Playing Craps

Craps is a gambling game played with dice that’s found in many American casinos. Craps evolved from the dice game of Hazard played in Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries. The game of craps is a simplified version of hazard which became popular in colonial Louisiana, and eventually spread to other parts of the United States. Casino craps as we know it today reached the height of its popularity in post war Las Vegas. Craps is somewhat intimidating to a layperson, which adds to its mystique and credibility with gamblers.

There are a few aspects of casino craps that make it popular, including its physical, social, and temporal aspects. A craps table is a large tub where handfuls of players share the same betting layout. Typically, two dealers, a “stick man”, and a “box man” run the game. Players make bets on the layout while a “shooter” throws the dice which will determine the outcome. Contrary to games like roulette and blackjack, the players themselves throw the dice. This aspect of the game gives players a sense of ownership in the result. As many players are crowded around the same game, it makes for a boisterous atmosphere. The multitude of bets available allows each player to make choices about the volatility of outcome that suits their personal preference.

To play craps, find some space at a table, and wait for the end of a roll. Place your cash on the layout (don’t hand your cash to the dealer) when there’s a break in the action. The dealer will take your cash and give you chips to bet with. Place your chips in the rack in front of you (don’t put anything else in your rack, there is space for your drink and purse on a rail below).

You can make any bet on the table, but the most common bet is the “pass line”. This is a bet in favour of the “shooter”. The game begins when the shooter throws the dice, called a “come out roll”. If the result is a 7 or 11, the pass line wins even money, if the result is 2, 3, or 12, the pass line “craps out”. If any other number is rolled, this number becomes the “point” number. The shooter continues rolling until either the “point” number is rolled again or a 7 is rolled, which ends the game.

There are cheap ways to play craps and expensive ways. Playing the pass line or don’t pass (which is the opposite of pass) carries a house edge of 0.40% per roll. This means, a $10 bet will theoretically cost you 4 cents. If there are 100 rolls per hour, the theoretical cost for you to bet the pass line for an hour will be $4. Your actual result each hour will be determined by the rolls of the dice. For more details on the house edge of craps, consult the Wizard of Odds.

There any many different bets on a craps table, but the best way for a beginner to play is simply betting the pass line, and maybe adding some odds. Craps is a fast paced game, so its easy to lose or win quickly if more bets are made. My suggestion for beginners is to take it slow and bet the minimum on the pass line.

 

 

 

Crypto-Games.Net Review

Recently, I was sent an e-mail by the admin of Crypto-Games.Net asking me to review their site. If you’d like to try crypto-games.net, please follow this link to generate a referral for me.

There are lots of new crypto currency gambling sites popping up nowadays, and its easy to get scammed if you don’t pay attention to certain information. From an investors perspective, putting your money into the bankroll of a gambling site is a pretty cool idea, and part of a larger trend that I think will continue, but funding a bitcoin casino bankroll is also highly risky. There is little an investor can do in order to determine the creditworthiness or integrity of a bitcoin gambling site. There are new cryptographic methods that can be used to make proofs, but these standards are still being tested.

Ctypto-Games.Net is an online casino that offers games in a number of crypto currencies such as bitcoin, dash, dogecoin, monero, and ethereum among others. The are six games available: dice, roulette, blackjack, slots, video poker, and lotto. The first thing I noticed about the games is the house edge is higher than what I expected. If their target market is casual gamblers, then a higher house edge is appropriate.

The house edge on dice less than 0.80%, which is fair, but the return on their jacks or better video poker is 2.09% and blackjack pays 6/5. The dice game is by far their most popular game based on bankroll stats posted on the site, and most players play with bitcoins, although the second most used currency is ether.  In terms of play-ability, I would suggest crypto-games.net make it possible for dice players to toggle the % return to make a bet. The video poker paytable should be listed with the royal flush at the top of the table, and why not make progressive bets and jackpots available for all games?  The lotto game is a fun idea, and using a third party to generate numbers is a smart move.

To invest in the bankroll, click on the “your account” link from the header menu, choose the “invest” tab and then “active investments” link from the drop down. From the active investments page, click the “add investment” button. Choose your currency and make your deposit. Investors get 70% of the profit from their portion of the bankroll, and each currency has its own bankroll.  Below is a table showing the amount in each currency’s bankroll at the time of writing. Its still hilarious to see there is more than $1.3 million USD in the bitcoin bankroll of this site. I expect the Monero and Ether bankrolls to get bigger over time.

