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Casino City Times - Gaming Gurus

Casino City Times is The Source for the latest gaming news, gaming strategy and gambling tips from the industry's leading experts.

John Grochowski - Words from Experience  

Ten or 12 years ago, I took a park district bus trip to a casino, figuring I could get an article or two out of the experience.On board I met Mel and his wife Alice, a couple then in their 70s who got their first taste of casino gambling nearly 60 years ago. Mel had learned to play craps in his Army days and that was his main game for decades."It...

2017-05-28 03:59:10

Clare Fitzgerald - Engaged Nation links land-based and online social gaming  

In 2008, Jerry Epstein, a senior partner at PR firm FleishmanHillard, got a call from a client who was worried about the internet.A lot of people worry about the internet, but this client — Bill Paulos, owner of Cannery Casino Resorts — had a pretty good reason. In 2008, online gaming was thriving, but was pretty separated from the U.S. land-based...

2017-05-27 04:18:39

Henry Tamburin - Learning blackjack lingo  

Every game has its own jargon, and blackjack is no exception. To help you understand some common blackjack terms used by players, I've assembled this mini-glossary. I don't have enough space to include all the terminology associated with blackjack, so I've focused on some common terms that may not be familiar to most players.Anchor player: This is...

2017-05-27 01:47:36

Gary Trask - Top 10 facts and figures from the 2017 WSOP Media Guide  

Buckle up. The 48th World Series of Poker begins on Tuesday at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Played at a dizzying pace, 74 events will take place over a 54-day span, culminating with the crowning of the $10,000 Main Event champion on July 22.Getting ready to host the 2017 @WSOP Main Event at #RioVegas!—...

2017-05-26 01:10:29

Abby Messick - Pennsylvania moves closer to legalizing online gambling  

Pennsylvania's HB 271, a bill that would allow online gambling, passed the Senate today with a 38-12 vote.The bill passed quickly through legislation on Tuesday, passing the Senate Community, Economic & Recreational Development Committee by a margin of 11-3 and clearing the Senate Appropriations Committee with a vote of 24-2.The next stop is...

2017-05-25 01:26:41

John Grochowski - The world's worst blackjack player?  

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,"...

2017-05-25 01:15:46

John Robison - Ask the Slot Expert: Another strange experience with found tickets  

Question: On a recent trip to Gun Lake Casino in Michigan, I found two tickets on the floor. The total was $90+. I went to a cashier window wondering what to do (I did not try to cash the tickets). She tapdanced around the question and said to go to security. Security said, "Those are not your tickets, give them to me" and "it is fraud for...

2017-05-24 05:59:03

John Robison - Ask the Slot Expert: Another strange experience with found tickets  

Question: On a recent trip to Gun Lake Casino in Michigan, I found two tickets on the floor. The total was $90+. I went to a cashier window wondering what to do (I did not try to cash the tickets). She tapdanced around the question and said to go to security. Security said, "Those are not your tickets, give them to me" and "it is fraud for...

2017-05-24 03:16:57

Frank Scoblete - The hole  

There are some days and nights, I mean, there are just some days and nights when nothing goes right and the things that go wrong go awfully wrong. I am sure that those of you who are avid casino gamblers have experienced those days and/or nights of horror. I know I have. You begin in a hole, and you end in a deeper hole.Let's take a look at one....

2017-05-23 01:11:21

John Grochowski - What slots do players like?  

Slot players not only have favorite games, they have favorite types of games. Mary, a longtime slot player, e-mailed recently to say she didn't get the attraction of free spin bonuses."I love the ones where you pick things," she said. "You're part of the games in those, fate in your own hands, and you get to do something different besides watch...

2017-05-21 02:48:57

Jerry Stickman - Chasing losses  

Dear Stickman:I am trying very hard to become a better player in the casino. I have read some of your articles and several of Frank Scoblete's books and articles. I only play the better games in blackjack. I only make better bets at craps, and I only play the better video poker games.Sometimes I do OK, but other times I still lose big. I will lose...

2017-05-20 04:10:48

Gary Trask - Top 10 things we'll miss about the WSOP November Nine  

Full disclosure: I'm not a poker purist.Yep, go ahead and call me crazy. Tell me I know nothing about poker and that your opinion of anything I write about the game going forward will be tainted. You're entitled to do so. But it doesn't change the fact that I like — make that liked — the November Nine format the World Series of Poker Main Event...

2017-05-19 03:47:48

John Grochowski - Why are they still called slot machines?  

