Monte Carlo Encyclopedia.com

Introducing: The Royal Family of Monaco

Prince Rainier III (1923-2005)
Rainier’s mother, Princess Charlotte, was actually illegitimate. Her father Louis II, getting older and with no legitimate children, legitimized her and made her his heir. She never took the throne, and in fact renounced her rights to her son, Rainier, the day before his 21st birthday.
Rainier became the Sovereign Prince of Monaco upon the death of his grandfather in 1949.
During WW2, Rainier served in the Free French Army. During the 40s and 50s he was in a long term relationship with the French film actress Gisele Pascal. Rainier’s sister, Princess Antoinette, wanted her own son to ascend to the throne, and spread rumors that Pascal was infertile. The rumors along with her treatment by the press and public ended their relationship.
After the war Monaco, a country who made its money primarily as a gambling origin, was in crisis as wealthy Europeans found their funds diminished after the war. To restore Monaco’s treasury Rainier decided to promote Monaco as a tax haven, and he personally took control of SBM (the company who owns the Monte Carlo Casino, Opera, and Hostel de Paris) in 1964. Prince Albert still retains a large share of the company and profits from it today.
Marriage:
Everyone knows this one. Rainier married American film star Grace Kelly in 1956.
Their marriage is rumored to have been turbulent. It is said that Grace struggled with adjusting to royal life, regretted ending her film career, and that Rainier had extramarital affairs. Her children have stated that though she was a loving mother, they spent more time with nannies than with their parents.
Grace's dress is iconic, but here you go if you want to revisit some photos from that day.
Rainier smoked up to 60 cigarettes per day, and in the last years of his life his health steadily declined. On March 8th, 2005 he entered the hospital for a lung infection and by the end of the month he was on a ventilator suffering from renal and heart failure. On March 31st he officially announced his son Albert, as regent, and on April 6th he died.
The Constitution
Monaco’s constitution stated that Monaco is a constitutional monarchy ruled by the hereditary princes of the Grimaldi. If the reigning prince were to die without leaving a male heir, Monaco, according to the treaty, would be incorporated into France. In 2002, realizing he had a 43 year old bachelor son, Rainier amended the constitution to allow the crown to pass to his daughters should Albert not marry.
Grace, Princess of Monaco (1929-1982)
Grace was born in Philadelphia to an affluent and influential family. Her father was an Olympian and a Democratic nominee for Mayor of Philadelphia and was appointed by President Roosevelt as National Director of Physical Fitness. Her mother taught physical education at the University of Pennsylvania and coached women’s athletics at Penn.
Her Uncle, George Kelly, was a Pulitzer prize winning dramatist, screenwriter, and director and used his influence to gain Grace admission to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York. Grace became one of the biggest movie stars of her generation.
In 1955 she was sent to the Cannes Film Festival and invited to appear in photos with Prince Rainier. After a year-long courtship, they were married in 1956.
Grace was not allowed to continue her acting career after her marriage. She instead devoted herself to her role as Princess, become heavily involved with the Red Cross of Monaco and the Rainbow Children Coalition.
On September 13, 1982, Kelly was driving back to Monaco after spending time at her country home. During the drive she had a stroke, lost control of her vehicle, and drove off the mountainside. She died a day later.
An article on their relationship
Prince Albert II (b. 1958)
Prince Albert is one of the wealthiest royals in the world with a net worth at more than $1B. He attended Amherst College in Massachusetts, studying political science, economics, music, and English literature, and completed his education with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. He toured Europe in 1979 as part of the Amherst College Glee Club.
Albert competed in the bobsleigh for five consecutive Winter Olympics on behalf of Monaco, and was their flag bearer at the 1988, 1994, and 1998 Olympics. He is also a judo black belt.
He became Prince of Monaco when his father died in 2005.
Marriage:
Prior to his marriage his status as a bachelor was a hot topic of discussion. He was known to date well-known fashion models and actresses, however at age 53 had never married. It was rumored that Albert was gay, something he expressed great frustration with in the press. In 2006 he attended the opening ceremony of the Torino Olympics with South African swimmer Charlene Wittstock. They were engaged in 2010, and married in 2011.
There are rumors that Charlene tried to flee the country the day before their wedding. It is reported that the future bride, after discovering Albert may have fathered yet another child during their relationship, attempted to flee as many as three times before their wedding, however was always intercepted at the airport. It is also said she attempted to seek refuge at the South African embassy, and that officials in Monaco ended up hiding her passport so she could not leave the country.
Moreover, during their wedding, Charlene openly cried at parts, and Prince Albert was caught on camera begging her to kiss him. Honestly, she looked pretty miserable the whole time. The palace has denied all of these claims.
During their honeymoon, they stayed in separate hotels
Here's everything you ever needed to know about their wedding
Watch it
Prince Albert is passionate about the environment and an avid sportsman. Prince Albert speaks French, English, German, and Italian. He speaks English with basically no accent thanks to his American mother.
Illegitimate Children
In 2005, the day before Prince Rainier died, Albert publicly acknowledged he had fathered a son out of wedlock. In 2006, he confirmed he had also fathered a daughter. These children were barred from the line of inheritance because of a 2002 constitutional amendment requiring an heir’s parents to be married.
Alexandre (b. 2003)
Alexandre’s mother (Nicole Coste) was a flight attendant for Air France and met Prince Albert when he was a passenger on a flight. He asked for her number, the beginning of a years-long affair. The relationship ended at the insistence of Prince Rainier. Albert visited Alexandre and Nicole often, however when he refused to acknowledge Alexandre publicly, Nicole sold an interview and pictures to the media. Albert was in mourning for his father and made no public comment, but later did acknowledge paternity. Alexandre and Nicole live in France at an estate given to them by Albert.
Jazmin (b. 1992)
Jazmin’s mother, Tamara, met Albert while working as a waitress. Albert knew of Jazmin and visited her, however did not acknowledge her publicly until she was in high school to protect her identity. In 2006 the French magazine Voici published photographs of Jazmin and her mother on a visit to Monaco, outing her as Albert’s daughter. She has attended events with Albert and Charlene, and is listed as a sponsor for her father’s royal foundation.
An interview with Jazmin
Princess Charlene (b. 1978)
Born in Zimbabwe, Charlene’s family relocated to South Africa in 1989. She represented South Africa at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, finished fifth in the 4x100 meter relay.
Albert and Charlene met at the Mare Nostrum swimming competition in Monaco in 2000, however were not seen together until 2006.
Charlene converted to Roman Catholicism for her wedding, and has learned French and Monegasque after her move to Monaco. She is an ambassador for the Special Olympics, patron of the South African Red Cross, and is passionate about sport.
In recent news, she completed “the crossing” water bike challenge, a 180 kilometer water bike race for charity.
An interview with Charlene and Albert on the 1st birthday of their twins
Albert and Charlene have 2 children:
Hereditary Prince Jacques *twin* (b. 2014)
Princess Gabriella *twin* (b. 2014)
Gabriella was born 2 minutes before her brother, however because of the constitution her brother will inherit the throne. They are super sweet together and you see them at events often.
Princess Caroline of Hanover (b. 1957)
Caroline is the eldest child of Rainier and Grace Kelly, however because of the constitution her brother, Albert, sits on the throne of Monaco. She served as de facto first lady of Monaco until the marriage of Albert and Charlene.
Until the birth of her niece and nephew she was heir presumptive to the throne, although she had only held that title since 2005 after the change of the constitution to include female heirs.
Caroline received her French baccalaureat in 1974, and received a degree in Philosophy from Sorbonne University. She is fluent in French, English, Spanish, German, and Italian. Her hobbies include horseback riding, swimming, and skiing.
Marriages:
Married Phillippe, a Parisian banker, in 1978. The couple divorced in 1980 with no children.
Married Stefano in 1983, the sportsman heir to an Italian industrial fortune. The two had to marry in a civil ceremony rather than a religious ceremony because Caroline, a Catholic, was divorced. Caroline was 3 months pregnant at the time of their wedding.
They have three children:
  1. Andrea Casiraghi (1984)
  1. Charlotte Casiraghi (1986)
  1. Pierre Casiraghi (b. 1987)
Note: The Casiraghi’s are all very beautiful and very fashionable but I don’t want to go much into them here because they are so far down the line of succession. They’re fun to follow for their fashion if you have the time to check them out.
Married Ernst August, a Prince, in 1999. They have one daughter, Princess Alexandra.
Caroline is thus a Princess twice-over, through her family and through her husband. She and Ernst August have been separated since 2009 however are still legally married, thus she retains the title of Princess Caroline of Hanover.
Read about all of her weddings here
See her speaking in English around 12:00 here
Princess Stephanie (b. 1965)
Stephanie was in the vehicle with her mother when Grace died. She suffered a fracture of the neck.
She has studied classical dance and piano, and competed in gymnastics and horse riding. She interned at Christian Dior and debuted as a model in 1984. She has a swimwear and perfume line, and owns cafes and stores in both Monaco and Barcelona. She also has sold more than 2 million copies of her song, Ouragan, and sold 1.5M copies of her album Besoin. She recorded “In the Closet” with Michael Jackson, however is listed as “mystery girl” in the credits.
Marriages/Relationships:
Stephanie married her former body guard, Daniel Ducruet, in 1995. When Rainier learned of their relationship Daniel was not only still his employee, but had a pregnant girlfriend too. Stephanie gave birth to their two children “out of wedlock” because Rainier refused to grant permission for them to marry, however eventually relented. The two divorced a year later after Ducruet was photographed naked with a stripper.
Read more
They have two children:
  1. Louis (b. 1992)
  1. Pauline (b. 1994)

Stephanie and Jean never married, however have a child together. He was Rainier’s Head of Security. She did not identify him on the birth certificate and it was not confirmed that he was Camille’s father until she confirmed it herself on her Instagram.
More about Jean

Stephanie met elephant trainer (yeah, you read that right) when she presented him with the award for “best animal tamer” at the Monaco Circus Festival in 1997. Franco, a decade older than Stephanie, was married with two children at the time. Franco left his family for Stephanie, moving her and her three children into his circus caravan in Zurich. Marrying in 2001, their relationship lasted 18 months until their divorce.
An interview with Stephanie in English in 1990
Why is he a Prince and not a King?
From vogue:
It goes back deep into the history of Monaco. Monaco has always been a tiny nation, and, for protection, allied itself with (or, at some points, was flat-out annexed by) big powerful countries, with big powerful rulers—aka kingdoms, or, a nation ruled by a king or queen. So Monaco’s rulers styled themselves as prince and princess. That, by definition, made the nation a principality, or one ruled by prince or princess.
Regardless, Albert actually plays a bigger role in the day to day operations of the country than most of his European peers. Legislative power is divided between the Prince who initiates the laws, and the National Council who votes on them. Executive power is retained by the Prince, and he has full judiciary powers.
Jewels
See their tiara collection
I think the Ocean Tiara, gifted to Charlene for her wedding, is particularly interesting. You either love it or you hate it.
The Grimaldi Curse
What do you think?
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MAME 0.219

MAME 0.219

MAME 0.219 arrives today, just in time for the end of February! This month we’ve got another piece of Nintendo Game & Watch history – Pinball – as well as a quite a few TV games, including Dream Life Superstar, Designer’s World, Jenna Jameson’s Strip Poker, and Champiyon Pinball. The previously-added Care Bears and Piglet’s Special Day TV games are now working, as well as the big-endian version of the MIPS Magnum R4000. As always, the TV games vary enormously in quality, from enjoyable titles, to low-effort games based on licensed intellectual properties, to horrible bootlegs using blatantly copied assets. If music/rhythm misery is your thing, there’s even a particularly bad dance mat game in there.
On the arcade side, there are fixes for a minor but long-standing graphical issue in Capcom’s genre-defining 1942, and also a fairly significant graphical regression in Seibu Kaihatsu’s Raiden Fighters. Speaking of Seibu Kaihatsu, our very own Angelo Salese significantly improved the experience in Good E-Jan, and speaking of graphics fixes, cam900 fixed some corner cases in Data East’s innovative, but little-known, shoot-’em-up Boogie Wings. Software list additions include the Commodore 64 INPUT 64 collection (courtesy of FakeShemp) and the Spanish ZX Spectrum Load’N’Run collection (added by ICEknight). New preliminary CPU cores and disassemblers include IBM ROMP, the NEC 78K family, Samsung KS0164 and SSD Corp’s Xavix 2.
As always, you can get the source and 64-bit Windows binary packages from the download page.

