Counting for Profit vs. Vacation

  • KimLee

    Counting for Profit vs. Vacation

    It is not profitable to offer a beatable game to the general public. That’s why Atlantic City conditions are so bad, Vegas is mediocre, and Reno or Wendover can offer decent low-limit games. I know occasional candy stores in Tasmania or the South Pacific. But it simply isn’t cost-effective to travel there.

    So professional card counting is virtually extinct. It is mostly useful for subsidizing vacations with comps and EV. It is exasperating for me to read reports that focus on the win or EV to the exclusion of expenses, comps, and fun.

    For example, a good contributer here just posted about his “winning” trip to the Bahamas. I noticed, and he confirmed, that his expenses exceeded his win. He would have been better off to get comps than to “win”.

    A low-rolling pro might seek a $50/hour game he can play all day. I’m more interested in getting a subsidized $1,000/day vacation. You need a big bankroll to get comps at this level. To get that bankroll, you probably make more money doing something other than blackjack. So to justify that trip, you need to explain why it is a great vacation. Specifically, you need to explain how to get comps without wasting all your time in the casino, and why this subsidized vacation makes more sense than bargain hunting elsewhere.

  • shadroch

     

    I play to get cheap vacations. My only expenses are generally airfare and car rentals. This last trip, I had offers for $170 in free slot play, which I turned into $135 cash. I was in the break even range every day with BJ, except the last day when I won $200. My rooms were comped, my in-casino meals cost less than $10 a day out of pocket, tips included. I paid less than $90 RT airfare as I used a free ticket, and had a partial voucher for the other segment.
    Went out with $700 cash and my ATM card, came home with $850 without touching the ATM and paid cash for my car.
    A nice vacation, with almost no out of pocket expenses.

  • daddybo

     

    Quote: shadroch said:
    I play to get cheap vacations. My only expenses are generally airfare and car rentals. This last trip, I had offers for $170 in free slot play, which I turned into $135 cash. I was in the break even range every day with BJ, except the last day when I won $200. My rooms were comped, my in-casino meals cost less than $10 a day out of pocket, tips included. I paid less than $90 RT airfare as I used a free ticket, and had a partial voucher for the other segment.
    Went out with $700 cash and my ATM card, came home with $850 without touching the ATM and paid cash for my car.
    A nice vacation, with almost no out of pocket expenses.

    Obviously a single man with no kids tagging along…

  • Automatic Monkey

     

    I play for money. $1K a weekend will do it for me, and I can generate that cash EV in just about any casino venue in the US, including Atlantic City. That’s with straight counting.

    I’m not knocking the comps, as they are a part of EV too, and the comp I generate slamming away on Caesar’s and Showboat in AC can get me a nice long weekend at Harrah’s in San Diego or New Orleans. And I can get gas cards and similar cash equivalents. But playing in LV or AC, or God forbid, Reno or Wendover just to stay there sucks. Those are lousy vacations.

    The last major vacation I took was to Aruba, and a few hours doing things beyond counting in those weak stores paid for everything I did on the island. I only quit because I didn’t want to find out what happens when you get caught doing that in Aruba.

  • bj bob

     

    Quote: Automatic Monkey said:
    . But playing in LV or AC, or God forbid, Reno or Wendover just to stay there sucks. Those are lousy vacations.

    Hey, don’t knock Wendover. They do have an Arby’s there. And Reno? It’s only a half hour away from the gorgeous High Sierra.

  • Sonny

     

    Quote: KimLee said:
    It is exasperating for me to read reports that focus on the win or EV to the exclusion of expenses, comps, and fun.

    I guess some people find blackjack to be fun as well as +EV. The original poster seems to think so:

    “I play blackjack because I enjoy the intellectual challenge. I think the mathematical aspect of blackjack is fascinating.”

    Quote: KimLee said:
    For example, a good contributer here just posted about his “winning” trip to the Bahamas. I noticed, and he confirmed, that his expenses exceeded his win. He would have been better off to get comps than to “win”.

    I’m curious about this part since I have never played outside of the US. Both of you said that this location has a very tough comp policy and that it takes heavy play to get good comps. For lower betting levels, wouldn’t a modest EV be better than attempting to squeeze out a small comp? There’s a good chance that neither strategy will produce any earnings, but there must be a point where the EV of x hours of play exceeds the value of x hours worth of potential comps.

    It seems like there must be a “sweet spot” where counting cards is the better option. At small betting levels the EV is not worth the time and effort, and neither are the comps. At medium levels the EV might be acceptable while the comps are not very valuable in comparison. At higher levels the comps will be a higher value than the small advantage from card counting. Is that not always the case?

