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Determining a Casino’s Win-Tolerance Comfort Level

To a Pit-Managers mind, the only thing worse than a table that dumps a ton of money during one super-hot hand, is a player who comes in and takes a much, much smaller amount of money day-in and day-outday after day after day…it’s something that they feel compelled to stop.

To counter that, they’ve come up with all kinds of ways to distract you from your winning ways. It ranges from striking up a conversation with you when you are shooting…all the way to asking you to "Take your action elsewhere...NOW!."

To avoid that happening to you or your group of cohorts, it is important that you first determine a casino’s win-tolerance comfort-level BEFORE you start dinging them for ANY amount of steady winnings.

Now obviously if you take the lowest sweat-joint on the totem-pole for something like $25 or $50 a day, it’s not going to raise any problem. Similarly if you take a high-level carpet-joint for several hundred dollars a day, you are going to be so far under their radar you will be virtually invisible...and that's not a bad thing when it comes to being able to continue plying your D-I trade in as many houses as possible.

So how do you determine a particular casino’s win-tolerance comfort-level?

Well it all starts with how much ‘action’ they are comfortable in booking in the first place.

Casino-Action “Comfort” Levels
You have to understand that each casino has a “comfort-level” of betting action that they are used to.

That is, if you determine the kind of betting-action they are truly comfortable in booking; then you've gone a long way in determining how high their loss-tolerance is.

If you go over that loss-tolerance threshold; then they start to “sweat the money”.

At some places it can be an amazingly small amount like $50 or $100 dollars that raises their “we’re-losing-our-shirts” blood-pressure, while at other joints if a table dumps a couple of hundred thousand dollars, it barely raises a yawn.

It is part of your responsibility as a skilled shooter to keep your level of betting-action and winning-profit BELOW a casino's comfort-level.

Otherwise, you imprint your face and name into their collective memory as having taken them for a lot of money. If you stay BELOW their radar, you’ll still receive all the benefits, comps, and welcoming-warmth that they hold for all “normal” (losing) players. However, if you exceed that level, especially if you do it on a rather steady basis; then you are imperiling your future earnings potential.

It All Starts With the Bet-Minimum/Bet-Maximum Sign
Though the table-placard that shows the minimum allowable bet as well as the maximum allowable bet at a given craps table isn’t the be-all and end-all of indicating a casino’s bet-comfort-level; with few exceptions, it does give a fairly strong signal of the kind of action they are comfortable with.

For example, if the bet-min is $3 and the bet-max is $300; then you can be pretty sure that they are going to start to sweat anything above single-green or double-green spread-action like $160-Across or $220-Inside.

Similarly, if the bet-min is $50 and the bet-max is $5000; then you can be pretty sure that anything under multiple-black or single-purple spread-action like $1800-Across or $2200-Inside, though somewhat assertive in the bet-tolerance department, isn’t going to get instant barring even if you start winning.

On the other hand, you’d probably want to space out your visits to that gaming-house if your shooting is providing a steady stream of hand-after-hand-after hand wins especially at the multi-black or single/double purple-chip level.

Gauging Loss-Tolerance Really Comes Down to Common-Sense
As any keen observer of humankind will tell you, common-sense ain’t so common; but if you do use at least a minimum of intelligence, like that which makes dogs come in out of the rain; then you should be able to pre-estimate how tolerant a particular casino will be to your winning ways.

If you don’t go overboard with the amount of money you consistently hit any particular casino for, and you temper that with each individual casino’s loss-tolerance; then your playing days can be extended indefinitely.

Ignore all of that and your winning-days and winning-ways will be numbered.

Ignore the casino discomfort indicators, and you ignore your chances of dice-influencing survival at that particular store.

Indicators of Casino Discomfort
If you ding the little guys (small-action casinos), they can make your life a living hell. Likewise in medium-action joints, if you or someone else at your table is making a killing off of your roll, then they may “bring in the heat”.

-They’ll have the stick-man lean over the table or swing at the dice with his stick.

-They’ll chant their endless “hit the backwall HARDER” mantra.

 -They’ll “short-stick” you to make you s-t-r-e-t-c-h for the dice.

- They’ll “no-bet” your action just to piss you off.

- They’ll put your Come or Place bets in the wrong player-spots on the layout.

- They’ll conveniently forget to pay you your “change”, or they’ll cap someone else’s bet with your Press action.

- They’ll miss-pay your winning bets, or place your pay-offs in the wrong areas so that another player may accidentally pick up your money.

