Poker, novel-in-progress, and updates from rainy PDX.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

I've gotten some good feedback on the 8 foot-tall cowboy story, so I'll include another Vegas anecdote today.

In the meantime, if everyone out there could please cross their fingers and hope that I get this job I've applied for. They asked for references after the second interview, so that's a good sign, right? The only thing that's making me nervous is that I've had a couple of email snafus when corresponding with them. Bit of advice: Don't trust Yahoo mail!

I'm almost too nervous to write. But I'll press on.

One of my favorite places in Vegas is the Casino Royale. It's a small little place across the street from the Mirage. You'd hardly notice it, what with the Eiffel Tower, Space Needle and Statue of Liberty distracting you. Anyway. My friends and I found out about this hidden hot spot on our very first trip to LV. We were staying at the Mirage, but, being college students, the $5 blackjack tables were too rich for our blood. We wandered into the Royale and spotted the first $1 table we'd ever seen. Perfect.

If you have even an inkling of how to play blackjack, I will argue that this table has positive EV. EV, by the way, is a gambling term that's short for Expected Value. In poker, you have positive EV when, mathematically, your bet is a favorite. You can expect to make money on it in the long run.

Well, as any real gambler knows, playing perfect blackjack is about a break-even prospect at best (unless you count cards--more on that later). But still, I will argue that this table has positive EV. Why, you ask?

It's simple--the $1 table at Casino Royale is directly in front of the part of the bar where the cocktail waitresses fill their orders. Thus, it gets the most attention from the waitresses. Thus, you get the most free drinks.

Let's say you are a good but not perfect blackjack player. We'll say that the house edge on you is around 5%. Let's also say that you will play 25 hands of blackjack per hour, which seems like a reasonable estimate to me with a full table. Let's also say that you always make the minimum bet of $1.

Over an hour, you are going to lose $1.25 on average. But at Casino Royale, I guarantee that you're going to be visited by the cocktail waitress at least 4 times in that hour!

That's 4 drinks for $1.25, my friend, which I call positive EV!

Of course, you have to tip the waitresses, but that's another story.


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