Coin Amount USD Amount
BTC 1,282.68 $1,314,750
DASH 809.258984 $9,574
DOGE 188,935,208.04 $37,787
ETH 17,429.96 $147,283
GRC 481,018.69 $3,656
LTC 4,927.20 $23,010
PPC 3,441.67 $881
XMR 4,049.45 $61,916

Affiliates get 25% of the house edge for player’s they refer, and there seems to be some decent liquidity on the site. It would be nice if there was affiliate revenue for those who refer bankroll investors, but maybe the site doesn’t have trouble finding those types of users.

If you’d like to try crypto-games.net, please follow this link to generate a referral for me.

 

What is Provably Fair Gaming?

In the “olden days” before the internet, casinos had to demonstrate their trustworthiness to players in order for players to have confidence they were being dealt a fair game. In places such as Nevada, the state also took on this responsibility by providing a regulatory system that ensured casino games are being dealt fairly, and extended the system to various electronic games and slot machines. Bucket shops online and in back rooms still pray on the uninformed and careless, but with greater access to online information, it has become easier for gamblers to find fair games by using an innovative cryptological process called Provably Fair.

What is Provably Fair and how can it be used to prove a game is fair? Provably Fair is a cryptological process that allows players to verify the randomness out an outcome. This is done by using an open source algorithm for random seed generation, hashing, and for the random number generator. Players can use such algorithms to test a game’s response to in-game decisions and evaluate the outcome by only using the published algorithms, seeds, hashes, and the events which transpired during the game. A provably fair game provides players with the tools to have confidence that a game is fair without requiring third-party verification.

The concept of Provably Fair was first implemented by BitZino back in 2012. Bitzino is a bitcoin casino that wanted to prove that its games were fair without having to register with a state based authority. Provably Fair methods do not require bitcoins or other digital currency, but the concept of provably fair matched well with a bitcoin based casino since the digital currency is extra-territorial.

Basically, bitZino deployed a cryptographic hash function (SHA256 algorithm) to create a digital fingerprint of an already shuffled deck. Since the SHA256 hashing algorithm is one-way and there’s no way a player can use that hash to figure out what the shuffle of the deck actually is, the casino can let players look at the hash before the game starts. Two “seeds” of data are needed, one provided by the casino called the server seed and another provided by the player called the client seed. The client seed is typically provided by the player’s browser.

Then, the vitural deck is reshuffled using the Fisher-Yates shuffle algorithm with the random numbers generated from the Mersenne twister algorithm that was seeded with a hash of the combined server seed and client seed. According to bitZino, “The second round of shuffling only serves to ensure that neither the server nor client could possibly know the final deck before the game starts.” Finally, the initial shuffle and the server seed are provided to the player for verification.

The provably fair method used by Bitzino set off a flurry of developments within the bitcoin gambling community. With provably fair technology, it is now a lot cheaper for online casinos to operate fair games since 3rd party verification of game fairness is not required and provably fair gaming also makes it safer for players since we now have the tools to test whether a casino is provably fair, thereby reducing the risk of being cheated. In the wake of provably fair, a group of “provably fair verification” services emerged to make it easier for players with less technical knowledge to test provably fair games.

MGM buys half of Borgata from Boyds

It was announced yesterday that MGM Resorts International will buy the remaining 50 percent stake in Borgata that it didn’t already own from Boyd Gaming.  This announcement had been anticipated ever since MGM regained a license to operate in Atlantic City. I think this is good news for Boyd because it will give them more financial flexibility to reduce debt and plow resources into updating their current properties and systems, especially after recently announced Las Vegas acquisitions. The real estate of Borgata will also be sold to MGM Growth Properties.  Shares of MGM were flat on the open today, but shares of BYD were up more than 3% and MGP were up 2%.

Boyd Gaming sells its 50 percent stake in Borgata to MGM Resorts

ATLANTIC CITY – Boyd Gaming said Tuesday it is selling its 50 percent stake in Atlantic City’s top casino to MGM Resorts International, the company that owns the other half. It will get $900 million, plus half of any future tax settlement MGM reaches with Atlantic City.

Boyd Gaming Consolidating Presence in Las Vegas

Boyd Gaming has announced it is purchasing the Aliante Hotel in North Las Vegas for $380 million.  Rumours are also circulating online that Boyd is close to announcing the purchase of Cannary Resorts for about $240 million. These two acquisitions would give Boyd more market share in the Las Vegas locals market and allow the company to add the newly acquired properties to its existing systems.

With the prospective purchase of Cannary Resorts, Boyd would gain a foothold in the north part of the city, while also adding a property next door to its Sam’s Town property.  The situation with Sam’s Town and Eastside Cannery would be similar to Texas Station and Fiesta Rancho, which are also next door to each other while both being owned by Station Casinos.

