Picture this: You are in Las Vegas. It is middle of the afternoon and you are off the Vegas strip and are wandering through the ‘old’ casinos. You know, the ones that no one goes to anymore because they are boring, they are ‘old’, they are not flashy at all. They are the ‘lost casinos’.
“This is a special table because you cannot lose at it,” he says. “But there are two things you must know. The first is that you do not get all the winnings if you win a hand, but you get most of them and once you win a hand, you can never lose the winnings. The other is that you must play at least ten hands so you don’t get a penalty for leaving the table early. The casino also gives you a bonus to get things started and you get to keep the entire thing if you play all 10 hands — winnings and bonus. If you play all 10 hands and lose every time, then the worst thing that can happen is that you walk away with all of your original amount, plus the bonus, but you get to share in the winnings with the casino when you win.”
You look at him completely startled and very pessimistic. You have never heard of such a thing and you simply cannot imagine such a table game could exist, so you start asking more questions. You soon find out that the way the casino makes money is because the players do not get all the winnings when they win and anyone that leaves before playing all ten hands is penalized, but you quickly calculate that the trade-off for never losing, yet still get to share in the winnings, outweighs this ten-fold.
As you ask more questions, the person becomes irritated and tells you, “If you don’t want to play, then simply step out of line.” You say, “I understand, but if you don’t mind, I would like to ask you one more question.” The person agrees so you ask, “If this table is indeed as you say it is, then why is it way back here in the old casinos and not up front on the main strip with all the new casinos? This table would make a killing if more people knew about it!”
The person responds, “That is because it has been here for a long time and this casino will stay right here, just as it has been for decades. It is not their fault that you did not know about it until now and it is important for you to understand that the new, flashy main strip casinos do not want you to know they are here and they will do their best to keep this one hidden from you.”
This makes complete sense, so you stay and you play — and you win, and win, and don’t lose, and win and don’t lose, and win. You play all 10 hands and you look down to see that you nearly doubled your original amount. The person next to you did not win a single hand, yet he was extremely happy because he still walked away with all of his original amount plus the casino bonus amount, so he is also happy because he didn’t lose a single dollar.