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Ultimate Gambling Guide for GTA Online - odds, probabilities, and optimal strategies

Since the Diamond Casino update, I have seen a large number of 12-year-olds posting Blackjack memes on this sub. As a parent, this has me very worried.
On top of that, I have seen some of the most trustworthy GTA Youtubers giving flawed gambling advice, which can have damaging impact on their gullible audiences.
So that's why I decided to write this up, to educate everyone on the subject, so there will be no more misunderstandings.
(2020 Update down at the bottom.)
If you're one of those Youtubers that wants to use this information in a video, feel free to do so. The more people (especially kids) that become educated about gambling, the better.
But then also please go back and review your own work, and delete or edit the videos that are giving out the wrong advice, like where you're saying you have "a good strategy for making money with roulette", or some other nonsense that I've heard this week. Delete that please.
Before I get into the individual games, I need to discuss a few concepts first, that will make understanding the rest a lot easier.

Expected return and variance
A game like Roulette or Slots has a fixed expected return on your bets. This is a percentage that you have no way of influencing. Say you are flipping a coin against a friend, and you both put up $1. The winner gets the pot. Since the odds are even at 50%, in the long run, you will expect to break even. Your expected return is 100% of your bet.
But imagine if you would play this coin flipping game in a casino against the house. On the "house rules" listed at the table they would probably say that you would only get 95 cents back for every win, while you are forfeiting a dollar on every loss. Would you still play?
Sounds stupid to do so, but still, everybody does it. Every bet they place on Roulette, every coin they put into a Slot machine, is based on the same concept.
Those few cents they take on every bet are their profit margin, and has paid for all the Vegas lights, the Mirage volcanoes, and the Bellagio fountains. Make no mistake - casino gambling games are not designed to make you lose, because sure, you can get lucky on a single night, but they are designed to make them win. That's the beauty of it. They can both exist at the same time.
Too many people that don't see how this works, are just destined for disaster. Just because you went on a lucky streak and won 8 games out of 10, does not mean that flipping coins is a profitable game, or that choosing tails is a winning strategy. Always be aware of the house edge, your true chances of winning, and just realize that you got lucky. There is no such thing as a strategy in flipping a coin that will give you a higher expected return, so it's just pure gambling, just like Slots and Roulette.
Most casino games are made in such a way, that your expected return is a little under 100%. This means that from every dollar bet at the tables, the casino expects to keep a few cents. For individual players, results may vary. Some will win, most will lose. But for the house, it doesn't matter. They take millions of bets each day, so for them, the expected average works out a lot sooner. In short: the house always wins.
When looking at the house edge, we're talking about the expected long-term result, based on the game's house rules. But for a player, it can take literally tens of thousands of hands or spins before you also reach this average number. Until that time, you can experience huge upswings and downswings, that are the result of nothing but short-term luck, which is called variance.
Some games and some bets have a much higher variance than others, which means your actual results will differ enormously from what you're expected to be at.
Take for example betting on red/black at the Roulette table. This is a low-variance proposition, because it has a high percentage chance of occurring, and a low payout.
Contrast this with betting single numbers in Roulette, which only win once every 38 spins on average. This bet has a much higher variance, meaning you can easily hit a dry spell, and not hit anything for 200 bets in a row, or you can see a single number hit three times in five consecutive spins. This is not a freak occurrence in high-variance bets.
Even though the expected return in both these bets is exactly the same, there's a huge difference in variance, causing massive differences in short-term results, which can go both ways. You need to be aware of this, before you decide what types of bets you are comfortable with placing.

Gamblers' Fallacy
Another thing to realize, is that each individual game, hand, or spin, is completely independent from the one(s) before it, and after it.
Gamblers tend to believe, that the chance of a certain outcome is increased, based on previous results.
The most famous example comes from the Casino de Monte Carlo, where the Roulette wheel managed to land on black 26 times in a row. Gamblers lost many millions during that streak, all frantically betting on red, believing that the odds were in favor of the wheel coming out on red, after producing so many blacks. This is not true. Each round is completely independent, and the odds are exactly the same.
You will hear people say things like a Blackjack table being "hot" or "cold", which is completely superstitious, and should be ignored. The exception was when Blackjack was being dealt from a shoe. It made card counting possible. But with the introduction of shuffle machines, and continuous shuffling like is being used in GTA, this no longer exists.
This is also why "chasing your losses" is a very bad idea. After being on a losing streak for some time, many gamblers believe that now it's their turn to start winning. So they will often increase their bet size, believing that when their predicted winning streak comes around, they will win back their losses, and more.
The reality of it, more often than not, is that people will indeed start playing higher and higher limits, until they are completely broke. Nobody is ever "due for a win". There is never a guarantee that you're about to start winning. In fact, the opposite is more likely to be true. You are, after all, in a casino.

Betting systems
Some people like to think that they have a fool-proof betting system, like the Martingale system. Simply increase or even double your bet when you lose, and keep doing that until you win. In theory, this system will always win. So that's why table limits were introduced, and where the system fails.
If you start at the Roulette table, playing red/black, with a small 750 chip wager, and just double your bet every time you lose, you only have to lose 6 times in a row, before you will be betting the table limit of 48,000, just to get that 750 chip profit.
Sure, you can go on all evening without this happening, winning 750 chips each time, but this losing streak only has to happen once, and you're bust. Any betting system like this is ill-advised, because you are hugely increasing your so-called "risk of ruin", and that's what we were trying to avoid.
And even if your starting bet is only 100 chips, after only nine straight losses, and nine doubled bets, you are betting the table limit at 50,000 chips. If you lose that bet, you're 100,000 chips in the hole, with no way to recover that with your 100 chip base wager.
So don't believe anyone that says this is the perfect system to always win in the casino. Sooner or later they will understand why they were wrong, when they're asking you for a loan.

Set your limits BEFORE you start playing
One final point before we get into the games, a general tip for people that head out to play: money management.
Just like in real life, before you go to the casino, decide on a maximum amount that you are WILLING TO LOSE.
Bet small enough, so that amount can last you through the entire evening, and you will not be tempted to run to the ATM to continue playing.
Considering GTA money, some people will be comfortable losing 1% of their GTA bank balance, some people will be comfortable with gambling away 5% of their total GTA savings. It's up to you what you can handle. Decide for yourself where it will start to hurt, and don't cross that line.
But whatever number you decide on, as soon as you lost that amount, get up and walk away. Don't chase your losses, stick to your limits, and accept that this has not been your day. There is always another game tomorrow. Always agree with yourself on a simple stop-loss rule, how much you would want to lose at most, and simply stop playing when you get there.
Same goes for winning. You can decide on a number, how much profit you would like to take away from the casino. You can go on a hot streak and be up half a million in a short period of time, but if you would continue to play longer, looking for more, chances are that you're going to lose it all back.
Most people are happy with doubling their daily casino budget, for example. Others are looking for 10 bets profit in Blackjack. Whatever you choose, when you hit that number, you can stop playing and bank your profits, or you can continue playing if you're still enjoying the games, but then only just play minimum bet sizes. Then you're just playing for fun, not for money. You've already made your profit, so simply keep it in your pocket, and don't risk losing it again.
Either way, decide on what your money management strategy will be, and STICK TO IT.

Casino games in GTA Online
Now, I'm going to dive into the games that you can find at the Diamond casino, ordered from worst to best.

6) Slots
Generally the rule is this: the less strategy a game has, the worse it is for the player. And with slots, this is definitely the case.
The only influence you have, is choosing what type of machine you're going to play. Basically, there are two types of slot machines:
-high frequency, low payout slots
-low frequency, high payout slots
In the first type, there is no huge (progressive) jackpot on offer, just your average selection of prizes that don't go up to crazy amounts.
This will result in a player having many more spins resulting in a win. The amounts that you win on the bigger prizes, will be smaller, but they do come around more often. This type of slot machine has a lower variance, which means that your money should last you longer, winning many smaller prizes along the way to keep you going.
The second type of slot machine lures you in with the temptation of a huge jackpot prize. Even though the long-term expected return on these machines is the same as the previous type, the prize distribution is hugely different. The large jackpot prize weighs heavily on the scale of expected return, but the chance of it hitting is extremely small. This results in a much higher variance on this type of machine. Usually your money will go down very fast, because the smaller prizes are less rewarding than on the other type of machine.
At the Diamond, the info screen says the player return at slots is set at 98.7%. This means that, on average, for every maximum bet of 2,500 chips, you expect to lose 32.5 chips.
This might not seem like a lot, but the danger of slots is that the game is extremely fast. You can spin about once every 6 seconds, which would result in an expected LOSS of about 20,000 chips per hour of playing.
But again, in this long-term expected number, the large jackpot awards are also factored in, and as long as you don't hit those big prizes, you'll see your money go down a lot faster.
In any case, thank heavens the max bet is only set at 2,500, or else we would see more players go bankrupt at alarming rates.
Optimal strategy for slots:
There is none. Because after betting, you have no more influence over the outcome. The only choices you have, is what type of machine you want to play at, and how much money you are going to risk. And those are all personal preference. As long as you stick to your loss limits, as discussed above, there's no harm in having a go every once in a while, hoping to get a lucky hit. Just realize that you don't have a high chance of scoring a big win, so as soon as you do, get up and walk away.

