Friday May 24, 2013
I'm not sure I can make anything simpler for new players than this: focus. That's a tough thing to do when you're new at casino gambling. You find a blackjack table you want to practice basic strategy at and the dealer's smiling at you, the other players are talking about "that double down" that went wrong, and then there are cocktail waitresses in short skirts. What's a player to do? Most new gamblers can hardly remember the simple rules, much less the tough ones, so, get your blinders on!
Gambling should be fun, when it isn't, quit. But if you're having trouble because you can't concentrate, you need to learn some rules that have to do with all aspects of life, not just success in casinos. Prioritize with your eyes! Want some tips for poker on the subject? If you are playing poker, wouldn't it be better to know what your opponent did right before they raised the pot than what the Red Sox did tonight against the Yankees? That constant ESPN is costing you money if you've seen that replay more than once since you sat down. Believe me.
Concentrate and focus on the game you are playing and you'll do a lot better. When I first started playing poker in casinos I was so focused that once after about 45 minutes at the table I made room for another player next to me and said "There you go," to which the dealer smiled and laughed. I looked at him and he just said, "Sorry, that's the first thing you've said since you sat down." That was a long time ago, but I still remember it, because I may have been shy, but mostly I was concentrating on every move I saw from every player.
Of course it turns out there really wasn't that much to see in that $1-3 spread hold'em game, but after an hour I was able to say who the rocks were (no sense calling their raise), who the super-loose guys were (might as well raise them up again with a good hand), and who the dangerous players were (alright, I still don't know what to do against those guys except play carefully). Even if that's all the information you can gather by watching the players instead of the TV you are helping your long term results. Honest.
Sunday May 19, 2013
Casino jobs can be great, but dealing with the public, especially a public that is drinking and losing money, takes some skill. Table game dealers usually have their hands full with players, but they get the benefit of constant tips (they hope) to reinforce that they want to keep working, but then there is the poor Pit Boss. The job used to be glamorous, now it just takes patience and guest skills to keep from screaming. If you don't believe that, consider taking two dozen little kids to the zoo. That's what a pit of five or six table games is like on a Friday night for a Pit Boss!
Give those people in the suits a little credit because they are stuck back there, tracking players, watching the dealers, and trying to keep order with unruly guests. For the most part, they do a great job. And, they may be smarter than you think. Playing in a casino has some perks (you can actually win money on occasion), and if you know the best tips for casino comps, you can add to the fun of your trip, but remember, if you play at the tables, those very Pit Bosses are going to have a profound effect on your rating and your comps!
I was reading a book recently by an author who thinks he can control the dice, and apparently, his comp ratings. Unfortunately, his perception of the Pit Bosses and how they think is a bit off. Aside from the fact that he believes casinos comp up to 50% of a casinos estimated win (sorry, not even half that), he also believes you should walk around a lot with your chips on a blackjack table, call your bets off when the dice hit a player "because the dice have been disturbed," and sit out any hands on an automatic shuffler when 7 or more 10's have come out the last round. He says these things will increase your comp points. Now it's time to give your Pit Boss credit for some brains!
To start with, many casino players have traveled a long way to get to Vegas, or Atlantic City, or Lake Tahoe, and spent a good amount of money to get there, and to stay in the hotel, and pay for meals. They came to gamble. Don't tell them to waste time sitting out and wandering the property trying to earn a couple extra bucks in comps. Even if it works, the trade off is terrible.
As for the Pit Bosses, if you are playing craps and you call your bets off every time the dice go on the floor, or hit a player's arm, and are hoping that having your bets on the layout for an hour but only in action for 50 minutes is helping your comp dollars, you are wrong. The opposite is probably happening! In all likelihood, the box-man watching the game is noting your action and telling his relief, "this joker in the ugly hat is only playing half the time," so you are probably hurting yourself comp-wise.
As for the idea of sitting out anytime 7 or more 10-value cards come out during a single round on a continuous shuffle machine, that's the same as saying anytime you are playing on a six-deck shoe blackjack game that you should sit out if 7 or more 10-value cards come out. Anyone do that? Why would you do that? I have to assume that many other cards came out too, balancing the odds. And, just for the record, although I am not personally a fan of continuous shuffle machines because I can't run a count on them, depending on a casinos overall blackjack rules, many actually offer a slightly smaller house edge than the shoe games do. Doesn't make sense? Then just trust me.
Thursday May 16, 2013
As with most Major League Baseball seasons, there are some surprises. No, the Houston Astros are still going to lose over 100 games, and the Oakland A's are still competitive in a small market with a small payroll, but there are three teams that overspent big-time this past year to fill their rosters with starts, but that hasn't translated to more wins.
In fact, the Dodgers, Angels, and the Blue Jays all have terrific rosters. What they don't have is wins. Each team is at the bottom of their division sucking air. Well, the Angels are technically ahead of the Astros, but that doesn't count, does it? Each of these teams is having trouble in all area's, bullpen, hitting, pitching, and soon, making payroll will be tough too with no fans in the stands.
The 3-game series is my favorite to bet on. Now that I have my future bets in place for the World Series and I've got an idea how teams are playing, I spend a lot of time looking at how teams are scoring runs and how they will perform against other teams. Usually I can count on certain teams to score a ton, and I expected the Angels and Blue Jay's to do so this year. So far, I'm wrong.
The good thing about baseball is that every 3-game series will see one team win 2 games. All you need to do is figure out which one it is, before the games start. Right now you may find some very good lines to bet on, and you can expect the Marlins and the Astros to be happy with a win or two a week, so there's a start for you. Good Luck!
Saturday May 11, 2013
I was playing in a local poker tournament last week and they brought in a dealer to practice and audition on our game. Not only did it slow down the tournament, but it made the players mad. As with most tournaments, the blinds went up quickly and I was anticipating four more hands before the blinds passed me and we went on break. Instead, the new dealer spent nine minutes getting out two hands. Hey, it's tough doing an audition, that's not the problem. The issue was that the blinds were $2k and $4K, but instead of being on the button, I was the small blind at $5K with the big blind of $10K coming up. Sorry, but $15K instead of $6K was a big difference at that point with 14 players left and heading to the final table.
Note to poker room bosses: Do not send in your new hires and auditions at the end of a tournament. It's not fair to them, or the players!
As for blackjack dealer auditions, those are tough on any dealer, but I don't mind having them push in while I'm playing. Usually the dealer is so nervous they can't remember to do anything but smile, but that's a start. It's fun to see them trying so hard. If you have to do an audition, don't worry about the players. Just follow the rules you know and do your best! If you make a mistake, it's not brain surgery, the pit boss can always fix the problem.
Unfortunately, nobody can fix my poker issue right now. I seem to have an aversion to winning any tournaments. At the one in question I was the Bubble Boy for the evening. Oh well, the sushi before hand was great!