- They’ll encourage new players to squeeze in beside you when the table is filling up.

- They’ll bring in an often un-needed chip-fill, or change-out the dice in mid-hand.

- They’ll hurry your shooting and try to break your rhythm.

- They’ll have the stickman re-arrange a Prop or Hardway bet just as the dice are leaving your hand.

- The boxman will tell the stickman to “reduce your working stacks” by having him hand in a full-stack (20 cheques) to the box, just as you are about to throw the dice.

- The boxman will have the stickman “recall” the dice just before you pick them up so that they can be “re-examined”.

- They’ll pass you by the next time it is your turn to shoot again.

That’s just the beginning of the aggravation. They have a myriad of tricks in their bag to aggravate you, and they’re not shy about using each and every one of them.

So what is the level of betting-action that each casino is comfortable with, and how much can we “take” them for?

Small-Action Casinos
I try not to thump any small places for more than $200 to $400 during any given day. There are plenty of small joints in Vegas to spread the "pain" around. Typical small casinos, based on their comfort-level of betting-action, would include Hooters, Terrible's,
Nevada Palace , Golden Gate , Fitzgeralds, Sahara , Four Queens, Vegas Club, Arizona Charlie’s, and El Cortez.

Medium-Action Casinos
The low-to-medium-action houses are the bread'n'butter of consistent earnings for professional dice-influencers. Places like all of the Station casinos (
Boulder , Palace, Sunset, Texas , Sante Fe, Green Valley , Fiesta-Rancho, Fiesta-Henderson, etc.) and most of the Boyd/Coast casinos are all low-to-mid-level joints that can bear some decent hits, as long as you don't do it too frequently.

Those casinos that I just named will allow you to take about $300 to $500 in daily winnings, BUT THAT IS ALL! Anymore than that and you will quickly wear out your welcome.

A few others in this mid-size-action category that allow a somewhat larger daily noshing would be Excalibur, Luxor, NYNY, Riviera, Monte Carlo, Flamingo, Circus-2, Harrah's, Planet Hollywood, TI, Ballys, Paris, Red Rock, Hard Rock, Palms, Golden Nugget (lately) and Stratosphere. A once a day hit, or several smaller hits spread over all three shifts, for a total of $1,000 to $2,000 should be enough to satisfy even the greediest among us.

Large-Action Casinos
The bigger houses are more tolerable of larger action, larger hits, and more frequent hits.

That being the case, I would restrict the big action to Bellagio, Caesars Palace, Wynn, Venetian, MGM Grand, The Mirage, Mandalay Bay and Rio; however I will quickly note that both Bellagio and MGM Grand have recently raised the heat against dicesetters due to the heavy hits they have been taking over the last year or so from variously-sized ad-hoc groups of skilled shooters. I’ll have more to say about this in a moment

The large-action casinos are used to seeing big buy-ins, big bets, big pay-offs, and they don’t usually sweat it. Their comfort level is very high as is their tolerance for “standard-deviation swings” of fortune at the tables.

They understand that sometimes players get lucky, and some shooters have long, costly hands. Their attitude is, “Hey, we’re in the gaming business…we can’t win every hand…there will be losing streaks…but don’t worry…we ALWAYS end up winning”. That of course is true, and part of your job as a Precision-Shooter is to make sure that they don’t make any part of their monthly nut off of your ass.

On the other hand, you still have to use common sense when it comes to dinging even the biggest of boys on the Strip. That is, you and your pals can't go in there on a daily basis...ring the cash-register for a combined couple of thousand every day...and not expect to be noticed.

You are going to get noticed and not in a good way.

Keeping a Good Thing Going
Adapting your level of bets that your “target” casino is most comfortable with, will ensure that you don’t scare them into taking unnecessary action against you or against any other subsequent advantage-players who may visit that gaming-establishment long after you leave.

The key to continued long-term success is not to get too greedy.

Remember, the feeding-trough is always open in
Las Vegas and all of the other gaming-jurisdictions around the country, so don’t get yourself excluded from the shooting-party because you can't control yourself.

Take responsibility for your own actions, and you may be surprised how it actually lowers your stress while simultaneously lowering your heat-magnetism.

Key Questions
-How long can you park your ass at small-action casinos?

-How frequently can you Precision-Shoot without drawing heat?

-How often can you ring the advantage-play cash-register, without getting ’86’d from a small-action joint?

Key Answers
How LONG you park your ass at one small-action casino really depends on how well you are doing financially.

