Podcast – Blackjack roundtable – Gambling With An Edge

This week we are doing something different.  We have four guests to participate in a blackjack roundtable.  We solicited questions from you, our listeners, and we set out to discuss and answer them.  Our four guests are, Tommy Hyland, Colin Jones, Joe748, and Ryemo.

We welcome your questions – send them to us at [email protected], or you can find me at @RWM21 on Twitter or https://www.facebook.com/GamblingWithAnEdge.

podcast
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Show Notes

[00:00] Introduction of the blackjack roundtable with Colin Jones, Joe748, Ryemo, Tommy Hyland
[02:58] Tipping
[09:09] Using a player’s card
[09:39] CTR issues when playing as a refusal
[11:21] Playing where ID is required
[16:51] Reacting to a lot of heat
[20:10] Wearing a hat to play
[21:18] Wearing disguises to play
[30:41] Cover plays to disguise counting
[34:46] Using a count other than Hi-Lo
[36:45] South Point Casino May Promotions – Half-Priced Gas and Goods, $32,000 Memorial Day Hot Seat
[37:57] BlackjackApprenticeship.com – card counting training site and community
[38:22] VideoPoker.com/gwae – Gold Membership offers correction on most games, free Pro Membership trial for GWAE listeners
[39:47] How have conditions changed in the Covid era?
[42:18] Why doesn’t anyone want to talk about advanced advantage plays?
[47:18] Playing other games in addition to blackjack
[48:30] Is it okay to play blackjack and poker at the same casino?
[50:42] Does Tommy allow team members to play handheld games?

Sponsored Links:
SouthPointCasino.com
BlackjackApprenticeship.com 
VideoPoker.com/gwae

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Did You Notice? – Gambling With An Edge

I wrote the following article (minus the epilogue which I added later) and then passed it by South Point management for a fact check. As a sponsor of my podcast and the place where I teach my free classes, I have a special relationship with that casino, and I don’t want to screw it up by getting things wrong.

Turns out, I did get a rule wrong. At the end of what I originally wrote, I’ll explain how that rule change affected my behavior.

For those of you who play at the South Point casino, a rare double-dip opportunity presented itself recently. I wrote about the same situation a few years ago, hoping to teach my readers how to think like a winning player. Now the opportunity happened again. Did you notice it this time?

In April, the monthly promotion was two separate casino-wide progressives going on at all times. One from $10,000 to $25,000, where non-winners received $25 in free play when it went off, and the second one between $1,000 and $2,500. Each jackpot started again immediately after it was hit. Beginning 12:01 a.m. May 1 (essentially midnight April 30), each jackpot would keep going until it was hit, and then it would not start again.

In May, the monthly promotion is half-price Walmart or Chevron gift cards. Play and redeem $8,334 (usually enough to earn $25 in cash or free play) and receive one $50 gift card instead, limit 10 per person.

That means if you played starting at midnight April 30, you were working on both promotions at once. You would probably only get an extra $25 because somebody else would hit the big jackpot. But maybe . . . 

It’s easy to evaluate how much the half-price gift card promotion is worth. Assuming you consider the cards as having the same value as cash, the promotion is worth 0.30%. Another way to say this is for the first $83,340 in coin-in for the month, you’re getting double points — namely 0.60% rather than the usual 0.30%.

It was not so easy evaluating the April promotion. It depended on how many players were playing and also what denomination you were playing. If a nickel player and a dollar player had equal chances to hit the jackpot (which I think is the case), in terms of dollars-per-hour, the returns were the same. In terms of percentage win, playing for nickels gives you 20 times as big of an edge as playing for dollars does (assuming the same pay schedules on the machine, which is not usually the case.) Also, if both progressives were active, it had to be worth more than if only one was active.

So, I can’t tell you how much that promotion is worth, but I can tell you it’s worth “something positive.” Playing for the gift cards, plus “something positive” has to be a higher-paying alternative than playing for the gift cards without this extra.

