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Profit Skimming -101


What Is “Skimming”?

Simply, “skimming” is the process where you subtly remove some of the higher denomination $25 chips from your rail, and put them into your pocket.  You can call it “rat-holing” or “bleeding-off”, or “squirreling away”, or “pocketing” or whatever you want.

Why “Skim” Profit?

As an ever-improving Precision-Shooter, you will find that your casino profit usually outstrips your losses.  As your shooting skill gets better and better, so do your profits.

To that end, as a successful Precision-Shooter, you want to shield how good you really are from the casino.  In the gaming industry, success is generally measured with money.  You want to shield the surest way of determining and measuring your skill from their eyes.

You want to prevent the casino from associating your face with the disappearance of their money.

We “skim” chips from our rail to make it appear to the casino that either our losses are much greater or our profits are much lower. 

However, YOU HAVE TO USE COMMON-SENSE, and keep your skimming to gradual, methodical, and REASONABLE limits.

What The Casino Sees

First, you have to understand that the casino looks at a players chip-rail somewhat differently than most players do.  They are trained to accurately gauge how many you have and the value of each denomination in your rail.  From there, they do a quick calculation of your current chip-value total.  That amount is generally entered onto your Rating Card every time the Floor-Supervisor updates it (usually every 15-to-30 minutes).

Why They Look

“Numbers” are the life-blood of the casino industry. 

Did you know that “casino-gaming” is the second most regulated industry in North America.  Only the nuclear industry is more heavily regulated.  If you thought the stock-securities business was as highly controlled, you would be wrong. 

The SEC (Securities Exchange Commission) actually ranks significantly below Gaming in the amount of controls, checks, balances, restrictions, rules, regulations, procedures, and approved methods for virtually everything that happens in a casino versus the apparent “inmates-have-taken-over-the-asylum-and-the-warden-is-passed-out-drunk-so-let’s-have-a-party” Wall Street controls.

The casinos like to keep track of your buy-in, your average bet, the amount of session-time and your color-out amounts.  Those numbers all figure into your comp-calculations, and into the big number-hopper of statistics that are fed into the Player Tracking Computer system.

So to complete the player profile information, they need to know what your chip-balance is in the event that you walk away from the table without coloring-out.  In that case, they know how much you bought-in for; they have an good estimate of how much time you spent at the tables, and know approximately how much you left with. 

Remember, they don’t need “precise-down-to-the-last-dollar-accuracy”.  Rather, they are just registering a rough-guess should you exit the table area without coloring-out.   Some casinos are anal-retentive about closely tracking those numbers, while others take only a passing interest in it.

How They Estimate

A lot of players divide their chips into colors (white, red, green, black, purple, etc.)  By looking at your chips sideway, this method is easy for a Floor Supervisor to estimate how much you have in your rail.  Every 15 to 30 minutes or so, he’ll mark that down on your Rating Card, along with what he estimates your average bet on the craps layout is. 

Another example of how they will estimate how much you have on your rail is if the player uses “chip-demarcation”.  That is when a player will use the white $1 or $5 red chips to separate each $100 worth of chips.  Again, this makes it easy for the Pit Critters to roughly estimate of how much money you have in your rail at any given time.

One other illustration of player chip-organization, or rather disorganization, is the “barber-pole” where every color is mixed in with all of the other ones.   This is the most difficult to “guesstimate” for the Floor-Supervisor who is filling in your Player Rating card, but again, in training, this very situation is covered and tested, so some “supe’s” become quite adept at calculating fairly accurate estimates.

Now, if you have been winning, and they have been giving away $25 chips to you like it is Halloween candy, and there are only a few of those greenies in your rack; then, come on, who are you trying to fool?  You have to do the skimming with finesse and skill, not like a purse-snatching crack-whore!

How To Skim Chips

I know that I mentioned this before, but you have to be reasonable when it comes to bleeding-off those $25 chips.  I’ve written about this subject in my Ask The Mad Professor Part XI article, as well as the Whales, Guppies, and All the Other Fish in the Sea feature. 

As well, in my upcoming “Casino Credit Update-Part Four” article, I discuss ways to actually profit from casino marker-discounts through “skimming”.  Again, all of this presumes that you use reasonable common-sense in your approach.

So let’s take this a step at a time, in small easily digestible bites.

(i)                  You have to look at the number of chips that you have in your rack, and the denominations that they are in.  You want a reasonably large number of chips to work with, especially of the “color” that you are planning to skim.

(ii)                Take a look at the dealers “working stacks”.  They have plenty of each to service the needs of players at one end of the table.  Likewise, you need a healthy “working rack” from which to carry out your task.

(iii)              If your goal is to pocket $25 chips, then you have to KEEP a decent reserve of green ($25) chips so that they don’t notice when two or four of them disappear.

(iv)               For example, you don’t squirrel away four chips if it will only leave six or eight of the same color in your rack.  You want a reserve of at least ten of the same color before you bleed off even two chips.  You want a working reserve of at least fifteen to twenty chips of the same color before you hive-off four of them into your pocket.  Otherwise, the casino supervisors will take note of it, and “book” a portion of your bankroll as “colored-out” on your Rating Card.

(v)                 Upon buying-in you don’t immediately take all or most of the green and black chips and put them into your pocket.  That just doesn’t make any sense.  You have to be subtle in your actions.

(vi)               If you buy-in for $1000, you should specifically ask that they don’t give you ANY black ($100) chips.  That should give you a starting inventory of 36 Green $25 chips, 18 Red $5 chips, and 10 White $1 chips (for toking).  That’s a good starting point for bleeding-off about two $25 chips each time AFTER a Floor Supervisor has marked the Rating Cards.  At the same time, the “mostly green-no black” chip order shows a certain seriousness about your apparent willingness to “gamble” with your session-bankroll.  That also improves comp-ratings.

(vii)             If you buy-in for $100 to $300, then your skimming rate will be much, much lower simply because you have less $25 chips to camouflage your activities.   Again, I discuss this in much greater detail in my upcoming “Casino Credit Update-Part Four” article.

What You Should NOT Do

If you’ve just had a decent 20-to-40 minute mini-mega hand, and rolled yourself three or four or five hundred dollars in newly-minted profit; then it just doesn’t make any sense to have only $100 left in your chip rack.

You have to use common-sense, and not treat the casino guys as if they are a bunch of idiots.

If you have “rat holed” $300 worth of $25 chips (12 chips) in your pocket, there darn well better be at least 30 or 40 green chips that are still remaining in your rack.

Be subtle and nonchalant in you skimming actions, and the results will give you higher comps, and a LOWER Precision-Shooting profile.

Good Luck & Good Skill at the Tables…and in Life.


The Mad Professor

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