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Best of John Grochowski

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The world's worst blackjack player?

25 May 2017

QUESTION: I have a blackjack story for you. Full table, low-limit game, one guy was hitting everything but 20s and 21s every time the dealer had a 10 up. The first time, he signaled to hit king-9, and the whole table went “NO!” along with “You can’t hit that!” and “Is that a serious play?”

He insisted, and the dealer called out, “Hitting hard 19,” like they have to do when anyone makes a really weird play. He busted, of course, and he busted a couple of hard 18s, and a 17 or two. Two or three players left, but it had kind of a morbid fascination. He said he didn’t know what the fuss was about. He was just hitting when the dealer had 10 and was trending to 20. I asked if he noticed he wasn’t winning any of those hands and he said he wouldn’t have won anyway. That probably wasn’t true. The dealer had some low cards down sometimes, which we pointed out. But it’s hard to convince someone who’s sure he’s right.

ANSWER: I’ve seen a lot of strange plays at blackjack tables, including one man who insisted on hitting hard 17 vs. 10. Just as with the player you encountered, no one could convince him it was a bad play. But the only time I recall anyone signaling to hit hard 19 it was a long hand with a lot of low cards and the dealer said, “Sir, you’re hitting hard 19,” and the player said, “Oooops! Thanks. I misread the hand.” Deliberately hitting hard 19 is a new one on me.


QUESTION: I really feel needled when it is suggested that penny slot players aren't gambling. I put $20 into a penny video slot machine. I may lose my $20 or I may win a hundred. Am I golfing or bowling or reading a book? No, I'm gambling!

For the life of me, I could never see what's so blankety-blank exciting about bar, bar, blank space. As for winning money, I've knocked $100 out of a penny machine so many times I can't remember them all. A hundred dollars is 10,000 pennies. When was the last time I knocked $10,000 out of a dollar reel machine? Never!

I went to the Borgata in Atlantic City with $400 and came home with $1,100. God bless Hot Roll, Tarzan, and Tahiti Magic!

That's all right, reel players. You just keep telling yourselves how shrewd you are, and I'll just keep driving home a winner with a big smile on my face!

ANSWER: A few months ago, I let reel slot players have their say on why they still love the old-style games, and some said the video slots felt more like entertainment and not real gambling. That irritated some video slot players, including the reader who sent the above e-mail.

I would note that the 10,000 pennies vs. $10,000 issue is not an apples vs. apples comparison. Most dollar machines will accept wagers of only up to three coins, while a penny player can wager hundreds of pennies at a time.

But that’s not really the main issue here. Players have their own likes and dislikes, and just that penny play doesn’t feel like gambling to some players doesn’t invalidate it for others.

To each his or her own, and I’d be just as happy to relay stories from video players on why they prefer their games as stories from reel slot players, blackjack players, craps players, Three Card Poker players, sic bo players, chuck-a-luck players or anyone else.
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:

> More Books By John Grochowski