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Best of John Grochowski

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Caribbean Stud is slipping

8 February 2015

QUESTION: Why are there fewer Caribbean Stud tables than there used to be? I was in a casino that didn’t have a single table. Not that long ago, it was a game everybody had.

ANSWER: Part of the reason is just natural ebb and flow in the popularity of games. Three-Card Poker has taken over as the most popular of the poker-based games in table pits. Its more frequent wins are drawing more customers than the opportunities for big jackpots in Caribbean Stud.

Another reason is increased competition for pit space from other poker-based table games. Casinos that had space for both Three-Card Poker and Caribbean Stud find they have to make decisions on what to keep if they try other options such as Four-Card Poker, Mississippi Stud, Texas Hold’em Bonus Poker or the old standby Let It Ride.

On top of that, table games space has been shrinking for a generation or two. Slot machines have claimed ever-larger shares of floor space and they have come to dominate modern casinos. Today’s casinos derive more than 80 percent of their revenue from slots — a little less in some markets, but more than 90 percent in others.

What that means is that when a casino adds a new table game, it’s unlikely to expand its table pit to accommodate. Instead, every new table game means an old one must go. The most popular games remain blackjack and craps, and operators have to keep enough tables in those games to satisfy customers. A roulette table or two also is a necessary part of the mix.

Game designers come up with new poker-based games every year, and to a large extent they compete against each other for floor space. Caribbean Stud retains a loyal following and still has a place on most casino floors, even if numbers have been reduced a bit. It has maintained a place in American casinos for roughly 25 years, which makes it a phenomenal success in a business where games other than the old standards — blackjack, craps, roulette and baccarat — come and go with regularity.


QUESTION: I have a little casino souvenir that’s a little different, I think it’s a cardboard ticket, a small one like you’d get in raffles or video arcades, from the Golden Nugget 24 Karat Club in Atlantic City. I’m told it used to come out of slot machines. Can you tell me anything else about it? Does it have any value?

ANSWER: The 24 Karat Club began in the mid-1980s and was one of the earliest slot clubs – some say it was the first. If you used your card when you played, as your play accumulated, the machine would dispense tickets instead of electronically tallying points, as in modern clubs. When you collected enough tickets, you could redeem them at the club booth for cash back and other comps.

The club launched at the Atlantic City Golden Nugget – the club later known as the Atlantic Club before closing last year. Later, the same system was adopted by the Golden Nugget in downtown Las Vegas.

The system had a quirk that attracted advantage players. If you left a machine after partial play toward your next ticket, that partial play would stay with the machine instead of migrating with your card, as in modern systems. Advantage players would look for machines where they needed to play only a few dollars to get the next ticket, and when they got it, they’d move on to look for another such machine. Some small-time players achieved big-time comps that way.

Practically everything used in casinos is a collectible to someone, but I do not know of any slot club ticket collectors. It may be that its biggest value is to you as a keepsake. But if you’re curious about value, you might try contacting the Casino Chip and Gaming Tokens Collectors Club, www.ccgtcc.com. Its members are familiar with a wide range of casino collectibles.
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:

> More Books By John Grochowski