My Explanation – Gambling With An Edge

In the comments on relating to a recent blog post of mine, a man named Tim wrote: 

Perhaps this has been discussed multiple times, but why don’t the Strip casinos offer full pay video poker? For example, I would sit and play 10 play 9/6 Jacks or better quarters for hours (like I do at South Point). If there is only 6/5 bonus, I may sit at a bar and just play $20. 

I’d rather lose a few hundred dollars in a couple hours than $20 in 10 minutes. 

Help me understand.

Okay, Tim. Every casino has its own core audience and its own demographics. Plus, land on the center Strip is MUCH more expensive than the land where the South Point is situated.

Strip casinos are geared towards a higher-end customer than those to which the Vegas local casinos cater. Although the South Point has decent entertainment options, you’ll not see the really expensive acts there while in their prime. These acts are very expensive. The show tickets themselves do not come close to paying for the performers. The casinos must attract high rollers to pay the cost.

And the same with restaurants. While Michaels at the South Point is first rate, Strip casinos often offer five or ten restaurants of that approximate quality. And the food charges at the restaurant do not cover the actual price of those meals. The casino needs to chip in.

Few Strip casinos believe they can profitably offer 9/6 Jacks or Better at any denomination. Caesars’ properties (recently purchased by Eldorado) that have the game penalize players for playing them. Instead of $10 coin-in per Reward Credit on other video poker games, these properties charge $25 coin-in per Reward Credit. And the lowest denomination for these machines is $5. 

Cromwell’s might still have one bank of machines with quarter and dollar pay schedules including this (and better) games, but they charge $50 coin-in per Reward Credit.

I have heard one report that MGM Mirage properties no longer offer slot coin points for any video poker games, at least in one property back east. While I don’t play at those properties (by their choice), I would like it if others reported as to whether this is true or not around the country.

For the quarter and dollar gaming-value-seeking customers, the Strip doesn’t want your business! If you want the nicer ambience of the Strip casinos, you’re going to have to pay the tab — either through denomination or pay schedule, or both.

Even Vegas local casinos have relatively few high paying games. You mention the South Point, which advertises more than 10,000 games returning more than 99%, but you won’t find anywhere close to that number anywhere else. The BConnected system (sometimes called Boyd), along with Station Casinos, have within the past few years become much tighter with their video poker. That’s a sign of the times. 

You can bemoan all you want about the lack of good paying, low denomination video poker on the Strip, but that won’t bring the games back. They just don’t want to cater to that crowd.


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