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Best of John Grochowski

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The Casino Answer Man

4 September 2001

Q. I just wanted to comment on the handicapped situation at Harrah's in Joliet. My husband and I played on the Southern Star on May 19, and, as always when it's busy, many areas on the first and third floors were impassable to me in my wheelchair. I finally e-mailed Harrah's with my complaint after someone bumped into me and spilled hot coffee on my lap.

To Harrah's credit, when we visited Southern Star the following Sunday, things had changed. An entire row of nickel machines had been removed on the third level, aisles were widened and I could wheel myself to the bathroom without asking an entire bank of players to move. I could sit in my chair in front of a machine without being bumped every time someone passed behind me.

Perhaps your readers should take heart that their comments may be heard and acted upon. Frankly, gaming is too expensive to allow unsatisfactory (or even possibly dangerous) situations to go on without notification.

Jan, via e-mail

A. I've been urging players for years to fill out complaint cards, talk to managers or write to casinos, but I don't often hear from satisfied customers who actually had casinos address their problems. Extra room to move around is a plus for everyone, not just for customers in wheelchairs. Thanks for letting me know.

Q. In a recent column you mentioned that place bets in craps (on number 6, for instance) are "off" during any player's coming-out roll unless the place player tells the dealer he wants the bet working all the time. Why is this? Isn't one toss of the dice as good (or bad) for the place player as any other toss of the dice?

J.E., Royal Oak, Mich.

A. Many players who bet on the pass line as well as on place numbers don't like the mixed emotions that would come from a 7 on the comeout roll being a winner on the pass line but a loser on the place bets. They'd rather leave their place bets in limbo for a roll. That way, if the shooter rolls a 7 on the comeout, they win on the pass line and their place bets are still alive. If the shooter rolls a point number instead, then they can root heartily against the 7 on pass and place bets alike.

On a percentage basis, you are correct. The house edge on place bets is the same if you have them working on the comeout as it is on any other roll.

Q. I had to laugh when I read your column on Deuces Wild on the Sun-Times online -- what you've called "Not So Ugly" Deuces I just call "Illinois Plus" when I see it at Harrah's -- I like your name better! I don't remember seeing it at Trump, but I'll check the Triple Plays when I go there again -- at least it's not as bad as that stinker Trump has as a stand-alone game -- 20-for-1 for wild royals, 10-for-1 for 5-of-a-kind, ad nauseum.

Also, I kept forgetting to tell you about my pilgrimage to Las Vegas in April. It was embarrassing for five years to say that everyone in my family has been to Vegas but me. Anyway, it was a blast -- stayed at the Hard Rock, did OK there, hit 14 casinos overall and won $995 -- even got a straight flush dealt to me on $1 Bonus Poker at Stratosphere (4-5-6-7-8 of spades -- a beautiful thing).

Oh, by the way, I'm a blackjack dealer and I DON'T recommend even money when I have an Ace up (I don't even advertise it), and the only time another dealer ever got me mad was at Ho-Chunk (a few years ago) when I got lectured for hitting A-7 against dealer 10; I was even on blackjack that night, had won $250 on Deuces (first four-ducks hand), so I colored up, went back to that Deuces machine, and got A NATURAL ROYAL!

Mike, via e-mail

A. Hooray for Mike! Blackjack dealers who understand insurance is a bad bet, even when the player has a blackjack, and who don't recommend taking even money in that situation rate high on my list. More often, I run into dealers who push even money as "the only sure thing in the casino." It's mostly a sure way to increase the house advantage.

As for the Not So Ugly version of Deuces Wild video poker, look on the pay table for a 16-for-1 return on five of a kind, 10-for-1 on straight flushes, 4-for-1 on four of a kinds and full houses and 3-for-1 payoffs on flushes. That leaves a 99.7 percent game in the long run with expert play.

At Trump, check out the Triple Play Poker games on the back wall of the video poker area. They have the Not So Ugly game. The Triple Play/Five Play machines along the wall to the left have reduced pay tables.

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