This doesn’t mean you had to be there at 12:01 a.m. on May 1. There are lots of reasons why you wouldn’t want to be. One of my regular readers lives in Switzerland. He’s not flying over for this double dipping. You might have a better alternative (like, perhaps, you were on a progressive with a higher EV than any game at the South Point even while including the two promotions.) You could be someone who doesn’t function well after midnight. Whatever.

Consciously choosing to neglect this opportunity this time can be appropriate for any number of reasons. Neglecting to notice that this double-dipping was possible (assuming you’re in Las Vegas and will be playing for the gift cards anyway) is not a good sign, assuming your goal is to make money playing video poker.

A winner at video poker constantly looks for double- and triple-dipping opportunities. That’s one thing that separates the winners from the non-winners at this game. It’s a mindset. (Or maybe it’s a disease!) 

I strongly believe that the players who notice this (and similar types of things at other casinos) have a better win rate than those who don’t. This has nothing to do with luck. This has everything to do with keeping your eye on the prize.

So, did you notice? 

When I passed this by the South Point management, I learned about a rule that I didn’t know. If either jackpot hit on the last day, namely April 30, it wouldn’t reset. Since the smaller jackpot hit about three times a day, it was almost certain that it would hit on April 30 and not still be active by midnight.

The larger jackpot, however, hit every two or three days on average. It could be active at midnight April 30. It may not be. The only way to know was to go in and find out.

I decided that I would go in. I would manage my sleep well enough so that I could play many hours, whether both promotions were active or just one. Since I choose to play at least $83,340 anyway, it doesn’t much matter when I play it. So, it wouldn’t be a total waste if the April jackpot was not active. It would be better, of course, if it was active. 

It’s important to read the rules to promotions. This was a case where I hadn’t read the rules recently because it was a regular promotion at the South Point and I assumed the rules hadn’t changed since the last time I checked them.

And you know what they say about “assume.” 

I got to the South Point at slightly before midnight. At the Silverado Bar, which is immediately inside the door from the parking garage, I saw that the smaller jackpot was surprisingly still active at $2,450 and the bigger one was at $19,500. By the time I got to my machine, the smaller one had already been hit, but the larger one was still active. 

I played. The larger one went off about noon, while I had been there a full 12 hours. I got my $25 bonus. But it could have been higher.

I’ll probably save some play to be done on May 31, when they will have a Hot Seat promotion. Every three minutes between 8 a.m. and midnight, some player will receive $100 in free play. I may or may not get $100. But hey! Looking to capture every bit of EV out of a promotion is part of the DNA of being a winning player.

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Podcast – Dice control part 1

Our guest this week is Frank B on to talk in depth about dice control.  This is part one, and part two will be in a few weeks.

We welcome your questions – send them to us at [email protected], or you can find me at @RWM21 on Twitter or https://www.facebook.com/GamblingWithAnEdge.

podcast
Click to listen – Alt click to download

Show Notes

[00:00] Sound quality information for this episode
[00:40] Introduction of Frank B and the topic of dice control.
[01:12] Mattress Mack bets on the Kentucky Derby
[03:55] Did Mack’s betting affect the price of his horse?
[05:30] Frank’s background in dice control
[09:26] How did the Golden Nugget react to the dice control experiment?
[13:50] Did Frank B pay for dice control lessons?
[16:42] Inputting roll data
[18:08] How many rolls were ultimately recorded?
[21:00] Hitting the wall
[25:20] Table grading
[29:56] Evaluating the edge
[38:04] South Point Casino May Promotions – Half-Priced Gas and Goods, Memorial Day Hot Seat, and others
[39:30] BlackjackApprenticeship.com – card counting training site and community, there will be bootcamps this summer
[39:50] VideoPoker.com/gwae
[40:39] Returning to the best tables
[50:21] Mexican casinos and tax on winnings
[53:07] Recommended – Honey Salt in Summerlin, Michihito Kageyama on Youtube, Tunity app

Sponsored Links:
SouthPointCasino.com
BlackjackApprenticeship.com
VideoPoker.com/gwae

Recommended:
Honeysalt.com

Youtube.com/channel/UCQ0gwo1xTOulIVj-14SuG7w

Tunity.com

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A Fuller Explanation – Gambling With An Edge

Richard Munchkin and I regularly get “how do you do it” questions which we periodically answer on our podcast. Sometimes I have to give a briefer answer than I want on the air because a more complete answer requires that people see things written down. Plus, my blog is read primarily by players who understand the basics of video poker. The podcast is geared more towards players who play a variety of games with an advantage.

