Friday, August 11, 2006

Low variance means targets are harder to hit

I learned another lesson yesterday. Europa offered me a 100%/$200, 12x WR bonus, but Blackjack and War were both ineligible (as were the typically excluded games of Baccarat, Roulette, and Craps). I set my target at $1000, which would put me +$600. Which game to play?

GameHouse EdgeVariance
Three Card Poker2.32%8.4681
Pai Gow2.73%0.5625
Red Dog2.80%2.56
Let it Ride3.51%1.64
I chose Pai Gow.

With it's dramatically low variance (it seems that about 60% of all hands are pushes), I zoomed past the $4800 WR with my $50 bets, but wasn't going anywhere fast. I hovered between $100 and $600 in the process. When I hit the WR, I was at about my starting $400, and when I dropped down to $250, which was below the table limit of $300, I pushed my whole stack in -- and lost.

In retrospect, I should have probably played Pai Gow to hit the WR, then jumped to a higher variance game (Red Dog?) to hope for a hot streak. With the low, low variance of Pai Gow, I'd have had to be betting $200 a hand to bring my target down to within 1 standard deviation.

Europa 100% $200 bonus: -$200
Something-out-of-nothing to date: $4,341


Trestin said...

Isn't the only correct move to play until you hit the WR and then immediately cash out? Otherwise you're just paying them to take your money.

travisl said...

Excellent point. In a perfect situation, you'll hit your WR at the exact moment you hit your target (or hit zero). In retrospect, you're right: I should have settled for +$0. Great point, and a good lesson for me. I also need to get a little more aggressive in my bet amounts, go big or go home, with stickies.