Sunday, November 11, 2007

Station Casino's Guaranteed Play "Experiment"

One of the well - kept secrets of the casinos is that they are generally not interested in whether you are a loser or a winner in any single session at the casino. Unless you are consistently a winner at every session over time beyond the normal expectation --- now, that might raise a flag, and then they might look at you more carefully because you just might be cheating. But generally, the law of large numbers guarantees that they will show a profit over the long run, or "in the aggregate" as statisticians ( and I admit I am not one ) like to say.

The casinos "show their hand" in how they rate players and what is required to earn comps. They don't rate a table player by whether they are winners or looses in a particular session. All they want to know is how long you are playing and what is your level of play ( or denomination) --- are you a nickel (five dollar) quarter (25 dollar) or black chip ($100) player or higher? And how long will you play to let the law of averages begin to whittle away your bankroll. In other words, comps are equated to action ( time and amount of bet ) at the tables.

With the advent of the ubiquitous players cards it is now easy for the casinos to track the playing habits of slot players and to comp ( substitute: give "points" or "rewards" to ) them for play, using formulas that the computer can easily calculate and automatically dispense.

Enter into this picture the newest enticements to lure slot players into the casino. Imagine you are the manager of the slot department and all you want to do is increase the casino's profits, your department's bottom line. It is Tuesday morning at 5 AM and maybe nine out of ten slot machines are idle. Look at all that wasted potential revenue! Look at all that unused capacity! Like empty seats on an airplane or rooms in a hotel, how do you fill them?

Remember the casino values you and rewards you as a player by the total amount of play over a specific amount of time! One answer ( amongst many others )to fill those empty seats is offering the slot playing clientele a way to prepay at a discount for the privilege of playing at some level of play. Say, for example, they sell you 75 hands of max coin, quarter denominated ($1.25 per hand), bonus video poker at 7-10 seconds a hand ( on the average)? That's about 12 minutes of play for how much? How about twenty dollars? Does that sound like a good deal to you? If you win, you can walk away with your winnings at any time.

The Station Casinos is offering this "Guaranteed Play" option and it remains to be seen how successful they will be. For example you really can buy (pre-purchase) 75 hands of quarter-denominated video poker for $20.
See the brochure (Adobe pdf file) for details on the Station Casino's "Guaranteed Play", or contact the Station Casino Boarding Pass slot club for more details.

I have not tried this new "paradigm of play", but it sounds very intriguing. Somebody reading this who has tried the "Guaranteed Play" please comment here! What's the catch, if any?

Las Vegas Sun Article: "New draw: Video poker with a guarantee" Article: "On-demand has big payout for Station Casinos"

The "Wizard Of Odds" analyzes guaranteed play video poker here. It turns out that figuring out what are the advantages and optimum play can be very complicated.


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