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Gaming Guru

 

Where Are the Five Dollar Tables?

5 June 2010

One of the questions/complaint I always hear is, "Why are table limits so high? Why don't casinos have more tables for the five dollar player?"

Unfortunately it is a matter supply and demand. Areas with only one or two casinos and larger gaming destinations on a weekend all suffer from the lack of tables to accommodate the lower limit players. Since there are more players than table spaces, the casinos can raise the limits and still fill many of the seats. The sad reality is that it also makes more economic sense to the casino to have higher limit tables even if some of them are not full.

We have all been to the casino on a crowded night and seen an empty table. We rush over only to find that the table limit is a minimum of $25 or $50 per hand. We wonder why they can't change the empty table to a five or ten dollar table to accommodate the lower limit players. Incredulous as it may seem, the "bean counters" have determined that a table with a higher limit will make more money even if it is empty for hours at a time. I read about the reasoning behind this in Casino Operations Management, which is the textbook used at UNLV in their casino management course.

Although the house edge is about a half of one percent for a blackjack player using basic strategy, the casinos make far more than that at the tables. Their hold on the game can be 16 - 20% in some instances. This is because very few players adhere to correct basic strategy. For rating purposes, management uses an average advantage of 2.5% as a base for calculating the edge over a player. They then adjust according to the skill level of the player. To simplify matters I will use a house advantage of two percent in calculating this example. The other factor in the equation is the speed of the game. The speed is determined by the number of players at the table and is measured by hands per hour (hph):

  • Slow = 60 hph. This would be a full table of six or seven players.
  • Medium = 80 hph. Two or three players at the table.
  • Fast = 120 hph. One player heads up with the dealer.

Look at the chart below showing how much money the casino would expect to make per our at a table based on the number of players, speed of the game and the minimum bet. The house edge is calculated at 2 percent.

#  players

Minimum bet

Hph

Total bet

2% profit hr.

7

$5

60

$2,100

$42

2

$25

80

$4,000

$80

1

$50

120

$6,000

$120

1

$100

120

$12,000

$240

Based on the figures in the chart the casino has determined that a full table of five-dollar players will net them a profit of $252 after six hours of play. They can make almost that much in half the time with two $25 players. They can make that in about an hour with a single player at $100 table. This is the reason why you see escalating table limits in a crowded casino.

What can you do?

There is not much that can be done. High-limit tables are a fact of life and a business decision. Some casinos, however, have adopted a policy to keep at least one table at five dollars. Here are four tips:

  1. Plan you casino visit on a week day.
  2. Avoid weekend nights.
  3. If you can only play on the weekend, go early in the morning and plan other activities in the evening when the casino gets crowded.
  4. Learn to play video poker and play the quarter machines.

High table limits are no fun for the player with a smaller bankroll who can only afford to play in the low limit games. The one thing you don't want to do is sit down and play at a table with higher limits than you can afford. Higher table limits are just something you have to be prepared for in areas with a limited number of casinos, but if you follow the advice above you should be able to have an enjoyable time.

Until Next time remember:
Luck comes and goes.....Knowledge Stays Forever!

Bill Burton
Bill Burton is a gambling expert and best-selling author of Get the Edge at Low Limit Texas Hold'em and 1000 Best Casino Gambling Secrets. He is the former Casino Gambling columnist for About.com.

Burton's Texas Holdem book was published in 2002 long before the game became a national phenomenon. The producers of Bravo's Celebrity Poker Showdown used his book during the first season to teach the game to the participants.

He writes for several national gaming magazines and newsletters. These publications include: Casino Player, Strictly Slots, The Southern California Gaming Guide, Midwest Gaming and Travel magazine, Southern Gaming and Destinations magazine, Midwest Player and Blackjack Insider.

Burton is an instructor for the Golden Touch Craps dice control seminars teaching players how to gain the advantage in craps. He is an expert at all casino games and can teach players how to play any casino game as well as offering them advice to get the most out of their casino visits.

Bill Burton Websites:

www.billburton.com
www.goldentouchcraps.com

Books by Bill Burton:

> More Books By Bill Burton

Bill Burton
Bill Burton is a gambling expert and best-selling author of Get the Edge at Low Limit Texas Hold'em and 1000 Best Casino Gambling Secrets. He is the former Casino Gambling columnist for About.com.

Burton's Texas Holdem book was published in 2002 long before the game became a national phenomenon. The producers of Bravo's Celebrity Poker Showdown used his book during the first season to teach the game to the participants.

He writes for several national gaming magazines and newsletters. These publications include: Casino Player, Strictly Slots, The Southern California Gaming Guide, Midwest Gaming and Travel magazine, Southern Gaming and Destinations magazine, Midwest Player and Blackjack Insider.

Burton is an instructor for the Golden Touch Craps dice control seminars teaching players how to gain the advantage in craps. He is an expert at all casino games and can teach players how to play any casino game as well as offering them advice to get the most out of their casino visits.

Bill Burton Websites:

www.billburton.com
www.goldentouchcraps.com

Books by Bill Burton:

> More Books By Bill Burton