CasinoCityTimes.com

Gurus
News
Newsletter
Author Home Author Archives Author Books Send to a Friend Search Articles Subscribe
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Newsletter Signup
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Recent Articles
Best of John Grochowski

Gaming Guru

author's picture
 

Tracking Your Chances

8 June 1999

Not long ago, the Chicago Sun-Times letters page included a note from a reader asking me to compare wagering on horse racing to betting on casino games. That's an exercise I went through a couple of years ago, but let's take another quick look.

Roughly 80 cents of each dollar wagered on the races is returned to winning bettors. The other 20 cents go to purses, taxes and the operators. More is taken out of gimmick wagers such as exactas and trifectas, and less on straight win bets, but it comes down to about 20 cents on the dollar.

That's equivalent to a house edge of 20 percent. If you drew horses' names out of a hat from here to eternity, you'd lose about 20 percent of everything you bet. That's an enormous house edge by casino standards - the house edge against a blackjack basic strategy player is only about 0.5 percent; against a $1 slot player it's about 5 percent.

But casino players bet much faster and more often than horse players. A $5 blackjack player who plays for an entire two-hour cruise might make 100 bets, and a slot player might make 1,000 bets, but a horse player can bet every race on a nine-race card and make only nine wagers.

What's all that mean? Pick horses at random, betting $2 on each race on a nine-race card, and your average expected losses for the day total $3.60. Play basic strategy blackjack at $5 per hand, and your average losses for a two-hour cruise total $2.50; play two coins at a time on a $1 slot instead, and your average expected losses shoot up to about $100.

Can a horseplayer cut average losses by becoming a better handicapper? Certainly, just as a blackjack player can improve his odds by learning to count cards.

The superior wagering experience? To each his own.

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:

Winning Tips for Casino Games

> 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