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Best of John Grochowski

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My Second First Time

25 July 2020

QUESTION: Do you ever get any fun stories about first times in casinos?

I’ve been thinking about mine since casinos are starting to reopen. When I can convince myself it’s safe to go back, I’m going to treat it as a second “first time,” as if everything is fresh and new.

My real first time came on my 21st birthday, just after midnight. My mom, dad, younger sister and I were in Reno for my brother’s wedding.

My brother had his wedding the day after my birthday. We got there the day before my birthday, and there was a rehearsal dinner on my day. The day before, we checked into the hotel around 4 p.m., so I had a whole eight hours to go before I turned 21.

Mom and dad insisted I wait the eight hours before going into the casino. I looked around, and probably no one would notice. I looked as much 21 as a lot of the girls I saw.

But I waited, and I finally went in with Mom and Dad about 10 minutes to midnight. We found seats together at nickel slot machines – the old three-reel kind. Then I had to wait a few minutes. When it said midnight on Dad’s watch, Mom handed me two rolls of nickels and said, “Happy birthday!”

I wish I could say I hit a jackpot, but just dropping nickels in the slot and pulling the handle was a thrill to me. I still remember the first spin. I got a blank space, a bar and another blank space. Whoopee!

There was one nice winner where I got 80 nickels. They came pouring out of the machine into a tray. I didn’t play long because there was a lot to do the next day, and I actually came out $1 ahead. My sister says I couldn’t stop babbling about it when I got back to the room.

ANSWER: Thanks for the story. I have relayed readers’ tales about their first casino visits in the past, but it’s been some time.

Good luck and stay healthy when you go back to the casinos. I hope it’s as much fun for you as when everything was new.


QUESTION: To me, a “good” casino bet isn’t one where the house edge is under 1 percent or under 2 percent. It’s one where I have the edge. Do you have a list of those?

ANSWER: Any casino game that consistently gives an edge to players would quickly lose its place on the floor. Casinos aren’t in business to give money away.

Opportunities for players to get an edge are limited to games where skill makes a difference. Card counters can get an edge on blackjack. Video poker experts can get an edge on a select few games such as full-pay Deuces Wild and 10-7-5 Double Bonus Poker. Most casinos don’t have those games. There’s a chance for players who are better than others to get an edge in live poker, and a few who know their stuff can get an edge on sports betting.

But most bets have mathematical edges that favor the house. You have the best chance to win when the house edge is low, such as the 1.06-percent edge on the baccarat banker bet or less than 1 percent on pass bets backed by free odds in craps.

When the house edge is low, it takes only a slight deviation from normal results to give you a winning session. So low-edge bets are regarded as good bets even though average results will give the house a profit.
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