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Best of John Grochowski

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Slot Player Banned at Bellagio

15 June 1999

Blackjack card counters have had to face the possibility that they could be barred from playing in some casinos for nearly 40 years.

Even video poker players have occasionally faced the wary eye of a casino boss worried that their skillful play would cut into casino profits. Although outright barring is rare, some video poker players have had slot club benefits suspended.

But slot players? The slots are the last place in the world you'd expect a player to be banned for skillful play. You just drop your money in, push the button or pull the handle and trust to luck, right?

That has changed with the introduction of slots with banked bonuses. When the number of coins in Piggy Bankin's dotmation bank grow until someone breaks the bank, when the bonus in Wild Cherry Pie grows until someone fills the pie, when the number of daggers already collected of the five needed for a bonus in Buccanneer Gold are plainly visible, smart players can gain an advantage.

I've been writing about the potential edge for slot players in this column for several years, but Charles W. Lund has raised it to an art form. Don't think that hasn't been noticed. In the Spring edition of Arnold Snyder's Blackjack Forum, Lund tells of being barred from Bellagio while merely collecting information on how to best play a game called Money Maze.

Lund writes that he was told those who "play better and have an advantage" are not welcome at Bellagio. Not only that, but he writes that barred players were also told to stay away from any Mirage Resorts properties, which in Las Vegas include the Mirage, Treasure Island and the Golden Nugget.

As it happens, those who play only when the slots yield an edge to the player make no difference to the long-term house edge. The bonuses are going to hit eventually, and that's all figured into the payback percentage programmed into the game. Instead, skillful bonus slot players feed off other players. The knowledgeable players skim the cream off a machine's bonus payback, while the unwary build the bonuses that the skillful collect later.

Lund, who previously wrote the booklet Advantageous Slots, now is coming out with a full-length book called Robbing the One-Armed Bandits. For information, call RGE Enterprises at (510) 465-6452. RGE also publishes the quarterly Blackjack Forum, which is always chock full of articles and discussion of interest for serious blackjack players. Blackjack Forum also includes a listing of blackjack house rules and conditions at casinos throughout the world.

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