Introduction to Foxwoods
I attended Cousin Vito’s Casino Podcast’s Gamblepalooza Event at Foxwoods in Connecticut on April 19-22, 2018.
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Learning to Win at Foxwoods
Learning to win at slots at Foxwoods casino started by simply walking around the casino grounds for hours and hours. I didn’t have a map, nor did I want one. I was observing because that’s useful. I was trying to get a feel for the place.
After a few hours of this, and making the observations detailed in the last article, I heard someone call out, “Professor Slots!’ It’s exciting meeting fellow podcasters for the first time. You generally have no idea who they are until they speak. Then, for me, I usually think they are taller than I expected them to be.
It was Mark and Dr. Mike from the You Can Bet On That gambling podcast for the recreational gambler that called out to me when I was walking out. Correctly, Mark had spotted me. By the way, I was Professor Slots all during this trip, likely because of my branded polo shirt.
On their follow-up podcast, Mark and Dr. Mike were kind enough to mention I’d acted as a guide for them, to get them over to the other side of the casino where everyone was. I’d like to give a special thanks to Mark for adding my name after Professor Slots. That was unexpected and appreciated. Plus, he pronounced Friedl correctly, too.
High-Limit Slots Pull Event Observations
On Saturday, after a late morning group breakfast, Eric Rosenthal from the Vegas Confessions podcast had organized a high limit slot pull for this Gamblepalooza event. Cousin Vito had planned to have a slot pull for some time, with Eric using his vast experience from other meetup events to help run it.
Not to bore you with the details of successfully organizing such an event, quite a few exciting tidbits stand out which I think you might find of interest. Before the event, I wondered if anyone would ask Professor Slots for his opinion.
First off, my current understanding is that Eric had a bet with Vito about how many people would attend this breakfast. I did mention these were all gamblers, right? In the follow-up podcasts that have since come out, I learned that this bet existed.
And at the time, I didn’t know there was a group breakfast. I didn’t, that is, until Eric saw me in the hallway that morning saying that there was one. I attended when asked, of course. Again, I did mention these are gamblers? And players like to win!
With that connection, I sat with Eric and his wife at breakfast, and I had a few moments to explain what I’d learned about winning at slots at Foxwoods Casino. When I suggested moving from slot machine to slot machine, to win a little at each, Eric kindly explained to me that doing so would be unpopular with the crowd. Lynching is such an ugly word. Right?
But, during the event itself, Eric was able to try a few of my suggestions. I don’t think they helped much, but the high limit slots pull didn’t occur in the casino I would have picked. It took place in one of the older casinos, as it happens.
So, with everyone gathered around, Eric started off the event by reviewing the rules none of us had read. The plan was anyone who cared to could buy in with one or more shares of $100. Altogether, about 30 people had purchased 44 shares. Therefore, in this hand, Eric had $4,400.
Another agreement amongst the group was to either double our money or spend it all. Unless we went over $8,800 at any point, we would spend it all. Cool, huh?
Quickly, I should mention that they needed a volunteer to accept the tax burden for any taxable jackpot won. I was a little shocked when nobody volunteered. When I saw this, I naturally stepped forward and volunteered. The applause was nice.
The next step was Eric recommending that it be my players reward club card in the machine to get the associated rewards points for betting these thousands of dollars.
I declined, pointing out I wasn’t a regular at Foxwoods. I counter suggested that it should be the rewards club card of our host, Vito. Again, the applause was nice.
To help speed things along, Eric had inserted 20 of the $100 bills to create a $2,000 voucher. I don’t know if you know this, but some states have a limit on how much can be in a slot machine at any one time. In Ohio, and it seems Connecticut, the limit is $3,000.
So, with $2,400 in the slot machine and $2,000 on a voucher held by Eric, the high limit slot pull began on a $100 denomination, 1-credit Wheel of Fortune slot machine. Again, quickly, several small 2-credit wins took place over time. With 17 credits left on the slot machine, and Eric’s $2,000 voucher yet unused, the slot machine landed on Spin.
Up to this point, the crowd had started reasonably excited, but that excitement had died down quite a bit over time. However, landing on a bonus spin, where a relatively large jackpot was assured, anywhere from $2,500 to $25,000. I was going to get a taxable jackpot!
Once spun, we got a $4,500 hand pay jackpot. Filling out paperwork took a while, as it always does. And, handing over the stack of 45 $100 bills to Eric, from my open palm to his, was somewhat painful. But, those were the rules.
So, we kept playing. We kept winning more 1- or 2-credit jackpots. However, we didn’t win more taxable jackpots. We tried switching to a second slot machine, then others. Boredom started to set in, so we sped it up by just letting one person press the button on the slot machine until all the money was gone.
With all that as a description, this is what I noticed during the slot pull. People got bored. Very bored. This wasn’t exciting except when it was very exciting. The comments I heard were, “When will this be over?” and “Can’t we go any faster?”
