Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Break Time and Vegas

I'm officially on a poker break... at least online, anyway. The last couple of nights have been rough. Dropped a good amount playing in the online 15/30. I know everyone hates bad beat stories... but, I'll throw one out regardless. So, last night I had QQ in a 4-way pot that was capped pre-flop. The flop came Q73 rainbow suits, and I capped it against a donkey (the other two players wisely folded). The turn brought a second spade, and again it was capped. The river brought a Jack of spades, and again we capped. Yes, I lost to a 6 high flush. Ok, end of the lame bad beat story.

Tonight, I watched a re-broadcast of a CNBC special, On Assignment: Las Vegas, Inc. It was pretty good actually, and I enjoyed it. The program highlighted three different casino powerhouses and their different approaches to the gaming business. This was really quite interesting and informative.

The first person shown in the program was Steve Wynn who recently opened up the Wynn. In his interview, he really showed his gift. The man is absolutely amazing when it comes to the psychology of style and design. He did a great job talking about all the little things that are considered when a casino is designed.

The next guy interviewed was Harrah's CEO, Gary Loveman. He used to teach classes at Harvard Business School, and one day he decides to give 'real' business a try. His approach to the gaming business relies heavily on datamining technology, which gives him an edge when it comes to assigning values to people. Like a great stockpicker, he is able to find value where others were not looking. He then invests in these undervalued people by offering them comps and deals.

Finally, they talked to one of the Maloof brothers who operate The Pams Casino. They target the younger crowd using sex. Because, well... sex sells; it always has and always will. They talked about their media-based marketing strategy including their MTV's Real World connection, Celebrity Poker Showdown, and their recent licensing agreement with Playboy.

One final fact of interest was that slot machines produced lower percentage returns in terms of dollars wagered compared to various table games at the casinos. This means that people must play horribly at the table games, or the figures include the additional comps made to slot players that aren't given to table game players. The show quoted a whopping 12% edge in blackjack and only a 6% edge in slots. But, slots still provide a better return on investment, since they cost nearly nothing to operate.

All in all, it was a neat special on Vegas. It was nothing like the boring Vegas shows that can be seen on the Travel Channel.

No comments: