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Video Poker Interesting article from IGT for the casino perspective on VP paytables.

Discussion in 'Video Poker' started by Champster1, Jan 21, 2015.

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  1. Champster1

    Champster1 High-Roller

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    I saw this article posted on another Vegas type feedback board (Lvadvice). It is very informative since it was sent to casino industry folks from someone who works in that industry. The article is over 10 years old but it holds true today as it did 10 years ago (IMHO). Makes for some interesting reading. Helps me understand why maybe the SouthPoint hasn't offered me another free room since I hit a 50 cents royal for 2k last March and then checked out the next morning (when my stay ended). The article definitely helps me understand how the casino industry thinks (at least with regards to good/bad Vp paytables)

    Hopefully you will appreciate this article as much as I did. (Thanks Knagl)
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    If “They” Are The Enemy, Who Are We?
    by Mike Fields

    You know, as I talk to operators all over the country I find that “they” – in this case that “they” would be “you” – are mostly divided into two camps when it comes to video poker players.

    Camp One believes video poker players are loyal, dependable patrons who are a vital component in the overall market and revenue mix, and because they play more frequently – and are arguably more knowledgeable players – they deserve some extra attention and effort.

    Members of Camp Two believe that video poker players are a low-profit, dangerous element of the gaming mix. They can beat us blind and take our profits, and we should not overly encourage their attention.

    Camp One offers them decent paytables, recognizing that they are smart shoppers. Smart shoppers are usually very loyal shoppers when they discover a bargain. Just ask a stay-at-home mom (or dad) about the time the local market raised the price on milk or eggs and you’ll hear about it.

    Those in Camp One trust that the value of video poker players is not measured by their per-visit, or “transaction,” value, but by their lifetime value. Camp One recognizes that sometimes video poker players win – as do all players – and that that’s an acceptable cost of doing business. Let’s be realistic, once a player wins at your property, you’ve probably got ’em for life... if you don’t blow it.

    Camp Two only looks at players on a per-visit basis, and if they win, the casino doesn’t want them back. “We’re OK with ‘em when they’re losing, but not when they win,” they say. Some from Camp Two forget this is the gambling business and sometimes players do win. In fact, if they didn’t win once in a while, why would they keep coming back and back and back? And let’s not forget who’s money they’ll be bringing back!

    Those in Camp One make efforts to embrace video poker players. The Maloof family in Las Vegas established some of the most loyal players on the planet at the Fiesta by offering good paytables, good prices on food and – can you believe it – even video poker gambling lessons! They encouraged their players to get better and take a shot at the house. And did their players get better? Probably. Did they play loyally at the Fiesta? Undoubtedly. Did the Fiesta make money? You bet!

    Those in Camp Two believe that their facility and service is enough to make players happy. I’ve spoken with a few in Camp Two who get angry when players win. They feel that the machines must have malfunctioned. The player must be too good. “We’ll bar that guy!” they say. And sometimes they actually do show a player the door – with the casino’s money in his pocket too! I’d suggest you first make sure your pay schedules and comp programs aren’t flawed, and then do whatever it takes to get those players back, ASAP. They’ll bring their winnings back with them... and more.

    I’ve been involved with Camp One folks who’ve invited their best video poker players in for lunch and set up guest speakers including top gambling pros, manufacturers and folks of interest to video poker players. Some even gave their best players video poker tutorial software! Heavens to Betsy! Can you believe that? Guess what. Those players may have improved, but few can actually gamble like a pro. Very few. But everyone wants to believe that teaching tools get them there. To put this into perspective, ask yourself this question: Do you spend more leisure time on activities you think you’re good at, or activities you have little knowledge of? If the “Golf Gods” didn’t give you that occasional perfect golf shot or that huge putt – would you ever play again? Make the connection.

    I’ve suggested offering training classes to the Camp Two group – or tutorial software – and from their reaction you’d think I just offered them a kitten daiquiri... “What? Are you crazy? Teach them how to gamble?” Of course they don’t say it out loud, but I can hear the next line... “No way! Then they might win!” I remain silent because it would be rude to remind them that they are in the gambling business.

    Anyway, I believe you can teach a dog new tricks and you can capture player loyalty by getting inside their heads and giving them what they want – respect. Oh yeah, and a shot at the house. Within reason.

    My hat’s off to Stations Casinos, one of the Las Vegas powerhouses which is coming full circle, I think, in this very exercise. Some time ago, Stations bought two Las Vegas casinos – the Fiesta purchased from the Maloofs, and the Reserve acquired from Ameristar Casinos, Inc. Stations changed the pay schedules, shuffled people’s favorite machines, canceled the video poker classes, and in the process lost some loyal players as people rushed to gamble elsewhere.

    The underground video poker community issued an alert, and play shifted dramatically. Now Fiesta and Reserve are offering classes, loosening pay schedules and people are actually playing there more. The underground press doesn’t vilify them anymore. Hmmmm. Maybe they’re changing camps?