5) Roulette
Roulette is also a game where you have no influence over the outcome. There is zero skill involved. You place your bet, and that's it.
In traditional French roulette, a table has only the single-zero, but of course, for American casinos that wasn't enough of a house edge, so they simply doubled their profits by adding a second zero. The house edge was increased from 1/37 to 1/19, which is huge.
This makes playing on a double-zero roulette table by definition a sucker's play.
The payouts scale evenly, which means that a bet on a single number, and a bet on half of the numbers, and everything in between, yields the same expected return. The only difference, again, being the variance that you are willing to subject yourself to.
The player return for double-zero Roulette for all bets is 94.74%.
Except for the 5-number bet, which can only be made by placing a bet on the two top rows that contain 0, 00, 1, 2 and 3. The expected return on this bet is lower: 92.1%. This is because it only pays out 6-1. Why? Well, the number 36 isn't divisible by 5, so the greedy people that came up with double-zero Roulette had to round it off someway, and as expected, it wasn't going to be in the players' favor.Just remember that that 5-number bet is the worst bet at the table, and should be avoided. All other possible bets have the same expected return.
So it really doesn't matter how you spread your bets, if you bet only one chip, or if you litter the entire table with a bucketload of chips. Each chip you put out there, has the same expected return, so there is no strategy that will improve your long-term results.
Assuming that you're betting the maximum table amount of 50,000 chips, you will be looking at an expected loss of about 2,630 chips per spin. Considering that a round takes about 45 seconds to complete, your expected LOSS at the GTA Roulette tables will be around 200,000 chips per hour of playing.
Optimal strategy for double-zero roulette:
Stay away. Stay far away.

4) Three Card Poker
With Three Card Poker, we come across the first game where there is actually some strategy involved. You get to look at your cards, and then decide if you want to fold, and surrender your ante, or double your bet.
Additionally, you can choose to place a side bet on "Pair Plus", which offers progressive payouts.
There are some websites out there that ran all the numbers with computer simulations, and even though I would like to quote the source here, these websites are understandably littered to the max with online casino ads, so that's why I have decided against doing that.
Optimal strategy for Three Card Poker:
For this game you only have to remember one strategy rule: Always bet on any high card queen-six-four or better, and fold any high card queen-six-three or lower. That's it. Just don't forget to double check if you're not folding a straight or a flush, and you'll be fine.
This strategy will result in an expected return of 96.63%.
The Pair Plus sidebet, with the payout table that is used at the Diamond casino, gives you an expected return of 97.68%, which is actually a bit better than the main ante bet.
So by playing both wagers, you're reducing your expected losses per bet, but since you're betting more, you're also increasing your expected loss per hour.
My advice would obviously be to not play this game at all, but if you do, put as much of your bet as possible on the Pair Plus, while making our Ante bet as small as you can.
To be able to compare it to the other games at the Diamond, let's stay on that 50,000 maximum wager, meaning making your ante bet 35,000, and your pair plus bet 15,000, if the table would allow it.
This results in an expected loss of about 1,525 chips per hand, and with a round taking about 45 seconds, this adds up to an expected LOSS of around 120,000 chips per hour of playing. In comparison, if you would only play the ante bet for 50,000 per hand, you expect to lose 1,685 chips per hand, which means an expected LOSS of about 135,000 chips per hour. So the more out of that 50,000 wager you can put on the "Pair Plus" sidebet, the better.
Even though it may be fun to try out this game for a bit, since there's only one simple strategy rule to follow, you'll soon find yourself robotically grinding down your bankroll until it has vaporized. You're not missing out on anything if you skip these tables, there is no real challenge.
Just like with Roulette and Slots, if you want to try it out nonetheless, you can just bet the minimum amounts and only play for fun, so it won't matter if you win or lose.

3) Blackjack
Blackjack is the most complicated game by far. Simply because the player has to make a series of decisions, which will largely decide the outcome. Luckily, there is such a thing as an optimal strategy, which will be outlined below.
However, the strategy is also dependent on the house rules. These not only affect your expected return, but in some places also your decisions.
Here are the house rules at the Diamond casino:
-The game uses 4 standard decks, and a continuous shuffle.
-Blackjack pays 3 to 2, dealer checks for early blackjack.
-No insurance offered, no surrender.
-Dealer stands on soft 17.
-Double down on any two cards.
-Player can split only once, but doubling after split is allowed.
-Seven-Card Charlie.
Under these rules, and following the "basic strategy" chart, your expected return at Blackjack is a shade under 99.6%, which is extremely good for a casino game, that's why Blackjack should be your table game of choice.
But it comes at a price: you are going to have to memorize the relatively complicated strategy chart, or at least stick it to your monitor until you have it in your head. But in case you ever stumble into a real-life casino, you won't regret having this table memorized, so I would definitely advise you to work on that.
The strategy chart might look complicated at first, but you will be able to notice certain patterns. Your decisions are mainly based on the dealer's upcard, which is basically divided into a weak card (2 to 6), and a strong card (7 to ace).
When a dealer shows a strong card, you will be hitting more often with the risk of going bust, but when a dealer shows a weak card, you're not taking that risk, and you will be standing more, but also doubling and splitting more. You want to increase your bets when the odds are in your favor, and get out cheap when they're not.
But it also helps to take some time to think about why a certain advice is given. For example, why does it say that you always have to split two eights, even against an ace. Well, that's because two eights equals 16, which is the worst total you can have. It's better to split them up, and give yourself a chance of finding a 17, 18 or 19 with the next card. Once you see the logic in that, you'll have one less thing to memorize.
The playing advice in the basic strategy chart is a result of computer simulations that ran all possible outcomes against each other, and produced the most profitable decision for each situation. So you can't go wrong following it.
Optimal strategy for Blackjack with Seven-Card Charlie
The added house rule of Seven-Card Charlie, adds a small advantage for the player, and it does influence a few strategy decisions. For example, you might have a 14 with 6 cards, against the dealer's 5 upcard.
Normally this would be an automatic stand, but if you're only one card away from the Seven-Card Charlie, meaning an instant win for the player, regardless of the dealer's hand, it turns it into a hit.
Here's the most optimal strategy chart to follow for the Diamond Casino house rules: https://prnt.sc/olct6g
You'll see that two fives are missing from the chart, and that's because you never split them. You treat them as a regular 10. You also never split tens. Just stand on 20.
If you follow this strategy religiously, even with a maximum wager of 50,000 chips, you only expect to lose about 215 chips per hand, and with rounds taking about 30 seconds, that amounts to an expected LOSS of 26,000 chips per hour, which is only half a bet. A small price to pay for an hour of entertainment.
But since the expected return is so extremely close to 100%, you will see more positive short-term results than with other games. But obviously it can also swing the other way. Again, this is supposed to be the game where your money lasts you the longest, but always set your loss and win limits before you sit down. That rule simply always applies.

Still, even with optimal strategies applied, all these games are expected to lose you money in the long run. So betting any kind of large amounts is not advised. If you simply want to enjoy playing these games, there's nothing wrong with betting a minimal amount. Playing these games for a longer period of time will already cost you money anyway, since your daily property fees will still be charged while you're playing in the GTA casino. As long as you can play for fun, there's nothing wrong, but when you see yourself betting insane chunks of your entire bank balance to try to recoup some unfortunate losses, you're doing it wrong.
As the commercials in Britain all correctly say: when the fun stops, stop.

2) Virtual Horse Racing
Now onto the good stuff. I ran some numbers, and I believe Rockstar has made a mistake with the horse racing game. Because as it stands, and if I read the numbers correctly, this game is actually profitable for the player. You can actually make money with this, at least, until Rockstar figures out their mistake and patches it.
If anyone wants to jump into the math and double check this to make sure, please do so. I will add any corrections to this post. This is one of those "to good to be true" things, so I keep thinking that I might have overlooked something. So please verify it if you can.
The setup is this. There is a pool of 100 horses, each with their own attached payout. These are divided into 3 groups, ranked by their odds. From each group, 2 horses are randomly selected to provide a pool of six runners for you to bet on.
Now it's not an actual race you're looking at. You are looking at a raffle. This is important to realize.
Each horse gets awarded a certain number of raffle tickets. The favorites get awarded more tickets than the underdogs, and therefore, have a higher chance of winning.
If this distribution works like it does in the real-life casinos, then the raffle tickets are awarded according to the betting odds.
Example 1: imagine a race with 3 runners, all have 2/1 odds, representing a 33.3% chance of winning. (Because 2/1 means 2 AGAINST 1, so 3 total.) In this case, each horse gets one third of the raffle tickets, giving them an equal chance to win.
Example 2: imagine a race with 3 runners, one has 1/1 odds (or EVENS), representing a 50% chance of winning, and the other two horses are marked up as 3/1, with a 25% chance of winning. The favorite gets half the tickets, the other two get a quarter of the tickets each.
A ticket is drawn, and you'll have a winner.
It doesn't matter in this game which horse you bet on, because the expected return is always the same: 100% or break-even, for the above examples.
Now, what happens if the percentages don't exactly add up to 100%?
They must add up to 100%, because there will always be a winner. And only one winner.
So when this is the case, the actual winning chances of the horses are adjusted to meet the 100% requirement, using their payout odds to determine the scale.
So, if the represented percentages add up to more than 100%, the actual winning chances of the runners will be DECREASED, resulting in all bets becoming losing propositions for the players.
Example: In a 6-horse race, all runners are listed at 4/1, representing a 20% chance. Only with six runners that amounts to 120%. So all chances are scaled down by 1/6th, to end up at 100%.
This means your horse's chances are reduced from 20% to 16.67%, turning it into a losing bet: 5 times you will lose your bet, and 1 time you will win, but only get 4 bets back in this instance, instead of 5. A losing bet in the long run.
This is the type of odds that you find in regular casinos, with fields as large as 15 runners to bet on, where the assumed winning chances always add up to more than 100%, therefore are decreased for all runners, resulting in a house edge.

But in GTA Online's Inside Track, there are other scenarios, because of the small field, and the way that they are put together.
In some cases, the represented percentages when added up, are LESS than 100%, meaning that the actual winning chances of all runners, are INCREASED.
This creates profitable bets for the players, because in the long run, you're expecting to win more money than you lose. This is a gambler's dream, pure and simple.
So, according to the in-game information, the three groups of horses are divided as follows:
-Favorites: EVENS to 5-1
-Outsiders: 6-1 to 15-1
-Underdogs: 16-1 to 30-1

Let's take the two most extreme examples to show what's happening.
The worst possible field to bet on: two runners at EVENS, two runners at 6-1, and two runners at 16-1.
EVENS represents a 50% chance, 6-1 is 14.29%, and 16-1 is 5.88%. Add those up and you land on a total of 140.34%.
This means that the actual winning chances of the horses are decreased by 28.75% (to get that 140% down to 100%), which makes betting on this field extremely unwise.
A horse at EVENS will only come in as a winner 35.63% of the time, instead of 50%,
a horse at 6-1 will only win 10.18% of the time,
and an underdog at 16-1 will only win 4.19% of the time.

The expected return on a bet on any of the horses in this field is only 71.26%, so a maximum bet of 10,000 chips on any of these horses holds an expected LOSS of 2,875 chips.
These returns are the same, because the winning chances are scaled equally, according to the payout numbers. So it really doesn't matter which horse you bet on, in the long run, you expect the same results.
But as explained before, it does influence variance, and therefore your short-term result, which can swing both ways.