Boyd Gaming strikes $380M deal to purchase Aliante Hotel

Las Vegas-based Boyd Gaming Corp. on Thursday announced it has a deal to acquire the holding company for Aliante Hotel in North Las Vegas. The acquisition of the holding company, ALST Casino Holdco LLC, is for $380 million cash, according to a statement. The hotel had been rumored to be on the market for several weeks.

Boyd Gaming to Boost ‘Locals’ Business With Aliante Deal

Boyd Gaming Corp. will get its first North Las Vegas casino and enhance its “locals” business with the purchase of Aliante Casino Hotel and Spa. Boyd agreed to buy Aliante’s holding company, ALST Casino Holdco LLC, for $380 million. Aliante, which cost more than $660 million and opened in 2008, is located in the Aliante planned community….

Boyd Gaming nears deal to buy Cannery Casino Resorts: sources

Casino operator Boyd Gaming Corp is close to an agreement to buy Cannery Casino Resorts LLC, in a deal that will value the privately held U.S. company at between $225 million and $240 million, according to people familiar with the matter.

Owners of The D Las Vegas plan major downtown redevelopment

It was good news when Derek Stevens and his team purchased the Las Vegas Club, and Vegas watchers were generally excited about how his group would improve the property. It is great news that they have now announced the acquisition of another parcel of land on Fremont, one that covers and extends to the current site of Mermaids. With this additional land, Stevens has announced a new casino/hotel will be built on the site.  This is very positive new for downtown Las Vegas redevelopment.

D Las Vegas owners plan new hotel-casino on Fremont Street

The owners of the D Las Vegas and Golden Gate properties in downtown Las Vegas say they’ll build a third hotel-casino after acquiring a building adjacent to the Las Vegas Club from the Granite Gaming Group.

Packer’s Moving Chips Around

James Packer must think Crown Resorts shares are undervalued based on recent purchases by his holdco.  Although on a smaller scale, Steve Wynn has also bought a small number more of Wynn Resorts shares. I guess these billionaires figure Macau is due for a turn of fortune.  They will probably be right in the long run.

Billionaire Packer Said in Talks to Take Crown Assets Private

James Packer, Australia’s third-richest man, is in talks to return some of his casino assets to private ownership, people with knowledge of the matter said. Packer’s Consolidated Press Holdings Pty has been speaking with private equity firms and pension funds about a possible joint bid for some assets of his publicly traded Crown Resorts Ltd., which has a market value of A$7.9 billion ($5.7 billion), according to the people.

Casino REIT dominoes are falling

Last week MGM Resorts International announced they will carve out a REIT from their operations to be called MGM Growth Properties. This is the first major Las Vegas strip property owner to clearly give intentions on REIT creation. Caesars has a desire to convert to a REIT, but its still mired in a long bankruptcy battle with its creditors.  For MGM, 10 of their properties will be rolled into MGM Growth Properties including most of its Las Vegas strip properties with the Park development, but the REIT will exclude Bellagio and the MGM Grand.  The festival grounds on the corner of Sahara and the Strip as well as Circus Circus will also be excluded from the REIT. MGM Detroit and the gulf coast properties will be included, and MGM Springfield will likely be folded into the REIT once its operational.

The creation of an MGM REIT will have major impacts on the Las Vegas Strip, but at first, MGM Resorts International will retain a 70 percent stake in MGM Growth Properties. This means that MGM Resorts International will control the REIT and operate the two divisions with parallel business strategies.

SLS Las Vegas is Out of Touch

The SLS Las Vegas is poorly positioned to target Las Vegas locals.  If you’re coming from the west side of the highway, you have to take Sahara towards the strip, which is an unpleasant drive in major traffic. The neighborhood surrounding the SLS is filled with tourists or down-and-out beggars.

What can the SLS offer locals? Palace Station has a cheap buffet and better games, such as some full pay video poker.  The Boarding Pass at Station Casinsos offers players a better payback compared to SLS.  According to vpFree2.com, the best game as SLS is 8/5 Bonus, whereas Palace Station offers FPDW, 9/6 Jacks, and 8/5 Bonus Progressive.  The player’s club at SLS pays back only 0.20%, and the Boarding Pass pays back 0.30%.

In the article below, SLS acknowledges the local Las Vegas player is more knowledgeable, so then SLS needs to offer things that can compete with other local offerings.

The SLS is also doomed by its location.  It needs the area to develop in order to draw more foot traffic. Without this tourist foot traffic, the SLS is not enough of a draw on its own.