FROM LEW: My friend says that there is a difference between table-game players and slot players. I think they are all alike. They want to bet money and win money, what else is there to know? Gambling is gambling no matter how you slice it.
FRANK RESPONDS: True, gambling is gambling; but there are some fundamental differences between slot players and table-game players. Slot players are far more patient than table-game players because machines are geared to giving out winning hands between 9 to 23 percent of the time. This is called a “hit frequency.”
Slot players have to be willing to accept long streaks of losses. This is also true of video poker players where most sessions will end in a loss for them. There’s no way around this as the machines are programmed to do what they do.
Most table games will see players winning some, losing some, mostly without strings of losses that can go on for quite some time as such strings go on when playing slots. Of course, some table games can be similar to slots. If a player bets only one inside number at roulette then he only has a 1 in 38 chance of winning. That “hit” frequency is worse than the worst slot machine.
Slot players also have the delight in thinking – make that fantasizing – about big wins, some of them life-changing wins on progressive machines. Except for carnival games such as Caribbean Stud, the standard and most popular table games have rather small payouts even on their highest returns.
Slot players enjoy the solitude of playing the machines. No one is there to badger the slot player into playing a certain way as will often happen at blackjack games. Slot players do not have to socialize or deal with loud and/or obnoxious players.
Table game players enjoy a certain amount of socializing; indeed, some state they play the tables just to meet and enjoy other players’ company. They also like the back and forth with the dealers and feel this is the true casino experience.
In point of fact, slot players face very long odds of being ahead of the game by even small amounts over even relatively short periods of time because of the high house edges on the machines. These edges can go as high as 17 percent (meaning that the return on the machine is 83 percent – an awful return).
Certainly the table-game players must bet much higher amounts than most slot players. Still, slot players play extremely fast and they tend to lose as much and often far more than table gamers. One only has to look at how much money the casino industry makes from slot machines to see these are the preferred players. There are now even casinos, such as some in New York, that only have machine games.
To each his or her own, and that encompasses all the casino games, whether machine games or table games.
Frank Scoblete’s new book is “Confessions of a Wayward Catholic” available from Amazon.com and on Kindle. Join Frank on his website at frankscoblete.com.
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