Which Game is Best?

Today I’m going to describe a casino that doesn’t, to my knowledge, exist. But there are a number of casinos with more-or-less similar situations. The math to calculate these things is fairly easy, once explained.

By “best game,” I usually mean the one that pays the most. Later on, we’ll consider some other factors that can come in.

Case 1:

Best two games:

8-5 Bonus Poker (99.17% – variance 20.9)

9-5 Triple Bonus Plus (99.80% – variance 44.3)

Slot club yields one point per dollar coin-in, and 1,000 points may be redeemed for $2.

Mailer for BP is $200 per month for 20,000 points earned. Mailer for TBP is $100 for 20,000 points earned.

So, before I go through the math, decide which is the better game to play.

For the slot club, it pays $2 per $1,000 coin-in, which makes it worth 0.2%.

For the mailer, $200 per $20,000 coin-in is worth 1.00%. $100 per $20,000 is worth 0.50%.

So, BP returns 99.17% + 0.20% + 1.00% = 100.37%.

TBP returns 99.80% + 0.20% + 0.50% = 100.50%.

They receive equal comps, so that doesn’t figure into the equation. If you play for dollars at 800 hands per hour, the TBP game is worth an extra $5.20 per hour.

That is not the end of the calculation, however. There is a large difference in variance. TBP requires a larger bankroll to play. Further it requires the psychological wherewithal to survive the losses that regularly accompany this game.

Another consideration is that TBP pays 1,200 coins for four aces, which occur every 4,250 hands on average. While older machines only paid 1,199 coins for this hand, the newer ones when played for dollars all come with a W2G. At the same 800 hands per hour rate, that’s a little more often than once every five hours — and the extra $27 or so you will have earned from playing this game will surely be eaten up by costs associated with the W2G assuming you’re not a professional gambler who is able to offset gambling losses against winnings.

Even for professional gamblers, there are states where you are taxed on W2Gs, which will also make BP a better game. If you were a quarter or fifty cent player, these W2G considerations would not apply.

Case 2: Everything is the same as Case 1 except the casino now requires $3 coin-in to earn two points on the TBP game, but leaves it $1 per point on the BP game. How does this affect things?

These kinds of changes are fairly common. Each one is different, but once you learn how to figure it out, it’s not that tough.

Nothing changes for BP. For TBP, since it takes 3/2 times as much to earn a point, the value of the points is only worth 2/3 of what it was before. The slot club now goes down to 0.13%, and the mailer now goes down to 0.33%. Adding this all up you get 99.80% + 0.13% + 0.33% = 100.26%, which is slightly less than the 100.37% you get from BP.

This time you need to factor in comps because you earn more in comps (0.20%) on BP than you do on TBP (0.13%). I do not figure comps being the same as money. I’d much rather have $100 in cash than $100 in food credit. Still, free rooms and meals have value. How much value depends on how many comps you have elsewhere, what the quality of the restaurants and rooms are, and a variety of other things.

And, of course, some players really get angry whenever a casino reduces its benefits. I understand players wanting to make money. I can understand casinos wanting to make money. I believe players always have the right not to play, and I exercise that right at a whole lot of different casinos.

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