Eric had been right. It could devolve into a lynching real fast. Eric helped move it along a bit, and everyone settled down. My observation was that craps players really don’t know how to play slots. Honestly, it’s not entirely about pushing a button or pulling a lever.
What I saw was completely different than boredom. I saw many small wins, meaning we’d picked a relatively good winning slot machine. I saw a hand pay after having made about 20 bets. Things were going great!
Where we went wrong, if I might be so bold, was not having a large enough bankroll to make 100-120 bets on a 1-credit, $100 denomination slot machine. Yes, we brought the original $4,400 bankroll, added a $4,500 hand pay, and won 1- and 2-credit jackpots perhaps ten times. So, we’d made nearly 120 bets overall.
But that’s not good. As I’ve discussed in the past, we need to be able to make 100 to 12o bets with our initial bankroll to play the machine for long enough to have a fair chance of winning. And we didn’t.
Instead, we started with enough to make 44 bets, then did well enough to get nearly 120 bets by also using our winnings. Imagine what could have happened if our original bankroll had been enough for 120 bets!
Yes, with all other considerations being equal, it would have taken three times as long to play nearly three times the bankroll. But it would not be unreasonable to think we would have gotten three hand pays instead of just one taxable jackpot.
If so, I would not have been surprised if we would have been able to bet 3 times 120 or 360 bets on that high limit slot machine. This result is all just reasonable guesswork, of course. But it’s still a reasonable result. It follows the patterns for slots play I know and recognize.
But it wouldn’t have been worth getting lynched over. And people wanted to move along. It was too much work to win a profit. I guess?
In all seriousness, as far as I could tell, these were all entertainment gamblers out for a good time. Their gambling goal wasn’t about making money. So, we didn’t. But it was entertaining for a little while.
Thoughts on Craps
One evening, I stood next to an active craps table for the first time. I mentioned to Mark Devol just that fact. I am delighted to say he then showed me how to play craps.
I’d been listening to his and Dr. Mike’s podcast, You Can Bet On That, so I had heard the terminology. But it was helpful for someone to point at a spot on the craps table during these explanations.
Besides learning how to play craps, I just had to ask Mark what a “well drink” was. This phrase is something often mentioned on their podcast, that so-and-so owes them a well drink. Mark explained what it was, which certainly matched the context tone he and Dr. Mike use when talking about well drinks on their show.
Speaking of their podcast, on it they often mention that Dr. Mike likes to parley when playing craps. I was again delighted when he parleyed while I was standing between him and Mark, while Mark being teaching me craps.
In a loud whisper, I said to Mark, “I just heard Dr. Mike say parley!” in an awed voice. Dr. Mike heard and gave me a grin. For me, now and forever more, that’s craps.
One question I didn’t get answered because I only thought of it afterward, is what the heck is going on with taxable jackpots during craps games. Do they get hundreds of them per year like high limit slots players do? Do they ever happen at all? What about during blackjack and poker?
I’m planning to shortly call into Mark and Dr. Mike’s show to ask that question. Maybe all us slots enthusiasts will then find out! If so, I’ll let you know.
Meeting Fans of Professor Slots
Gamblepalooza was my first meetup event where I met fans of the show. John was there, whom I’d talked with before as part of a consultation. I spent a significant amount of time with him talking about slots because it was one of my goals for the trip. He was one of my first fans, which I appreciated.
With him, I shared everything from my last article, and more. I also shared it with his friend Michelle as well as his girlfriend whom, since I don’t know if she wants her name shared, I’ll call Professor Amy. John and “Amy” will know who I mean.
In any case, it was great meeting all three of them. Thanks, John, for introducing me to them as well as your rather quick and detailed questions. If you have any follow-up questions, do let me know.
I also met Ernie, who very earnestly stated that he’s listened to every one of my podcast episodes. Wow. That was a big moment for me. I mean, I talk and talk into this empty room. But, to hear back from someone? Just wow.
I also met others, all very lovely people. With a couple of people, including a fun couple from Canada, we talked about quantum physics. It was just a little small talk, during that first night. That was wonderful and very relaxing. And, then there were some more random people at the event that was also interested in slots.
They seemed to appreciate being able to talk to someone who focused entirely on slots. I’d heard that from others, but it was evident at this event. The surprise on their faces of finding someone, and their breathless questions once they started asking them, gave me a strong feeling that I’m starting to make a difference. Which is the point, right?
Unfortunately, I don’t have everyone’s names to share. I’ll have to do better at that at future events, maybe take more notes as the day progresses, but it was truly beautiful to meet all of you. It keeps me going!
Summary of Foxwoods
I report on a gambling podcaster and fan meetup called Gamblepalooza at Foxwoods Casino in southern New England hosted by the Cousin Vito Casino Podcast in April 2018.
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