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2014 World Series of Poker is Underway

Sat, 31 May 2014 16:23:01 +00002014-05-31T16:23:01Z

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If you haven't heard the news, this year's World Series of Poker got underway on Tuesday, May 27th and will be going for the next month, running until July 7, when event number 65 ($10,000 No-Limit Hold'em Championship Event) takes the last entries. I already got bounced from my first event - the Tuesday casino and gaming-related (and media) tournament. There were 876 entries in the $500 buy-in tournament that lasted three days, and $394,200 up for grabs. Roland Reparejo bested the field and collected first prize of $82,835. If you are wondering what winning the tournament took, the event was supposed to be two-days, starting at 12 pm Tuesday, but at 3am Thursday morning it was extended to a third day with Reparejo and second-place finisher Corey Emery ($51,037) battling heads-up.

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Is it all Luck at Gambling?

Thu, 29 May 2014 23:16:42 +00002014-05-29T23:16:42Z

Even after years and years of gambling, I sometimes wonder if it's just all luck that dictates the winning at gambling. Certainly I support the idea that learning a blackjack card counting system is going to give you better results, and of course the more you learn about poker and your opponents, the better you will do, but what of the rest? What about the slots, the video games, the games where the house has the edge? I'm stumped (yeah, no surprise there, right?).

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The Lure of Los Angeles Gambling

Tue, 20 May 2014 22:16:12 +00002014-05-20T22:16:12Z

In the 1930's, Los Angeles had dozens of illegal but heavily-frequented casinos, some of which were allowed by Vice-officers from the LA Police Department like Guy McAfee, known around town as "the Captain," and some were outright owned by McAfee. While his wife worked as a Hollywood madam, McAfee got rich, and the casinos and card rooms thrived. He was eventually thrown out of his job, and the state, but setting a precedent that lasted for decades, Las Vegas welcomed him.

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The Casino Mix

Mon, 19 May 2014 18:30:16 +00002014-05-19T18:30:16Z

Fifty years ago, most casinos had their own branded slot machines and that gave the property a specific feel. Harrah's properties had all-silver Pace machines, the Nevada Club used all Jenning's machines, Harold's Club used Pace machines but they were all painted red. I remember the machines at Harvey's at Lake Tahoe and how each wheel bounced as it stopped on the line. Things changed with video machines.

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Blackstone Group Buys Las Vegas Cosmopolitan

Sat, 17 May 2014 16:19:25 +00002014-05-17T16:19:25Z

Deutsche Bank finally unloaded the Cosmopolitan resort in Las Vegas, their ill-acquired, under-producing stop on the Las Vegas Strip. The sales price was about $1.73 billion, slightly less than the bank's assessment of the properties long term debt, and less than half the bank's investment when it took over the 8.7-acre development from New York's Ian Bruce Eichner for $3.9 billion.

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Pai Gow Overlay on Giant $500,000 Progressive

Wed, 14 May 2014 17:59:08 +00002014-05-14T17:59:08Z

A lot of poker players know what an overlay is - when a poker tournament guarantees a certain payout for winners and that payout is more than the total buy-in from all players (imagine $1,000 in prize money and 10 players pay $50 to play - creating a $500 overlay). Occasionally a progressive jackpot on a table game also gets high enough to actually offer an overlay, and this happened regularly when Caribbean Stud was more popular. Now just a few weeks back there were three jackpots at Pai Gow Poker that were overlays: one in Las Vegas, and two in Arizona. If I've got the jackpot payout information correct, when you play Pai Gow and are playing the $1 progressive bet, the jackpot needs to be roughly $250,00 to be an even-money proposition.

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Casinos in Macau Still Booming

Fri, 09 May 2014 15:04:44 +00002014-05-09T15:04:44Z

(image) Photo Courtesy (Getty Images)

Although there are some rumblings in China about the direction of their economy, the casinos in Macau are still booming. In fact, the US operators continue to enjoy great profits from their Macau casinos as well as good profits from their US holdings. Certainly Wynn makes more from their Pai Gow tile games in Macau than in Las Vegas, but at least its not such a lopsided difference these days, but the money can be staggering.

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Margarita Monday for Blackjack Players

Mon, 05 May 2014 18:30:06 +00002014-05-05T18:30:06Z

(image) Photo Courtesy (Getty Images)

It's always Margarita Monday for Jimmy Buffet, as his 1977 smash hit Margaritaville has taken on a global presence of its own over the years. The song has morphed into concerts, clothing, souvenirs, and of course the Margaritaville Resort Casino in Bossier City, Louisiana and the Margaritaville Casino at the Flamingo on the Las Vegas Strip, where Jimmy was seen clowning at the 21 tables with guest Meridith Price. Looks like fun to me.

Last Monday wasn't as much fun for Ben Affleck, as he was barred permanently from playing blackjack at the Hard Rock casino in Las Vegas. Ben is a skilled gambler and has had success at major poker tournaments in the past. He also went from beginning blackjack player to professional level several years ago when he whooped on the Hard Rock for $750K, tipping the dealers more than six-figures along the way! Since casinos have a long memory, his latest binge at the tables didn't go unnoticed, as he was politely asked to never play blackjack there again. Bummer.

Most casinos do reserve the right to bar or exclude any players for any reason, and usually guests are simply asked to play other games excluding blackjack when they are suspected of counting cards. Fortunately, most players are able to fly under the radar and make a little cash with their blackjack skills. Of course Ben Affleck probably can't fly anywhere and go unnoticed, so he'll have to give up on "21" and be happy with the rumored $25 million and a piece of the pie he gets for his upcoming turn in Batman. Hang in there Ben!




April is Ending, let the Baseball Bets Begin!

Wed, 30 Apr 2014 20:09:26 +00002014-04-30T20:09:26Z

I have a friend who swears he never bets baseball during April. He always waits until May before placing his wagers, so to him, I dedicate this blog - and good luck to you my Mayfair Friend. For the rest of us, the ones who can't wait until Spring Training is over, how are things going? As always, I bet streaks and trends. I love to look at 3-game series and find easy money, and so far, as usual, the season is going well. Trust me, I'm no betting genius, I just follow the streaks on paper, and bet them to end after three or four games. I always look good early on, it's keeping up the pace for six-months that's hard.

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Did I Win or Lose?

Sun, 27 Apr 2014 02:55:16 +00002014-04-27T02:55:16Z

I played in a blackjack tournament recently and had a great time. Now first-place eluded me, but that's alright, I managed to cruise into third place after an opening round and a semi-final round. That's cool. Anytime you make the finals, all is well in my book. In this case I was surprised to see two large racks of chips come to the table for the payoffs. My personal payout was $260, so I figured $50 for the dealers and almost $200 in profit, since the buy-in was just $20. But not so fast.

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