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Pick Up Fallen Card or Leave the Game?

24 April 2022

QUESTION: I was playing blackjack at a two-deck pitch table. You know the games. Instead of cards dealt from a shoe and immediately turned face up, the dealer holds the cards and deals face down.

That's my favorite way to play if the rules are reasonable and minimum bets fit my bankroll. At $25, I'm in. At $100, I'm not. I like to be allowed to pick up my cards.

Everything was going OK. Friendly game with three other players. I was up a couple of hundred. Then something weird happened. The dealer bounced a card off the table. The card edge hit the felt, it caromed at a crazy angle, and I wasn't paying enough attention to block it. It landed face down on the empty chair next to me.

I wasn't sure what to do. I've had cards fly off the table before and I know to let a floorman go get it. But this was next to my space and still face down. So I asked the dealer if I could just pick it up myself. She called over a supervisor, told him what happened, and the supervisor said he should go get it. He put it on the felt in front of me and we kept playing.

ANSWER: A lot of players would have automatically reached for the card, but you did the right thing in waiting. CasinoS are understandably nervous about allowing players to bring cards into play from the floor, the seat next to you or anywhere off the table. There's a risk of card substitution.

Exactly what's done once the card lands should be spelled out in internal controls. Casinos detail procedures that must be approved by the state gaming board or commission. If internal controls say that when a card flies off the table, it must be retrieved by an employee, that's the procedure the casino will follow.


QUESTION: On one of those crazy games with the dollar bills, twos, fives, hundreds, etc., I got free spins twice in a row. That was fun. It usually takes me a lot longer to get free spins.

Afterward, I was in the middle of an argument between my daughter and daughter-in-law. My son's wife started telling me I should take the money and run and that now the game was going to cool off. My daughter said just the opposite, that I had a hot game and stay put.

We were having fun together, but I didn't want to listen to any arguments, especially since it was a machine I was playing and they weren't. I told them both I was going to stay put because I thought the game was fun, not because of any hot and cold stuff. I started losing and wasn't having fun, THEN I'd move because I wouldn't be having fun anymore.

I played about another 15 minutes before I decided it was eating too much money. Then I joined them on a different bank of machines. Did I do anything wrong?

ANSWER: This sounds like a good common-sense approach to me. Play for fun and keep the losses under control.

There is no tendency for a hot machine to stay hot, nor is there any tendency for it to immediately turn cold. The random number generator doesn't know what your results have been. Odds of winners are the same on every spin.

Those odds will lead to more losing sessions than winners, so enjoy winners when they come, keep wagers at a comfortable level, and don't read too much into short streaks.
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