Don't Be Foolish!

            It was almost a year ago that I launched this blog (  I was very nervous about launching it.  If there is one thing I've learned about the internet over the years is that pretty much any idiot can have a blog - and quite frankly, I didn't want to be 'any idiot.'  I'd like to think that the name "Frome" is the gold standard in the industry where math analysis is concerned.  To our credit, we have Three Card Poker, Let It Ride, Caribbean Stud Poker, Spanish 21, Ultimate Texas Hold'em, Mississippi Stud, Imperial Pai Gow and countless sidebets.  That's a lot of the casino floor whose math was done by Leonard Frome or Elliot Frome. 

            So, I was quite surprised this past week when I came across a financial blog that was very unimpressed this year's G2E where table games were concerned.  Admittedly, I did write a column last year that called on more inventors to display their ideas at the G2E.  I recognize that the cost of even a small booth can be rather prohibitive for the individual inventor, but what a great opportunity to show your game to people in the industry.  I was pleasantly surprised to see at least two new inventors displaying their games and larger booths from some of the more established companies.

            What I found amazing about this financial blog, however, was not that the writer looked over every game and found none of them to his liking.  That would've been one thing.  Instead he essentially takes table game companies to task for "designing games that the gambler has no hope of beating, but they force the gambler to take the time to learn how to play them!"  This blew me away!  Does he truly expect the casino to introduce games that the Player can easily beat?  That's not going to happen.  The only game that has ever been put on the floor that can readily be beaten are certain variations of video poker. 

            Further, our blogger is annoyed that you have to take time to learn how to play them.  The only game which requires ZERO time to learn how to play them is perhaps slot machines.  As I've recounted in my column many times, I can't even figure out when I've won or lost anymore in today's video slots, but since all you need to do is press the 'spin' button and we can assume that the machine will properly tally your win or loss, I assume this meets the requirement of not needing to take time to learn how to play them.

            Thus, we can conclude from our blogger that what he is looking for is a slot machine with a 100%+ payback.  Perhaps he should've read my column from two weeks ago where I talked about a company that provides the payback information for their slot machines.  This WOULD necessitate learning how to use the smartphone 'app', so I don't know if this meets his strict criteria.

            A couple of days after this first column appeared, our blogger was back with more information for us.  First, he repeats some of his thoughts from the previous column, decrying the lack of innovation from table game companies and then stating, "how the gaming industry has not seen a blockbuster table game since blackjack, and how the industry may not see one until somebody steps up and creates a game that is theoretically beatable."

            That is quite a statement.  According to Wikipedia, blackjack's origins may be as much as 400 years old.  The game as it is played in most jurisdictions is hardly beatable - or at least not easily.  Yes, we're all aware of the MIT team that did it, but this took a rather significant effort on the part of a focused group of individuals. 

            In 1991, the table half of the casino floor consisted of nothing but blackjack, craps and roulette.  Twenty years later, it is estimated that as much as 15-20% of the tables in the U.S. market may be those that were invented AFTER blackjack.  Twenty years from now, I have little doubt that blackjack will make up an even smaller percent of that floor.   Let's not forget that a blackjack table is essentially FREE to the casino while they have to pay to put a proprietary table game on their floor.

            As a gaming analyst - and one that focuses mostly on table games - I am keenly aware of the math of the games.  Most of the newer games that are being introduced have paybacks in the higher 98% to low 99% range.  Yes, they do require that you 'learn' how to play them to achieve these paybacks.  No one, not myself, not the inventors nor the casinos will try and let you believe that the games are beatable in the long run.  That does NOT, however mean that you cannot have winning sessions in the short run and enjoy the entertainment value that they can provide.  Most table games are developed to have the Player win about 35-45% of the time over a 3-hour session - assuming you are willing to 'take the time to learn how to play them'

            Best of all, I won't "force" you to do this, but I'll give you the opportunity to!  There are now 7 books in the Expert Strategy series for table games (Let It Ride, Three Card Poker, Four Card Poker, Spanish 21, Caribbean Stud Poker, Mississippi Stud and Blackjack Switch) and for a limited time, you can order the entire set for $20 which includes postage and handling.  Send a check or money order to Gambatria, P.O. Box 36474, Las Vegas, NV 89133.