Global Cash Access Holdings Inc. (GCI), whose primary source of business is providing cash solutions to the casino industry primarily through ATM machines, announced Monday it has agreed to acquire Multimedia Games Holding Co. for $1.2 billion in cash, or about $36.50 per share.
Multimedia Games has a huge portfolio of electronic gaming machines that are used primarily by Native American gambling facilities and lotteries.
The acquisition was reported Monday by Bloomberg’s Niamh Ring.
Global Cash’s ATM machines, point-of-sale and debit-card transactions are viewed in many of America’s casinos while Metromedia’s systems, content and electronic gaming units are licensed in 29 states.
Poker is a game of partial information. You will never have all the information you would like to permit you to make the best decisions while playing your hand.
There is, however, one highly unlikely exception: If you know your opponent’s hole cards, that’s all you need.
It’s rare but does happen. There are players who carelessly flash their hole cards. Otherwise, we are all in the same boat: How can we gain additional information of value? How can we use a raise for that purpose? Can we?
There are many reasons. It pays to be familiar with these and use each as appropriate:
• Build the size of the pot (This is often termed “betting for value;” you want to build this pot that you have a good chance of winning with the best hand on the showdown.)
• Force out opponents (to reduce the size of the playing field. RSPF).
• Bluffing (or semi-bluffing). Note: Be sure to use the Esther Bluff.
• Improving your position (by forcing out opponents behind you)
• Getting a free card on the next betting round
• Protect a vulnerable hand
• Steal the Blinds
• Create or change your image
• Bluff out a bluffer (This is best using a semi-bluff.)
• Improve your outs (Force out an opposing hand who seeks the same card for a better hand.)
• Isolate a “maniac” (I find such players, more and more, at our tables these days.)
• A psychological weapon (Put “fear” into your opponent’s mind.) An opponent playing in fear is more likely to make costly mistakes – in your favor.
In this present column, we are concerned only with how we can use the raised bet to earn us more information that we then can use to make better decisions. Admittedly, this is a rather subtle strategy; but it does work.
Here’s the only example I know for Raising to Get Information; i.e., gaining new information is the only reason for your raise:
A tight player in an early position calls your raise on the flop. You now know he has a strong hand – good information! With this information, you know you must play your hand conservatively.
For the most part, raising to gain information is an extra (secondary?) benefit when you are raising for another reason (such as those listed above).
To illustrate, suppose you decide to raise to isolate the “maniac” seated to your right. On the flop, the maniac has made his usual raise from an early position. You have a decent hand (exceeds the Hold’em Algorithm criteria for your position). It’s enough to warrant a call to see the flop – and hope it helps you. (The poker gods may be with you.) But, instead of just calling his raise, you reraise.
Faced with a double-raise, those behind you muck their hands, leaving you and the maniac to fight it out for the pot. You know, most likely, the maniac has a relatively poor (a random) hand; that’s what probability says.
Even if another opponent decides to call your double-raise, you have still gained top position for the rest of the hand. But now, you know to be wary also of the player who called that double-raise. That too is good information.
With two key words, we can explain the difference between long-term winners at the poker table vs. the losers: Positive Expectation (PE).
In a sense, it’s a case of investing vs. gambling. There are definitions for gambling. At the poker table, most of us regard gambling as playing with little regard for the odds. You depend on luck. Of course, skill is always a factor – even as you neglect both the pot and card odds.
Note: Many regard gambling as playing with the odds pre-set against you. A good example is the slot machine – or any game in which the House has a betting edge. Playing roulette, the House’s odds are known before the big wheel spins.
We are primarily concerned here with drawing hands – those that generally must improve to win the pot. The other option are made hands; these could win the pot without further improvement. Examples: A-A, K-K, Q-Q; top pair or better on the flop; a straight or flush – especially with high cards in the hole.
You have a Positive Expectation when the Pot Odds are higher than the Card Odds. The Pot Odds simply is the ratio of the amount of money (chips) in the pot to the amount you must “invest” (to call an opponent’s bet or raise) in order to stay in. Just estimate the number of chips in the pot before you bet.
Example: In a $3-$6 limit game, on the turn, there are 60 chips in the pot, including your opponent’s last bet. You must call a $6 bet; the Pot Odds are 60/6 or 10/1.
To estimate the Card Odds on the turn, first count your “outs” – the number of unseen cards that will make your hand. Then, use the simple formula below.
Certainly, it does take time to make appropriate estimates of these. With only 2-3 minutes to play a hand, and perhaps 10 players at the table, the players are forced to make quick decisions. That may be a good excuse for not considering PE after the flop and thereafter until the showdown. Fortunately, we need only estimates.
Poor poker players – the losers – rarely consider the concept of PE. They just bet or raise, trusting to the whims of the poker gods. They are gambling. Skilled players, on the other hand, pause to estimate the PE before making their bets. They intend to invest, and do so wisely. They call the bet if it is to their advantage: The reward exceeds the risk!
Pot vs. Card Odds
Most important, to realize a PE the Pot Odds must be higher than your Card Odds (often referred to as the Drawing Odds). The Card Odds on the turn are easily estimated: (50 divided by the No. of Outs) - 1 = Approx. Card Odds on the Turn
Example: You saw the flop with A-10 of spades. After the turn, there are two more spades on the board; you need one more to complete the nut flush. You have 9 outs (13 - 4 spades). Then 50/9 = 5.6; and subtract 1. So the Card Odds are approx. 4.6-to-1 against.
