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John Robison – Ask the Slot Expert: A Strange Total for W-2G

John Robison – Ask the Slot Expert: A Strange Total for W-2G
John Robison – Ask the Slot Expert: A Strange Total for W-2G I’ve been reading about the IRS desire to reduce the W2-G limit. Here in Indiana we have a few racinos with digital blackjack and “digi” (human) dealers who put your money in the machine and root the table on. The limit per hand is $145. Why? Because they previously let you split up to four times and, potentially doubling each hand, limited the win to $1160, thereby staying under the $1200 limit. Now they limit you to three splits but have some side bets that can exceed $1200. When that happens, the table is stopped for a hand pay that sometimes takes 15-30 minutes. About a year ago, after a good run, I had $145 bet + $20 on the High Tie + $20 on the Bad Beat side bets. I was dealt a blackjack and the dealer was too. So I got 50-1 on the High Tie for $1000 and 10-1 on the Bad Beat for $200 triggering a hand pay. But the W2-G was for $1385 – they counted my wagers. I didn’t think that was fair at all, but what are you going to do? What’s odd is they also have totally automated roulette machines with max bets of $3000 per number. Talk about a hand pay! I suspect the discrepancy arises because of the difference between paying off a bet “to-1″ as opposed to “for-1″. Bets on table games are paid off “to-1″. When a $10 bet on even on a roulette table wins, the dealer leaves your bet on the table and puts another $10 worth of chips next to it. If you have a tie on a blackjack hand, the dealer doesn’t touch your bet. Payoffs on slot machines, on the other hand, are paid off “for-1.” When you win $4000 on a dollar video poker machine, $5 of that win is really a return of your bet. When you get a high pair, you don’t really win $5, you just get your bet back — a push. The difference between “for-1″ and “to-1″ is that in “to-1″, your bet remains on the table so it can be returned to you. In “for-1″, your bet is taken away and is returned to you as part of your winnings. So, when you play the digital blackjack machine, your bet is deducted from your credit meter right away. If you have a push on the hand, you “win” back your bet. In your situation, you “won” $145 to push on the hand, and you won $1000 on the High Tie and also “won” your bet of $20 to make the payoff 50-to-1, and you won $200 on the Bad Beat plus you “won” your bet of $10 to make the payoff 10-to-1. If this had taken place at a table, the dealer would have put $1200 in your betting circles to keep your $145 bet company. Because this took place on a machine, you had to “win” an extra $145 to make a push on the hand and your side bets to pay off “to-1″. A $3000 bet on a roulette number would be quite a hand pay. Reminds me of a story my slot director friend at The Desert Inn once told me. He was out on the golf course when his assistant called him on his cell. Someone had just hit a royal flush on the $100 video poker machine ($400,000) in the high-limit room and he wanted to know what to do. My friend said, “Pay the man.” I’m planning a trip to Caesars in Windsor Ontario this summer. Can you tell me anything about the limits on machines and table games? Is it all high limit? It’s been a long, long time since I’ve been to this casino. So long, in fact, it was still Casino Windsor then. I went to Windsor about 10 years ago to give seminars along with Frank Scoblete, Don Catlin and others. We had a good time at the casino, but my drive back to the Detroit airport was an experience. First, I don’t know if I was chosen at random or did something to arise suspicions, but I had to wait in the office at the border while the agents searched my rental car and luggage. After about 15 minutes, they let me go without any explanation. Good thing I had left plenty of time to get to the airport — especially since there were multiple detours due to construction on the highway to the airport. I followed all of the detour signs and ended up back at the first detour sign. I figured I must have missed a sign for the airport and promised to be more attentive the next time through the circuit. I carefully followed all of the signs and once again ended up back at the beginning. Somehow I figured out which detour sign I should ignore on my third trip around and finally got back to the airport. I checked online to see the current status of the minimums. The slots at Caesars Windsor are not all high limit. Their website shows progressive jackpots on penny to dollar machines. I didn’t find any recent posts about their table minimums, but a few years ago the minimums were around $25 on the weekends and $5-$10 on weekdays. As with any casino, the minimum rises when the casino is busy. Send your slot and video poker questions to John Robison, Slot Expert™, at slotexpert@comcast.net. Because of the volume of mail I receive, I regret that I can’t reply to every question.Copyright © John Robison. Slot Expert and Ask the Slot Expert are trademarks of John Robison.

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