Recently, I purchased a condo in Reno, Nevada, for the summer. I cannot tolerate the heat of south Florida summers. Reno is not like Las Vegas. It is located in a bowl at the desert’s center. Reno is 5,000 feet above sea level in the high desert.
Since I was a teenager, I have noticed a strange decline in the sophistication and skill of average casino players. I recall when table games like blackjack, roulette, and craps earned between 80% and 90% of the casino’s revenue, while the slots earned 10% to 20%. The whole thing has changed. The casino’s revenue is now 80%-90%, while the slots and tables earn whatever little they have left.
If you understand the odds of playing casino games, this transformation has enormous implications. Each casino table game has predetermined odds. These odds are determined by law and custom. It is possible to determine the exact odds for each play at a casino table. Casino management is the only one who knows the correct odds of a slot machine. They can change these odds at any time. Only one restriction applies. The house edge in Nevada casinos can’t exceed 25%. This is a state law. Most casinos have a house edge of between 16% and 18%.
Compare this horrible house edge to the house edge at the casino tables.
The average blackjack player will give the house an edge of between 5%-10%. The house could be beaten by a true crackerjack player in a one-deck game. This isn’t easy to find today. This is what you can do in real life. Once the casino has confirmed that you are winning, you will be taken out of the casino. Our crackerjack card counter will probably play dead in a multi-deck game, which is the norm.
The house edge for almost all bets on the roulette wheel is a fair 5.26%.
The crap tables were the undisputed king of all the casino tables in the days before casino players had any idea what they were doing. This is the origin of the high-roller. This is where you would hang out if you knew who you were. The house edge can be reduced to as low as 1.411% or as low as 0.1%, depending on the house’s odds policy.
Because I was spending some of my summers here, I decided to make smart money and patronize local casinos. These casinos cater to the local population more than tourist casinos. This is because the intelligent locals received better reward cards and a better overall deal than the tourists who frequented the strip.
Oh, how wrong I was!
I was shocked to see the same stupidity in local casinos as in the resort. Very few table games offered a chance of winning, and there was a lot of activity at the slot machines.
What the hell was it?
I had a pleasant conversation with a player about slot machines. He told me that he has been living in Reno for 30 years. I asked the $64,000 question to this proven loser. He didn’t know why he hadn’t moved to table games, where he could win. He said that he didn’t understand table games and that learning was too tricky. It was unbelievable to me. There are at least half a dozen books that I can vouch for on casino gambling. They are all mine.
Because I couldn’t believe what I heard, my questions kept returning to the locals. I got the same response every time.
They would be crazy if the old timers weren’t gone.