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Best of John Grochowski

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Questions from new players

20 September 2015

QUESTION: I have a few questions. Should you tip the cocktail waitress if you only ask for soda or cranberry juice? Why do casinos put their logos on all the complimentary gifts they give you? Why do people stay in the casino and watch you play after they are out of money? Isn’t it bad luck to have someone watch you gamble?

As I’m sure you can guess, I’m a new player.

ANSWER: Let’s take those one by one. I always tip cocktail waitresses, and I don’t drink alcohol while I’m playing. They earn their living through tips, and they are providing you a service by bringing you any beverage, even if it’s a soft drink. Many casinos nowadays have self-serve soft drink dispensers, so if you’re averse to tipping, you can always bring your own beverage to the machine.

Why do casinos put their logos on gifts to players? Because the gifts are there as a form of advertising. It’s there as a reminder that you went to Casino XYZ, and received a nice reward. If it’s something showy and your friends see that casino logo, so much the better. The purpose of all casino comps is to keep you coming back, and marketers think that a little reminder in the form of a casino logo will help accomplish that goal.

As for others watching while you play, are you sure they’re out of money and not just taking a break? I sometimes wander the slot aisles, looking for games I’m not familiar with, and watch others play to see how the bonuses work. I’ll sometimes watch video poker players to get a sense of how well others play. That helps me decide on topics when I address video poker strategy.

A few reasons for watching might not be quite so benign, such as scouting to find players who forget to take their tickets when they cash out. Take normal precautions to protect your wallet, and take extra care if you find someone is watching you as you move from game to game.

Is having someone watch as you play bad luck? No. There’s nothing an observer can do to change your results. The odds remain the same.


QUESTION: I don’t get why blackjack odds are any different for one deck than for six decks. The cards are in exactly the same proportions, there are just six times as many.

ANSWER: The cards are in equal proportions after a fresh shuffle, but that changes as cards are dealt. Each card dealt from a single deck has a greater impact on the remaining deck than each card dealt from six decks.

After a fresh shuffle, four of the 52 cards in a single deck are aces, as are 24 of the 312 in six decks. In each case, that’s 7.7%. If the first card dealt is an ace, then in a single deck, three of the other 51 cards are aces, or 5.9%. If the first card in a six-deck game is an ace, then 23 of the other 311 are aces, or 7.4%. The removal of a single ace drops the proportion remaining by 1.8% in a one-deck game, and only 0.3% with six decks.

The same goes for twos, fives and all other cards except 10-values, which account for 30.8% of a fresh deck. Removing one drops that to 29.4% with one deck, 30.5% with six decks.

It’s that higher variability in deck composition that makes single-deck blackjack a much different game than the six-deck variety.
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:

> More Books By John Grochowski