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Best of John Grochowski

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Gambling games and tips

1 November 2015

QUESTION: I met the slot director at the casino by us, and we were talking about different games. He said one of them was a “gambling game,” and before I could ask him what he meant, he was called away. So I’m asking you: Aren’t they all gambling games? They’ll all take your money.

ANSWER: High-volatility games that put an emphasis on big wins but which also have strong possibilities of fast losses sometimes are referred to as “gambling games.”

Low-volatility games that features frequent small wins that extend your playing time but which do not offer players as strong a chance at large jackpots are called “entertainment games” or “time on device games.”

When three-reel games dominated slot floors, virtually all were gambling games. Some, such as Blazing 7s with a top pay of $1,000 plus any progressive buildup on a dollar machine, featured relatively modest jackpots that occurred fairly often.

At the other extreme was Megabucks, with a multimillion-dollar jackpot that was far, far less than a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The vast majority of games inhabited a space somewhere in between, but all emphasized the chance at a jackpot.

Early video bonusing slots were something altogether different. They put the emphasis on playing for fun and the entertainment factors built into the bonus events.

Video entertainment didn’t eliminate the need for higher-volatility games, however. Three-reel slots still fill some of that need, but video slots with more volatility and more potential for bigger wins had to be developed, too. One way to get there is a lower frequency of small wins on the main game, and use of free spins as the main bonus event. Free spins on a low hit-frequency games sometimes will return nothing, and sometimes will pay big, giving you a “gambling game.”


QUESTION: I’m having a real problem with the idea of tipping the dealer. If I’m playing basic strategy blackjack and am already facing a house edge of about 0.6%, the tips add to the house edge, right? About how much? Do you tip?

ANSWER: To answer your last question first, yes, I do tip dealers. Their base pay is not high and their service makes a difference in my experience. A friendly, helpful dealer makes my time at the table more pleasant, and I tip accordingly.

How much do the tips add to edge against you? That depends on how much you’re betting and tipping.

Let’s say you’re playing at a pleasantly busy low-limit table, not packed but with players coming and going, and you’re averaging 100 hands per hour. Further, let’s say you’re averaging a $10 bet per yourself, and making occasional $2 bets for the dealer that average $10 per hour.

Under those circumstances, you’re betting $1,000 per hour for yourself, $10 for the dealer for a total of $1,010. The $10 in tips for the dealer divided by the $1,010 in total wagers is 0.0099, which multiplied by 100 converts to 0.99%.

With the 0.6% house edge you mentioned, you’d average $6 in losses per $1,000 in wagers. So $10 in tips for the dealer per hour are larger than your average loss.

What if you’re a $25 bettor, but still tipping $10 per hour? Your average hourly loss on your own bets rises to $15, now larger than the dealer tips, and the tips are .39% of your total wagers.

If you tip more, those percentages rise, and if you tip less, they decrease. It’s up to you to determine your own comfort level.
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:

Winning Tips for Casino Games

> 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