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Triple Play and Taxes

15 May 2022

QUESTION: I had a great hand on Triple Play Poker, and it left me with a tax question.
I was playing 8-5 Double Double Bonus on a quarter Triple Play Machine. I was dealt Ace-Jack of clubs and a bunch of low cards, so I drew three cards.

Miracle of miracles, the bottom hand brought the other three Aces, the middle hand brought the 10, King and Queen of clubs, and the top hand brought Jacks of spades and hearts.

That gave me four Aces for 800 credits ($200), a royal flush for 4,000 credits ($1,000) and three Jacks for 15 coins ($3.75).

An attendant congratulated me but told me I had to sign a tax form before she could pay me.
That didn't seem right. I had three hands and none were over $1,200. If I was playing a single-hand game and got those results on three hands in a row, I'd have just gotten the credits on my meter with no tax form.

The attendant said the IRS didn't look at it that way, and I'd have to sign for a $1,203.75 jackpot before she could pay me.

Obviously, I wasn't going to walk away from the money, so I signed. But is that really the rule?

ANSWER: Congratulations! That's two miracle draws at once. With that start, the royal was a 1 in 16,215 shot. Same deal on four Aces: 1 in 16,215.

As for the tax issue, the attendant got it right. The IRS regards your bet as a single play, and all winnings are counted toward your total return on that play. Your win surpassed the $1,200 cutoff, so the casino is required to have you sign a tax form before you can be paid.


QUESTION: I just read your article on "Charlies" in blackjack, and it reminded me that back in the old days there was a casino in Las Vegas that did pay on six-card Charlies. It was the Las Vegas Club downtown in the days when they used to advertise the most liberal rules in blackjack. I guess that was back in the 1980s.

ANSWER: You are correct. It was the Las Vegas Club downtown that advertised the world's most liberal blackjack rules, and it did pay on six-card Charlies -- six cards with a total of 21 or less.

In recent years, the Plaza in downtown Las Vegas has paid six-card Charlies while advertising "The World's Most Liberal 21." The Plaza game is based on the Las Vegas Club model, but there are differences. At the Plaza, the house edge against a basic strategy player is about 1.3 percent, while in the old Las Vegas Club days, the edge was only about 0.2 percent.

The main culprit is the payoff on blackjacks. The Las Vegas Club paid the standard 3-2. The Plaza pays 2-1 if both cards in a blackjack are the same suit, but pays only 6-5 on other blackjacks. Only a quarter of blackjacks are suited, so you're getting the reduced payback 75 percent of the time.

Las Vegas Club dealers stood on all 17s, while Plaza hits soft 17. Plaza offers late surrender, but it's watered down from the Las Vegas Club version that allowed players to surrender after hitting, so if you hit 5-3 and drew an 8 for 16, you could surrender. At the Plaza, you can surrender only on your first two cards.

The Plaza does pay six-card Charlies as well as allowing double downs after any number of cards and putting no limits on the number of times you can resplit Aces.
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