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Best of John Grochowski

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The Agony of Defeat

24 April 2007

Where there are gamblers, there are tales of big wins, and there are woulda, coulda, shoulda stories of near misses. The conversation among a group of players sitting around a casino buffet table brought more than a few retellings of the thrills of victory and the agonies of defeat:

Joan: "It was in Las Vegas, at one of those Fifty Play video poker machines. I've played a lot of the Triple Play and Five Play Poker, but I'd never played the Fifty Play, so I thought I'd give it a try. They had it for pennies, so it took $2.50 per hand.

"After about 10 or 11 hands, I was dealt Ace-King-Queen-Jack of clubs, along with a 7 of something. I figured that was great. Fifty chances at a royal flush. OK, a royal only brings you $40 on a penny machine, but even one would buy a few hands, and there's always the chance to draw two or three royals, or even more.

"I didn't even get one. A bunch of high pairs, a few flushes and a couple of straights. I didn't even get my money back. I did OK on the machine and got to play a while, but never did get my royal."

Tom: "Funny you should bring up Fifty Play. I actually was DEALT a royal on Fifty Play. Got it 50 times, and it was on a nickel machine, so it was worth $10,000. What suit? Hearts. Got my picture taken with it and everything. I don't think I've ever been dealt a royal in the first five cards before, so I was really lucky it came when I'd get it 50 times."

Wanda: "You guys and your poker. You know I only play the slots. I think my worst moment came on a nickel Jackpot Party machine. I put in $20, and my very first play the five green 7s lined up straight across the bottom. That's a pretty big pay, and I was really excited, but the machine didn't do anything. I looked at the credit meter, and it was down five cents. It said I'd only bet one coin, and that only gives you the center payline.

"The best I can figure is that I hit the repeat bet button, and the player before me had only been playing one coin on one line. That's a mistake I'll never make again. I felt just awful. Now whenever I play, I make sure I hit the button so that I'm playing all the paylines."

John: "We all make mistakes, but the one that stands out for me came at a blackjack table when I misread the dealer's hand. I had a 9 and a 7 for a hard 16, and the dealer had a 6 face up. I'd misread it as a 9, so I signaled for a hit. The dealer paused and looked at me, because I'd been playing straight basic strategy to that point. I signaled for a hit again and drew a 4. I had a 20, and another player grumbled something about luck over skill.

"When it came the dealer, she turned up another 6, and it finally hit me that her first card was a 6, and I'd made a bad play. So now she had 12. The next card was a 9. Of course. She had 21, and she beat me, along with everyone else. If I hadn't take the hit, she'd have gotten the 4 for a 16, then the 9 would have busted her and the whole table would have won.

"One guy was so mad he immediately left the table. Very embarrassing."

Frank: "Do you remember the old Multiple Action Blackjack game? You'd make three bets. You'd only play one hand, but the dealer would play out three hands, each one starting with the same face up card. I don't think I've seen it in years, but I played it quite a lot at the Four Queens in Vegas for a while.

"One time, I was dealt a blackjack. That feels great, because you figure you have three winners, right? You're already counting your money before the dealer plays. Well, the dealer had an Ace face up. He asked if I wanted insurance, and I refused. So he plays out the hand once, turns up a King for a blackjack. He moves the Ace for the next hand, King, blackjack. Moves the Ace for the third hand, 10, blackjack. Bye-bye winnings. Instead of three wins, I just had three pushes.

"Would you believe, two hands later, I was dealt another blackjack and the dealer had another Ace? Dealer's first hand, Jack, blackjack. Second hand, King, blackjack. I said to her, 'Please. Don't do this to me again.' Third hand, she drew a 6. Finally, I won one. They way things were going, I was happy to take it."

Jack: "I played that game once. Had a great session. My blackjacks all won, three times over. Next time I went to Las Vegas, I looked for it, but it was gone. Easy come, easy go."

Listen to John Grochowski's "Beat the Odds" tips Saturdays at 6:20 a.m., 2:50 p.m. and 7:41 p.m. and Sundays at 8:20 a.m., 2:50 p.m. and 10:42 p.m. on WBBM-AM, News Radio 780 in Chicago, streaming online at www.wbbm780.com, and to his casino talk show from 7 to 8 p.m. Saturday on WCKG-FM (105.9), streaming at http://1059freefm.com.

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:

Winning Tips for Casino Games

> 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