But now, the best possible field to bet on: two runners at 5-1, two runners at 15-1, and two runners at 30-1.
Odds at 5-1 represents a winning chance of 16.67%, 15-1 odds means 6.25% chance, and 30-1 odds means a 3.23% chance of winning. Add these six horses together, and you only get 52.285%.
This means that, to get from 52% to 100%, the actual winning chances of these horses will be almost doubled! Multiplied by 1.91 to be exact.
So the 5-1 favorites will now win 31.88% of the time, instead of 16.67%,
the 15-1 runners will win 11.95% of the time,
and the underdogs at 30-1 odds will still win 6.17% of the time.
When betting on this field, the expected return on your bet is 191.25%!
This means that a max bet of 10,000 chips will result in an expected PROFIT of 9,125 chips.
This is printing money, if there ever was such a thing.
Optimal strategy for Virtual Horse racing
So all you have to do, is only bet high on the games where you have an expected positive return, and bet the absolute minimum on the games where your expected return is negative. Or back out of the racing game to refresh the field.
If you don't have a way to quickly add up all the percentages, and until somebody shows up here with a neatly formatted table, just use a few general rules of thumb:
-Always bet the maximum on a race with favorites at 2/1 and 3/1 or higher in it.
-Simply skip all races with two favorites at EVENS in it, and at EVENS and 2/1. Or bet the minimum, if you can't skip or refresh the field.
-To decide if you should play races with other favorite combinations EVENS and 3/1, EVENS and 4/1, EVENS and 5/1, or two favorites at 2/1, the payouts on the other four runners determine whether or not it's profitable to play them. The results of betting on these fields vary from an expected 1,330 chip loss (worst-case) to an expected 1,680 chip win (best-case), with a max bet of 10,000 chips.
But if you're not looking for another strategy chart, you might just want to skip these borderline cases, and just cherry pick the best ones, which are easy to recognize, and with which you can never go wrong.
It's difficult to put a number on an expected win-rate, because it all depends on which fields you get presented with, but it's not unreasonable to state that you can maintain a steady win-rate of around 200,000 chips per hour, with about 50 seconds per race.
Remember, you're not trying to win every race. You're trying to win the most money per hour. So don't sweat it when you bet on a 4/1 favorite, and lose a couple of races in a row. It will still be more profitable in the long run. You have the math on your side.
To reduce negative variance, always bet on the favorite, when betting on profitable fields. We're not gambling anymore, we're grinding out a steady profit. We want to keep the swings to a minimum.
I contacted Rockstar support to verify if this is indeed how it works, but the only reply I got after 6 weeks is that they were "looking into it".
User u/Garsant made a useful Excel-worksheet, available for you to download, where you can quickly type in the payouts on the horses, to see if it produces a profitable bet or not. You can find it in his post here: https://www.reddit.com/gtaonline/comments/ekp8na/gta_online_inside_track_odd_calculato

1) Wheel of Fortune
The number one profitable casino game in GTA Online is obviously the Wheel of Fortune, because it costs you nothing to play.
Unfortunately, you only get one free spin per day, but it holds great value, so make sure you do it.
With a chance to win a super car, vehicle discounts, expensive mystery prizes (which also can be vehicles), and a lot of cash and chips, the expected return on a single spin is around $100,000 in value.
So don't forget your daily spin, it's definitely worth your time.

2020 Update:
As of the Diamond Casino Heist update, the Inside Track horse racing is confirmed to still be as profitable as outlined above.The only thing that seems to be changed, is that you can't refresh the field anymore by backing out of the screen. This does affect your hourly rate in a negative way, but does not change the fact that this game has a huge positive expected return, and should be your go-to when you're trying to take money from the house, without having Lester's nagging voice in your ear. That should also be worth something.

And with that, I conclude my 5,000 word essay on gambling in GTA. Questions, comments, feel free to add your input to this guide.

Cliffs:
-Gambling games should only be played for fun, not for big money. You should expect to lose in the long run. The house always wins.
-A casino game doesn't have a memory, and betting systems don't work.
-Set your limits before you start, how much you are willing to lose or win, and then walk away when you get there.
-Don't play slots, roulette, or three card poker.
-Only play blackjack following a basic strategy chart (https://prnt.sc/olct6g).
-Inside Track betting can be played profitably, if you only bet on fields WITHOUT a heavy favorite.
-Wheel of Fortune is always your best bet, because it's a free bet.
submitted by enderpiet to gtaonline [link] [comments]

Ultimate Gambling Guide for GTA Online - odds, probabilities, and optimal strategies