So today we’ll look at two recent questions I received at [email protected].

1. I was practicing NSU Deuces on the Video Poker for Winners software and I ran into this hand:  W W 4♦ 6♦K♣.

I held the W W 4♦ 6♦.  Video Poker for Winners said I made an error and I should have only held the deuces.

However, your strategy card for NSU Deuces says that I hold a Straight Flush 4 with one gap (SF4 -1) and that is what I had chosen.

Unless I am mis-reading your strategy card, which is possible, which strategy should I follow?  I am following your Level 4 Advanced NSU strategy on the card.

Understanding someone else’s notation includes a learning curve. This is a situation where you are misunderstanding SF4-1. In the two-deuce section of the strategy card, it refers to hands with one inside, which is not synonymous with one gap. While all gaps are insides, not all insides are gaps. Specifically, if the combination is close enough to the deuce that the deuce may be included in the same straight or straight flush, then the combination includes an additional inside. This makes WW46 a SF4-2, rather than a SF4-1.

Why is this? Well compare the number of cards that can fill in a straight flush starting from WW57 (a true SF4-1) with WW46. In the former, you’ll have a suited 9, 8, 6, 4, and 3 along with the other two deuces, for a total of seven cards. In the latter, you’ll find 8, 7, 5, and 3, along with the other two deuces, for a total of six cards.

Another way to look at it is to use Video Poker for Winners. If you enter the hand in question, you’ll find WW46 is worth 15.21 coins. If you change the straight flush combination to WW57, you’ll find that worth 16.28 coins. If you were playing for dollars, five coins at a time, the difference in the value of the combinations is $1.07. The value of two deuces by themselves is somewhere between those two numbers.

In the basic strategy on the same card, SF4-1 is spelled out more (WW45-WW56, WW57-WW97). Our assumption when we constructed the cards was that players would master the basic strategy before they went to the advanced strategy. We don’t include the ranges on the advanced cards because we need room to describe the various penalty card situations. We also include an insert with the strategy card, defining all the terms. We understand that many players ignore the insert, but the information is there if they look for it.

This looks like a case where a player went directly to the advanced strategy, didn’t read the insert, and made assumptions about what SF4-1 really means. Unfortunately, the definition was a bit more complicated than he first realized.

2. If I know of a 100.1+% video poker game that I could play “perfectly” (less than 1 error per 100k hands), is it reasonable to intentionally make small, inexpensive errors to disguise the quality of the play? I’ve found a few spots where +EV can be maintained.

A 100.1% edge is very tiny. (Yes, I know you said 100.1%+, but I’m not sure how much that plus sign adds, so I’m treating it as if it is negligible.) If you’re playing for dollars, at a moderate speed of 800 hands per hour, that means you have an advantage of $4 per hour. And you want to give up part of that for purposes of disguise? For me, the game is not even playable.

Video poker has ups and downs. It’s possible that you could play this game for several years, perfectly, and still be negative. 

For casinos evaluating your play, they probably look at 100% accuracy and 99.8% accuracy as being identical. One has to be really knowledgeable to play a game 99.8% accurately. And yet on this game, with 99.8% accuracy you’re playing a losing game.

Insofar as your claim of one error per one hundred thousand hands goes, count me a skeptic that you could achieve that level of near perfection. Yes, that’s possible, but how would you measure this? Did you actually play a million hands and only have 10 errors? I doubt that. Most players do not play as well as they think they do. I am 100% positive that I know 9/6 Jacks or Better at the 100% accuracy level. But that doesn’t mean I never make a mistake due to playing too fast, letting my mind wander, or just becoming distracted for an instant. These types of errors probably sometimes happen to you as well, even if you know the game extremely well.

Your game may be minimally playable during multiple point days or during some other promotion. But as it is, it’s not worth your time.