    Quote: KimLee said:
    So to justify that trip, you need to explain why it is a great vacation.

    You’re asking why a 5-day trip to the Bahamas is great? Here’s what I got from the original poster:

    “I was busy with water rides, snorkeling, jet skiing, etc.”

    “…Atlantis was having some special promotion for a free extra night.”

    “…I was walking out of the casino and a woman came up to me and asked me if I wanted a blowjob.”

    “Bahamas vacation is exactly that. A vacation. Don’t most people go away on a vacation on Memorial Day Weekend?”

    Different people have very different goals and expectations when it comes to blackjack and casino trips. Obviously the original poster’s motivations were different than yours. I don’t think that makes them any less valid. The members of this website span a vast range of skills from ploppy, solid BS player, card counter, weekend warrior, etc. We enjoy hearing trip reports from all of them, even if their skill level or goals are different than our own.

    -Sonny-

  • shadroch

     

    I’m not sure what part of Vegas you seem to think is a lousy vacation?
    Besides having several great shows, many fantastic places to eat, you are less than an hour from the Valley of Fire, one of Americas most scenic parks.
    Toss in Red Rock Canyon, Lake Meade, Hoover Dam, the ability to Fly to the Grand Canyon,and so much more.

  • Bunky

     

    I have to agree with Shadroch. I go to play and have a cheap vacation. Most times we get our meals and room comped. I play at the low roller joints. I don’t make alot most times its plus or minus 30 units. I haven’t play in Reno but i have played in Wendover and enjoyed it.

  • Dyepaintball12

     

    Vegas is a fantastic place for a vacation! I was there for a month and never wanted to leave.

  • moo321

     

    Quote: KimLee said:
    It is not profitable to offer a beatable game to the general public. That’s why Atlantic City conditions are so bad, Vegas is mediocre, and Reno or Wendover can offer decent low-limit games. I know occasional candy stores in Tasmania or the South Pacific. But it simply isn’t cost-effective to travel there.

    So professional card counting is virtually extinct. It is mostly useful for subsidizing vacations with comps and EV. It is exasperating for me to read reports that focus on the win or EV to the exclusion of expenses, comps, and fun.

    For example, a good contributer here just posted about his “winning” trip to the Bahamas. I noticed, and he confirmed, that his expenses exceeded his win. He would have been better off to get comps than to “win”.

    A low-rolling pro might seek a $50/hour game he can play all day. I’m more interested in getting a subsidized $1,000/day vacation. You need a big bankroll to get comps at this level. To get that bankroll, you probably make more money doing something other than blackjack. So to justify that trip, you need to explain why it is a great vacation. Specifically, you need to explain how to get comps without wasting all your time in the casino, and why this subsidized vacation makes more sense than bargain hunting elsewhere.

    I would argue that the comps actually make blackjack a decent business activity. Little to no overhead. My expenses, all included, have been only around 10% of my wins. I don’t track tips as a separate expense; they simply come out of the money before I consider wins and losses.

    This assumes, however, that you comp whore, pay for as little as possible out of pocket.

  • blackjack avenger

    Comp Trap?

    If playing for comps causes one to alter their play then comps can be very expensive!

  • moo321

     

    Quote: blackjack avenger said:
    If playing for comps causes one to alter their play then comps can be very expensive!

    Agreed. I’m totally against -ev games, especially the ROR inducing video poker, just to get comps.

    On the other hand, a little non-ev related comp hustling can go a LONG way. Bet more when first entering the table (back-count yourself in), buy in for more, rathole, etc.

  • KimLee

     

    Quote: Sonny said:
    For lower betting levels, wouldn’t a modest EV be better than attempting to squeeze out a small comp?

    You’re asking why a 5-day trip to the Bahamas is great?

    We enjoy hearing trip reports from all of them, even if their skill level or goals are different than our own.

    Actually the original Bahamas poster’s goal are quite similar to mine. We both like cheap, luxurious, sunny vacations. Unfortunately too many posters emphasize the EV instead of the comp and vacation value.

    That poster paid $450+/night for rooms plus $200/day/person for food and drinks. At those prices, getting a comp is more important than EV. If you are only getting modest EV then you shouldn’t be there in the first place!

    Sure, a 5-day trip to the Bahamas is great, and I can get a direct flight to Nassau. But Atlantis is overpriced – I wouldn’t pay posted prices. If you get the room comped then you still pay $100 per night in taxes and fees. So we are really talking about $500/day per couple for gourmet food. The restaurants are good and the waterslides are great. They also have golf and watersports.

