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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • "Some video poker machines pay out better than 100% return on max bet."

    How can that work for the casinos? Wouldn't it just happen that as fluctuations put one bettor out of business, another one takes their place and eventually breaks the bank?

    • No, because most betters will run out of money before they hit the "jackpot"... which, in the case of video poker, is a royal flush.

      If the payout were over 100% and the only hand that mattered was two of a kind, jacks or better, then you could sit there and make money with very little risk, but the fact that it takes a long time (and a lot of money) to hit the royal flush bankrupts people first.

      -scott

      • Hum, I still do not see it. If the average return expectation on a bet is more than 1, and a bettor goes broke but a new bettor steps in, then the house should go broke- or, at least the average house should go broke. It may be that a royal flush only occurs on average every billion bets, and that might take thousands of years on average, but perhaps one in 10 thousand times, it happens this year, and that house goes very broke.

        I still doubt that the average return expectation is greater than 1. Can I che

        • Yes, go check the calculation. If I wanted to blog about the math, I'd have done so. Go read Poker player's guides, the ones that I mentioned. I didn't repeat all of that here either. I just meant to mention the phenomenon, not sell you on it. I wanted to make an analogy that in retrospect seems dumb.

          If you can't find citations (and they're easy to find, according to me), then you're wasting your time talking to me. If you did find citations...

          If you look at all casino patrons at as one logical entity, then yes, the casino would go broke. If it were the casino's bankroll against the collective bankroll of every gambler who stepped foot in there, they'd have to pull the video poker machines with >100% payout.

          Yes, if you go bust on one of these machines and leave, someone else will eventually walk in and hit the jackpot (royal flush). When that does happen, just for the sake of argument, there's a 50% chance they continue to play (that game or another). Let's say half again continue long enough that they eventually wind up down the same amount that they were up plus whatever they have left in their pocket. They are then no longer able to play -- they're out of money. And if you play long enough, you'll be down everything, just like if you play long enough, eventually you'll take the jackpot. It's just that the odds of the first happening -- being down everything -- are a lot more likely.

          This is something every gambler knows -- when you run out of money, you can't win your money back. Because it is a series of individuals rather than one collective group, and individuals a forced to stop playing exactly at the point when they're the most behind, thousands or millions of individuals accept a loss. If everyone pooled their money, they could be far more strategic about when to stop -- they could afford to continue playing through some periods where they're down and wait until they're finally back up again.

          Those numbers are wrong but feel free to substitute whatever you feel is correct... 1:10 and 1:10 again. Given 1:10 and 1:10, that's 1%, which is more than the 0.7% or so better than 100% payout some of these machines offer.

          Put another way, when you lose, it's effectively permanent. When the casino loses, it has plenty more chances to win -- it can afford the loss. You're out of the game. They aren't. They do the math to make sure they can continue. By regulation they do.

          It's a myth that if you start winning the casino will throw you out. No, only if they're honestly convinced that you're cheating. And then (I'm not clear on all of this) I think they're more likely to try to catch you in the act and prosecute you for it. Plenty of people win large sums of money and get welcomed into player's clubs and given free room in the deluxe suites for future stays. When you come back and lose your money again, that casino wants it.

          -scott

          • I enjoyed "Beat the Dealer" by Edward Thorp, especially chapter 4 that deals with this situation of the statistics of bet size and bankroll to expected profit or bankruptcy.