A player, “Joe,” wrote a mailbag question to [email protected], and I decided to answer it here rather than on the air.
It seems that this player has found a 99.8% video blackjack game among a bank of machines with much tighter blackjack games and bad video poker pay schedules.
There are slot club points for free play, multiplier days, mailers and comps. The casino is associated with others — and that’s of value to him. There are tiers to the slot club and his card is more valuable as his tier level increases. All told, on the right days, the game pays well over 100%.
His question is: How does he exploit this game optimally? He doesn’t want others to find it. He doesn’t want to be kicked out of the casino.
The game of video blackjack has a major advantage over video poker — namely, no W2gs, should you keep your bets small enough. This is a huge help in keeping the game secret from the casino.
My first question to Joe is: Are you well known in the local community of sharp video poker players — assuming there is one? If you’re a “nobody” in this crowd, you’re invisible when you play and it’s easier to keep it a secret. If you’re known as a very strong player by a lot of people or the casino, you will be seen. And your strategy should be different depending on which kind of player you are.
Also, whatever game plan you outline, luck factors into what happens. You might be picked off in your first hour of play. You might be able to play the game for hundreds of hours with no heat at all. The casino may retaliate against you. It may not. By the time you know whether they will retaliate or not, it’s too late to go back and try another game plan.
And a third question before we get to game plans: If you come out ahead $2,000 or $3,000 and are 86’d from the casino, is this a good thing or bad thing to you?
If you’re well-known, you’re not going to be able to exploit this game as much as you like. That’s just a fact of life. So, if this is your situation, you might as well come in at the start of a big multiplier day and hammer away as long as you can for the largest stakes
as you can afford. You’re going to be stopped eventually (by other players monopolizing the machine, by the casino removing the machine, or by the casino removing you). You might as well get what you can while you can get it.
If you’re not so well-known, I would recommend a different approach. Play 2-3 hours every multiplier day and leave the machine alone otherwise. Play different machines on your other visits to the casino. Sometimes come in on non-multiplier days.
Vary the time you come in to play — sometimes graveyard, sometimes day, and sometimes swing. You don’t want the casino employees to recognize your pattern.
Once you get up to the highest tier level, don’t come in every multiplier day. Come in every other or every third such day. Some casinos get very touchy about players only coming in on these days.
If you’re playing on 10x point days, or whatever, at many casinos the points aren’t added immediately. When your free play (or cash back) reaches an amount you’d be uncomfortable losing, cash it out. This might be $40. This might be $1,000. Whatever.
The reason for this is that eventually, you just might be discovered and maybe the casino feels that you’re a sharpshooter taking advantage of one of their inadvertent mistakes. If they 86 you, you may not get all of your free play or cash back.
I know this is a case where you’d like to be able to exploit it forever. That’s almost certainly not going to happen.