CasinoCityTimes.com

Gurus
News
Newsletter
Author Home Author Archives Author Books Search Articles Subscribe
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Newsletter Signup
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
John Grochowski Archives
More Strategy Experts

Gaming Guru

author's picture
 

The bad becomes good

18 January 2018

By John Grochowski
QUESTION: I notice that video slot machines have more different symbols per reel than three-reel slots.

On three-reel games, I figure a normal game has something like cherries, single bars, double bars, triple bars, 7s and a jackpot symbol. That's only six different symbols.

On video slots, you might see five or more symbols based on the game theme, plus A-K-Q-J-10. On one game, I counted 14 different symbols.

Does that make any difference in how often you win?

ANSWER: If the only factor in a slot machine's hit frequency was the number of unique symbols, then a game with fewer symbols would yield more frequent wins.

But the situation is more complex than that. Symbols are not programmed to land on a payline with equal frequency. Low-paying symbols occur more often than once per seven spins on a three-reel game or once per 14 on a video slot, and that can increase overall hit frequency.

Also, the presence of more paylines on a video slot means there are dozens of chances for each potential winner to line up. A combination might line up on a specific payline only once per 200 spins, but if a game has 40 paylines you're seeing it more line once per five spins.

Despite the greater number of unique symbols on video slots, the other factors mean the video slots usually have greater hit frequency than three-reel slots.


QUESTION: Have we reached a point where non-advantage players should think about making craps or video poker their first game? I've seen so much 6:5 blackjack it frustrates the hell out of me.

Even when it's not 6:5, the rules are just so bad. Last week, I was in a casino where the basic game was eight decks, hit soft 17, double only on hard 9 or 10, split pairs once, no double after split, late surrender. That's just so bad. Craps plus odds gets you a better deal.

ANSWER: Blackjack has been getting tougher, no doubt about it. Basic strategy players often will find themselves in a casino where they can get a lower house edge on craps plus double odds or more than on blackjack. In the case of the game you found, even craps with single odds would get you there.

However, players don't choose games solely on the house edge. They choose games they like to play, and blackjack and craps are very different experiences.

I do my best to steer people away from 6:5 blackjack, but the came you describe, 0.91% against a basic strategy player, creates a conundrum. Ten years ago I'd have suggested you find a different casino and a different game. Nowadays, the most common six-deck tables have hit soft 17 games and house edges near 0.7%.

I'd like to say that if we all avoided such games, casinos would respond with better rules. But I don't really believe that. I think they'd respond with fewer blackjack tables.


QUESTION: Why can't I find five-card draw in casino poker rooms? That's the game I grew up playing with my dad at home, and I'd like to play.

ANSWER: I'm no poker pro, one reason is there are more rounds of betting in stud games.
In five-card draw, you ante, bet after seeing your cards, and bet once more after the draw. In Hold'em, you start with the blinds, bet after seeing your two cards, then again after the three-card flop, as well as after the one-card turn and the one-card river.

Serious players see Hold'em as more of a skill game than draw, and that's what they prefer.

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.

 

Different edges for the same bets

14 January 2018
Even though the house edge at most casino games is unchanging on every play, you'll sometimes see different edges listed by different sources. It's not necessarily that one source or another is wrong. It's just that they start with different assumptions. Ray, who says he's been a regular reader for at least 10 years, e-mailed recently to ask about some of those differences. ... (read more)
 

Shills at slots?

11 January 2018
QUESTION: This happened a long time ago, but I've always wondered if something was up. Maybe you have some insight. Early 1990s, my wife and I were in a casino for the first time. This other couple came up to us, both carrying buckets of dollar tokens. The woman said, "You wouldn't believe it. You HAVE to play that machine," and she pointed to a dollar machine. ... (read more)
 

Knowing a slot machine's return

7 January 2018
There have long been two basic approaches to player rewards programs: Some reveal how many dollars in play it takes to earn a point and how many points it takes to redeem for free play, meals or other comps. Others keep that information confidential, leaving the club free to weigh other factors in awarding benefits. ... (read more)

Next 10 Articles >

  • Featured Articles

Craps Systems

Craps players love systems, trying to mix and match bets in hopes of finding the magical formula that will beat the casino. Just about any system will work sometimes, and when a player wins with a system, it encourages another try, and another, and another. In the long run, of course, the casino comes out on top. ... (read more)
 

Multi Strike Poker

It was a Friday morning in Joliet, and I'd been playing a little video poker aboard Empress II, waiting for the 11 a.m. opening of Empress I and its video poker room. Soon, if it hasn't already happened by the time you read this, Empress' new barge will open, ending such little scheduling inconveniences, but on this day, I found myself passing time with a little quarter Triple Play Poker. ... (read more)
 

Comps - The Basics

A colleague of mine likes to refer to casino comps as "free stuff." And for those who know their basic strategy in blackjack, optimal strategies for certain video poker games and who know how comping systems work, the "stuff" really is free--the value ... (read more)
 

Basic Strategy for Spanish 21

In the last couple of weeks, we've looked at basic strategy in blackjack. Sit down at most blackjack tables in any jurisdiction, play basic strategy and you'll narrow the house edge to a half-percent or so, perhaps a little more or a little less depending on house rules. ... (read more)
 

Single-Deck Basic Strategy

Those whose casino memories stretch back far enough may recall a time when the standard "Las Vegas Strip" blackjack game was dealt from a single deck of cards, with the dealer standing on all 17s. That started to change in the 1960s as operators grew ... (read more)
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