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Blackjack Shuffle Talk

26 January 2020

By John Grochowski
QUESTION: I started playing blackjack when Atlantic City opened at the end of the 1970s. I guess that dates me, huh? Since then, I’ve played a lot in Las Vegas, too, and later on in some of the newer places.

You know what I really miss? Hand-shuffled games. I don’t really feel luckier there, but I miss talking with other players and the dealer during shuffles.

With automatic shufflers, maybe we talk during play, but it’s about the cards. On shuffle breaks, we’d talk about our home towns, shows we’d seen, what restaurants to try. It just seemed like a much friendlier game than it is now.

The casinos must make more money with the shufflers or they wouldn’t pay for them. Do they get a card mix that’s better for the house? Whatever, it seems like it was more fun to play the old way.

ANSWER: It’s not the mix of cards. It’s the speed of play that drive casinos to use automatic shufflers.

Eliminating or dramatically reducing shuffle breaks means more time to play blackjack. The increased number of hands per hour favors whoever has the mathematical edge, and that’s almost always the house.

In a standard shuffler for a six-deck game, the just-played decks are placed into the shuffler, a freshly shuffled six decks are taken out, a player is allowed to cut the cards, and play can resume.

The odds of the game are no different than with a hand-shuffle, but more hands are played.

Giving the house edge more chances to work against you is a negative for most players, but for card counters, the automatic shufflers give them more chances to let their edge work against the house.

That’s why continuous shufflers were developed. They’re more expensive and less common than standard shufflers, but they make counting cards impossible. Not only that, they eliminate the break for a fresh deck and cut, so they bring even more hands per hour than other shufflers.

For basic strategy players or average players, hand-shuffled games are best, followed by standard shufflers with continous shufflers last. For card counters, standard automatic shufflers are best, followed by hand shuffles, with continuous shufflers out of the question.


QUESTION: I’m curious about how long video slots have been around. I guess I started to see them sometime in the ’90s. I remember Reel ’Em In, Jackpot Party and the reel games like Red, White and Blue with the added video screen to have the sevens run a race.

Was that a first wave, or were there earlier games?

ANSWER: It’s believed that the first video slot was Fortune Coin, developed by a company of the same name and invented by Walt Fraley. Fortune Coin made its casino debut in 1976 at the Las Vegas Hilton.

The game mimicked the play of three-reel slots. The bonus events that are the prime attraction of video slots today weren’t even the glint in an engineer’s eye.

Player confidence in video slots was slow to come. The public wasn’t ready for them until the games with a difference came in the 1990s.

Reel ’Em In, released in 1997, was the first massively popular video slot in the U.S. But the change already was underway.

Silicon Gaming’s Odyssey slots made a short-lived impact in 1996, but the combination of internal troubles within the company and a little too much caution in making sure games were within players’ comfort zones brought limitations.

It wasn’t until games with bonus events gave slots a creative boost in the following year that video slots really started to take off.

This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at fscobe@optonline.net.

 

Two Pair Video Poker Hands

23 January 2020
Video poker strategy isn’t always about making what seems to be a common-sense play. Two-pair hands are a prime example. That’s something I learned in the 1990s when Double Bonus Poker was a new game. I read a book that said when two pair included two Aces, Kings, Queens or Jacks, the best play was to hold the high pair and discard the other. ... (read more)
 

It's a New Year!

19 January 2020
On a chilly mid-December afternoon, a text alerted me that Blackjack Bob wanted to talk. I had nothing more important going on than a newspaper crossword puzzle, so I got back to him right away,. Bob wanted to know if I was doing my usual New Year’s resolutions column. Once a year, I think it’s important ... (read more)
 

No Zero Roulette

16 January 2020
QUESTION: I have an idea for roulette. What if they were to change the zeroes into just two more ordinary numbers, 37 and 38. Instead of 1 through 36 plus 0 and 00, it would have 1 through 38. Roulette gives the house an edge through the zeroes, right? So if it had 1 through 38, would it be an even game? ... (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:

Winning Tips for Casino Games

> More Books By John Grochowski