    But if I’m willing to spend $500/day then I can go elsewhere in the Bahamas, Florida, or Caribbean. There are all-inclusive resorts like Breezes, Bahamas. St. Martin has great French food with casinos and topless beaches. Puerto Rica and Aruba have casinos. Mexico, Jamaica, and Costa Rica are economical. My pool is free!

    Here is the scoop. Atlantis appeals to rich New York and New Jersey families who like waterslides for the kids and golf for the men. It’s not a hip place for young people or adventurers, or secluded for honeymooners. It’s definitely not for bargain-hunters unless you can get rooms and food comped.

    I definitely want to read posts about high-end places. But at that level, the comp value is really more critical than the game EV.

  • aslan

     

    I agree with other posters about the virtues of a Las Vegas vacation. I have been going there for twenty some years regularly and occasionally before that. Besides having made some friends among the natives, I enjoy the many points of interest (sightseeing, top notch restaurants, many and varied shopping venues for my wife, billiard rooms that are temporary or permanent homes to many star players, home of several annual national billiard tournaments, great conventions like consumer electronics, first rate shows such as Cirque Du Soleil, and of course, a ton of casinos and sports books). I like it so much that I have purchased a vacation home there. And where else, except maybe Manhattan, can you go out for a cup of coffee or a treat at three or four in the morning?

  • Sharky

     

    Quote: aslan said:
    …great conventions like consumer electronics…

    come on aslan, you been to the porn expo the same week go ahead and admit it. it’s my favorite week as nfl playoffs are just heating up.

    …and no one mentioned the bunny ranch

  • KimLee

     

    Quote: Sonny said:
    You’re asking why a 5-day trip to the Bahamas is great?

    I just posted a 5-day deal to the Crystal Palace casino for $299 per person, double-occupancy, including air from Miami, much cheaper than Atlantis.

  • QFIT

     

    Well, if you want to stay on Paradise Island cheaply, you can stay in a tent at the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat with Swami Vishnudevananda. It’s a few miles from the Atlantis.

  • Sharky

     

    Quote: KimLee said:
    I just posted a 5-day deal to the Crystal Palace casino for $299 per person, double-occupancy, including air from Miami, much cheaper than Atlantis.

    i will trade my bmw for a yugo tomorrow

  • KimLee

     

    Quote: QFIT said:
    stay in a tent at the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat.

    This is the kind of inside information you can only get here (from a hippie/counter)! I thought it was a joke, but a TripAdvisor.com review says:

    over $540 for three nights in a camping cabin. … asking us to sign a document saying we would not leave the premises after 10:30PM seemed ridiculous. With Atlantis just a five minute walk on the beach it would be nice to visit there at night.

    I’ll post more info. on the Caribbean board.

  • QFIT

     

    Quote: KimLee said:
    This is the kind of inside information you can only get here (from a hippie/counter)!

    Afraid I’m a failure as a hippie. Last visit to the Islands, we stayed in a suite down the beach at La Samanna. An unusual story from the road. We checked in and sat on the balcony to unwind after the trip. After a minute, we heard this very odd sound. It took awhile to find it. There was a stairway leading from the balcony that curves up to the roof where we had a private sun deck. Under the stairway were some tropical plants. The sound came from the planted area. I peeked into the plantings, and saw a cat that appeared to have some sort of growth hanging from it. The growth fell off. I had interrupted the poor cat while she was having a litter. I checked the list of amenities, and this wasn’t on it. Had a difficult time explaining a cat giving birth on my porch to the woman at the other end of the phone line, given that my French was worse than her English. By the time I got back, the cat had spirited her newborn brood to another hiding place. A lot of strange events accompany travel. But that was a first for me.

  • SleightOfHand

     

    Quote: QFIT said:
    Afraid I’m a failure as a hippie. Last visit to the Islands, we stayed in a suite down the beach at La Samanna. An unusual story from the road. We checked in and sat on the balcony to unwind after the trip. After a minute, we heard this very odd sound. It took awhile to find it. There was a stairway leading from the balcony that curves up to the roof where we had a private sun deck. Under the stairway were some tropical plants. The sound came from the planted area. I peeked into the plantings, and saw a cat that appeared to have some sort of growth hanging from it. The growth fell off. I had interrupted the poor cat while she was having a litter. I checked the list of amenities, and this wasn’t on it. Had a difficult time explaining a cat giving birth on my porch to the woman at the other end of the phone line, given that my French was worse than her English. By the time I got back, the cat had spirited her newborn brood to another hiding place. A lot of strange events accompany travel. But that was a first for me.

    Funny guy

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