Think about revitalizing table games

2013-09-20T00:00:00Z Think about revitalizing table gamesJohn G. Brokopp Times Correspondent
September 20, 2013 12:00 am  • 

It seems unfortunate to me that a majority of the marketing energy generated by casinos is geared toward slot machines. New varieties of multi-coin, multi-line video games are constantly being introduced and heavily advertised while table game marketing and promotion is virtually non-existent.

This really should come as no surprise to anyone. Slot machines are by far the most popular form of gambling in every casino nationwide and they generate by far the most revenue for their owners. Why shouldn't the casino operators give them their undivided attention?

Video poker and table games, however, mathematically give players the best bang for their betting dollars. When I speak about promoting video poker, craps, and blackjack, I don't mean adding gimmicky side bets or altering the traditional rules. Most ploys are designed to give the house a fatter edge than it already enjoys.

What I'm talking about is giving video poker and table games players "a good gamble", to quote the late Las Vegas legend Benny Binion.

Unfortunately, 100-times odds at craps when there's $10 and $15 minimum bets doesn't really benefit average recreational gaming enthusiasts who buy into games for $100. Five thousand dollar limits at the blackjack tables are also out of range for a majority of players, although both policies are certainly good if you're a high roller.

A good gamble at the blackjack tables also means single-deck games. A good gamble means the dealers stand on "soft 17", not "hit" as is the policy at a lot of casinos.

A good gamble at craps also means that players are given a fair game. Many years ago Harrah's Joliet experimented with "triple the 2 and the 12" in the field, a great bet in which the house took no advantage.

A good gamble at roulette means "single 0" European-style wheels, not the greedy "0-00" wheels that double the house edge at the game.

A good gamble at video poker means full pay tables and a good selection of the best games, not the bankroll gouging pay tables and assorted "sucker" games.

I realize with restricted floor space, many casinos cannot compete on equal footing with their land-based cousins and the Las Vegas casinos that have tens of thousands of feet of floor space.

But when it comes to casino gambling marketing and promotion, how about more attention to the games that give players their best long-term chance of winning, not just hyping the slot machine "cash cows"?

The opinions expressed are solely the writer's. Reach him at John Brokopp's Beat the Odds tips air Sundays at 8:20 a.m., 2:50 p.m. and 10:42 p.m. on WBBM Newsradio 780.

Copyright 2014 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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