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Best of John Grochowski

Gaming Guru

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Online Play

21 June 2020

QUESTION: I read your column about people who have been playing online while live casinos are closed, and I had to laugh with the blackjack player who’s playing mostly slot games.

I’m in exactly the same situation. I don’t live in a state where you can play for money, so I play a little in the social casinos. It’s probably a couple of hours a day, and it’s usually in the evening during TV time with my wife. She watches a lot of shows that don’t really interest me, so I kind of half watch while playing online slots.

When I play blackjack, I like to have other players around me. I like to have shuffle breaks, or at least cut breaks with automatic shufflers, where you can talk with the dealer and players. It makes it more friendly, I think.

I also like to see how the cards are coming out and raise my bets when I think it’s going good. Online, it doesn’t matter how the cards are coming out since they’re shuffled every hand.

What do you think? Are slots a better online experience if you take winning and losing real money out of the equation?

ANSWER: Imagine the situation if online slots mimicked the three-reel games that dominated slot floors into the late 1990s.

There were no bonus events. Emphasis was on your shot to win, just as it is on table games. Slots’ prime attraction was a chance to win big while the overall return was less than that on good table bets.

If those slots dominated online play today, I doubt any blackjack players would find them more interesting than blackjack for non-money play.

Slot manufacturers have gotten really good at producing games that are fun to play as games, regardless of whether money is involved. The collection of free spins and bonus events on modern slots keep players engaged.

The goal wasn’t to develop games that would keep online, free-play patrons entertained. It was to develop games that would keep casual players in their seats even when the wins weren’t coming.

Is blackjack entertaining enough to sustain interest without wagering? For most players, perhaps not. Many more players choose slots than blackjack in live casinos, and the gap is much larger online.

In live casinos, I play a wide variety of games to stay current in writing about them, but when playing for my own enjoyment, I most often choose blackjack or video poker.

When I play blackjack or video poker at home, I don’t play in social casinos. Instead, I focus on software that tells me when I’m making mistakes. For me, that adds fun in concentration so I don’t set off the warnings while improving my game.


QUESTION: A question about place bets. Everyone says 6 and 8 are the good ones and everything else is bad, but you have to bet multiples of $6 on those and $5 on everything else. Don’t the bigger bets negate the house edge difference?

ANSWER: House edges are 1.52 percent on 6 or 8, 4 percent on 5 or 9 and 6.67 percent on 4 or 10.

Imagine 100 decisions betting $6 on 6 and $5 each on 5 and 4 – or 8, 9 or 10

Your average loss on 6 would be $9.12, while it would be $20 on 5 and $33.35 on 4. Averages would be the same on 8 as on 6, on 9 as 5 and 10 as 4.

Even with bigger bets on 6 or 8, average outcomes in dollars and cents are far better than on other numbers.
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