This is not mine, the creator of this is u/enderpiet

Since the Diamond Casino update, I have seen a large number of 12-year-olds posting Blackjack memes on this sub. As a parent, this has me very worried.
On top of that, I have seen some of the most trustworthy GTA Youtubers giving flawed gambling advice, which can have damaging impact on their gullible audiences.
So that's why I decided to write this up, to educate everyone on the subject, so there will be no more misunderstandings.
(2020 Update down at the bottom.)
If you're one of those Youtubers that wants to use this information in a video, feel free to do so. The more people (especially kids) that become educated about gambling, the better.
But then also please go back and review your own work, and delete or edit the videos that are giving out the wrong advice, like where you're saying you have "a good strategy for making money with roulette", or some other nonsense that I've heard this week. Delete that please.
Before I get into the individual games, I need to discuss a few concepts first, that will make understanding the rest a lot easier.
Expected return and variance
A game like Roulette or Slots has a fixed expected return on your bets. This is a percentage that you have no way of influencing. Say you are flipping a coin against a friend, and you both put up $1. The winner gets the pot. Since the odds are even at 50%, in the long run, you will expect to break even. Your expected return is 100% of your bet.
But imagine if you would play this coin flipping game in a casino against the house. On the "house rules" listed at the table they would probably say that you would only get 95 cents back for every win, while you are forfeiting a dollar on every loss. Would you still play?
Sounds stupid to do so, but still, everybody does it. Every bet they place on Roulette, every coin they put into a Slot machine, is based on the same concept.
Those few cents they take on every bet are their profit margin, and has paid for all the Vegas lights, the Mirage volcanoes, and the Bellagio fountains. Make no mistake - casino gambling games are not designed to make you lose, because sure, you can get lucky on a single night, but they are designed to make them win. That's the beauty of it. They can both exist at the same time.
Too many people that don't see how this works, are just destined for disaster. Just because you went on a lucky streak and won 8 games out of 10, does not mean that flipping coins is a profitable game, or that choosing tails is a winning strategy. Always be aware of the house edge, your true chances of winning, and just realize that you got lucky. There is no such thing as a strategy in flipping a coin that will give you a higher expected return, so it's just pure gambling, just like Slots and Roulette.
Most casino games are made in such a way, that your expected return is a little under 100%. This means that from every dollar bet at the tables, the casino expects to keep a few cents. For individual players, results may vary. Some will win, most will lose. But for the house, it doesn't matter. They take millions of bets each day, so for them, the expected average works out a lot sooner. In short: the house always wins.
When looking at the house edge, we're talking about the expected long-term result, based on the game's house rules. But for a player, it can take literally tens of thousands of hands or spins before you also reach this average number. Until that time, you can experience huge upswings and downswings, that are the result of nothing but short-term luck, which is called variance.
Some games and some bets have a much higher variance than others, which means your actual results will differ enormously from what you're expected to be at.
Take for example betting on red/black at the Roulette table. This is a low-variance proposition, because it has a high percentage chance of occurring, and a low payout.
Contrast this with betting single numbers in Roulette, which only win once every 38 spins on average. This bet has a much higher variance, meaning you can easily hit a dry spell, and not hit anything for 200 bets in a row, or you can see a single number hit three times in five consecutive spins. This is not a freak occurrence in high-variance bets.
Even though the expected return in both these bets is exactly the same, there's a huge difference in variance, causing massive differences in short-term results, which can go both ways. You need to be aware of this, before you decide what types of bets you are comfortable with placing.
Gamblers' Fallacy
Another thing to realize, is that each individual game, hand, or spin, is completely independent from the one(s) before it, and after it.
Gamblers tend to believe, that the chance of a certain outcome is increased, based on previous results.
The most famous example comes from the Casino de Monte Carlo, where the Roulette wheel managed to land on black 26 times in a row. Gamblers lost many millions during that streak, all frantically betting on red, believing that the odds were in favor of the wheel coming out on red, after producing so many blacks. This is not true. Each round is completely independent, and the odds are exactly the same.
You will hear people say things like a Blackjack table being "hot" or "cold", which is completely superstitious, and should be ignored. The exception was when Blackjack was being dealt from a shoe. It made card counting possible. But with the introduction of shuffle machines, and continuous shuffling like is being used in GTA, this no longer exists.
This is also why "chasing your losses" is a very bad idea. After being on a losing streak for some time, many gamblers believe that now it's their turn to start winning. So they will often increase their bet size, believing that when their predicted winning streak comes around, they will win back their losses, and more.
The reality of it, more often than not, is that people will indeed start playing higher and higher limits, until they are completely broke. Nobody is ever "due for a win". There is never a guarantee that you're about to start winning. In fact, the opposite is more likely to be true. You are, after all, in a casino.
Betting systems
Some people like to think that they have a fool-proof betting system, like the Martingale system. Simply increase or even double your bet when you lose, and keep doing that until you win. In theory, this system will always win. So that's why table limits were introduced, and where the system fails.
If you start at the Roulette table, playing red/black, with a small 750 chip wager, and just double your bet every time you lose, you only have to lose 6 times in a row, before you will be betting the table limit of 48,000, just to get that 750 chip profit.
Sure, you can go on all evening without this happening, winning 750 chips each time, but this losing streak only has to happen once, and you're bust. Any betting system like this is ill-advised, because you are hugely increasing your so-called "risk of ruin", and that's what we were trying to avoid.
And even if your starting bet is only 100 chips, after only nine straight losses, and nine doubled bets, you are betting the table limit at 50,000 chips. If you lose that bet, you're 100,000 chips in the hole, with no way to recover that with your 100 chip base wager.
So don't believe anyone that says this is the perfect system to always win in the casino. Sooner or later they will understand why they were wrong, when they're asking you for a loan.
Set your limits BEFORE you start playing
One final point before we get into the games, a general tip for people that head out to play: money management.
Just like in real life, before you go to the casino, decide on a maximum amount that you are WILLING TO LOSE.
Bet small enough, so that amount can last you through the entire evening, and you will not be tempted to run to the ATM to continue playing.
Considering GTA money, some people will be comfortable losing 1% of their GTA bank balance, some people will be comfortable with gambling away 5% of their total GTA savings. It's up to you what you can handle. Decide for yourself where it will start to hurt, and don't cross that line.
But whatever number you decide on, as soon as you lost that amount, get up and walk away. Don't chase your losses, stick to your limits, and accept that this has not been your day. There is always another game tomorrow. Always agree with yourself on a simple stop-loss rule, how much you would want to lose at most, and simply stop playing when you get there.
Same goes for winning. You can decide on a number, how much profit you would like to take away from the casino. You can go on a hot streak and be up half a million in a short period of time, but if you would continue to play longer, looking for more, chances are that you're going to lose it all back.
Most people are happy with doubling their daily casino budget, for example. Others are looking for 10 bets profit in Blackjack. Whatever you choose, when you hit that number, you can stop playing and bank your profits, or you can continue playing if you're still enjoying the games, but then only just play minimum bet sizes. Then you're just playing for fun, not for money. You've already made your profit, so simply keep it in your pocket, and don't risk losing it again.
Either way, decide on what your money management strategy will be, and STICK TO IT.
Casino games in GTA Online
Now, I'm going to dive into the games that you can find at the Diamond casino, ordered from worst to best.
6) Slots
Generally the rule is this: the less strategy a game has, the worse it is for the player. And with slots, this is definitely the case.
The only influence you have, is choosing what type of machine you're going to play. Basically, there are two types of slot machines:
-high frequency, low payout slots
-low frequency, high payout slots
In the first type, there is no huge (progressive) jackpot on offer, just your average selection of prizes that don't go up to crazy amounts.
This will result in a player having many more spins resulting in a win. The amounts that you win on the bigger prizes, will be smaller, but they do come around more often. This type of slot machine has a lower variance, which means that your money should last you longer, winning many smaller prizes along the way to keep you going.
The second type of slot machine lures you in with the temptation of a huge jackpot prize. Even though the long-term expected return on these machines is the same as the previous type, the prize distribution is hugely different. The large jackpot prize weighs heavily on the scale of expected return, but the chance of it hitting is extremely small. This results in a much higher variance on this type of machine. Usually your money will go down very fast, because the smaller prizes are less rewarding than on the other type of machine.
At the Diamond, the info screen says the player return at slots is set at 98.7%. This means that, on average, for every maximum bet of 2,500 chips, you expect to lose 32.5 chips.
This might not seem like a lot, but the danger of slots is that the game is extremely fast. You can spin about once every 6 seconds, which would result in an expected LOSS of about 20,000 chips per hour of playing.
But again, in this long-term expected number, the large jackpot awards are also factored in, and as long as you don't hit those big prizes, you'll see your money go down a lot faster.
In any case, thank heavens the max bet is only set at 2,500, or else we would see more players go bankrupt at alarming rates.
Optimal strategy for slots:
There is none. Because after betting, you have no more influence over the outcome. The only choices you have, is what type of machine you want to play at, and how much money you are going to risk. And those are all personal preference. As long as you stick to your loss limits, as discussed above, there's no harm in having a go every once in a while, hoping to get a lucky hit. Just realize that you don't have a high chance of scoring a big win, so as soon as you do, get up and walk away.
5) Roulette
Roulette is also a game where you have no influence over the outcome. There is zero skill involved. You place your bet, and that's it.
In traditional French roulette, a table has only the single-zero, but of course, for American casinos that wasn't enough of a house edge, so they simply doubled their profits by adding a second zero. The house edge was increased from 1/37 to 1/19, which is huge.
This makes playing on a double-zero roulette table by definition a sucker's play.
The payouts scale evenly, which means that a bet on a single number, and a bet on half of the numbers, and everything in between, yields the same expected return. The only difference, again, being the variance that you are willing to subject yourself to.
The player return for double-zero Roulette for all bets is 94.74%.
Except for the 5-number bet, which can only be made by placing a bet on the two top rows that contain 0, 00, 1, 2 and 3. The expected return on this bet is lower: 92.1%. This is because it only pays out 6-1. Why? Well, the number 36 isn't divisible by 5, so the greedy people that came up with double-zero Roulette had to round it off someway, and as expected, it wasn't going to be in the players' favor.Just remember that that 5-number bet is the worst bet at the table, and should be avoided. All other possible bets have the same expected return.
So it really doesn't matter how you spread your bets, if you bet only one chip, or if you litter the entire table with a bucketload of chips. Each chip you put out there, has the same expected return, so there is no strategy that will improve your long-term results.
Assuming that you're betting the maximum table amount of 50,000 chips, you will be looking at an expected loss of about 2,630 chips per spin. Considering that a round takes about 45 seconds to complete, your expected LOSS at the GTA Roulette tables will be around 200,000 chips per hour of playing.
Optimal strategy for double-zero roulette:
Stay away. Stay far away.
4) Three Card Poker
With Three Card Poker, we come across the first game where there is actually some strategy involved. You get to look at your cards, and then decide if you want to fold, and surrender your ante, or double your bet.
Additionally, you can choose to place a side bet on "Pair Plus", which offers progressive payouts.
There are some websites out there that ran all the numbers with computer simulations, and even though I would like to quote the source here, these websites are understandably littered to the max with online casino ads, so that's why I have decided against doing that.
Optimal strategy for Three Card Poker:
For this game you only have to remember one strategy rule: Always bet on any high card queen-six-four or better, and fold any high card queen-six-three or lower. That's it. Just don't forget to double check if you're not folding a straight or a flush, and you'll be fine.
This strategy will result in an expected return of 96.63%.
The Pair Plus sidebet, with the payout table that is used at the Diamond casino, gives you an expected return of 97.68%, which is actually a bit better than the main ante bet.
So by playing both wagers, you're reducing your expected losses per bet, but since you're betting more, you're also increasing your expected loss per hour.
My advice would obviously be to not play this game at all, but if you do, put as much of your bet as possible on the Pair Plus, while making our Ante bet as small as you can.
To be able to compare it to the other games at the Diamond, let's stay on that 50,000 maximum wager, meaning making your ante bet 35,000, and your pair plus bet 15,000, if the table would allow it.
This results in an expected loss of about 1,525 chips per hand, and with a round taking about 45 seconds, this adds up to an expected LOSS of around 120,000 chips per hour of playing. In comparison, if you would only play the ante bet for 50,000 per hand, you expect to lose 1,685 chips per hand, which means an expected LOSS of about 135,000 chips per hour. So the more out of that 50,000 wager you can put on the "Pair Plus" sidebet, the better.
Even though it may be fun to try out this game for a bit, since there's only one simple strategy rule to follow, you'll soon find yourself robotically grinding down your bankroll until it has vaporized. You're not missing out on anything if you skip these tables, there is no real challenge.
Just like with Roulette and Slots, if you want to try it out nonetheless, you can just bet the minimum amounts and only play for fun, so it won't matter if you win or lose.
3) Blackjack
Blackjack is the most complicated game by far. Simply because the player has to make a series of decisions, which will largely decide the outcome. Luckily, there is such a thing as an optimal strategy, which will be outlined below.
However, the strategy is also dependent on the house rules. These not only affect your expected return, but in some places also your decisions.
Here are the house rules at the Diamond casino:
-The game uses 4 standard decks, and a continuous shuffle.
-Blackjack pays 3 to 2, dealer checks for early blackjack.
-No insurance offered, no surrender.
-Dealer stands on soft 17.
-Double down on any two cards.
-Player can split only once, but doubling after split is allowed.
-Seven-Card Charlie.
Under these rules, and following the "basic strategy" chart, your expected return at Blackjack is a shade under 99.6%, which is extremely good for a casino game, that's why Blackjack should be your table game of choice.
But it comes at a price: you are going to have to memorize the relatively complicated strategy chart, or at least stick it to your monitor until you have it in your head. But in case you ever stumble into a real-life casino, you won't regret having this table memorized, so I would definitely advise you to work on that.
The strategy chart might look complicated at first, but you will be able to notice certain patterns. Your decisions are mainly based on the dealer's upcard, which is basically divided into a weak card (2 to 6), and a strong card (7 to ace).
When a dealer shows a strong card, you will be hitting more often with the risk of going bust, but when a dealer shows a weak card, you're not taking that risk, and you will be standing more, but also doubling and splitting more. You want to increase your bets when the odds are in your favor, and get out cheap when they're not.
But it also helps to take some time to think about why a certain advice is given. For example, why does it say that you always have to split two eights, even against an ace. Well, that's because two eights equals 16, which is the worst total you can have. It's better to split them up, and give yourself a chance of finding a 17, 18 or 19 with the next card. Once you see the logic in that, you'll have one less thing to memorize.
The playing advice in the basic strategy chart is a result of computer simulations that ran all possible outcomes against each other, and produced the most profitable decision for each situation. So you can't go wrong following it.
Optimal strategy for Blackjack with Seven-Card Charlie
The added house rule of Seven-Card Charlie, adds a small advantage for the player, and it does influence a few strategy decisions. For example, you might have a 14 with 6 cards, against the dealer's 5 upcard.
Normally this would be an automatic stand, but if you're only one card away from the Seven-Card Charlie, meaning an instant win for the player, regardless of the dealer's hand, it turns it into a hit.
Here's the most optimal strategy chart to follow for the Diamond Casino house rules:https://prnt.sc/olct6g
You'll see that two fives are missing from the chart, and that's because you never split them. You treat them as a regular 10. You also never split tens. Just stand on 20.
If you follow this strategy religiously, even with a maximum wager of 50,000 chips, you only expect to lose about 215 chips per hand, and with rounds taking about 30 seconds, that amounts to an expected LOSS of 26,000 chips per hour, which is only half a bet. A small price to pay for an hour of entertainment.
But since the expected return is so extremely close to 100%, you will see more positive short-term results than with other games. But obviously it can also swing the other way. Again, this is supposed to be the game where your money lasts you the longest, but always set your loss and win limits before you sit down. That rule simply always applies.
Still, even with optimal strategies applied, all these games are expected to lose you money in the long run. So betting any kind of large amounts is not advised. If you simply want to enjoy playing these games, there's nothing wrong with betting a minimal amount. Playing these games for a longer period of time will already cost you money anyway, since your daily property fees will still be charged while you're playing in the GTA casino. As long as you can play for fun, there's nothing wrong, but when you see yourself betting insane chunks of your entire bank balance to try to recoup some unfortunate losses, you're doing it wrong.
As the commercials in Britain all correctly say: when the fun stops, stop.
2) Virtual Horse Racing
Now onto the good stuff. I ran some numbers, and I believe Rockstar has made a mistake with the horse racing game. Because as it stands, and if I read the numbers correctly, this game is actually profitable for the player. You can actually make money with this, at least, until Rockstar figures out their mistake and patches it.
If anyone wants to jump into the math and double check this to make sure, please do so. I will add any corrections to this post. This is one of those "to good to be true" things, so I keep thinking that I might have overlooked something. So please verify it if you can.
The setup is this. There is a pool of 100 horses, each with their own attached payout. These are divided into 3 groups, ranked by their odds. From each group, 2 horses are randomly selected to provide a pool of six runners for you to bet on.
Now it's not an actual race you're looking at. You are looking at a raffle. This is important to realize.
Each horse gets awarded a certain number of raffle tickets. The favorites get awarded more tickets than the underdogs, and therefore, have a higher chance of winning.
If this distribution works like it does in the real-life casinos, then the raffle tickets are awarded according to the betting odds.
Example 1: imagine a race with 3 runners, all have 2/1 odds, representing a 33.3% chance of winning. (Because 2/1 means 2 AGAINST 1, so 3 total.) In this case, each horse gets one third of the raffle tickets, giving them an equal chance to win.
Example 2: imagine a race with 3 runners, one has 1/1 odds (or EVENS), representing a 50% chance of winning, and the other two horses are marked up as 3/1, with a 25% chance of winning. The favorite gets half the tickets, the other two get a quarter of the tickets each.
A ticket is drawn, and you'll have a winner.
It doesn't matter in this game which horse you bet on, because the expected return is always the same: 100% or break-even, for the above examples.
Now, what happens if the percentages don't exactly add up to 100%?
They must add up to 100%, because there will always be a winner. And only one winner.
So when this is the case, the actual winning chances of the horses are adjusted to meet the 100% requirement, using their payout odds to determine the scale.
So, if the represented percentages add up to more than 100%, the actual winning chances of the runners will be DECREASED, resulting in all bets becoming losing propositions for the players.
Example: In a 6-horse race, all runners are listed at 4/1, representing a 20% chance. Only with six runners that amounts to 120%. So all chances are scaled down by 1/6th, to end up at 100%.
This means your horse's chances are reduced from 20% to 16.67%, turning it into a losing bet: 5 times you will lose your bet, and 1 time you will win, but only get 4 bets back in this instance, instead of 5. A losing bet in the long run.
This is the type of odds that you find in regular casinos, with fields as large as 15 runners to bet on, where the assumed winning chances always add up to more than 100%, therefore are decreased for all runners, resulting in a house edge.
But in GTA Online's Inside Track, there are other scenarios, because of the small field, and the way that they are put together.
In some cases, the represented percentages when added up, are LESS than 100%, meaning that the actual winning chances of all runners, are INCREASED.
This creates profitable bets for the players, because in the long run, you're expecting to win more money than you lose. This is a gambler's dream, pure and simple.
So, according to the in-game information, the three groups of horses are divided as follows:
-Favorites: EVENS to 5-1
-Outsiders: 6-1 to 15-1
-Underdogs: 16-1 to 30-1
Let's take the two most extreme examples to show what's happening.
The worst possible field to bet on: two runners at EVENS, two runners at 6-1, and two runners at 16-1.
EVENS represents a 50% chance, 6-1 is 14.29%, and 16-1 is 5.88%. Add those up and you land on a total of 140.34%.
This means that the actual winning chances of the horses are decreased by 28.75% (to get that 140% down to 100%), which makes betting on this field extremely unwise.
A horse at EVENS will only come in as a winner 35.63% of the time, instead of 50%,
a horse at 6-1 will only win 10.18% of the time,
and an underdog at 16-1 will only win 4.19% of the time.
The expected return on a bet on any of the horses in this field is only 71.26%, so a maximum bet of 10,000 chips on any of these horses holds an expected LOSS of 2,875 chips.
These returns are the same, because the winning chances are scaled equally, according to the payout numbers. So it really doesn't matter which horse you bet on, in the long run, you expect the same results.
But as explained before, it does influence variance, and therefore your short-term result, which can swing both ways.
But now, the best possible field to bet on: two runners at 5-1, two runners at 15-1, and two runners at 30-1.
Odds at 5-1 represents a winning chance of 16.67%, 15-1 odds means 6.25% chance, and 30-1 odds means a 3.23% chance of winning. Add these six horses together, and you only get 52.285%.
This means that, to get from 52% to 100%, the actual winning chances of these horses will be almost doubled! Multiplied by 1.91 to be exact.
So the 5-1 favorites will now win 31.88% of the time, instead of 16.67%,
the 15-1 runners will win 11.95% of the time,
and the underdogs at 30-1 odds will still win 6.17% of the time.
When betting on this field, the expected return on your bet is 191.25%!
This means that a max bet of 10,000 chips will result in an expected PROFIT of 9,125 chips.
This is printing money, if there ever was such a thing.
Optimal strategy for Virtual Horse racing
So all you have to do, is only bet high on the games where you have an expected positive return, and bet the absolute minimum on the games where your expected return is negative. Or back out of the racing game to refresh the field.
If you don't have a way to quickly add up all the percentages, and until somebody shows up here with a neatly formatted table, just use a few general rules of thumb:
-Always bet the maximum on a race with favorites at 2/1 and 3/1 or higher in it.
-Simply skip all races with two favorites at EVENS in it, and at EVENS and 2/1. Or bet the minimum, if you can't skip or refresh the field.
-To decide if you should play races with other favorite combinations EVENS and 3/1, EVENS and 4/1, EVENS and 5/1, or two favorites at 2/1, the payouts on the other four runners determine whether or not it's profitable to play them. The results of betting on these fields vary from an expected 1,330 chip loss (worst-case) to an expected 1,680 chip win (best-case), with a max bet of 10,000 chips.
But if you're not looking for another strategy chart, you might just want to skip these borderline cases, and just cherry pick the best ones, which are easy to recognize, and with which you can never go wrong.
It's difficult to put a number on an expected win-rate, because it all depends on which fields you get presented with, but it's not unreasonable to state that you can maintain a steady win-rate of around 200,000 chips per hour, with about 50 seconds per race.
Remember, you're not trying to win every race. You're trying to win the most money per hour. So don't sweat it when you bet on a 4/1 favorite, and lose a couple of races in a row. It will still be more profitable in the long run. You have the math on your side.
To reduce negative variance, always bet on the favorite, when betting on profitable fields. We're not gambling anymore, we're grinding out a steady profit. We want to keep the swings to a minimum.
I contacted Rockstar support to verify if this is indeed how it works, but the only reply I got after 6 weeks is that they were "looking into it".
User u/Garsant made a useful Excel-worksheet, available for you to download, where you can quickly type in the payouts on the horses, to see if it produces a profitable bet or not. You can find it in his post here: https://www.reddit.com/gtaonline/comments/ekp8na/gta_online_inside_track_odd_calculato
1) Wheel of Fortune
The number one profitable casino game in GTA Online is obviously the Wheel of Fortune, because it costs you nothing to play.
Unfortunately, you only get one free spin per day, but it holds great value, so make sure you do it.
With a chance to win a super car, vehicle discounts, expensive mystery prizes (which also can be vehicles), and a lot of cash and chips, the expected return on a single spin is around $100,000 in value.
So don't forget your daily spin, it's definitely worth your time.
2020 Update:
As of the Diamond Casino Heist update, the Inside Track horse racing is confirmed to still be as profitable as outlined above.The only thing that seems to be changed, is that you can't refresh the field anymore by backing out of the screen. This does affect your hourly rate in a negative way, but does not change the fact that this game has a huge positive expected return, and should be your go-to when you're trying to take money from the house, without having Lester's nagging voice in your ear. That should also be worth something.
And with that, I conclude my 5,000 word essay on gambling in GTA. Questions, comments, feel free to add your input to this guide.
Cliffs:
-Gambling games should only be played for fun, not for big money. You should expect to lose in the long run. The house always wins.
-A casino game doesn't have a memory, and betting systems don't work.
-Set your limits before you start, how much you are willing to lose or win, and then walk away when you get there.
-Don't play slots, roulette, or three card poker.
-Only play blackjack following a basic strategy chart (https://prnt.sc/olct6g).
-Inside Track betting can be played profitably, if you only bet on fields WITHOUT a heavy favorite.
-Wheel of Fortune is always your best bet, because it's a free bet.
submitted by sircore to gtaonline [link] [comments]

