I recently received an email from an AP friend: “Something I’d like to hear your thoughts on is when to burn a game out and when to go for longevity. It seems like every time I burn a game, I regret it and every time I try to milk a game, I regret it.”
Hindsight is always 20/20 in these situations. Opinions can and will differ on this topic, but here’s the checklist I use when determining if I want to milk or kill a game. Weighing these factors is how I decide which option is the better one.
Tolerance: If a casino has a high tolerance, it is better for milking. A low-four figure session could go relatively unnoticed in a big action joint, so milking an opportunity there has a lot more value than it might at a less tolerant casino, where only very small wins will go unnoticed. In the case of the small casino, milking may not justify multiple trips to and from the area.
Proximity: Obviously, milking an opportunity that is a pain to get to isn’t ideal, unless there’s a special circumstance in which I can milk my way to a huge monthly income and I am willing to relocate to do so. On the other hand, if I live in Vegas and there’s a great play I can walk to regularly, I may choose to milk it just because I like the “paycheck” and it doesn’t take a lot of work to get to and from the casino.
Type of Play: If I have a special play relatively few people know about, this may be a reason to milk it. If it’s something obvious I have to compete with other APs for, I will likely go for the kill instead. Typically, when I hear about so-and-so’s big win at casino ABC playing DEF, and I knew about the play and played it before so-and-so did, I regret not getting the big win myself.
Frequency of Opportunity: If there’s an opportunity I can find almost every day that offers a high edge, I would be more likely to consider milking. If I am looking for a more rare and infrequent opportunity, I would likely be more inclined to go for the kill once it appears.
Opportunity Cost of Not Being Welcome: If this casino has many different opportunities for me to make decent money, I am less likely to go for the big score kill on any one play. I consider the opportunity cost based on what I think will happen once I get the inevitable heave ho that comes with crushing a game. Is losing the casino next door going to cost me a lot when they flyer? Do they flyer to the casino next door?
Which Method Nets the Most Money!: This is simple, yet complicated. For example, what is your EV if you bring in a BP and try to crush an opportunity for one, two, or three nights in a row? Will this ensure that the opportunity will be toast? Would you make more money by playing with a different person betting for you every week? Will it last that long? These kinds of questions are impossible to answer entirely accurately, but it’s important to consider them when deciding whether you want to milk and opportunity, or kill it.