Killing the Golden Goose

dancer column 2

There are some excellent video poker opportunities to be found from time to time in Las Vegas. When these are found, good players rush in to take advantage of them. After a few days or weeks of getting pounded, casino slot directors decide that they are tired of this, so they remove the promotions, the machines, or sometimes, the offending players.

For a promotion to work, good and bad players need to play. If the casinos do not make money, the promotion will not last. When good players hog all of the machines, the casino cannot make money, and so the casino makes adjustments.

When this happens, “recreational players” are heard to complain, “Damn pros! Don’t they know they are killing the goose that laid the golden eggs? Any idiot could see that they should not have played such long hours.” These recreational players may not phrase it this way, but what they really mean is, “It’s only fair that it should have lasted long enough so I could play as much as I wanted. Once I make some decent money on it, then it’s okay if it ends.”

The truth of the matter is that the pros know that the games will not last long. That’s why they are there! If they don’t take advantage of the situation now, it will go away.

While it might make sense if every single one of the pros would limit their play so that lesser players could have a shot, the fact of the matter is that pros, for the most part, act independently from each other. There are a few teams and partnerships, to be sure, but generally speaking, each pro can only act for himself or herself. If a particular pro backs off so that a lucrative situation survives, other pros will move in and the game will be killed anyway. So, every pro has the incentive to do what is against the interest of good players as a group.

There are people who bemoan this situation. Go ahead and bemoan! But it is not going to change. The real problem is competition. There are more players wanting good situations in a casino than there are good situations. This will always be true.

It is analogous in many ways to wanting to buy a BMW. Let us say a particular model retails for $60,000. People haggle over the price, but basically there are enough Beamers to go around. But now let us say that these same automobiles are offered for $5,000 apiece. Same car as before. But now many tens of thousands of additional people wish to buy them. (I’d take more than one if I could!) There can never be enough of these cars to go around as long as the price is $5,000.

The many people who are not among the lucky few who get the $60,000 car for $5,000 may well bemoan all the greedy people who got in the way of the “recreational buyer” from getting his car.

Because of situations described here, promotions are not as lucrative as they used to be, and they are ending more quickly. People bemoan this too. But this isn’t going to change.

There are a lot of people reading “how to beat the casinos” articles. (Which is a good thing as far as I am concerned. I get paid to produce such articles, although, if it makes me feel better, I can bemoan that I’m not being paid enough. Lot of good that will do!) As long as these articles get produced, the level of knowledge about playing the games will continue to increase. As this happens, the number of people who can take advantage of any given promotion increases as well. So, casinos find that the promotions that used to work well for them now do not work as well. So, in self-defense, they offer a little less.

Now, in addition to complaining about the good players, recreational players can complain about the authors as well.

What can you do about it? Well, you can spend your time bemoaning this bad turn of events if you like. Or you can recognize it for what it is and plan your strategy accordingly.

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