Thanks to everyone who commented, both here and in private e-mails, on the report I gave recently about our last 15 years of advantage gambling. Many understood the reason I decided to share this personal information: I want to encourage people who have similar goals but show that it is an up-and-down ride. I did not give our own exact figures because….well first, that is a secret I share only with the IRS. But more importantly, it would have taken too much explanation since we have played so many different games over those years and in greatly varying denominations.
In 1997, the first year of that report, although we were still playing some quarter games, we had pretty much gone to the dollar level. And once multi-line games came on the scene, our per-bet amount rose considerably. Slowly, as our bankroll grew, we went from $1 multi-line to $5 Triple and Five Play, quarter Hundred Play, and $1 Fifty Play. However, as the good pickin’s have become slimmer in the last few years, our per-bet-a-hand average has gone down drastically. We play a lot of $1 and $2 single-line these days. We prefer multi-line but the opportunities there for good plays are limited. Because we don’t play at the higher denominations as much as we used to, volatility has risen considerably. Have a couple of really bad sessions on high-bet machines and it takes a lot of hours to recoup the losses on low-bet plays. Playing within a large range of denominations takes nerves of steel – and a very substantial bankroll. It is not for the faint of heart and small bankrolls.
What about the future, some have asked us? We are still finding enough positive plays to keep us as busy as we wish to be – but that means playing fewer hours than in the past. As usual, Brad plays more than I do. He likes to go out almost every day, but not always for major play sessions. Sometimes it means just some small action as he runs through free play he is collecting in a couple of casinos. I prefer to stay home and work in my office two or three days a week. So we usually do our longer plays together only several days a week, mostly one- or two-hour sessions and rarely more than three. Although our plays are all positive ones, many are with a smaller edge than we used to be able to find. So, again, that adds to the volatility factor. Less play, smaller edge – that may mean that it will take longer to see a plus result. Video poker EV doesn’t close up books on December 31st every year!
One fellow Colts fan noticed that I mentioned sportsbetting in this report: Jean, for sportsbetting, were you betting on the Colts? I have to say I was a Colts fan for years. That’s because I’ve been a Manning fan since the dad was a freshman at Ole Miss. I hated to see Peyton leave Indianapolis. But since he has, I understand why he went to Denver. He doesn’t have to compete against his brother in the NFC, or Tom Brady in the AFC East. And the AFC West is a nothing division where he is practically guaranteed to make the playoffs. I’m gonna be a big Bronco’s fan this year.
Yes, for many years Brad bet on almost all Colts games – after all he had lived in the Indianapolis area his whole life before we moved to Las Vegas in 2000! This was definitely NOT advantage gambling, but a recreational choice. Brad is not a rabid sports fan, but enjoys watching some football. On the other hand, I am definitely totally uninterested in sports. However, on Sundays – or Monday nights – when the Colts were playing, having a hundred-dollar bet on the game made those few hours extra entertaining for Brad – and even got some of my interest.
However, Brad’s enthusiam for sport betting has steadily declined over the years. He says he became tired of having his bet be good all through a game and losing it in the last two minutes. “With a bad heart anyway, I don’t need to do something that gets my blood pressure boiling.” So although he hasn’t completely stopped watching football, he hasn’t made a sports bet, even on the Colts, for the last couple of years. When recreation gambling isn’t fun any more, that’s the time to stop.