I didn't post this on News because it really isn't. But I think it's a terrific story, and I wanted to share it with people I know will appreciate it.
We were up at Cedar Point when this gentleman was there filming that piece. He is outstanding at what he does (and very confident to boot!), and the fact that he donates everything is very cool. I wonder if he somehow can write off all of those prizes as a charitable deduction on his taxes.
I have a friend who wins the peach basket game every time. Once he spent the better part of an afternoon at Kings Island on it, and when he was done playing for himself he collected money from bystanders to win for them too. Not quite as charitable as this fellow, though, and I think he eventually got cut off as well.
The house never likes a sharp.
It's actually not that simple in reality. People who would be considered "experts" in these kinds of games actually do bring some positive benefits to the parks/carnivals, etc. even though it seems like parks are always getting the worst of the deal.
Prize limits limit the amount of stuff the expert can win at the game in any given timeframe, which essentially minimizes the amount of prizes won to a set amount. Prize limits are usually set with a price to play vs. value of prize won schedule in mind; i.e., the higher the value proposition offered to the player the stricter the limits get. This is the reason why you'll see the "harder" games with XBox's, iPads, etc. with once-per-season prize limits. Even factoring in the play by experts, parks know with a high degree of certainty what their games are expected to take in the way of profit. Also notice that most of the games that Mr. Drakos play are games with a relatively low value proposition being offered. The games he plays have a one or two large prize limit daily so the parks are limiting their exposure to players like him.
What's not mentioned, however, is that he (and others like him) is essentially a walking advertisement for the games. People see him walking around with all of those prizes and it lets everyone know that the games can be beaten, aren't rigged, etc. Some games managers are smart enough to realize this and allow the experts to continue to play with reasonable prize limits. Some games managers only see what the experts are taking without evaluating what the expert is providing their games in free advertisement. It's an odd coexistence at times.
As with everything, practice, practice, practice. Experts, like this guy, usually have had an opportunity to play the game a lot. Ever notice how the game operator always knows how to do it and makes it look easy? It's not only because he knows the trick, but because he stands there all day and plays. The poor dudes who walk a park or fair midway once or twice a year are lured in and don't stand a chance.
I agree with the premise that parks benefit by experts, seeing someone win always makes the others think they can do it too. And I can attest to the walking advertisement thing myself. I'm no expert, but once at Six Flags my whiffle ball somehow, miraculously, impossibly went straight into the gold goblet and I spent the rest of the day with the largest Bugs Bunny they had riding on my shoulders. It's a good thing I like attention, cause I got it, and Bugs and I had a ball. The ride photo of him on the flume with all of us was hilarious.
If you still have that photo, you should make it your avatar.
I dunno... I always thought the pic of me smoking a cigarette on the Tilt a Whirl would be better...
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