QUESTION: The name "slot machine" comes from the coin slot, right? Now that machines don't have slots, do you think that will change?ANSWER: It won't change anytime soon. After more than a century of use, the name is so ingrained that even online players who risk no money in social casinos refer to the games as "slots." Maybe as skill-based games...

2017-05-18 01:07:54

John Robison - Ask the Slot Expert: Where I hit my royals  

Question: Always enjoy your articles and the information you publish. I just read your latest about royal flushes and the percentages of hitting a royal vs. how many cards to the royal you were dealt. We live in the S. Lake Tahoe area, so we play at the five casinos they have here. Reading your article to my wife, she asked, "Does it seem to...

2017-05-17 05:11:45

Gary Trask - Top 10 reasons to make the Gulf Coast of Mississippi your next gambling destination  

Gamble. Golf. Drink. Eat. Music. Sun. Beach.The Gulf Coast of Mississippi is overflowing with all of the above activities and attributes. Toss in the genuine Southern hospitality and charm of the good folks that live and work there, and it's really no wonder why the Biloxi/Gulfport area has become a favorite destination of yours truly over the...

2017-05-16 05:23:26

Frank Scoblete - When play is work  

I've heard them and I am sure you have heard them; in fact, just about everyone I know has heard them. Their famous quote is this: "I need a vacation from my vacation!"Even a singular one-day trip to the casino can elicit some such statement as "Oh, brother, I am beat" or "What an exhausting day I had!"I don't really need to say such sentences,...

2017-05-16 03:23:36

John Grochowski - Craps Tales  

About a month ago, I wrote about Herm, a don't pass player who said he mostly was left alone by craps player who prefer to bet with the shooter, but that he'd sometimes come across a player who made it a personal issue.Other readers have sent me their own craps yarns. They're not all tales from the dark side. Shopping for a winner comes from both...

2017-05-14 01:24:01

John Marchel - Best casino comp tips  

Gambling at the casino can be a lot of fun, but so is getting some free things for your time and action. Earning casino complementary items with your slot or table game play is a benefit offered by most casinos in the US. "Comps", which is the industry term for complementary items offered by casinos, can be especially rewarding.Comps are designed...

2017-05-13 05:17:44

Abby Messick - New York Senate Finance Committee passes online poker bill  

On Tuesday, the New York Senate Finance Committee passed online poker bill S3898, sponsored by Senator John J. Bonacic. The bill will now continue on to the Senate for further consideration.The bill, previously passed by the Senate in 2016 before being shelved in the Assembly, was re-introduced on 27 January this year.Under S3898, certain types of...

2017-05-11 09:43:29

John Grochowski - Russian hackers  

QUESTION: Have you heard about the Russian slot hack where they could predict the next spin? They won money at casinos around the world. If random number generators are truly random, how is that even possible? You can't predict random.ANSWER: The phrase I've often used in describing random number generators is, "as random as humans can program a...

2017-05-11 07:09:08

Tadas Peckaitis - Top 10 tips for winning poker tournaments  

10. Be prepared for the event ahead of timeNegative EV (expected value) is inevitable if you start a tournament unprepared. It is extremely important to stay fit, exercise constantly and eat as healthy as possible. This is true for both live and online tournaments.Many players miss this step and encounter fatigue, which is very common when playing...

2017-05-11 07:05:41

John Grochowski - Fooling slots redux  

A column on a woman's attempt to beat slots by fooling the random number generator into thinking she was a big player drew several questions from readers.Her theory was that making big bets early would establish her as a potential big player, and since casinos want to reward big players, she would get a better payback percentage. The fatal flaw...

2017-05-11 03:48:31

Frank Scoblete - Money matters  

FROM MAX: I want to know what the best money management plan to use when I play is. I know I can't win with money management, but at least I can control my overall losses. My wife always checks our bank account, and she notices when I take money out to go casino gambling.FRANK RESPONDS: What money should you use to gamble with in a casino? Your...

2017-05-11 03:39:35

John Robison - Ask the Slot Expert: How many cards I held when I hit my royals  

A few weeks ago I addressed an incorrect statement I overheard about royal flush probabilities. This person said he had read an article that said that you're more likely to get a royal flush when you're dealt three cards to the royal than when you're dealt four cards to it. Of course, that statement is wrong. You're more likely to complete the...

2017-05-11 03:34:17

Henry Tamburin - 21 blackjack no-nos  

The game of blackjack has its procedures, codes of conduct and playing strategies. The procedures are essential to ensure the security and integrity of the game. The codes of conduct encompass the playing etiquette, so you don't attract the ire of your fellow players or the dealer. The playing strategies help you win. When you don't follow any of...

