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Best of John Grochowski

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My Dinner with Jean (and Brad and John)

20 November 2001

Whenever I'm in Las Vegas, I like to check out new casinos, especially those that cater to locals and are likely to have good video poker and blackjack.

Still, at the end of a busy Wednesday, packed with seminars and a trip around the showroom floor at the Global Gaming Expo in the first week of October, I'd normally opt to relax closer to my home base at the Tropicana toward the south end of the Strip. But this was triple points night at the Suncoast, about a 20-minute drive away in north Las Vegas, and that meant the Suncoast was where I would find Jean Scott and her husband, Brad.

"We only play two or three nights a week now," says Scott, The Frugal Gambler author who pops up frequently on Las Vegas specials on the Discovery Channel. "But for triple points, we couldn't resist this."

The Suncoast plays right to Jean's strengths. Her recipe for gambling frugally is to play only the best video poker games, and to take advantage of everything the casino's comps program has to offer. The Suncoast has lots of full-pay video poker, much of it on multigame, multidenomination machines. We settle into games where you can play for nickels, dimes, quarters, 50 cents, $1 or $2, all on the same machine.

Jean and Brad make the most of triple points night, playing $2 10-7 Double Bonus Poker, a 100.17 percent game with expert play. With less in my bankroll, I play 10-7 Double Bonus for $1 and for 50 cents--and hit four Aces on each denomination. To my right, John Robison, author of two upcoming slot machine books, plays 9-6 Jacks or Better.

Now that Jean and Brad own a condo in Las Vegas, they rarely use their comps on hotel rooms, but this night is different. They're staying at the Suncoast, with room, food and beverage on the house. Better just to stay put after a long night of triple-points play. Over dinner, Jean frets about her military son-in-law, soon to be posted near Afghanistan. "It's great to wave the flag and all, but I don't want him in that danger," she says. "And then I wonder if I'm really being patriotic if I don't want him to go."

Assured by all at the table that worrying about a loved one in no way means she's being unpatriotic, Jean lets talk turn to upcoming projects. Years in the making, her follow-up to The Frugal Gambler is nearly ready for publication.

"I finally have the last chapter of Frugal II," she says. "You know, it's a lot of work writing a book."

Robison and I smile knowingly, and I ask if the title really is going to be Frugal Gambler II.

"No, that's just what I call it," she laughs. "I'm sure Deke Castleman, her editor and Anthony Curtis, publisher at Huntington Press will come up with something."

With that, we were off, I to drive back to the Trop, Robison to play for a little while more, Jean and Brad to play well into the night. After all, triple points beckoned.

COMING ATTRACTIONS: I caught up with all kinds of familiar faces at the trade show. Robison, gaming author Henry Tamburin and I took our lunch break together on the second day of the trade show at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Robison's Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots is due out from Huntington Press before Christmas, with his Truth About Slots coming next year.

Tamburin, author of Blackjack: Take the Money and Run and many other books on gaming, is about to retire from his career as a chemist. He'll soon be moving to Las Vegas.

At the Huntington Press booth, I had a long chat with Curtis, whose empire is burgeoning with Robison's and Scott's books among many on the way, along with his monthly Las Vegas Advisor newsletter. His latest coup is as publisher of the annual Bear Stearns casino market analysis, a thick, expensive volume targeted at the industry.

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