If your shooting isn’t producing any tangible results; then they (the casino) would love for you to play for as long as you still have money in your jeans.

However, if you are consistently winning; then I would only tag them for a couple of hundred bucks…maybe even $300 or $400, depending on the redness or paleness of the Pit Bosses face, but no higher profit than that should be taken from a small-action joint.

How FREQUENTLY you park your ass at the same small-action casino really depends on how much you took them for the last time you were there. It also depends if you are playing on a different shift with a different crew.

If you are in Vegasville for four nights, then it would be okay to visit the same small-action joint several times over that period. If I am consistently winning, I would switch to a different shift for my next feeding opportunity.

You don’t want them to associate your face with the disappearance of their money.

How LONG you park your ass at the same small-action casino, and continue to ring the advantage-play cash-register without getting ’86’d from shooting really depends on you and your attitude.

Don't rub their noses in the fact that you are winning.

Tip the crew every time you throw a Pass Line winner.

Wherever I play, in their eyes, I'm just a really nice guy who is a pleasure to have at their table. They think of me as a low-maintenance, great-tipping player who is INCREDIBLY lucky. That is how ALL truly professional players keep a good thing going.

Folks, the key to being able to continue this really great thing that we have found in dice-influencing, is not to wear out our welcome, and not abuse all of the social goodwill that a casino is willing to extend to its players.

We can keep a good thing going, but you have to be reasonable in how much you grab, and how quickly you grab it.

Dis-Associating YOUR Face With the Disappearance of THEIR Money
Different casinos have various comfort-levels and thresholds at which they begin to associate the disappearance of THEIR money with YOUR face.

Part of your job as a dice-influencer is to dis-associate your face with the disappearance of their money.

That is, you don’t want them labeling you as a steady and consistent winner.

Now I know how ego-gratifying it can be to be recognized as one of the few people who can consistently profit from this game, and I understand how enticing it is to be acknowledged as one of the few who are able to actually beat an ‘unbeatable’ game such as craps; but it’s important that the crew and the pit-dwellers don’t know that…and it’s certainly not in your best interest to trumpet it to anyone else at the table either.

I have written several articles on profit-skimming, and I would invite you to re-read them when you have a chance.

Slowly and unobtrusively raking off some of your in-rail profit can mean the difference between being perceived as a winner who is to be feared and barred…and a regular patron (read: loser) who is to be welcomed and given every possible comp-courtesy known to the civilized world.

If your winning makes you stick out; then it won’t take long before the casino hammers not only you, but also any other dice-influencers who look like they too might have similarly potential talent.

A Short History Lesson in Hubris…the Candy-Store Raids
A moment ago I mentioned that Bellagio and MGM Grand have recently raised the heat against dicesetters due to the heavy hits they have been taking over the last year or so from variously-sized ad-hoc groups of skilled shooters.

For those of you who are relatively new to the dice-influencing community, I want to recount what happened to one of the greatest groupings of D-I exploitable tables in the U.S…and one particular table that started a D-I heat-wave that lasted for years.

~Back in late 2004/early 2005, there had been a three or four year build-up of aspiring dice-influencers who have been told that the aptly named “Candy-store” table (along with one or two of the other layouts) at the Golden Nugget was virtually an "impossible to lose" proposition that would make Vegas visits satisfyingly complete...and unbelievably profitable.

~It was called the 'candy-store' table simply because winning on it was so easy for a large number of modestly skilled shooters, to the point where there had been multiple wins on it that exceeded the $100,000 mark...not to mention the countless hands that generated smaller, but still sizeable multi-thousand dollar wins for those shooters and their table-mates.

~There had also been a growing contingent of wanna-be 'dicesetters' who had tried and failed to master that table; but they too still wanted to get a piece of that candy-store booty.

~So instead of treating a loss at that table like any other normal loss, they either continued to throw money at it in HOPES that they'd finally turn it into the gold-mine it was supposed to be; or they often just tended to hang around hoping to find a Precision-Shooter who could shoot well on it or on one of the other Golden Nugget layouts.

As a result, you often had a steadily growing bunch of guys who were hanging out at those tables (though rarely betting) or standing annoyingly close to the rails (as well as also flocking around either of the two support columns...and on the steps to the Sports Book Lounge...and at Claude's Longbar...and generally blocking traffic on the carpeted walkway, etc.) like a convention of golf-shirt-wearing loiterers, just WAITING for someone to light up the dice.

When a new shooter would walk up to one of the GN's tables (especially if it was at the candy-store table), large groups of these bystanders would flock to the table to check out the new guys toss.

