets of $1.25 per hand, 500 hands per hour means an hourly risk of $625. But in 9/6 Double Bonus Poker, which returns 99% with expert play, the average hourly loss is only $6.25 – just a little more than a fourth of loss when you bet 40 cents on penny slots.

If you’re playing a weaker game, such as 8/5 Double Double Bonus (96.79%), the hourly loss rises to $20 – still less than the penny slot loss.

Even when we look at a penny slot player making minimum bets vs. a quarter video poker player making maximum bets, the slot player is more valuable to the casino because of the difference in the house edge. Slot players who make bigger bets are golden, as far as casinos are concerned, and that’s why they’re comped more.


QUESTION: At the craps table the other night, there was one player who asked to keep all his bets working, including odds on come, on come-out rolls. Is there any advantage to that?

ANSWER: The odds are the same on every roll, and it makes no difference in the house edge if you keep your bets working on the come out. However, if your place bets and the odds on come bets are working, you face the prospect of a winner 7 on the pass line being a big loser overall.

Many players don’t like the letdown of losing overall on that come-out winner, so they suspend come odds and place bets until a point is established. But a player who leaves them working suffers no mathematical disadvantage, nor does he gain an edge.
Recent Articles
Best of John Grochowski
John Grochowski

John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

> More Books By John Grochowski

John Grochowski
John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

> More Books By John Grochowski