2017-05-11 03:19:02

Frank Scoblete - Quittin' time  

In the epic Academy Award-winning movie Gone with the Wind, Big Ben, a delightfully happy slave who works tirelessly in the brutally hot cotton fields, calls out the end of the work day by saying, "It's quittin' time!" and all the other happy slaves end their day of backbreaking work for their kind and gentle masters.Yes, Gone with the Wind, an...

2017-05-11 01:16:16

John Grochowski - Machine mistakes and doubling on blackjacks  

QUESTION: A few years ago, I was playing a virtual craps game where the dice were vibrated to simulate a roll. The die was at an angle and I was not paid for the bet. I objected to the other players, and they said "ignore it, it happened yesterday" and that the attendant "wouldn't pay it." A casino suit came by and I mentioned it to him, and he...

2017-05-04 03:53:57

John Robison - Ask the Slot Expert: Betting more and winning less  

Question: I live in Oklahoma and visit the Native American Casinos once a week or so. It is rare we hit a bonus. I tried raising my bet to the maximum and my results were almost no hits at all. Are the machines set to pay less frequently? I find it odd that max bets rarely produce a win on the casinos I visit. I did this twice for a test and...

2017-05-03 04:56:07

Gary Trask - Top 10 betting facts and figures for the 2017 Kentucky Derby  

Gather all the mint julep ingredients and dust off your finest and most elegant headwear. The first Saturday in May in upon us, and that means one thing and one thing only in sports betting circles: It's Kentucky Derby Week.Like March Madness, the Super Bowl and the Masters, the Derby is one of the few annual events that piques the interest of...

2017-05-02 04:46:35

Frank Scoblete - My new casino laws  

I am done with the regular way casinos do things and how they treat their customers. They are too lenient with ploppies; ploppies who play there and, yes, friends, ploppies who work there.As of now, right this minute — no, right this second — the following rules and punishments will be in place:1.Anyone who gives unasked-for advice at blackjack...

2017-05-02 01:07:02

John Grochowski - Casino Hold'em  

Online gambling Is by no means an American mainstay at this point. Only New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware have legalized playing casino games online for money.Nonetheless, online play is making an impact both on casino revenue and on the games we play. On the revenue side, New Jersey posted a 1.5 percent overall increase last year despite a 0.3...

2017-04-30 03:42:26

Jerry Stickman - Regression betting  

There are many betting systems being touted. They cover all aspects of betting. They come from all areas of thought. Some of them sound really (and I mean really) good. But are they? Can any betting method turn you from a loser to a winner? Can any betting method even reduce your losses?These are all very good questions. Let's look at one betting...

2017-04-29 03:12:17

John Grochowski - Foolproof roulette  

QUESTION: Explain to me why this roulette system doesn't work.I bet $10 on black and $1 each on five different red numbers. That way, I have 23 numbers that win and only 15 numbers that lose. I win $10 on each of the 18 black winners and $35 on each of my reds. That's $255. I lose $15 on each of the 15 losers, and that's only $225.It looks to me...

2017-04-27 02:27:58

John Robison - Ask the Slot Expert: Can you handicap slots?  

Question: Read your article about pick 3 out of 12 coins for progressive jackpot. Many games say player participation has no effect on outcome in the rules. In other words, picking three coins is just for entertainment purposes. Answer: The text I've seen is "Player interaction during the bonus round does not affect the outcome." ...

2017-04-26 02:10:37

Frank Scoblete - Three types of blackjack players  

There are three types of blackjack players and sub-categories of these three. If you are a self-styled blackjack player using your own unique and probably wrong strategy and you are easily offended, you might not want to read this article. That's my warning to you.Blackjack players who are card counters, meaning they can get a small edge over the...

2017-04-25 01:31:08

Gary Trask - Top 10 takeaways from the annual Las Vegas Visitor Profile Study  

The Fremont Street Experience. (photo by Las Vegas News Bureau)Right before our eyes, Las Vegas is changing.Everything — what is offered throughout the city, who visits, what said visitors partake in once their stay begins — has seen dramatic shifts during recent years.That's the primary takeaway from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors...

2017-04-25 01:05:08

John Grochowski - Fooling the RNG  

Slot machines don't give systems players as many possibilities as roulette or craps. There are no combination bets, such as hedging a pass bet with any 7 in craps or betting 0 and 00 along with red or black in roulette.Opportunities for variation in wager size also are limited. You can increase or decrease bets a little, but you can't really play...