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Podcast – guest Jay Helfert part 2

 Our guest this week is a return visit from Jay Helfert. Jay is a pool player, tournament organizer, and pool room owner. 

[00:00] Introduction of Toupee Jay Helfert, pool and poker player
[00:22] Subscriptions and reviews
[01:49] Jay’s background in poker
[02:33] Playing in the WSOP
[08:47] Amarillo Slim
[09:50] Gavin Smith
[12:12] Richard’s Amarillo Slim story
[14:06] Hollywood Park
[23:07] South Point Casino May Promotions – Half-Priced Gas and Goods, Mother’s Day Chocolates Giveaway
[24:14] BlackjackApprenticeship.com – card counting training site and community, Blackjack Bootcamps are scheduled for this summer
[24:30] VideoPoker.com/gwae – Gold Membership offers correction on most games, free Pro Membership trial for GWAE listeners
[25:16] The origin of Minnesota Fats’ nickname
[29:33] Walter Tevis
[32:35] Harry Reasoner
[36:21] Playing pool against the a leader of a motorcycle club
[45:35] Carrying a gun
[48:44] Unusual pool stories
[58:25] How to order copies of Jay’s books, Pool Wars and More Pool Wars

Sponsored Links:
SouthPointCasino.com
BlackjackApprenticeship.com
VideoPoker.com/gwae

Jay’s Website:
JayHelfert.com

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With travel, a few hours can make a lot of difference

I recently took a trip to Las Vegas. My flight out of
Detroit left at 6:20 PM on 4/10 (Saturday) and got into Phoenix at 8:00 PM and
the connecting flight to Las Vegas left at 8:50 PM, getting in at 10 PM. The
flight out of Detroit was delayed 20 minutes due to storms but still got in
early.

When we landed in Phoenix, I put my phone on and had 3 texts
from Southwest. Your flight is delayed til 10 PM. Your flight is delayed til 11
PM. Your flight is delayed til 12 midnight.

I call Budget (my rental car company for this trip) and
explain the situation. I was scheduled to pick up my rental car by 11 PM and
told them I would not get to rental car facility til about 1:30 AM. At first,
she said she would have to cancel my reservation and then make a new one. I
knew I would not get my $82 rate on a rebooked rental so I protested, and she
said ok, she can just move the time. Then she tells me that Budget closes at 1
AM in Las Vegas rent a car center. I was not expecting that. I said, “what do I
do?” and she says that Budget re opens at 7 AM. Not good.

I call the Golden Gate (where I am staying the first 2
nights), explain the situation and they tell me, as long as I check in by noon
on Sunday, everything will be fine. That was nice to hear.

I now go to the Southwest customer service, explain the
situation and ask what they can do. The lady tells me I can catch a flight in
the morning. I ask about a hotel for the night and she said they can offer a
discount, but not a freebie, since the delay was weather related. Transportation
would be on me and Uber/Lyft are difficult to get.

I decide to think about my options over a bite to eat. It is
now 8:30 PM and almost everything is closed at Sky Harbor airport. 8:30 on
Saturday and they are locking up? I finally find a place and they tell me we
have one hot sandwich available. I take it, give him a few dollar tip and thank
him for being open, and enjoy my meal.

After thinking about my options, I decide to keep my
midnight flight and just wander around LAS for 5 hours til I can go pick up my
rental car. This will give me plenty of time to machine hustle at the airport.

We touch down about 1 AM and after taxi and deplane, it is
1:30 AM. There is no one at the airport. I may not have seen 10 people,
including workers. And to top it off, all the slot machines are roped off
because they are moving them around. I decide to wait at the rent a center, hop
the shuttle and get to the facility about 1:45 AM. For kicks, I walk over to
the Budget desk and it is dark and roped off, but I see a worker in there, so I
go it. He asks if I have a reservation, I say yes, and he says okay I’ll take
care of you. Very, very nice of him. We finish the paperwork, I leave him a tip
so he and his co worker can grab a coke, and head on my way.

I finally got to bed about 3:30 AM so the trip was off to a
rough start, but it could have been much worse.

