Velocity is part of casino profit

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Economists refer to “the velocity of money” as a measure of the economic activity of a country: How many times a unit of currency flows through the economy and is used by the various members of society.

In the casino gaming industry, we need only consider how fast the dollars get into the hands of the casinos. The faster, the better for the casinos! Then they can more easily pay their expenses and gain bigger profits.

At the Global Gaming Expo (G2E), held in September at the Sands Expo Center, all sorts of new gambling games were introduced. This was the gaming industry’s biggest ever convention. But, new coin-operated slot machines were not to be seen. At one time, the slots occupied large portions of the casino floor. That is changing. Old timers, “married” to the slot machines, will find a fast diminishing supply.

Years ago, they were comfortable sitting there hour-after-hour, putting coins into the machine. The “one-armed bandits” were too slow for the profit-seeking casino bosses. Time is money… Then the machines were upgraded so players only needed to push a button to spin the wheels after making their bets. Still, the slots were too slow. Gaming leaders look to “the velocity of money” to improve profitability.

That same philosophy is rampant at the poker tables. The dealers speed the game along as best they can. Automating the mixing of the cards after each hand was a big step in that direction. The dealer can deal out a hand with one deck of cards while a second deck is being automatically mixed in an easily accessible shuffle maker located just under the table top.

With experience, the dealers become more adept at their jobs. And, they are trained to speed each hand along. Often, they try not to allow a player to take much time in making his/her decision. I have cautioned my friends about being rushed to act. Decisions are important to success at the table. Acting too quickly is bound to lead to mistakes; those can be very costly. Haste makes waste.

Motivation

The more hands dealt, the greater the house’s profit – vis-à-vis the rake. So, it is to the casino’s advantage to speed the game along – increase the velocity of money. In low/middle limit hold’em games, on average, 35 hands are dealt per hour. With a $5 rake, that gives the casino a “profit” of $175 per hour for each table. Let’s assume the casino has 50 poker tables in play. That adds up very quickly to $8,750 in the casino’s pocket every hour. Of course, the casino does have lots of expenses – salaries, fees and taxes, supplies, utilities, repairs and maintenance, etc.

Not only does the casino benefit from the higher velocity of money, but so do the dealers. The more hands, the greater the tip income for the dealers. Assuming a tip of just $1 per hand, dealing 35 hands each hour (I have seen more than 40 hands dealt per hour), the dealer’s tips amount to about $35 per hour. That’s a far cry from the $20 to $25 per hour when the dealers did not use the automated card shuffling machines, and before they learned to deal faster.

If you play in a home game, you can easily note the difference. There is no incentive to rush the game along. And, of course, the dealers are not nearly as adept as those in the casino. All mixing of the cards is done by hand. Indeed, if you are accustomed to playing in a casino, the slow pace of the game may be somewhat aggravating.

To offset this, some home games use two decks, with one of the players mixing the previously used deck while a hand is being dealt out by another player. Still it’s much slower than games in the casino. The velocity of money is much lower. In the final analysis, it’s your choice.

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