2017-04-23 01:39:54

John Marchel - Super 7 tips for the lottery  

First of all, you should know that lotteries have the worst odds of any form of gambling, with a chance of 1 in 14 million when playing most jackpot games. However, it also promises the greatest potential payoff to the winner with prizes regularly amounting to tens of millions of dollars. Lotteries have several interesting factors. If the jackpot...

2017-04-22 02:13:13

John Robison - Ask the Slot Expert: Slot jackpot dispute in Florida  

Question: Can you please comment on an incident that happened in Florida this last week? Someone was playing video poker at $50 per hand, and asked a friend to push the button for luck and won $100,000. The jackpot was paid to the person pushing the button per casino rules. This doesn't sound right to me. The person playing was playing...

2017-04-20 03:13:58

John Grochowski - Ultimate Texas Hold'em  

QUESTION: I tried playing Ultimate Texas Hold'em and kind of liked the game, but I was a little confused about when I should make the play bet and when I should check or fold. Do you have any strategy advice?ANSWER: My best piece of strategy advice would be to check out Michael Shackleford's strategy for Ultimate Texas Hold'em at

2017-04-20 02:36:07

John Robison - Ask the Slot Expert: Slot jackpot dispute in Florida  

Question: Can you please comment on an incident that happened in Florida this last week? Someone was playing video poker at $50 per hand, and asked a friend to push the button for luck and won $100,000. The jackpot was paid to the person pushing the button per casino rules. This doesn't sound right to me. The person playing was playing...

2017-04-20 01:06:51

Gary Trask - Seven decades of Las Vegas sportsbook experience join forces at South Point  

LAS VEGAS - It's a relatively quiet Monday afternoon at South Point Hotel Casino and Spa, and Jimmy Vaccaro is down, but far from out.At 71 years old, the celebrated Las Vegas bookmaker looks trim and fit as he parks himself on a comfy chair in the sportsbook, dressed in his signature white top and blue jeans. He's still got plenty of spunk and a...

2017-04-18 04:14:15

Frank Scoblete - A reader takes me to task  

FROM: BIRDMAN: Mr. Scoblete I have been reading your articles for many years now, although I do not read books because books put me to sleep and what is the point anyway? I already know what I know. And I know you are wrong in your assumptions.I now know this completely and utterly, you do not know what you're talking about when it comes to...

2017-04-18 04:08:52

John Grochowski - A "Don't" Player Speaks  

I have nothing against don't pass/don't come players. I've been known to visit the dark side during session at the craps table, though I really prefer the win-together feel of betting with the shooter.The odds are slightly better on the dark side. A pass or come player faces a house edge of 1.41 percent. On don't pass or don't come, the edge...

2017-04-16 04:29:38

Henry Tamburin - Stump them at blackjack  

If your friends think they know the ins and outs of blackjack, here is a little quiz to (hopefully) stump them.QUESTION: For every 100 hands that you play, using proper basic strategy, how many will you bust?ANSWER: You will bust about 16 hands on average out of every 100 hands played, using proper basic strategy.QUESTION: What is the more...

2017-04-15 04:56:46

Abby Messick - Top 10 casinos in the US by number of employees  

If you run a successful establishment of any kind, you're going to need help - lots of it. That goes double for casinos, whose gaming floors are bustling with activity, often open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This week's top 10 list features casinos in the U.S. that get it - rest assured, if you visit any of these locations, you're in for a...

2017-04-15 01:01:48

John Grochowski - Payback percentage and baseball back-to-backs  

QUESTION: How is payback percentage on a slot machine calculated? I know I'm not really getting zero percent when I lose all my money, but I sure doesn't feel like 90, either.ANSWER: Payback percentage is all money paid out divided by all wagers, with the result multiplied by 100 to convert to percent.For example, if players make $1 million worth...

2017-04-13 03:30:01

John Robison - Ask the Slot Expert: Why are penny slots so popular?  

Question: I hate penny slots, and that's all I can find anymore here in Oklahoma. I'd love to go back to Vegas but I'm pretty sure the situation is the same there. I used to sit for hours enjoying huge banks of quarter and sometimes dollar machines, while waitresses occasionally brought me free drinks. I could play all night and have a...

2017-04-12 03:15:34

Tadas Peckaitis - Top 10 most common poker mistakes  

Sometimes, as poker players, we become so focused on our own game that it becomes difficult to notice obvious errors and blunders.To help combat that, below is a list of common poker mistakes that you should review, assess and make sure you aren't committing. Avoiding these errors will surely improve your game in no time.10. Playing too many...