Lessons learned:

  1. Avoid the last flight of the night.
  2. Be aware that not all rental car facilities in
    Las Vegas are open 24 hours any more
  3. Do a little scouting on the last airport you
    will be in to see what is open and what isn’t, in case there is a delay.
  4. Since rental cars are now grossly expensive and
    Uber/Lyft are difficult to get, securing your car rental is way more important
    than it used to be.
  5. Put a non-perishable snack in your backpack.
    Delays will happen and sometimes, there are no good alternatives except to wait
    it out.
  6. Review travel protection offered by your credit
    cards. Two things worked against me on this trip. It was a frequent flier
    flight and I used a gift card for the 911 security fee. For future, I should
    use a credit card for the fee and make sure that I am offered travel protection
    if only a portion of the trip is paid for with a credit card. Also, this was a
    weather delay, so it is very tough to get compensation. Especially since the
    actual delay was 3 hours and 15 minutes.

Travel nowadays is not very accommodating to delays/issues
and I don’t see it getting much better. You now have to prepare in ways that
you didn’t have to worry about previously.

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Backgammon Then and Now – Gambling With An Edge

Author’s Note:  I played backgammon professionally for almost 20 years, then gave it up completely. I reached the high intermediate level, but most of the players that were interested in gambling with me were better. That was a prescription for disaster. I needed to get a job because I was not a winning player anymore. Today’s blog has nothing to do with video poker, but it does have to do with gambling.

I played most of my backgammon at the Cavendish West, which was in the West Hollywood section of Los Angeles, from about 1974 to 1993. Some of the regulars back then who are still active in tournament backgammon are Bob Glass, Jim Pasko, Steve Sax, Joe Russell, and Bob Wachtel. (There are likely others I don’t know are still playing.) They were all better than me back then, and they’ve kept studying the game while I’ve devoted my attention to other things.

Some of our guests on Gambling with an Edge have been gambling experts who have written books and whose books we’ve reviewed. Bill Robertie, Bob Wachtel, and Kit Woolsey come to mind. There may have been others. Reading these books took me back into a world I knew and loved decades ago.

I’m still fascinated by the game, but at age 74 I do not kid myself that I could possibly catch up to the best players today. I couldn’t keep up 45 years ago. My mental skills have deteriorated somewhat, and with computers, so much of the what was a guess decades ago is accepted as fact today. And virtually all of the best players have been using computer aids to study extensively.

So, yes, I could get the latest version of eXtreme gammon and improve immensely in the next however many years I have, but I would never be able to challenge those who have lived and breathed backgammon for a long time.

On YouTube, however, there are many hundreds of backgammon tournament games archived. Some are commentated. Most are not. Since the rankings of the best backgammon players are listed online, it’s relatively easy to find matches between excellent players. I find this interesting and instructive. I receive more pleasure watching old backgammon matches than new Netflix shows! Your mileage may vary!

I’ve learned the game is very different today. In tournaments, players normally use the same two dice. One player hits the clock to end his move and start his opponent’s move, and the opponent then picks up the box and rolls them. When I played, there were two sets of dice used, one for each player, and there were many arguments as to whose dice were luckier and there were intricate rules as to when and how many times you could change dice during a match.

I never played with a clock. A backgammon clock today is somewhat like a chess clock, except there is a built-in timer (usually 10 to 12 seconds) where time off your clock doesn’t begin until you go through that built-in time. There have been matches where players let their time go down to 20 seconds or less, but still manage to play “speed backgammon” without any time coming off of their clock and don’t get eliminated because of time.

When I played, there were some players known for being cheaters. Possibly there still are, but I don’t see them on the YouTube videos I watch. Every 30 games or so, one of the players makes a misplay and almost always it’s mentioned by the other player and corrected immediately.

There are always players who are bad losers. When they roll several particularly bad numbers in a row, or their opponent rolls particularly good numbers, the players bitterly rail about how unfair this game is. On the videos, I don’t see this — possibly because the players know they are being videotaped and are on their good behavior.

If they’re down to one roll and only double sixes will win the game for one of the sides, and double sixes come out, both players seem to accept it stoically. This is very much NOT what I remember from when I played.

