Tag Archives: casino

Monaco GP Walking Tour

This post is about something I missed in Monaco.

There are many cities where walking tours are offered. We have taken some of those and are quite enjoyable. Not only they guide you through the city, but you get to look at the right spots in the right places, you listen to some of the stories that make up the history of the city, etc. We generally regard those walking tours as good value for money.

I missed such a tour in Monaco (and if it exists, we didn’t see it announced in the guide).

Let me share with you how easy it would be to organise it.

I would pick the circuit of the Formula 1 GP of Monaco as a reference. By the way, I found no explicit reference to it in the guide or in the city, you need to make it up yourself from memories of having watched it or check it in the internet (where normally it is not displayed street by street).

"Monaco GP Walking Tour" following the Formula 1 GP circuit.

As I said, I would give the tourist a map of the circuit and off we would go:

  • Departure at the starting line of the GP at Boulevard Albert I: from there you could easily venture to the left to see the centre of La Condamine, Rue Princesse Caroline, maybe walking up to the Place d’Armes to see the market.
  • Back to the circuit you would just go ahead till the first curve and visit the church Sainte Dévote, which gives the name to the curve in the race.
  • Taking the avenue d’Ostende up, you could venture to the Carré d’Or gallery, which is actually recommended in the guides. There you can see all kinds of luxury items’ shops (most of those brands don’t even ring a bell to me).
  • Leaving Av. d’Ostende you would continue to the Av. Monte-Carlo where you could visit the Casino, take some pictures in the gardens, admire the cars at the front (that spot is one that apparently every Porsche, Ferrari, Jaguar, Maserati or the like has to pass by no matter where they go :-)) and take a drink at the Cafe Paris (all activities that are recommended in the guides).
  • Leaving Av. Monte-Carlo you would take the Av. des Spélugues where you would admire its curves, steep slope down and F1-like road borders.
  • Down at the Boulevard Louis II and prior to entering the tunnel, you could have a walk by the beach and see The Champions Promenade.
  • You would then go through the tunnel to appear again at the harbour, where you could admire the yachts.
  • Turn left at the Route de la Piscine (which last weekend was used for ice-skating) and end by having a final drink at the bar of the last curve, La Rascasse.

With this simple walk, of no much more than the 3.3km of the official Formula 1 circuit, you would have visited most of the highlights except for the Rocher, where the cathedral, the aquarium and the Palace are located.

If the walking tour was guided, someone knowledgeable of the city could tell you about the prices of houses, VIP residences, sums played at the casino, owners of biggest yachts, firms selling at the Carré d’Or, famous stunts and overtakes at F1 races history, etc, etc.

As far as I know, there is no such guided tour, above you have my two cents.

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The most profitable roulette

Last weekend I attended Riaza’s local festivities with some friends who have a house there. Riaza is a small and beautiful village in the province of Segovia famous for its main square.

One of my friends raised to me the issue of a game being organized by some locals. It was a kind of casino roulette, but very much simplified…

Instead of 36 numbers plus zero, there were only six. Instead of using an actual roulette, they used just a six-sided die and small cup. Instead of casino coins, bets were placed directly with cash, starting from one euro. Instead of using a green clothed table they used a small wooden board with the images of 6 Spanish playing cards; with numbers 1 to 6.

Prize. We did not know how they came up with the amount of the prize, but it was perfectly established to maximize their benefits and attract as many players as possible. In case you bet for the right number, they gave you 4 times the amount you bet plus your stake, i.e., you bet 1 euro and are lucky, you then walk away with 5 euros.

If they had offered more money, the expected value for the organizers would have been zero or a loss. Have they offered less (e.g., to just double the bet) and not so many people would have been tempted by the game.

Offering 4 times the stake to the players, means  to them a mathematical expectation of -0,17 € for a one-euro bet. For the organizers means the opposite: a business with an expected profit of 17% of all the amounts at stake.

Compare this to the business of a casino with a French roulette, with 37 numbers, in which the expected profit for the casino is 2.7% (where the prize for hitting the number is 35 times the amount you bet). This local game is 6 times more profitable than the casino!

The next question is: how much money could they make out of it? I first saw them at 2:30 am of Sunday morning. At 3:30 am they were still there, though at 4:30 am they were not. Let me assume they hold the village-casino for about 8 hours a day (from 20 pm to 4 am, being conservative, i.e., assuming they are not out there during most of day time).

The highest amount we witnessed at the table at one single round was in excess of 40 € (including a 20€ note), but I assume they had some collaborators among the crowd. The lowest amounts were around 6-8 euro per round. Let’s assume the average to be around 10€ per round.

Each round we witnessed lasted very short time: less than a minute, though we did not measure it. Let’s assume there was exactly a minute, and that they kept that rhythm during the 8 hours…

  • They would have earned about 1.67€ per round.
  • About 100€ per hour (33€/hour per person, taking into account that they were three organizers).
  • 800€ per day.

By organizing the game for four or five days during the festivities they managed to take home their monthly salaries for the three of them out of this simple game.

Some times it is surprising how easy a business can be.

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