Max has written over 100 articles for a variety of magazines and since he was under a deadline to get this web site launched, he didn’t have time to dig all of them out. Here’s a couple samples of some semi-serious articles he’s written for Global Gaming Business Magazine.
The Curse of Counters The Tournamet Trail I The Tournament Trail II

They Know the Difference Between Hold and Win

Hold has always been the most misunderstood analytic in the gaming-operator's arsenal and it continues to be misused today. While many table-game managers are judged on the "success" of their hold percentage, Hold has never paid a bill or increased the value of a casino-company's stock. Yet casino bosses still rely on it as THE measure of a table-game manager's operating efficiency.

A case in point: A casino manager at a Northern Nevada casino was told by the corporate CFO that if he wanted to keep his job, he had to hold at least 20% of the drop every month. The manager, who happens to be a third generation blackjack sharpie, breathed a sigh of relief because he knew exactly how to snug up the hold percentage (WIN/DROP = HOLD $1,000/$5,000 = 20%). He immediately tightened the game rules, dropped the table limits (to eliminate high volatility), reduced the shuffle points, started running off basic strategy players, and absolutely removed the threat of card counters. The results? His monthly pit hold has never been less than 20% in the last three years, but his annual win is 30% less than it was before he started marching to an accountant's misguided orders to be more "efficient."

                                                WIN                   DROP          HOLD
Three Years Ago              $10,000,000        $70,000,000         14.3%
Last Year                        $ 7,000,000         $35,000,000         20.0%

These numbers have been changed to protect the identity of the casino manager.

Now the CFO is happy, the table-game manager gets to play golf almost every day (because there's not much that needs watching anymore), marketing is still blaming 9/11 and California Tribal gaming for their problems, and the stockholders are left holding the (empty) bag.

Sophisticated blackjack operators understand that the greater the hold percentage -- to a point -- the lower the win. So what's the right number? It depends on whom you ask and how well they understand the art (versus the science) of finding the proper balance between offering smart games to smart people and keeping the extremely smart players at bay.

Some properties are happy to drop a million a day and hold a paltry 12%, while their counterparts smugly brag about dropping a half-million a day and holding a whopping 18%. If it were your money, would you rather take $120,000 or $90,000 to the bank every day?

They accept large wagers graciously -- There are some casinos whose policy (whether officially sanctioned or not) is to glower at any guest with the temerity to

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