I'm not talking about the kind of casual observation from slack-jawed tire-kicking tourists from Podunk who haven't played craps before and are curious to see how it is played. Rather, I'm talking about guys whose "internet handles" we would ALL easily recognize, who were salivating like starving dogs at the sight of the butchers meat-wagon...who were closely scrutinizing EXACTLY how each new player picked up, arranged and threw each and every roll.'

There would be an immediate buzz if the dice looked good in the air and especially on their landing. They'd trade comments to each other at stage-whisper volume, and openly debate whether the new guy was bet-worthy.

No subtlety about that!

It had gotten so bad that the last time I was there right before the big D-I crackdown, "Hawaiian Joe" (who we've discussed at length in various articles) and his entire ~30 man entourage was there, along with probably a dozen-and-a-half other players who had been standing at or near the tables (though none of them were playing) who were craning and straining to look at how I set and threw the dice. After I threw a couple of primary-faced Inside-Number hits, they ALL suddenly tried to get on my table all at the same time.

There were only six open spots, yet close to forty or forty-five guys were now jostling, pushing, squeezing, thrusting and elbowing there way into the game.

It was F#%&ing ridiculous.

When a particular table like the Candy-store gets a DI-congregating reputation like we talked about in Part One of Keep Your Volcano and Pass the Dice, and you add in H-Joe and his informal cellphone network of players (where hordes of his buddies come a runnin’ with handfuls of ready-to-bet cash when a good shooter gets the dice); you have a situation that is self-fueling...but ultimately SELF-DEFEATING.

~It got to the point at Golden Nugget's candy-store table that these guys hung out on an almost steady-state basis...until the pit-boss had to shoe them away like flies. They were blocking the aisles and making a general nuisance of themselves.

To that end, it's not at all surprising that the Pit-creatures took to discouraging dice-influencers who even looked like they might light them up. To their mind, if they get rid of the bait (the skilled dice-influeners); they could also get rid of the fleas, vermin and vultures who would only bet when a shooting star showed up.

As a counter-point though, I will say that, for the most part, when I was in the Golden Nugget during that tumultuous period WITHOUT that ragtag bunch in sight; the pit and crew continued to treat me fairly tolerantly despite my rife number of satisfyingly good and profitable hands up until that point.

On the other hand, I did end up avoiding play at the GN around about the same time that one of the D-I community’s more well-known personalities got unceremoniously escorted out of the casino (as well as being kicked out of his hotel room there) after being labeled as an advantage-player whose action was no longer welcome.

Thankfully, the heat-factor at the Golden Nugget has mellowed in the last year or so; but the lessons of the past should not be lost if you are interested in being able to play at places like Bellagio or MGM Grand or especially TI (TreasureFreakinIsland) in the future or at any other stores that have good tables that everyone and his brother in our D-I community religiously flocks to...no matter where you play.

Use common-sense, or at least as much intelligence as God gave to dogs.

A Quick Note About Foreign Locales
The other day, Boxcars1212 and I were discussing the subject of loss-tolerance in foreign casinos because of his impending trip to
Aruba .

I mentioned that you have to treat the casinos of
Aruba , Bonaire , Curacao , St. Maarten, Dominican-Republic, and even Puerto Rico , a little differently than you treat the stores in LV
, Bossier-S, A/C, and Tunica, etc.

That is, you have to act like a tourist even if you are there almost exclusively to take their money. If they think you are a pro; then they'll pull the welcome mat right out from under your feet...pronto.

For example, I was playing at
Bavaro Beach
a while back when a pit-boss who used to work at the Trop-A/C recognized me. After trading pleasantries, he basically said, "I'll let you ding us for $500 a night...any more than that and I'll have you kicked out of the hotel and you'll never play here again...act like a tourist or I'll have to have you 86'ed...and in the D-R that means spending the night in jail until a JP (Justice of the Peace) can hear your case to fine you in the morning."

Ouch. Message sent...message received.

In Summary
If you don’t go overboard with the amount of money you consistently hit any particular casino for, and you temper that with each individual casino’s loss-tolerance; then your playing days can be extended indefinitely.

Ignore all of that and your winning-days and winning-ways may be minimally numbered.

As always,

Good Luck and Good Skill at the Tables…and in Life.

The Mad Professor

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 8, 2008 6:26 PM.

The previous post in this blog was Creating More Shooting Opportunities Part Five.

The next post in this blog is Are Come-bets Worth Less to a High-SRR Shooter?.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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