Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Boxes Are Good

Someone on two plus two pointed out something breathtakingly obvious to me the other day that for some reason had simply never dawned on me before. Most casinos have some sort of account or safe deposit box system. The Oaks has a weird sort of debit account system (where you basically have a bank account with the casino and can deposit or withdraw chips and cash as you see fit), and Garden City and Bay 101 both have sets of boxes that you can rent for basically free (I think a $100 refundable deposit for both). Obviously these systems have big benefits for responsible winning players. I can have access to pretty large sums of chips and cash without having to walk around with thousands of dollars physically on my person. This is great, both for safety and idiot proofing reasons (believe it or not I have on two occasions forgotten to bring money to the casino. I'm trying to think of a good analogy here, but it escapes me. Perhaps like forgetting your clubs when you go to the driving range). But the reverse had never occurred to me.

Most things that are good for good players are bad for bad players. Missing a full orbit of play and paying a $3 lobby charge is bad for a good player, but good for a bad one. The good player should have made money and actually paid $3, while the bad player actually saved money against his expectation for the round. Fast dealers are good for good players and bad for bad players. Short handed games are generally good for good players and bad for bad ones. The ability to change tables is good for good players (who use it effectively) and bad for bad ones (who do it haphazardly and end up paying more than their fair share of the blinds). And here is my point:

Safe deposit boxes are bad for bad players, and for the exact same reason doubly good for good players. Safe deposit boxes give good players access to large sums of cash. They also provide this access for bad players, allowing them, in a fit of tilt, to spew off truly enormous sums of cash. If a bad player runs extremely well for several weeks or even months and does not have a box, most of the cash will leave the casino and never come back. But if he does have a box, it's much easier for him to keep nearly all the cash in his bankroll, hidden from his spouse, as a ticking time bomb, waiting for the day he goes on tilt, gets hugely stuck, and plays for 36 hours straight. I'm specifically referring to the legend that an Oaks regular played 15/30 and 30/60 alternately for over a day and a half, losing a total of 17 racks between the two games. Could he really have brought 10-15 thousand dollars with him to The Oaks that day? Doubtful. Could he borrow that kind of money? Almost impossible. He probably couldn't even get it out of his bank account. So how exactly then did he disperse 17 racks of chips back into The Oaks mid-limit economy? It's so obvious now....

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