2017-04-11 04:01:17

Frank Scoblete - Our readers sound off  

FROM CLIFF: I loved the idea you have when playing slots. If I decide to play slots I look for the jackpot payouts being the same per coin, like: 1,500, 3,000 and 6,000. I have hit many a time 1,500 and very happy with the hit!I have two stories where I hit right away and went home.First was sitting down to play Three Card Poker. I put $10 on...

2017-04-11 03:08:51

John Grochowski - An automated argument  

A couple of months ago, I shared a few stories from readers about player vs. player tension at the tables. That brought several responses, with the most unusual coming from Elaine, who describes herself as a longtime low-budget player."You won't believe this, but I actually saw a big argument over a payoff at an automated table," she said.With...

2017-04-09 03:44:07

Jerry Stickman - Double Bonus Poker: 10/7/5 vs. 9/7/5  

Over the last few decades, casinos have consistently chipped away at the returns for video poker. In the golden days of video poker it was very common to see video poker games that returned very close to - if not more than - 100%. Now it seems that the best games available in many casinos return less than 99%. Some games have a return that is...

2017-04-08 03:25:04

John Grochowski - Reduced craps payouts  

QUESTION: OK, I'll admit it. I sometimes make the craps bets you and others think are nuts. I only do it when I'm winning and the shooter is on a roll. Then I try to spice up a nice session with some long shots. Hit a couple of 12s and a nice win becomes a big one.What I want to know is about payoffs. I'd always gotten my 30-1 on 12s, but my wife...

2017-04-06 03:38:26

John Robison - Ask the Slot Expert: Calculating a slot machine's volatility  

Question: I am a junior student of math from China. I have a term project to do statistical computation of a slot game when a paytable and reel strip are given. I learned some computations from books and your website. But I got stuck when tried to compute the volatility of a slot game. I appreciate it if you could answer my questions...

2017-04-05 03:32:41

Abby Messick - Caesars Entertainment introduces skill-based games to Las Vegas  

A Gamblit Poker unit. (photo by BSK Photo)Skill-based games have finally made their long-awaited debut in Las Vegas at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in the form of Gamblit Gaming's Gamblit Poker and Cannonbeard's Treasure, with more titles to be added in the future.These interactive table games, played on Gamblit's Model G table, can seat two...

2017-04-04 02:44:07

Gary Trask - Top 10 golf handicapping tips for the Masters  

Golf has been responsible for a very small percentage of the record amount of dollars that have been wagered at Nevada sportsbooks in recent years. But there are certain events each year that generate widespread betting interest from those who otherwise couldn't care less about the sport.Everybody wants to place some sort of "prop bet" on the...

2017-04-04 02:25:06

Frank Scoblete - What would you do if?  

It's a simple question for you:The floor person takes the dice away from the shooter (for whatever reason: he isn't hitting the back wall, he's throwing the dice into the dealers' chips; he's obnoxious to other players) and the stick person passes them on to the next shooter. You have come bets with odds on several numbers and a pass line bet with...

2017-04-04 01:02:05

John Grochowski - Blackjack: To Be Great or Not So Great?  

A few weeks ago, I was called upon to speak with a park district group before they took a bus trip to a nearby casino. Most of them had played slots before and some had played other games, but I was asked to give a few basics for those who wanted to branch out.An older gentleman named Adam said he had tried blackjack a couple of times, just for...

2017-04-02 04:44:21

John Marchel - The cost of blackjack decisions  

When we play casino blackjack we are always trying to improve our odds and ultimately win more hands from the casinos. To help us better understand "the odds," Edwin Silberstang, the author of "Playboy's Guide To Casino Gambling, Volume Two, Blackjack," explains the science of odds in blackjack as "gains and losses" to the player. The example he...

2017-04-01 02:52:19

John Grochowski - What's so free about free odds?  

QUESTION: Why are free odds in craps called "free"? You still have to pay to make the bet.ANSWER: The "free" is meant to designate that the bet pays at true odds and that there is no tax, commission or other method of giving the house an edge. Regardless of whether you're a pass or come bettor taking the odds or a don't pass or don't com bettor...

2017-03-30 01:04:38

John Robison - Ask the Slot Expert: When to play video poker aggressively  

Question: I read with great interest your article about those who succumb to "Royal Flush Fever" and toss away a high pair, or other a winning hand, to go after the rare royal flush hit. May I suggest that once you have hit one of these long shots, you are "infected" for life and it is hard to play sensibly from then on? My infection...

2017-03-29 03:33:55

Abby Messick - Top 10 US states to watch for iGaming legislation in 2017  

As we travel further into the new year, online gambling bills are piling up. That isn't odd, of course, but something about 2017 makes us feel particularly hopeful about the passage of a few of these bills.Which states, if any, will finally legalize online gambling before the calendar flips to 2018? Some of these states have been chipping away at...

