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Best of John Grochowski

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Cashing in with $20 bills

10 April 2016

QUESTION: For one of your columns about things other players do, I once saw a person buy in at a craps table for $10,000 – all in $20 bills!

It was just me and another player, in Atlantic City, at the Golden Nugget. The new guy wanted the table for himself and a $50 minimum bet.

We were allowed to keep playing at $10 minimum until the counting was done. That took a while! We were comped $25 by the pit boss for not continuing to play. We watched for a while, then I left for dinner.

The next day I asked a pit boss what the results were. He said the player lost $20,000 (must have bought in again) and had lost another $20,000 days before. No wonder they treated him like gold, he was gold for them!

ANSWER: It’s the all in $20 bills part of your story that gets me. It takes 500 $20 bills to make $10,000. Even at casino cash counting speed, you could get in a few rolls of the dice before an accurate count was finished and verified.

The casino also would have had to file a Currency Transactions Report, required on cash transactions of $10,000 or more within a single business day under the Bank Secrecy Act of 1970.

It’s an anti-money-laundering requirement that applies to any business, not just casinos. If you went to a jeweler or a car dealer and plunked down $10,000 or more in cash, the business would have to file a CTR.

I’ve run into requests from other players to raise the table minimum, though nothing as extreme as a player buying in for $10,000 in cash. Once, I was having a pretty good run at a $25 blackjack table, playing head-to-head with the dealer and spreading my bets from $25 to $125.

The pit supervisor called my dealer for a short conference, and the dealer returned and asked me, “A lot of your hands are for $50 and up. Would you mind if we raised this to a $50 table? A man and woman over there want a $50 table, and this is where there’s space.”

I told her I wasn’t comfortable with a $50 minimum, but would be happy to have the couple at the table if I could be grandfathered in at $25 for another half hour. That satisfied everyone, and the move was made.


QUESTION: Three Card Poker question for you: You list the strategy for ante-bet as betting with Q-6-4 or better, or folding with anything less. What about a pair of 2s, with another low card like a 5? There’s nothing anywhere near as high as a Queen, and all three cards are even lower than a 6.

ANSWER: In ranking poker hands, a pair beats a high card, so a pair of 2s outranks Q-6-4. So your best play is to bet with a pair of 2s or any other pair, regardless of the third card.

That doesn’t mean it’s a winning hand. You bet on a pair of 2s – and for that matter, Q-6-4 and other low hands – because your average losses are less if you bet than if you fold. If you ante $5 and fold, then you lose $5. If you ante $5 and bet $5, then sometimes you’ll lose $10, but you’ll win often enough that your average loss is less than $5.

Q-6-4 is the turning point. With that hand or better, your average loss is less than your ante if you make the bet. With lesser hands, your average loss is more than the ante if you bet.
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