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Best of John Grochowski

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A shuffle through the gaming mailbag

1 March 2012

Q. I was playing on a bank of Blazing 7s slot machines where I have two favorite machines, one on each end. I played one and a lady was sitting at the other one -- not playing, just sitting. She went to play another machine so I went to my other favorite, put money in and proceeded to play. No luck. I went to a different bank of machines and was approached by a manger who asked where was I playing, in what area.

The issue was that someone had left credit on the machine. I just put my bill in and started playing. Obviously I was not paying attention. I never even looked at the ticket before I moved on.

The manager told me, "Gaming must be called, you broke the gaming law, please wait." They took my license and phone number. I apologized and said "OK." The security slot lady was VERY rude and demanding. She acted like I stole the newbies/rookies/people's life savings. It was $20.25. I said, "Fine, please let me give them the money, I am truly sorry, I didn't know."

There was no con here, just an error. As I sat, and sat, and sat waiting, I was still playing and asked my husband to go cash in a couple of tickets I had in my purse. One wouldn't work in the machines. The ticket had been flagged. I said "Just give it to them." It had $37.50 on it. I really was trying to do the right thing.

It took an hour and a half of sitting and waiting. The laws are the laws, and I am fine with that, but it was not stellar customer service, very poor. I will never go to this casino again. I doubt if they care, but they lost two good customers.

A. Given no previous incidents, an hour and a half wait and rude treatment strike me as way over the top. The casino is permitted to try to recover the money, but your offer to the return the money should have been enough to bring the incident to a close.

In most jurisdictions, casinos are required to submit a document of internal controls to the state gaming board for approval. The internal controls will not be exactly the same from casino to casino, but they detail such things as how a casino will go about paying a hand-paid jackpot, how often cards will be changed at a blackjack table and the method of shuffle, what happens to credits left on a slot machine and much, much more.

In theory, any money left on a machine belongs to the casino, and players other than those who left it there may not claim it. In practice, I've had attendants tell me, "Why don't you start over there? That machine has credits on it." It all depends on how the individual casino wants to enforce its rules.

As a player, I'd have done exactly what you did. I'd put my own money in the game, and if there was extra on the machine, all the better.

Since there was no arrest made, I doubt that you've been red-flagged beyond there being an incident report at that casino. If a pattern developed and the casino thought you were credit-scavenging on any kind of regular basis, action might be stronger.

I agree that the casino did not handle this well. Like you, I would be wary of returning to a casino that made it into a bigger, more embarrassing incident than it needed to be.

Q. In a recent column, you wrote, "Let's use 9/6 Double Double Bonus Poker as an example. Dealt king of spades, queen of hearts, jack of clubs, 8 of diamonds and 2 of hearts, you have no chance at a four-of-a-kind if you hold K-Q-J." You responded by suggesting you hold the K-Q-J to garner a better chance of a payout.

As a Double Double Bonus player here in Las Vegas, given that hand, I usually would hold only TWO of those high cards (probably the K-J), on the slim chance of maybe getting a four-of-a-kind. If you hold all three, your chances of a four-of-a-kind are zero. Is this strategy wrong? Should I be holding all three high cards?

A. Given that hand, the average return per five coins wagered is 2.41 coins if you hold K-Q-J. That drops to 2.17 coins if you hold Q-J, and 2.11 if you hold either K-J or K-Q.

Holding all three consecutive high cards enhances your chances of drawing a straight as well as maximizing chances at a high pair. Chances of drawing four-of-a-kind by holding just two unpaired high cards are remote. Regardless of which two you hold, there are 16,125 possible three-card draws, and only two of them will bring four-of-a-kind. That 1-in-8,000-plus shot is nowhere near strong enough to justify discarding another high card.

Recent Articles
Best of 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

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:

The Craps Answer Book

> More Books By John Grochowski