Since the Pot Odds are higher than the Card Odds, you have a Positive Expectation (PE). Calling to see the river is the wise investment; in the long run, you will profit from that decision. You are, indeed, investing – not just gambling. You might say, the potential gain exceeds the risk; that’s a good investment – whether you are buying stock or playing poker.
Note: If the Pot Odds do not quite exceed the Card Odds, you can use the Implied Pot Odds instead. This is the amount of chips you would expect to be in the pot at the showdown, divided by the amount of the bet you must call to stay in the pot.
Like Massachusetts, New York decided late to get into the casino business. At least, the lawmakers were not motivated in that direction until Gov. Andrew Cuomo began pushing for four casinos to be licensed in the northern part of the state.
Meanwhile, other states were building casinos at a record pace.
But, that didn’t stop 16 bidders from jumping into the competition. And that could make the future of the casinos more problematic.
Sure, experienced casino operators such as Genting BHD, the Malaysian company that operates the highly-successful slots facility at Aqueduct racetrack; and Caesars Entertainment Corp. (CSR) are among the bidders. But, they are not guaranteed a license.
The siting committee must decide whether the companies they chose can add $430 million to the state’s budget. If not, they can elect not to grant any licenses.
With recent news that four casinos were closing in Atlantic City and that regional casinos throughout the country were struggling to show a profit, the specially-selected panel may just pass, rather than set up properties that won’t make it against the competition.
“No doubt there is a saturation issue in the Northeast,” said a Genting spokesman. What resorts like ours are trying to do is attract a new clientele.
Does that clientele exist? That’s the question facing the siting committee
While the 8-spot is quite popular, there are many places that pay for 7 out of 7 compatibly to 8 out of 8.
This is especially true in downtown Las Vegas. The California pays $16,000 for a 7-of-7 on their regular rate and $14,000 for their 80-cent Island Rate. Fremont also pays $16,000 for a 7-of-7 at their regular rate and $14,000 for their 80-cent pop 80 rate.
The D pays $7,000 on their 40-cent Deano Rate and $17,500 on another special $1 rate. The Golden Nugget pays $15,000 on their $1.25 special rate and has comfy chairs and a nonsmoking game. Finally, the El Cortez pays $7,000 on their 40-cent rate, and at times MegaKeno can have very attractive 7-spot payouts, especially if the progressive has not been hit for a while.
Though an 8-spot pays more, rarely is it in proportion to the odds of hitting an 8-of-8. A 7-of-7 is 6 times as easy to hit as an 8-out-of-8. The high end payouts discussed here are possible because on all these pay tables you give up getting paid for 3-out-of-7 with your money returned on 4-of-7.
Of course you can get paid on a 3-of-7 and still have a decent amount for a solid hit by using the El Cortez $1.15 special rate, which gives you your money back for 3-of-7, $3 for 4-of-7 and $10,000 for a SOLID 7.
Use way tickets to make hitting the 7-spot easier.
The powerful 8 kings ticket where you mark 8 kings (8 groups of one) and play the 8 sevens was discussed in a prior column. If you hit 7-of-8 you have hit a SOLID 7 and seven 6-of-7’s. If you also play the 8, getting paid for 7-out-of-8 is nice as well.
Another example is play 2-3-2-3 at the El Cortez, playing the 10 at Mega 10, paying over $1M. (That is a 1 followed by 6 zeroes. Remember “Every Which Way but Loose” where the Mafia bookies mention their boss is a man who bets with 6 zeroes rather than 5 zeroes after the 1? Same here.)
Thus you play the 10-spot at Mega10, the two 8’s at the 40-cent rate, the two 7’s, the 6, and finally the two 5’s all at the 40-cent rate for a total ticket cost of $5.10. Add the 4 at the 40-cent rate and the total ticket cost is $5.50. Play only 6’s and higher and the total ticket cost is just $3.50.
If regular MegaKeno (5 through 9 spots) is high, play that number of spots at $1.50 to be eligible for the progressive jackpot.
Playing different rates on a way ticket is quite common; it is called a combination ticket. Make sure your ticket is properly marked with the rate desired to get proper payouts when you win. Mega10 and MegaKeno are available only at the El Cortez downtown. The best MegaKeno and Mega10 pays on the Strip are at Excalibur.
If you just want to be in the game while you are doing other things at the casino and do not want to spend a lot, play a multi-game 7-spot at the 40-cent rate. Play 21 games ($8.40 ticket cost) and you have a year to collect in most places.
Best of luck!
A monthly update shows Ohio’s casino revenue increased nearly 4 percent in August compared with the previous month but fell shy of the totals from a year earlier.
The Ohio Casino Control Commission released last month’s revenue figures for Ohio’s four voter-approved casinos on Monday afternoon.
In August, the casinos in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus and Toledo totaled more than $70.6 million in revenue. That was slight decline from a year ago. Only two casinos saw revenue increases compared with their July totals. Those were the Hollywood Columbus and Horseshoe Cleveland casinos.
The voter-approved casinos have drawn more than $548 million so far this year. The state collects about one-third of those revenues in taxes and distributes the money to counties, along with school districts, host cities and others.