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Thread: Venetian opens "Triple Zero Roulette" with staggering 7.69% house edge

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    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    Venetian opens "Triple Zero Roulette" with staggering 7.69% house edge

    Just two decades ago, casino managers believed that their players knew the odds fairly well. Therefore, they were afraid to manipulate popular pit games such as blackjack and roulette for additional profit, worrying alienating gamblers. They would create weird variants of the game to accomplish this (think Spanish 21), but as far as standard blackjack and roulette were concerned, they stayed mostly stable and unmolested.

    In the early 2000s, Harrah's introduced 6:5 single-deck blackjack. Instead of paying 3:2 for a blackjack ($75 payout for $50 bet), they would only pay 6:5 ($60 payout for a $50 bet) at single-deck tables.

    This was actually genius for two reasons. First, Harrah's realized that the long-held assumption that gamblers were well-informed was incorrect. especially after the change in Vegas tourist demographics since the early '90s. Vegas tourists were now more families than hardcore gamblers. They only casually knew the games they played, and would not understand why the reduction of blackjack payouts from 3:2 to 6:5 was such a big deal.

    Second, they only did it at single-deck. This was because the public had an incorrect perception that single deck was "better for the player" because "it's what the pros play". The public didn't understand that blackjack pros only preferred single deck because card counting was more effective. If you don't know how to count cards, there's no point to play single-deck. However, the typical Vegas gambler didn't realize this, and would gravitate toward single-deck tables. When they saw the 6:5 rule, they would simply shrug their shoulders and assume that was just the "cost" of having a "better" game to play.

    6:5 single-deck was a huge hit, and soon spread throughout Vegas.

    Later, 6:5 tables were also introduced at "entertainment" pits, such as pits where the dealers impersonated celebrities or were scantly-clad young women. The rationale here was that, again, people would overlook the 6:5 payout in exchange for the sexier/more entertaining dealer. Again, this worked out great.

    In 2014, Sheldon Adelson decided to try a new experiment at his Venetian and Palazzo casinos, changing most blackjack games to 6:5, rather than just the single deck.

    But now Mr. Adelson has outdone himself.

    He has added triple-zero roulette, which has a staggering 7.69% house edge.

    For those of you who don't know roulette, it's the green zeroes on the wheel which give the house the edge. Without the zeroes, roulette would be a zero-edge game for both the house and player. For example, you can bet on regular numbers 1-36, and they will pay 36x for single-number bet, 18x for a 2-number bet, even-money if you bet half the numbers (such as 1-18), etc. The house wins because of the zeroes. If a zero hits, then every single bet loses, except for the bets on the zero.

    Initially, roulette was a "single zero" game, with a semi-reasonable house edge of 2.7%. This edge is easy to compute. Simply put, the zero would hit 1 out of 37 times (since there are 36 numbers plus the zero), which translates to 2.7%.

    Double-zero roulette was then introduced. It has both the regular single zero, as well as a "00" spot. Now there were two chances to land on zero. This changed the house edge to 2 out of 38, or 5.26%. Most casinos have double-zero roulette nowadays.

    But now triple-zero roulette has just been introduced at Venetian, even though the double-zero games also remain. Triple-zero roulette has 0, 00, and 000 on the wheel. This means the house edge is now 3 out of 39, or 7.69%. This makes it one of the very worst pit games possible.

    How will triple-zero roulette do? Nobody knows, but I'm assuming it might work just fine. Sadly, roulette players tend to be going for the big "lucky" hit, and even if they are just doing an even-money bet such as red or black, they still tend to ignore the effect of the zeroes. However, it's possible players will rebel against this. Even the most casual roulette player understands that the zeros are bad, and seeing three of them instead of two may be unnerving enough to where they get up and go elsewhere. Not that double-zero is a great game (5.26% house edge is pretty brutal, too), but this is a bad sign.

    Slowly but surely, casinos around the US are realizing that the gambler they really want is the dumb/uninformed gambler, and they are quietly driving out both the advantage players and the low-house-edge "informed" gambler. We are seeing this trend in video poker, as well.

    Casinos used to be happy with ANY action, provided they had at least a small edge. Not anymore. They seem to be looking to increase revenue against the weakest players, while allowing the strongest players to walk.

  2. #2
    He is probably going to use the triple 0 tables as leverage to force gamblers to play higher limits. He can make the triple 0 tables $10 minimum and the double 0 $25 minimum and the single 0 $100 minimum.

    Sheldon is also working on getting rid of the dealers. More stadium gambling is coming to the Venetian and now the Wynn is going to try it too. The next venture is stadium blackjack where you have a live dealer and multiple people can bet on the same hand from a computer terminal or smartphone. Now you might be wondering how this is possible, what if I want to hit a hard 16 against a 10 and another person wants to stand? The solution is simple and it already takes place online. The dealer will play the hand out as if you were playing basic strategy. Basic strategy says to hit the 16 against the 10 but if you chose the option to stand, that card will not count towards your total. If you chose to hit, it will.

  3. #3
    This reminds me of that commercial from a few years back where the Cable Co execs are meeting in a boardroom discussing how to further screw their customers.

    I can just picture the meeting where someone says, "how about adding a third 000 to the roulette wheel." The genius probably got employee of the month.

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    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    I should be fair and point out that when I blame this on Sheldon Adelson, that's not completely fair.

    There is zero chance that he came up with this idea.

    Brandon and I debated on radio last night if Adelson even KNOWS about this, or if he's so far removed from casino operations that he doesn't pay attention to manipulation of games rules/odds, even major ones.

    Brandon was certain that Sheldon has no clue about this, whereas I felt that he probably knew, but didn't come up with the idea or get actively involved in the decision making. That is, I think they ran it by him for approval, and he quickly said yes. However, I also wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't know.

    Either way, this was the doing of Sheldon's casino managers, and not Sheldon himself.

    It should be noted that there are hands-on owners such as Steve Wynn who get very involved in the decision making process of the games presented in the casino, but Sheldon was never really that guy.

  5. #5
    Druff - roulette pays 35:1.

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    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tellafriend View Post
    Druff - roulette pays 35:1.
    35:1 and 36x money are the same thing. (A $10 bet becomes $360 payout, including the original bet.)

    I used the term 36x so people wouldn't get confused and beileve that a 35:1 payout for a 1-in-36 chance is a house edge (since it's zero house edge).

    I realized that some might take my post to mean 36:1, but there's no easy way to write this without causing confusion regarding the house edge.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Druff View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Tellafriend View Post
    Druff - roulette pays 35:1.
    35:1 and 36x money are the same thing. (A $10 bet becomes $360 payout, including the original bet.)

    I used the term 36x so people wouldn't get confused and beileve that a 35:1 payout for a 1-in-36 chance is a house edge (since it's zero house edge).

    I realized that some might take my post to mean 36:1, but there's no easy way to write this without causing confusion regarding the house edge.
    I gotcha. My bad.

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