Closest Mario Kart 8 Game (and Switch) to Mountain West Schools

It has been said that the Mountain West conference is “At the Peak,” and to me, nothing illustrates that more, than the fact that there are 12 teams competing in the only NCAA Division 1 conference that sponsors e-sports. Of course, since the matches are played head-to-head, Boise State has an advantage because they tint the monitors blue, and play with all blue avatars; an advantage that is confirmed in their winning of League of Legends and Overwatch, but with the Spring season being cut, next year the Mountain West has announced that they will be playing Mario Kart 8, for the Nintendo Switch. Due to the large amounts of people in the Mountain West cities suddenly having $1200 burning a hole in their pocket, every store that sells Nintendo Switch has sold out of their allotment; yes, even, Amazon. So, thus the conundrum becomes: How can these players, prospects, and ordinary people practice in order to “git gud” as the gamers would say? Well, that’s where I come in. For, you see, since I am allowed out on the streets again, finally, due to both my prison sentence being cut short, and my work being determined to be “essential,” I had the time to scope out some places. Alas, while my cough and fever are not improving as much as I had hoped since I last got back from Italy, I did manage to find some time to visit all of the Mountain West cities in order to find the easiest place to get a Switch and Mario Kart 8 location. For simplicity’s sake, I am going by the football stadium since it’s a well-defined point in most locations – San José State fans, the football stadium is that big ovoid building at the corner of E Alma Ave, and S 7th St… It’s the place where the people aren’t on Saturday’s is September. Should you get hungry during your travels, I have also managed to find a some breakfast locations in the same vicinity

Mountain

Air Force

Okay, so I lied a little; I tried to get into the university, but, unfortunately the men with guns wouldn’t actually let me get beyond the gate on S Gate Rd, and I was still a little jet-lagged having just gotten in from Frankfurt after having woken up for my 0610 flight for the Linate to Frankfurt leg (stupid weather prevented the flight from Denver to ABQ, but my loss is your gain). So, while this may not be the closest, it certainly will fit the bill. Tyler-Jay Rowland who lives at 3075 Navigation Drive, in Colorado Springs was more than willing to help out, especially since his son, Jeremiah, was grounded for a month for staying out after curfew two weekends in a row. As the falcon flies, this location is 5.2 miles away; in a car, it’s not too much further than that.

Boise State

Now, I don’t, technically, hate the way that Boise is laid out with the river running right through the center of town, but even though Maci Drew lives in the Clearwater Apartments, unit 323, which is in a straight line, only a quarter of a mile from the stadium, you will have to go the Exxtramile, to get to her apartment. Also, she would like me to point out, that times for a waitress like herself are a little rough, so please, if you’re hungry, skip Taco Bell, and eat at the Bar Gernika in downtown Boise, right next to the Central Plaza and Century Link Arena. “We have wifi” she said.

Colorado State

This is, by far, the most remarkable location; I had completely forgotten that they moved to an on-campus stadium, so I initially went to the Hughes Stadium location, and found a big pile of dirt. And not much else – well, if you exclude the trees that formed a nice line, that brought me back to my college days. Having corrected my too old Garmin in-car GPS, I found Tim Thatcher on 604 Balsam Ln; he’s a little deaf, so you might need to knock like you are ram-ing down the door. He bought the Switch after his wife of 35 years died to help him grieve and spend his retirement, “but it’s just making me too sad lately, and I’ve never been very good at vid’ya [sic] games. I still don’t know how I’m supposed to save the princess when she’s trying to beat me… That reminds me of my princess, who I lost last year. She was so kind, we met in high school, I had an onion on my belt as was the style in those days. They didn't have any white onions, because of the war. The only thing you could get was those big yellow ones.” I’ll be honest, at this point I started zoning out because, again, fever. He honestly looked really sad as I was talking to him, so you might want to try to cheer him up, since he’s just a lonely guy bein’ a dude. In a straight line distance, you’re only going .3 miles, and it’s not too much further by car.

