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Is It Better to Win Early or Late?

20 August 2002

Is it better to win early, or is it better to win late? Readers have asked me that often over the years. My standard response is that if I'm playing near home, I'd rather win late and bring all the money home. If I'm staying at a casino hotel for a few days, I'd rather win early, put my original stake away and play with the winnings.

But the opposite way is fine with me, too. It's when the wins never come that the trips are tough.

Just ask Marjorie, a regular reader who phoned me last week. She can tell you from recent experience that any time you win, it's all good.

"We go to Las Vegas several times a year," she started. "I like to play video poker, quarters. My sister and I went in March, and we wanted to check in at noon, but our room wasn't ready. I always stay at the Stardust because of the free rooms."

I understood, I told her. I've stayed at the Stardust at the north end of the Strip several times, mainly because Stardust Slot Club is generous with room offers to repeat customers who put in a reasonable amount of play.

"Since our room wasn't ready, we went to play video poker. I wanted to play at the Royal Flush Bar, but the machines were full, so we went back by the Baccarat Bar. At about 12:30, my sister wanted to go see if our room was ready, but I told her no, I wanted to play a few more hands first. Wouldn't you know it? I hit a royal flush!"

That's the way to start off a trip. A quick $1,000, and then you can have some fun.

"That's not all. My sister likes to play Deuces Wild, and they have some nice machines across the street at the Riviera. We decided to go there. I don't really like Deuces Wild, so while she played the deuces, I went to another machine. Lo and behold, I drew another royal!"

Two that close together? That's wonderful, I told her.

"We went back to the Stardust to put the money in the room. When we came back down, the machine that I hit the first royal on was empty. Would you believe it? By the time we were in Las Vegas four hours, I'd won over $4,000. I had some other big wins. I'd hit the four Aces with a deuce for $500 (on Double Double Bonus Poker), plus four Aces for $200 several times."

That, I told her, is one great start to a trip. You can't help but have a good time when you're a big winner right from the start.

The next month, she told me, was a different experience from the start.

"I went back in April with a friend for my birthday. We couldn't win anything. You know you're not going to win every time, but you hope for a little something to keep you going.

"We decided to go to the Monte Carlo. We arrived at 10:15, and by 10:30 I had a royal flush! And I did it holding only one card. I held the King of hearts and drew the other four."

A quick thousand will make up for a lot of earlier losses. Nice way to come back.

"We went back to the Stardust, to the Baccarat Bar. I couldn't believe it. I held just a Jack of spades, and drew another royal flush.

"I've hit more royal flushes in the last two months probably than I'd hit in 10 years. Have you ever heard of anything like it?"

It's great to get on streaks like that, I told her. In the long run, royals should turn up about once per 40,000 hands. But sometimes you can go hundreds of thousands of hands without a royal, and sometimes they show up in short order.

I'd had a similar streak a few years ago. Over lunch in Las Vegas one day, I was talking with Las Vegas Advisor publisher Anthony Curtis about gambling results. I'd been holding my own at the blackjack table but was in the red on video poker.

Curtis asked, "Have you hit a royal flush lately?" I hadn't. In fact, it had been nearly three years since my last royal, despite quite a bit of play.

"Don't worry about it," he said. "You'll hit a royal one of these days, and the bottom line will look a lot better."

I didn't hit a royal on that Las Vegas trip, but I did hit one on a riverboat about two weeks later. I hit another on a riverboat a month after that, then another month later came a third riverboat royal, a day before leaving for Las Vegas again. On that Las Vegas trip, I hit still another.

Four royals in three months, after going nearly three years without one.

That story struck home with Marjorie.

"That's just what it was like for me. I can't wait to go back. I think we're going again in the fall."

With big wins early in one trip, and big wins later in the next, I'd be anxious for the next time, too. When it comes to winning, any time is the right time.

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:

Winning Tips for Casino Games

> More Books By John Grochowski