2017-03-28 05:46:55

Frank Scoblete - Slots vs. table games  

Slot machines and table games are two very different things - and the casinos know this quite well. Slot machines are the cash cows of casinos, bringing in often more than twice as much money as table games.It is easy to get a good idea of why such a case holds true. If we take a $1 slot of the traditional three reels variety, we can speculate how...

2017-03-28 04:26:04

John Grochowski - Some Views on Good Games  

Not too long ago, I answered a reader's question about whether blackjack with 6-5 payoffs on 21s was still the lowest-edge game in the house.I told him paying 6-5 instead of 3-2 on blackjacks increased the house edge by 1.4 percent, and that by itself is higher than the house edge on the best craps bets, on banker or player in baccarat, and on...

2017-03-26 02:20:52

Henry Tamburin - Stump and amaze your friends  

The next time you belly up to the bar with a friend or co-worker who thinks he knows everything about the game of blackjack, ask Mr. Know-It-All a few of these questions.QUESTION: How did the game of blackjack get its name?ANSWER: When "21" was initially introduced in the United States in gambling houses, it wasn't very popular. So casino...

2017-03-25 04:18:56

John Grochowski - The problem of fatigue  

QUESTION: I play a lot of blackjack, often in the $50 range. On innumerable occasions I have seen players who were hundreds or even thousands of dollars ahead go away empty-handed because they simply could not leave at a timely point, apparently having set no "win" targets or "stop-loss" points, or else just plain unable to stop.Player fatigue is...

2017-03-23 03:36:47

John Robison - Ask the Slot Expert: Royal flush probabilities  

Question: My friend said that he once read an article that said you were more likely to get a royal flush when you're dealt three of the cards than when you're dealt four. That doesn't make sense to me. Is he right? Answer: I think I read the same article, many, many years ago. Your friend missed an important part of the article. The...

2017-03-23 01:35:22

Nicholas G. Colon - Increase your gaming value by using casino coupons  

The 2017 American Casino Guide (photo by Shmuel Spiegelman)Every person is looking for value in any purchase they make. For whatever reason, people want a bargain — most of us don't have the luxury of not worrying about the cost of something, so we instinctively look for a way to bypass the retail price.Gambling is like any other purchase one...

2017-03-21 05:43:51

Frank Scoblete - You can take it with you!  

There is an old saying, "You can't take it with you," that is supposed to encourage limiting one's greed and/or to encourage people to live for today because tomorrow, well, tomorrow you'll be dead. So all the riches you've amassed are meaningless if you think they will belong to you when you are no longer you.So go to it, boys and girls! Spend...

2017-03-21 03:28:44

Abby Messick - Top 10 U.S. states by number of casinos per capita  

A riverboat casino in Mississippi. For this week's top 10, Casino City is tapping into information provided by WalletHub, a personal finance website.While the No. 1 state (Nevada) on the list is a no-brainer, the other, less-populated states on the list may surprise you, as many of them are not the first destination on many people's casino bucket...

2017-03-21 02:05:38

John Grochowski - The magic bus  

Casino players know well the ups and downs of wagering, with more downs than ups for most of us. But it's the ups that are most memorable, like those relayed via e-mail by readers Betty and Pearl.Betty: "For me a perfect day is having a good time, a nice lunch out and not losing any money. As long as I get to play some bonuses, have some fun and...

2017-03-19 03:09:03

Jerry Stickman - Playing 8/5 Jacks or Better  

An acquaintance recently asked me to comment on playing the 8/5 version of Jacks or Better. He understands that 9/6 Jacks or Better is a better game to play, but says it is sometimes hard to find such a game.For those readers who are not familiar with video poker terminology, the Jacks or Better game is one of the first video poker games ever...

2017-03-18 04:56:27

John Grochowski - Yikes! 10 billion to one?  

QUESTION: I was thinking about slot odds and something you wrote about how they can make a video slot reel as long as they want since it doesn't take up space inside the game cabinet.Some of those video reels seem really long, so there could be 100 symbols, right? It there's only one jackpot symbol per reel, and there are five reels like most...

2017-03-16 01:02:44

John Robison - Ask the Slot Expert: Hold pat straight flush or go for royal  

Question: My wife was recently dealt a straight flush starting with the 9 through king. What would you do, and what is the proper play? Keep the straight flush or throw away the 9 and go for a royal flush? Answer: What I would do is make the proper play, even though it's sometimes tempting to make a different play. On Not So Ugly Ducks...