    To make money in video poker you need to join Camp One, and you need to understand video poker players. Walk a mile in their shoes. If you’re awake at all, you know that serious players are out there preparing for battle. They’re reading books, testing themselves with software and studying strategy cards. What are you doing to brace yourself for them? The Camp Two people are safe because their machines are tight and probably a little lonely. But good Camp One operators are planning strategy for their side of the battle, and making more money than the other guys.

    Consider this analogy. When you get a vaccination to prevent a disease, did you know that they actually inject part of the disease into you so your body can build up defenses? What defenses are you building?

    Here are some tips for the New Year about how to become a money-making Camp One person: Read what the players read. And get your staff to read this material, too. Anyone who comes in contact with a player should read some of the new material out there that tells how to milk slot comps for all they’re worth. Books such as Jean Scott’s The Frugal Gambler II, and Million Dollar Video Poker by Bob Dancer are good places to start. Shop for gaming-related books on the Internet at GamblersBookstore-dot-com (link deactivated), or visit every gambler’s favorite web site, GreatStuff4Gamblers-dot-com (link deactivated).

    Huntington Press is a Las Vegas publishing company primarily involved with gambling publications, and run by Anthony Curtis, a former card-counting, Georgia Tech dropout. Now he’s on the Discovery Channel, a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal, and runs a great little local rag called The Las Vegas Advisor that I read religiously. You should too. Anthony and his friends are out there checking machines, coffee shops and buffets, and keeping up with “The Street.” Are you?

    So I leave you with this suggestion: Get into the right camp. But get yourself and your team ready. Subscribe to players’ web sites. Invest in your people. Invest in yourself. And then the “they” doesn’t have to be “you.”

     
    March Madness...here I come !!
  2. macwjp

    macwjp Low-Roller

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    Can't really argue with the logic in the article. For me I am loyal when the service and offerings warrant it. Mistreat me and there is a good chance I take my business elsewhere.....it's just common sense.
     
  3. TomTWI

    TomTWI High-Roller

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    Champster1,

    Good article but are you thinking Southpoint is in Camp2? If so I don't agree they have good VP and slot club. I'm a low roller and get treated very well there.

    TomTWI
     
  4. Champster1

    Champster1 High-Roller

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    Nope I agree that they have good VP there. But when I read this....Camp Two only looks at players on a per-visit basis, and if they win, the casino doesn’t want them back. “We’re OK with ‘em when they’re losing, but not when they win,” they say. Some from Camp Two forget this is the gambling business and sometimes players do win. In fact, if they didn’t win once in a while, why would they keep coming back and back and back? And let’s not forget who’s money they’ll be bringing back!

    I'm thinking that my 2K royal may be the reason why I haven't heard anything.Come to think of it , I also did very good on their Quick Quads multi-line quarters too! To me it all should be small potatoes to S. P. , Their original offer that got me there last year came with $65.00 in FSP, dinner for 2 at their steakhouse, $20.00 for food and 2 or 3 nights comped. Since I hit (and I played straight for 3 days), nothing!! I even emailed a host named Courtney last week to see if they wanted to show me a little love, since another poster said that their March madness party is pretty solid.. Still waiting for an answer.
     
    March Madness...here I come !!
  5. TIMSPEED

    TIMSPEED !địt mẹ!

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    I agree with the article...however, will it change policies? NO
    Because the "gamblers" group is "dumb" and will play anything (ie: slots?) so the casinos will continue to profit.
    they are right, they don't need "smart" players.
    However, I will say; Reno still adhere's to the "old" way of thinking (at least most of their places)
     
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  6. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    Unfortunately, this isn't the first time I have heard that South Point has the Camp 2 mentality when you win. :( Their VP offerings act like Camp 1 though. But South Point doesn't have a lot of room for error in comp giving at the quarter or higher level. Of all the casinos I've visited, that is one of the toughest places to find a single line quarter machine that pays LESS than 99%!

    In theory, I think it's a good idea to comp those that aren't doing as well result wise a bit more generously. But you shouldn't totally cut off winners either, obv.
     
  7. Electroguy563

    Electroguy563 Over-Fried Gambler

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    The players that win occasionally will come back. I don't understand what camp 2 is thinking.....
     
    Going to Hawaii's 9th Island!!
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  8. woodsie

    woodsie Low-Roller

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    Maybe I'm giving humans too much credit but I can't see how anyone in the casino business could be dumb enough to turn a cold shoulder to any gambler playing a game rigged in favor of the house. Sure it takes longer to win a VP player's money, but you are still going to get it.

    Don't get me wrong, I understand that when space is a constraint, you want to appeal to your most profitable customers on your most profitable games but I ain't exactly seeing lines for slot machines lately.
     
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