New Mexico

This is by far the closest location to the stadium. The UNM Lobo Club is a non-essential business in the state of New Mexico, and UNM and the Athletics Department realized that funding would need to be cut dramatically throughout the state, and with the sweetheart deal they got from the legislature this year, they decided to close all athletic facilities, including the Maloof building, home of both Eddie Nuñez’s office, and the Lobo Club. I suggest using the side door closest to the field level entrance of the stadium. That’ll take you to the weight room; an alarm will go off, the code is “1892” the year the football team first played (interesting tidbit: the marching band was founded in 1889, the same year as the university); from there enter the main hallway, and go to the first door on the left after you pass the restrooms. The last time I was there, they had a vending machine that dispensed free Mountain Dew; I was howl-ing with laughter after I found that. Also, if you see Señor Manta, say “Hola!” he’s been down on his luck since his family were killed in the accident, and now he wanders the street like a lone Lobo.

Utah State

It was like a bomb went off. No one was around; maybe they were busy playing Farmer, or having a bonfire out in the dirt behind the stadium, wit their brown-eyed girls, but Jeff Field’s dorm room, Aggie Village Community building 17, first floor, third window from the right (he leaves it unlocked, so don’t worry about access) has a Switch just sitting there on the bed, as though he borrowed it from someone, but never managed to return it before he left. Go on, take it, just say that it was yours and he left it, no one will check.

Wyoming

Cowboys and Cowgirls are just different, I guess; I could not find a Nintendo Switch in town for the life of me. I found many Switchblades, Light switches, and many wooden rods, so I took my horse down to Cheyenne, and found a recently laid-off Subway Sandwich Artist called Dom, who knew just where to look. He directed me to 803 West 21st St, Suite B. He told me, “yeah, the guy who runs this storefront, has a little son, about 6 years old. He keeps a Switch in his desk’s keyboard tray for when he picks his son up from school.” Because of the ordeal in Laramie, I asked him to clarify, and he did, “yeah… Nintendo switch.” He said as he looked around shiftily. If that doesn’t work you can always try Suite C, I heard they stock Switches… oh wait, not that kind.” I was going to ask him for more information, but he entered what looked like an abandoned brick building just passed the railroad tracks, “You didn’t see me,” he said. And I also didn’t hear the gunshots that went off as I walked back to my car.

Table View

School Distance Driving (mi) Straight Line Distance (mi) Drive/Drone Difference Variance (from all schools)A
Air Force 8.44 5.22 3.22 0.047
Boise State 1.00 0.282 0.718 1.069
Colorado State 0.420 0.312 0.108 1.792
New Mexico 0.206 0.191 0.015 1.920
Utah State 0.444 0.305 0.139 1.751
Wyoming 47.90 40.69 7.21 4.894
A: Variance is calculated based upon DDD’s distance from the standard deviation of DDD… Why DDD? Because, DDD is King.

West

Note: SDSU currently does not field an Esports team; I am including them because it seems likely that they will in the near future

Hawai’i

Hawai’i is interesting because the Honolulu airport has a much better open air location than the El Paso airport; there’s a water path, it’s weird man, it reminds me a lot of the Tiki Room at Disn… oh, yeah, Hawai’i, Polynesia, that makes sense. Anyway, the stadium is home to the largest swap meet’s I’ve ever seen. Unfortunately, I did not find any Switches, but I did find a guy swapping Macadamia Nut cookies for a few dollars, so naturally, I bought some. It started to rain, so even though many people are Rainbow Warriors or Wahine, as the women prefer to be called, I am not. I stopped in at the ‘Aeia Public Library for a spell, and my phone was dead, so I needed a place to charge for a bit. The nice librarian, Akela (“it means graceful,” I was told. After I asked, “like the wolf-spirit in Hindi myths?”), pointed out, that, “We loan out all sorts of stuff here; pots, pans, sewing machines. Believe it or not, we even rent out video game systems. Our most popular is probably the Nintendo Switch, but we also have a couple of Xbox’s and PS4’s.” I guess I looked very shocked because Akela continued, “with the military surrounding us, we, the library system, get a lot of goods from contractors who don’t want to have a lot of their goods shipped back to the mainland.” Seeing how much it cost to ship out, I completely understood, and bid ¬¬Akela aloha, and failed the Hawai’I test by passing out at the nearest Embassy Suites, in Kapolei, if I remember correctly (I probably don’t, I was tired).

Fresno State

A nice cow brought me to Clovis. Much like what happened in Las Vegas, it was not the cool one, but instead the one in California. She (I saw udders), brought me specifically to 264 Clovis Ave, and said, “what you seek, from my master, is in there.” I’m not sure if it was my fever, jet-lag, a combination of them, or something else entirely, but then the cow vanished as though she was just a thing on the internet. A stray puppy passed by me in downtown, so that was probably the highlight of the trip.

Nevada (Reno)

Look, I’ll be honest, Reno to me always makes me feel like I’m going to be leaving the city without one or both of my kidneys. I don’t know why I expect Renoirs to chew my body like a Pack of Wolves, but there you are. Diedre Thomas of 128 Keystone Ave, fell on hard times. She poured herself a glass of vodka, neat, and said, “you can have anything you want,” she paused briefly to wink at me, “for the right price.” I specifically enquired about the Switch, “Anything,” she replied. She pulled out what appeared to be a small glass bowl that looked like an incense holder, and a baggie of chalk dust, and… Oh my god, she was going to smoke cocaine. Anyway, as she pulled out the pulled out the baggie, I hastily took my leave. I then went to the airport and went to my next stop….

Nevada – Las Vegas

Can you believe parents still bring their children, like elementary school aged children to Las Vegas. And it’s not the cool Las Vegas, in New Mexico, it’s the one in Nevada; well, I guess, technically they bring their kids to Paradise, and not Las Vegas, but c’mon man, there isn’t that much difference. Anyway, head to the Excalibur hotels because Carla, the housekeeper said that on average 3 Switches get left by guests every day. I then felt really depressed while walking around the hotel, so I left to check out the Mirage, where I normally stay on these Mountain West trips. I also learned that if there’s one thing that freaks me out more than the throngs of people walking the Strip, it’s when there’s nobody around. Once the new stadium gets completed it will be vastly easier to get to the casino than at the current location.

San Diego State

I stayed with Dominic, at his house of Friars Road. I was starting to feel sick to my stomach with the lack of green chile, so it was so enjoyable to spend time with a fellow New Mexican (and my roommate junior year). He took me on a little tour: Balboa Park’s stadium (home of the former Harbor Bowl, and the first tie in UNM Football history), the USS Midway, and Ocean Beach. I had forgotten about the assignment until I looked down at my feet and found a working Switch. When it was still there after an hour, I borrowed a small boat, realised, I need a bigger boat and headed out to the Ocean. Having claimed rights, I then put it back, so you might also find it.

San José State

Look, there are a lot of people who depart from the San Jose Airport. The kids who travel on these flights are slightly scatter-brained because of the adrenaline of taking a plane ride (and passing through the checkpoint), and leave some of their electronics, and I found a shoe! A shoe! Who only puts one shoe on and then walks-off? It was an adult shoe, so it’s not like a child/toddleparent left it, no, someone made a conscious decision to leave their shoe… Maybe it was a protest? Anyway, just tell the guy that you left your Switch at the checkpoint, if he asks you what color it was say, it had yellow grips that slide off, but the screen was bounded by black.

Table View

School Distance Driving (mi) Straight Line Distance (mi) Drive/Drone Difference Standard Deviation (all schools)A
Fresno State 4.46 3.28 1.18 0.644
Hawai’i 1.420 0.696 0.784 1.001
Nevada (Reno) 2.410 1.69 0.720 1.067
Nevada – Las Vegas (SBS)b 18.426 8.93 11.258
Nevada – Las Vegas (NVS)c 2.125 0.590 1.535 0.391
San Diego State 9.861 8.08 1.78 0.252
San José State 6.575 4.60 1.975 0.164
A: Variance is calculated based upon DDD’s distance from the standard deviation of DDD… Why DDD? Because, DDD is King.
b: Sam Boyd Stadium
c: New Vegas Stadium (Allegiant Field)

Conclusion

Even if the stores are sold out of Switches, there are always places you can go to get them, some are definitely within walking distance of your house, maybe even right next door. If you do choose to do that, there are a few things to keep in mind: 1. Milk 2. Eggs, specifically from Natural Grocers, if they still have member pricing. 3. Chicken thighs
Wait, that was my grocery list for last week.
  1. Basque food is amazing.
  2. The addresses are real, any businesses mention are real; the people mentioned or alluded to (with exception to the person who has an office in Clovis, CA; and Dominic in SD) are fake.
  3. No, I do not know who lives at the addresses, and unless you can look it up in the phone book, I recommend that you don’t either. Please don’t bother them.
  4. No, I am not sick… I have a lingering cough from allergies to junipemesquite pollen.
  5. I have not visited Colorado Springs/Fort Collins/Laramie/Reno/San José/Honolulu, yet.
  6. Information for the other cities comes from my memory
  7. I remember when Park MGM was the Monte Carlo
  8. Is Secret Pizza still at the Cosmo? I don’t remember seeing it the last time I was there, but that might have been because I was on the wrong floor.
  9. Toss a coin to your witcher.
  10. Normal people stop listing things at 10, but
  11. This list goes up to 11.
submitted by NotABotaboutIt to CFB [link] [comments]