2017-03-15 01:45:21

John Grochowski - Hole-card or no-hole-card blackjack  

Just about a year ago, I answered a reader's question about strategy adjustments for cruise-ship blackjack in which the dealer takes no hole card, waits until all player decisions to take a second card and more.Most Americans don't encounter that situation often, although some European casinos as well as some cruise ships have such games. However,...

2017-03-12 02:15:04

John Marchel - Managing your time at the tables  

In addition to managing your bankroll while gambling, you should also learn to manage your time.It's important to remember that most casino games have a built-in edge; the longer you play, the more the house edge kicks in, resulting in more of a chance of losing your bankroll. This is particularly true with games of chance like craps, roulette and...

2017-03-11 03:58:44

Gary Trask - Top 10 tips to winning your NCAA basketball pool  

Selection Sunday is just days away, which means — like it or not — you are about to be inundated by "bracket talk."Doesn't matter if you don't know Coach Cal from Coach K, or you have no idea if the Gonzaga Zags come from Washington state or Washington, D.C. Flip on the TV, walk into the lunchroom at work or listen to random conversations on the...

2017-03-10 01:57:15

John Grochowski - You must pay the piper  

QUESTION: When you see a slot machine like Wheel of Fortune or Seinfeld or Wonder Woman, are the people who were in those shows paid?ANSWER: Licenses for themed games have to be negotiated with the copyright holder. The owners of the TV shows, movies, board games and other intellectual property used in slot themes are paid. So are any actors,...

2017-03-09 04:29:26

Abby Messick - Michigan Senate Regulatory Reform Committee passes online gambling bill  

Michigan state capitol. (photo by Brian Charles Watson)Michigan's Senate Regulatory Reform Committee today held a hearing to discuss the latest in online gambling legislation.Senate Bill 203 - The Lawful Internet Gaming Act - sponsored by Sen. Mike Kowall, was introduced on 1 March 2017 and builds on last year's sessions.Despite concerns over...

2017-03-09 04:27:59

Abby Messick - Pennsylvania online gambling debate continues during legislative hearing  

Pennsylvania State Capitol (photo by Ad Meskens)Pennsylvania's House Gaming Oversight Committee and Senate Community, Economic & Recreational Development Committee held a three-hour hearing featuring 15 witnesses on Tuesday to discuss the fate of online poker in the state.While many of the speakers were opposed to online gaming — most notably,...

2017-03-09 03:55:53

John Robison - Ask the Slot Expert: Adding symbols in a bonus round  

Question: I have a question about the Zeus slot machine. When you hit the free game bonus, there are two additional features with the free games. One is a symbol that awards one additional free game every time it appears on the screen. The other is the one I'm questioning. If any red-colored Zeuses appear on the far right column of the game,...

2017-03-08 05:04:51

Gary Trask - Top 10 March Madness in Las Vegas trip tips  

Your airfare and hotel room reservation were secured months ago. You've spent the last few weeks hydrating, padding your bankroll and preparing your body for the pandemonium.The countdown is on for your trip to Las Vegas for March Madness.Congrats. You're almost there. All the proper advance planning is done. Now, it's up to you to make the most...

2017-03-07 04:16:32

Frank Scoblete - Is it too much to ask?  

I am a calm player; I really am. I'm cool like a Zen monk.If someone is not playing basic strategy at blackjack and making all sorts of bonehead plays, that's fine with me. His play does not affect me positively or negatively. If some craps player is making the most idiotic bets; hey, it's his money. He can play intelligently or stupidly; his...

2017-03-07 01:54:08

Henry Tamburin - What does a dealer do?  

The answer to the above question seems obvious . . . a blackjack dealer deals cards. However, when I contacted the person who asked me the above question, I discovered that what she really wanted to know are more details about the job. (The reader lives in a state where demand for dealers has outstripped supply and she is considering a career...

2017-03-05 03:50:05

John Grochowski - Back-to-back wins  

I received an email recently from Mark, a video poker player who just found this column recently but who said he's been skimming an online archive to see what he'd missed."What caught my eye were some columns you'd done a while back on players who had jackpots close together," he wrote. "I wanted to add my story to your collection."This is topic...

2017-03-05 03:11:15

Gary Trask - The ultimate March Madness in Las Vegas viewing party guide  

Spring Break, St. Patrick's Day and March Madness.All three events collide in two weeks in Las Vegas, bringing millions of people to the area for four days of self-indulged debauchery.Talk about a perfect storm.Take it from someone who was in Las Vegas last year when this very same trifecta hit the city. As you can imagine, it's absolute mayhem...

