Playing poker in a casino, most of us find it difficult to go home a winner — even highly skilled players. If you can eke out wins more than 50 percent of the time, you are doing remarkably well.
The majority of players are destined to “donate” some of their money (chips). To a significant extent, that’s because of the Cost-to-Play (CtP), most of which goes to the casino.
The casino needs to gain money to pay its many expenses — salaries, maintenance, supplies, taxes, fees, etc., and still show a profit. Without a profit, there would be no casinos.
In a typical $4-8 limit hold’em game, simply add up the rake ($5), the bad-beat jackpot drop ($1), and the tip ($1) to the dealer by the winner of that hand (it could be more if it’s a big pot); that adds up to $7 per hand — chips that “disappear” from the players’ stacks. Then multiply by 30, the average number of hands played per hour; then divide the total ($210) by the number of players dealt into the hand (9). That will be the average cost per hour for each player — about $25.
It’s more in a short-handed game, and if your table plays more than 30 hands per hour. Some dealers speed up the game to get more tips, and increase the casino’s take. In that game, that $25-per-hour figure is the approximate average cost per player with nine players at the table and 30 hands dealt per hour.
But you don’t have to be average. You can figure your own CtP. Simply track these cost items ($7) only for the hands you win. That will give you a more accurate figure.