Scythe and Wager - Chapter 5

Previously
Death decides that the remainder of the flight is not an appropriate time for lengthy stories, no matter how much I disagree with that. Actually, he decides that the remainder of the flight is a good time to not speak a single word. Just stare out the window at the clouds, because clearly clouds are more interesting than that story. From the fragments of the night this mess started, I think I liked Death more when he was drunk. Who wouldn’t?
No amount of prodding will bring Death out of his funk, so Alexandria and I give up. She won’t share the story either. I tried asking.
All that means I am dejected by the time we land in Nice. I remain dejected, but only for a minute, since…well, it’s Nice. It’s a nice Nice. Bet no one’s ever made that joke. I’ve never been before, I’ve been overseas once and I remember as much of that trip as I do of the night with Death. When I made that trip I definitely wasn’t showing up in a private plane, on a private runway, with Death and The Loremaster. Still seems like a bit of a dream.
“Whoa.” Is what I manage, because I am quick witted. Ahead of us, on our private runway, is a helicopter. I don’t know if I can call it a chopper, but I really want to. I don’t know the etiquette rules on chopper names. It’s a gleaming black, like it’s been polished by hand for days before this. Gold cursive script on the side reads ‘Casino de Monte-Carlo’ and it looks very expensive. We’re flying in style today.
“Seems Chance knew we were coming.” Death delivers that with exactly zero percent enthusiasm. I think he might have actually gone into negative enthusiasm, if that’s possible.
“Isn’t that a good thing? Seems inclined to help us if he’s sending that.” I say.
“Not necessarily, Chance has a bit of a theatrical streak. He might receive us like royalty only to tell us to fuck ourselves.” Alexandria looks at Death’s back, since he is angrily walking ahead of us, then to me, then at Death. “Really, explains a lot about how they ended up together.”
We share a laugh at Death’s expense, who gives us a soon to be patented Death Stare. Our hosts, or our hosts proxies, welcome us into the luxury helicopter with it’s rich leather seats and champagne on ice.
“Traveling in style!” I say, settling into one of the seats and snatching the champagne bottle out of the ice bucket and readying to pop it.
“OK, first, what if you spill it. And second, what if it’s poisoned?” I shrug at the second and choose to ignore the first. It’s smarter that way. I am vindicated when it does not explode everywhere and I pour a flawless glass of champagne. Alexandria sighs and takes a glass when I offer, but Death ignores his. He chooses to sulkily stare out the window. Since I already poured one for him, I am the lucky winner here.
“Doesn’t really answer the poison question. I think vomit and blood is harder to clean than some spilled champagne.”
“Grump.” I observe of Death, sipping from the glass while the pilot eases our helicopter into the air and towards our destination. “If it’s poisoned, what’s gonna happen to me? I’ll die, I’ll wake up, that’s how things work now. You’ll be happy, I’ll still be alive, Chance will have had his fun. No harm, little foul.”
“Hard to believe, a mortal suggesting dying is a ‘little foul’. What a brave new world we have ruined.”
“How did we ruin a new world? Wouldn’t we have ruined the old one and created a brave new world?” I say, sipping the champagne. Blood does not immediately start pouring from my mouth or eyes, I don’t choke and gasp for air, all is well. Death does not approve of me ruining his joke and I think he might just be at the limit of his ability to put up with my shit. I would like to be alive for this flight so I decide to change course, be slightly more tactful.
“So, what if this Chance guy can’t help us?” I ask.
“If anyone has answers about a deal like this, it’ll be Chance.” Alexandria doesn’t really answer the question. Probably because the answer is terrible.
“If he decides to help us, looking down from his lofty tower on us worthless slugs. Don’t fill the kid with false hope. It’s as likely Chance will sell us out to Time and we’ll end up in the same place we’re probably bound for anyway.”
“Shit.” I say, after a long silence. “I think I liked you better when you weren’t talking.”
“The feeling is mutual.”
“I should have never opened my door.” I say, ignoring the obvious fact that my problems started before Death knocked on my door. Alexandria drains her glass, holding it out for another. I just hand her one of mine, not really feeling celebratory.
“What are the odds that any or all of you would kindly shut up and let me fly?” Our pilot intrudes on the private conversation, looking back with the reflective lens of his cool-guy aviator glasses. He grins, ear to ear. It’s a cocky grin with perfect white teeth. Death audibly groans, letting his head hit the window just a little too hard.
“Aww, that’s no way to say hello, is it?” The pilot says, pouting. He recovers from the sting quickly and shoots another one of those grins at Alexandria.
“Loremaster, or have they updated that to Wisdom Guardian or Head Librarian since I’ve been gone.”
“Chance. Always a pleasure to see you.”
“Oh I’d put money on the sincerity of that.” He says with a wink, turning his attention to me. “The infamous mortal who cheated Death, quite literally. Or figuratively. I can never remember. You don’t look so impressive to me. Figured you’d be…taller.”
“I…I don’t know what to say? Should I be offended? And I’m sitting. So ”
“Dealer’s choice.”
“Should have known this would happen. You just can’t avoid being involved in everything, can you? That’s why you got exiled, that’s why…that’s why things turned out this way. You prick.” Death says, forehead still pressed to the window.
“Indeed you should have.” Chance turns back to the controls, guiding the helicopter past what I assume was our destination. “But, you didn’t. Never were much for seeing the obvious, were you? Same as your new friend here. Odds would have been on our Loremaster here to figure it out but she needs it to be in a book. It’s never happened before so why would it be recorded?”
“What’s he talking about?” I ask. Death has lifted his head and is staring at Chance, or rather the back of Chance’s head. Alexandria seems frozen in place.
“He knows, he knows how to fix this.”
“He sure does, though he’s not a big fan of being called ‘he’ instead of his name.” Chance says. “I’m going to overlook the comments about me being a prick that sits on his ivory tower, looking down on the slugs, poisoning perfectly good champagne. I’ll help, even if you have this horrible image of me.”
I sit, waiting, staring. He guides the helicopter and doesn’t offer anything else.
“Are you going to explain it?” I ask.
“Explain what?”
I try not to scream. Death gives me a ‘see?’ look. So I don’t scream, I grit my teeth and try to be courteous.
“How. Do. We. Fix. This.”
“Oh, that! It’s simple. The problem is you’ve been talking to people who think far too grandiose, far too complex for us lessers. They’re trying to chase down the big leads, like some TV show, you know? It’s silly, really. I don’t blame them though. Imagine! You’re Death, the Death. Can you imagine having an infinitive in front of your name?! Gosh, that would make even the most humble of us into a bit of a puffed up dick, no? And the Loremaster, well no offense to her, but she’s buried in books. She is smarter than all of us could ever imagine to be, more knowledgeable, but still she doesn’t quite get it. She thinks there’s a counter deal to be made. The Council? Those stuck up pricks wouldn’t stoop to our level of thought, too busy being above it all. Except Time, he probably knows the answer but he’s so sadistic.”
“Chance.” Death says the word very quietly, I can see the muscles working in his jaw. “Would you kindly just tell us.”
“Tell you what?”
“Chance…”
“Alright, alright. You’re such sticks in the proverbial mud. Or is it proverbial sticks? Or neither?”
“Chance!”
“How did you get into this mess?” Chance asks, looking back and suddenly seeming very serious. Though also enjoying himself thoroughly.
“Drinking contest.” He waves that answer off.
“No, no, no. Not that how, the real how.”
I don’t understand. I sit there, looking between Alexandria and Death. They both seem as confused as I do. Then Alexandria’s face lights up, she’s got it. I feel a little slow.
“Saving lives.” She says. And I see it, I see it written on her face. She knows the answer now. She gets it. I still don’t.
“So…if you got into this by saving lives then you can undo it by…”
Oh. Oh! Oh.
“Taking lives.” I say.
“Aha! He’s got it. Goodness, you couldn’t have picked a slower mortal. I bet almost anyone else would have had it figured right out of the gate.” Chances says. Death is staring out the window and looks at me, then at Chance.
“We’re not going to your casino, are we?” He asks Chance.
“No, Death dearest. We’re certainly not. See, little confused mortal, you are not capable of taking lives. It’s like time travel, full of paradox and shit. Maybe, I don’t know. I’m not an expert. But, you saved all the lives of the ants because your gift is the most random one, you receive life for saving it. If you’d been a monster maybe we would know if taking lives before all this would have caused a loss. A mystery we’ll never answer now. You can’t take a life now because you’ve saved them all, it’s like purgatory on Earth now. None of us can kill them because you took on the cost. If we killed you seven hundred million times maybe it would revert and we could but that’s a pretty horrid way to go about this, no?”
“Agreed.” I say, trying to process his jabbering. All I hear was that killing me a lot was horrid, and I do agree.
“Well, little mortal, did you ever wonder where we come from?” Chance asks.
“What the hell does that have to do with anything?” Death shouts. Chance holds up a hand.
“It matters, just bear with me. We are so old that we cannot remember anything before. But, the world changes, no? It adapts and so must the gods. New gods, old gods, it hardly matters. Concepts as life forms. Every so often there comes a time for a new “god” to be born, as it were. Created out of a need when the world reaches a point of said need. Death, Time, Life, they’re as old as you mortals yourselves. They have to be, they are among the first. Wisdom, Knowledge, closely related yet so different, they came later. Though it’s been so long they would hardly remember that.”
“Are you getting to a point?” I ask.
“He is.” Alexandria says. “Slowly, but he is. We exist because we need to. But we came from somewhere. If you could follow the string of time back to the beginning, you might find us as mortals. As humans. Granted our powers.”
“What does that have to do with me?” My frustration is building to a breaking point but there is something else. Fear, a knot in the pit of my stomach that understands where this is going. It just doesn’t want to accept it.
“You were meant to wager with Death, you were meant to win, this was all meant to happen. Fate has her hands in this, whether she knows it or not. To fix this you must take lives that you cannot take. But how? How can a mortal do the impossible? How can a mortal cheat Life and Death? Unless…”
“Unless that mortal wasn’t a mortal.” I say. I feel like someone’s punched me in the chest, hard. I shouldn’t have opened my door. I feel hands on mine, one on each side. Alexandria and Death both seem sincere in the pity on their faces. It’s hardly comforting.
“He understands! It can be taught!” Chance says, guiding us towards a small private airport.
“So what happens now?”
“Now? We have our heading, we just need a ship. Personally I hate sailing, so let’s take that instead.”
“It’s a plane. We had a plane.” Death observes, dryly.
“Not this one. I didn’t trust yours.”
He lands the helicopter and turns around, smiling that winning smile.
“Come mortal, you’re about to become something you could have only dreamed of. If you had some seriously messed up dreams. You’re going to become a god. Or you’re going to die painfully.”
“Wait, what?” I ask, only catching that last mumbled bit at the last second as we exit the helicopter. Chance holds out a coin and with a ping flicks it up into the air with a fingernail, expertly. “While it’s up, it’s heads and tails, it’s whatever you want it to be. Until-” he catches it in a clenched fist. “It’s not.”
“So what, I’m Schrödinger’s idiot?”
Chance laughs.
“That you are. Until you’re not.”
Death and Alexandria walk up next to us, the waiting plane ready to carry us wherever we are to go next. This nightmare, or dream, whatever it might be, continues elsewhere.
“Where are we going?
“You ask weird questions, you know that?” Death says. “You get told the way to fix every person in the world and their inability to die but all you want to know is where we’re going. You are either handling all of this very well or just terribly.”
“You guys are all assholes. Did you know that?” I say. “Where are we going and-” I make a point of looking at Death. “What exactly is going to happen to me there?”
“Already told you the what, keep up mortal.” Chance says, tutting at me. I glare at Death who actually, honestly laughs. Jerk. “But we’re going back to the cradle.”
“You all speak in riddles, it’s annoying.”
“Just you wait, one day you’ll be just like us.” Alexandria says, hand on my shoulder. “Just as annoying as the rest of us.”
“He already is.” Death says, chuckling more to himself. At least his mood has improved. We board another plane and I find this annoying, why can’t anything ever be simple? I don’t have endless time to figure this out.
“What’s the cradle?”
“What else would it be?” Chance says, flipping his coin at me. It’s ancient, clearly. It should probably be in a museum. “It’s where it all began.”
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