Friday, December 28

We're Giving Away $1 Million

I'm kidding, of course. We're not really giving away $1 million, and neither are the gambling halls. A local gambling establishment, bestbet, around Christmas was saying that it was "giving away $200,000." Can that really be true? I mean, if it's true, then I'm in. But I assume it's a play on words. Kind of a slight of hand.

To me, if a business says it's giving something away, then I don't have to make a purchase in order to win. Since I don't play poker, I can't say for sure, but in the movies, it seems you need to place bets or buy into the game somehow. I kind of assume people will need to pay something to play the High Hand games that result in hourly winners. Up to $2,300 an hour. If I show up and ask to enter, will that give me a chance to win?

I figure it's more of a disbursement than a giveaway. The house seems to take 2.5% to 10% in a poker game, wherein participants play against each other rather than the house (unique among casino games). My assumption is that the hourly winnings are really just more of a pot that is created through the house's rake. With big hourly giveaways, the assumption would be that more people than normal are playing. Winners and losers. All of them paying for the right to play. Then, at the end of the hour, one of the participants wins based on whatever a high hand is.

I can assume the house will pay out regardless of how many people play, since it's been promised. That means that if just you and five of your friends show up and all make tiny bets, one of you will win all that money each hour. But if you and 500 people you don't know show up, the odds of winning drop.

If the normal buy-in to a poker game is $100, then the house gets $2.50 to $10 of each player's initial purchase. Let's just assume bestbet uses 5%, so 100 players at $100 would get the business $500, or not enough to cover the $2,300 hourly prize. But if we assume 500 players buying in at $100, then the $2,500 the house makes would do just fine.

I also assume poker games can last a long time, so I have to guess that High Hand hourly games are reset each hour with a new buy-in. The website only focuses on the winnings, not the rules. More than likely, most people thinking about attending this event know how it all works, which is a good reason for me to avoid it.

In the end, I guess it's possible that the house loses a little or only breaks even on these kinds of events. Since gambling can become an addiction, it's OK for a casino to give a little extra in order to get some new blood in the door. In fact, if you're good at poker and only want to give it a whirl once a year, my best bet is that a Holiday High Hand event might be up your chimney.

Poker notwithstanding, casinos tend to take around 5%. Some people will win 80% of their money back (called losing), while others might win 110%. In the long term, over time and through many people, the house always wins. Just keep that in mind in case you want to make gambling a weekly pastime.