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Best of John Grochowski

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That discarded coupon book

6 October 2016

Readers send me A LOT of stories of their casino experiences – tales of their first trips to Las Vegas or Atlantic City, big wins, things that impressed or depressed them and even times when they couldn’t win for losing.

I am grateful, and when I share the stories, I hope you find them as much fun to read as I do.

The latest comes from reader Dave, who wanted to tell about his first trip to Downtown Las Vegas in the 1980s. He was there for a trade show and a little gambling, but amid the bright neon and cheap eats, he found that three-reel slot machines were gobbling up his budget much too fast.

“On the morning of my last day, I had barely enough cash left for a hot dog and bus fare back to the airport,” he said in an e-mail. “Since I was taking the red-eye home that evening, I had the rest of the day to waste. Being completely busted and utterly disgusted with myself, I decided to look for some free entertainment or anything that would keep me occupied.”

Fortunately for him, it was a time when coupon books were common. It wasn’t hard to come by a cheap or free bet here and there, or a free hot dog or tub of popcorn.

A coupon book turned Dave’s trip around.

“While bouncing around from casino to casino, I found a coupon book lying on the sidewalk,” he said. “The page that caught my eye was for a free slot pull. In the old days many Vegas casinos had a couple of one-arm bandits that accepted promo tokens. I ended up with a free roll of quarters.

“Naturally, with a pocket full of quarters I just couldn’t resist playing again. Hoping to extend my playing time, I played the minimum bet of 25 cents a pull. In no time I was down to my last two quarters. So I went all in with a 50-cent max bet. Unbelievably, on that last pull, I hit the jackpot for $250.

“What an incredible feeling of relief and euphoria, going from completely down and out to my first jackpot, all because I found a discarded coupon book.”

Dave was determined not to blow his new bankroll. He settled in at a keno lounge to make inexpensive bets on the slowest-moving game in the house.

“After several hours of playing, amazingly, I hit 5-out-of-5 for $600 - my second jackpot of the day. After playing for a while longer, it was apparent my luck was running out. So I decided to head back to the airport.”

He had enough time for a slight detour. The bus made several stops on the Strip, and Dave hopped to make one final keno bet.

“When I got to the main entrance, there was an elderly lady with a walker trying to manage the heavy glass doors. Being the gentleman, I gladly stopped for a moment to help the poor lady. Once inside, I promptly headed for the keno lounge and filled out a ticket with my five lucky numbers.

“As I approached the keno counter, the sign flashed “Game Closed.” I just missed that game by a few seconds. As you may have guessed, my lucky 5-spot hit again. Was it bad luck, fate or just being a gentleman that caused me to miss my third jackpot? I’ll never know.”

Nonetheless, Dave went from flat broke to going home with $800 in his pocket.

Today?

“I’m always on the lookout for discarded coupon books.”

Look for John Grochowski on Facebook (http://tinyurl.com/7lzdt44) and Twitter (@GrochowskiJ).
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:

The Craps Answer Book

> 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