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The cost of standing at blackjack

27 May 2018
A long time ago, I attended seminar in which Peter Griffin, the late mathematician and author of "The Theory of Blackjack," told the imaginary tale of Mr. Fourteen. It was Griffin's way of illustrating why the best play on many hands depends on the dealer's up card. His Mr. Fourteen always started with 14 — the casino even painted a 14 hand on his spot at the table. ... (read more)
 

Math rules for video poker and craps

24 May 2018
QUESTION: I have a question about a multi-hand game that I play at times. (I usually play nickels Triple Play.) The cost is the typical five per hand plus five more coins for the wheel feature. If in the first five cards you are dealt a hand that includes three of a kind — including four of a kind or full houses — a wheel at the top of the game spins. ... (read more)
 

The push

20 May 2018
Several weeks ago, I answered a reader who questioned whether high pair payoffs are really wins since they get you your money back, but no more. They're the equivalent of pushes in blackjack and other games, I told him. Changing the pay table so every payoff was bigger than the wager would create a much more volatile game, and players often would find themselves running out of credits fast. ... (read more)
 

Scratch-off lottery vs. slots

17 May 2018
QUESTION: I saw an article online that said scratch-off tickets in the Illinois lottery were being left on sale for months after all the top prizes had been won. That's the kind of thing that worries me about slot machines. If a jackpot has already been won, that's a jackpot that's not available anymore, and I have no way of knowing that's happened. ... (read more)
 

Maximizing video poker returns

13 May 2018
One of the strategy quirks in video poker is that the best play is to break up full houses that include three aces in games with big four-ace jackpots. That applies to games that include Double Bonus Poker, Double Double Bonus Poker, Super Aces, White Hot Aces and others with a four-ace jackpot of 800 coins or more for a five-coin wager. ... (read more)
 

Cell phones and free drinks

10 May 2018
QUESTION: I know you like a good story, and I have one from blackjack. This guy buys in and puts his cell phone on the table, right in front of him. The dealer tells him he's going to have to put that away. He grumbles a little, then puts the phone in his pocket. Guy plays a few hands, then one is dealt, ... (read more)
 

Two big slot questions

6 May 2018
Slot machines are the most widely played games in American casinos. And naturally enough, the largest share of my e-mail from readers is about the slots. New players and new readers come aboard all the time, so there are common themes to reader questions. One major one has to do with whether bigger bets affect your chances of winning, for better or worse. ... (read more)
 

Get the strategy right

3 May 2018
QUESTION: I don’t understand why 9/6 Jacks or Better is supposed to pay more than 9/6 Double Double Bonus Poker. You’re really playing for four of a kind, and those pay so much more on Double Double Bonus. All you can get is 125 coins on Jacks or Better no matter what the four of a kind, and on Double Double Bonus you get at least 250 and can get 2,000. ... (read more)
 

Superstitions

29 April 2018
I’m not a superstitious sort. I don’t carry lucky icons, wear lucky clothing or perform good-luck rituals while I play. I’ve been known to egg on my brother Jay in his jackpot dance, probably to the amusement of surveillance rooms everywhere. If others have rituals they like to follow, more power to them. ... (read more)

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John Grochowski
John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

> More Books By John Grochowski

John Grochowski
John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

> More Books By John Grochowski