Today, tournament players are rated by how close their plays agree with what the latest version of eXtreme gammon says. (I think the most current is XG++). Low scores (say 1.0 or 2.0) are considered excellent. Higher scores aren’t. When I played, we never knew for sure how good a player was. Probably the best players in the world played at about a 5.0 back then. Now, playing between 2.0 and 3.0 for years is possible. But if I had, say, a rating of 12.0, hopefully I’d be smart enough to avoid playing for money with someone whose rating was 3.0. I’d get creamed! These ratings have reduced playing backgammon for money.

Way back then, when a position arose and players had strong disagreements about the best play, propositions would be played numerous times, betting on the outcome.  Over time, observant players would learn which play was better. Some players had dozens of propositions at their fingertips where they’d be willing to play either side. Today however, players just plug these positions into XG++ and almost instantly the plays are ranked and given numerical scores (similar to EV). 

In backgammon, once you roll your dice and get, say, a 4-3, there might be three or four different plays that are at least reasonable. You are allowed to move your checkers, look at them, put them back into the starting position and try another, look at that, and go back and forth as often as you wanted subject to the fact that you only have so many minutes to play an entire match. Back when I played, players would often play the 4, leave it, and then try the various ways a 3 could be played. They would not put the checkers back into the starting positions before trying another move. Often, they would move the checkers back and forth so many times that everybody got confused about what the starting position was — and they were able to play 5-3 instead of 4-3 in the cases where 5-3 was much more advantageous. That doesn’t seem to happen as much anymore.

Since most of the matches on YouTube were created pre-pandemic, each match starts with a handshake. They don’t wish each other good luck. They wish each other “good match.” It’s far more honest.
I don’t regret that I moved away from backgammon and eventually settled on video poker. Video poker has been good to me. But I still miss playing backgammon.

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Podcast – guest Slot King

Our guest this week is a professional slot player, Slot King.

[00:00] Introduction of Australian slot player, Slot King
[00:42] Becoming a professional slot player, analyzing progressive slots
[09:48] Reel mapping, MHBs, building a bankroll
[12:22] Increased competition
[17:00] Losing streaks
[17:46] Card counting versus slot play
[21:48] Slot community on Twitter
[23:50] Must-Hit-By machines
[28:20] Confidentiality
[30:30] More money, more problems
[42:48] South Point Casino April Promotions – $500,000 Money Madness casino-wide progressives, room deals
[43:58] BlackjackApprenticeship.com – card counting training site and community, bootcamps are back this summer
[44:34] VideoPoker.com/gwae – Gold Membership offers correction on most games, free Pro Membership trial for GWAE listeners
[46:04] Scams
[50:04] Million Dollar Slots and how to contact Slot King
[52:16] Recommended – American Dirt by Jeanine Cummings, Episodes on Netflix, Oculus Quest 2 with Google Maps

Sponsored Links:
SouthPointCasino.com
BlackjackApprenticeship.com
VideoPoker.com/gwae

Slot King’s Links:
SlotKing.org
Million Dollar Slots  https://amzn.to/3sANM2e
Lasvegasadvisor.com/gambling-with-an-edge/gambling-edge-guest-peter-liston-2/
Lasvegasadvisor.com/gambling-with-an-edge/gambling-with-edge-guest-peter-liston/

Recommended:
American Dirt by Jeanine Cummings https://amzn.to/3dxKNmI

Episodes Netflix.com/title/70175670

Oculus Quest 2

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Unrealistic Expectations – Gambling With An Edge

Many of you know that I participate in storytelling events. I’ve been regularly attending a workshop to improve my skills.

Recently, after we had all practiced our stories online for the day, Pete, the leader who lives on the East Coast, asked me if I would be willing to take him around and show him how to play were he to come to Vegas.

I was surprised by this. I’ve basically never had such a request before. My answer off the top of my head was inappropriate. I told him that I charge $250 per hour for private consultations, and there is no game I could show him how to play which would cover my fee. He told me he wouldn’t be taking me up on the deal.

