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Deal Me In: Bob knows slots1 November 2013
Even though I was in a casino management position to make a decision like a wholesale chip swap, which we never did, if you don’t want to believe me, fine, but believe Bob, a slot guru who spent 32 years as a Slot Board Tech, Slot Director and all of the stops in between.
To change percentage returns in the gaming jurisdiction where Bob was employed, he said the gaming commission (GC) required a one-week notice. It also included paying the GC a fee for each machine, notifying security, accounting, surveillance, the drop team, plus the cage manager and internal audit. Then after the GC assigns a date that corresponds with the drop schedule, each machine will need a full RAM clear and usually 1/2 hour to set every parameter. Screw up – start over!
Bob reasons Slot Directors are reluctant to make the call on game choices or PC hold. As a Tech, he often argued with the Top Brass on maintaining a low hold in order to keep all of the seats filled.
Bob also believes, and I concur, that the slot players' savvy has ALWAYS been overlooked by management. They truly believe their marketing or Players Club is the rainmaker, and not the keen player – like readers of this column – searching for value.
All this said, Scott, repeat after me: “As long as I play slots machines, a game with one of the higher percentage holds for the house, I should always plan on losing money.” That said; you can’t put a price on a good time, right?
Dear Mark: I did some reading on Five-Card Charlie, where if I got five cards without going over 21, it was an automatic win for me. It got me wondering, does this rule actually exist in Vegas? Did it ever exist in Vegas? Johnson T.
A Five-Card Charlie occurs when after hitting and receiving five cards without busting, and the dealer does not have a blackjack, you automatically win and are paid a bonus of two-to-one. Few, if any, casinos, Johnson, have this supplementary rule on their blackjack games.
So, does the Five-Card Charlie rule exist anywhere in Las Vegas on a “permanent” basis? Not a chance, Johnson, simply because the casino isn’t willing to cough up the huge percentage advantage to the player with this one rule variation. Taking into consideration typical blackjack rules and the use of basic strategy, being paid for a Five-Card Charlie rewards you with an additional +1.46 percent, which now gives you a positive expectation against the game.
This is not to say that it does not exist short term somewhere, even Las Vegas. A couple of the joints I dealt in offered it as a promotional gimmick, but for a limited time, like a half-hour or an hour on a specific table.
Years ago, I vaguely remember Mississippi’s Gulf Coast casinos had some sort of promotional blackjack game where five, maybe it was a Six-Card Charlie paid you 2:1. In addition, on season two of GSN's Celebrity Blackjack, they paid on Five-Card Charlies.
There are some games, Johnson, outside of standard blackjack that offer a Five-Card Charlie as a particular rule of that game. For instance, both Super Fun 21 and Pontoon, a game resembling Spanish 21, have a Five-Card Charlie rule.
Gambling Wisdom of the Week: “You may have heard about the tourist vacationing in Las Vegas. He didn't have any money to gamble, so he just watched the games and bet mentally. In no time at all, he'd lost his mind.” – Holly Shaw, The World's Greatest Blackjack Book (1980)
Best of Mark Pilarski