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28 July 2016
By John Grochowski
When I play table games, I don’t start with any scouting mission. I don’t look for tables where players have been winning, nor do I stop to watch a few hands of card games, dice rolls at craps or spins of the roulette wheels.
I just look for empty space at the game I want to play at the minimum bet that fits my budget.
It’s long been ingrained that there is no tendency of a hot game to stay hot or a cold game to stay cold.
There are players who include scouting missions in all their casino visits, and others who don’t. A few have shared their views:
CAL: I’m a craps player, and I absolutely scout tables. If everybody is whooping and hollering at one table and all quiet and looking grim at the other, I want to be with the winners.
To me, when the dice are hot, they’re hot. All my best runs, the times I’ve made five, six, seven passes, have been at hot tables where everybody else was winning, too.
RANDY: My work friend plays a lot of blackjack, and he and I were talking once about hot tables.
He told me, “Randy, if you see a table where people are winning, don’t just automatically jump in. It could just be that a lot of high cards are coming out and players are getting blackjacks and other good hands. The low cards still have to come out sometime, and when they do, the tide will turn.”
I don’t count cards and I don’t know if that’s true or not, but that’s kind of the way I play. I shy away from the hot tables. If I wind up at a cold table, then at least there’s more open space from players leaving.
BRIAN: Deep down, I don’t put a lot of stock in hot tables or cold tables, but it’s more fun to play with happy players. I look for blackjack tables where players have big piles of chips.
Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. One time I took the last seat with six players who all had that winning look. One man told me, “Get ready to win. Joy – the dealer – has been really good to us.”
Another said, “I just hope you don’t change our luck.”
It worked to a charm. My first hand I won a double down. Joy seemed to bust half the time. Even when a new dealer came on – Frank was his name – we all did pretty well. I bought in for $100, played for an hour and cashed out more than $500.
But there was this other time. Everybody was in a good mood, but as soon as I joined the game the dealer started pulling 21s. It didn’t matter what she had up. She’d have a 6 up, turn up a 10 and everybody has their hopes up. She pulls a 5. Boom! goes the dynamite.
Other players started joking about my draining all the luck. At least most were joking. One lady left the table and told me, “I’m sure you’re a nice guy, but I hope never to play with you again.”
JOE: Of course I scout tables! You have to.
I know you guys say you’re as likely to win at a table that’s been cold as one that’s been hot, but you couldn’t prove it by me. I tried bucking the trend and went to a quiet craps table, and all around the table, it was point-7, point-7, point-7. Forget that. Give me a table where everyone’s winning.
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