The reason it was an inappropriate response is that Pete is a Zoom friend, someone who has helped me improve at something I wanted to do, and basically a good guy. Bottom line is that if he wanted me to spend three or four hours with him gambling at video poker — why not? He’s a friend and he’s worth it.

I could get us both coupon books from the Las Vegas Advisor and the American Casino Guide and go around town cashing coupons with him. There are a number of match plays and other easy-money deals in there and we would probably end up ahead. This is a once-per-year-per-person run, but both of us would be eligible because I haven’t made such a run in years. However, it’s not video poker and he’s been told I’m a video poker expert. If he’s going to have me there helping him, video poker is probably the game he expects to play.

I don’t think this will end well. I think Pete is looking to spend a few pleasant hours, learn a little about gambling, and end up $100 or $200 ahead. If he actually lost $100 or $200, it could be a burden on him. Not a disaster, perhaps, but a problem. He doesn’t have a lot of discretionary funds and I’ve seen him react badly when things don’t go his way.

The problem is, he’s thinking about doing this because he wants some easy money, and I can’t guarantee he’ll win. I certainly don’t win all the time myself, and with translation errors because I tell him to do one thing and he either misunderstands or for some other reason doesn’t do what I tell him to do, his results would likely be less than optimal. That’s a gambling fact of life.

If I sat him down at a quarter Full Pay Deuces Wild machine at one of the Arizona Charlie’s, with the (miniscule for this game) slot club he’d have a 0.8% advantage. This is about as big of an edge as I can get him. And it’s a fairly simple and intuitive game. At the speed we would be playing, the average return would be $5 an hour. But players of this game know that if you don’t hit a royal (worth $1,000) or four deuces (worth $250) today, you’re going to end up hundreds of dollars behind. We might play 1,000 hands over two hours, but royals come about every 45,000 hands on average, and four deuces come about every 4900 hands on average. Either or both could happen on this particular day, but the odds are against it.

So, on the best game that I can lead him to, he’s a favorite to be down $200 or so. This is not what he has in mind. Being told that we were playing a good game and together we could play every hand correctly, but still lose, is not likely to be information that nurtures him.

The easiest solution, I suppose, is to take him out to dinner, give him $200, and tell him not to gamble. Even if he followed those instructions, the money wouldn’t pay for his plane trip. There are casinos in his state that are much cheaper for him to get to. He won’t find Full Pay Deuces Wild there, but if he wants to gamble for a small amount, it’s cheaper for him to go there than fly to Vegas.

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Podcast – Jay Helfert – Gambling With An Edge

Our guest this week is Jay Helfert. Jay is a pool player, tournament organizer, and pool room owner.

We welcome your questions – send them to us at [email protected], or you can find me at @RWM21 on Twitter or https://www.facebook.com/GamblingWithAnEdge.

podcast
Click to listen – Alt click to download

Show Notes

[00:00] Introduction of Toupee Jay Helfert, pool and poker player
[00:16] Origin of the “Toupee Jay” nickname
[02:22] When did Jay start playing pool?
[03:38] Games with the most money
[04:59] Traveling to play pool
[05:54] Backing games
[08:13] Big cash games in Vegas
[09:55] Similarities between pool and poker
[12:00] Owning pool rooms
[13:52] Tournament play
[14:29] The Color of Money
[21:42] Walter Tevis
[26:16] Most well known pool hall
[29:03] South Point Casino April Promotions – $500k Money Madness casino-wide progressives
[29:50] VideoPoker.com/gwae – Gold Membership offers correction on most games, free Pro Membership trial for GWAE listeners
[30:48] Backing Keith McGrady and stolen Szamboti cue
[38:42] Normal split between player and backer
[40:10] Ronnie Allen
[42:14] Current landscape of road hustling and handicapped games
[46:54] Gaffed pool cue
[48:47] Shane Van Boening
[51:16] The World Pro Am at the Tropicana
[56:27] Jay’s book Pool Wars

Sponsored Links:
SouthPointCasino.com
VideoPoker.com/gwae

Books Referenced:
Pool Wars by Jay Helfert https://amzn.to/3aaGf3x

 

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