2017-03-04 03:03:32

John Grochowski - 100x odds and touch-screen blackjack  

QUESTION: I was wondering about craps tables and free odds. Most of the casinos near me have 3x, 4x, 5x odds. That seems to be standard around here. When I travel, I've seen 5x, 10x, sometimes 100x odds.Why doesn't everyone offer the 100x odds and be done with it? The odds are an even bet, right? The house doesn't lose money on them, and players...

2017-03-02 02:34:22

John Robison - Ask the Slot Expert: How much to tip for a slot machine jackpot  

Question: When hitting a hand-paid jackpot, what is the courtesy regarding tipping the slot attendant that pays you? Do you tip higher for bigger jackpots? I hit for $1300 and $8000 last week and it seemed to me the attendants were truly appreciative of any tip. Answer: Something strange seems to be going on with hand-paid jackpots. It used...

2017-03-01 03:18:26

Abby Messick - Top 10 most-read columns by Mark Pilarski  

To card count, or not to card count? (photo by Bob Owen)You may have already heard the news: After decades of faithful service to the gambling industry, working for seven different casinos and writing informative, entertaining columns, Mark Pilarski retired late last year.For more than 20 years, Pilarski has answered burning questions from readers...

2017-02-28 04:25:23

Frank Scoblete - Worthy slot writers  

I know it is rare for a gambling writer to review other gambling writers, especially since some of these writers write for the same publications (including this one) and some of these writers are friends of his.My answer to the conundrum is this: So what?I enjoy reading other gambling writers, I do, although most of the genre is filled with...

2017-02-28 03:31:41

John Grochowski - Systems and More Systems  

It's not unusual to find a roulette player with a system. It's less common to find a systems player who wants to coach you in their method just because you happened to be standing next to them.That's what happened to Rob, who made the table minimum $5 wager on inside bets by putting his chips straddling the line separating 13-14-15 from 16-17-18....

2017-02-26 03:35:08

Gary Trask - Casino City writer-turned-poker-pro captures Foxwoods Winter Deep Freeze Poker Challenge  

No cheering in the press box.It's one of the first rules a young journalist learns, and the figurative and literal meaning is vitally important. You should never root for — or against, for that matter — the people or teams you are covering.Last week, however, we had a rare exception here at Casino City. Our former colleague Dan Podheiser reached...

2017-02-25 01:50:43

Jerry Stickman - Some video poker games earn different players club points  

Savvy players like Video Poker because of its low house edge. With some games the edge can actually be in the player's favor. By including slot club bonus points, even a slightly negative game can become positive.At one time (it now seems like the distant past), when the concept of player's club points was fairly new, all video poker and slot...

2017-02-25 01:04:40

Clare Fitzgerald - Q&A with Kara Scott, host of 888poker News  

Kara Scott, official 888poker brand ambassador. Kara Scott is one of our favorite poker personalities here at Casino City, so we were thrilled to hear that she's hosting a new show, 888poker News. The new show will air once a month online and, as you might have guessed from the title, is sponsored by 888 Poker, where Scott is a brand ambassador....

2017-02-24 02:09:55

John Robison - Ask the Slot Expert: What are the odds of being dealt a royal flush?  

Question: I recently was dealt a royal flush. What are the odds of being dealt a royal flush? Answer: Congratulations. All royals are great, but dealt royals are special because they happen so rarely. I was lucky enough to be dealt a royal twice last year, an occurrence I doubt will ever happen again. To find the odds of being dealt a...

2017-02-23 04:08:59

John Grochowski - A simple strategy for Caribbean stud  

QUESTION: You never write about Caribbean Stud anymore. Why is that? Also, can you give a strategy for when to bet and when to fold? I mainly play blackjack, but as a second game I like Caribbean Stud when I can find it.ANSWER: Your last phrase, "when I can find it," is the main reason I rarely write about Caribbean Stud. It's not as popular as it...

2017-02-23 02:50:05

Nicholas G. Colon - Gambling greats gather at annual Blackjack Ball in Las Vegas  

Anthony Curtis at the Ultimate Blackjack Tournament. (photo by Anthony Curtis)On a cool Saturday evening in late January, in the shadows of the most well-known casinos in the world, with the distant glow of the neon lights of the Las Vegas Strip in the background, the most elite professional gamblers in the world gather to attend the...

2017-02-21 02:22:03

Frank Scoblete - Genetic roulette  

Everything in life is a gamble. Whether it's crossing the street, deciding what to eat, whom to date, whom to marry, flying in a plane, taking a shower, just sitting in your living room; all of these activities could end in happiness, misery and perhaps death. That's the way it is.Marriage is not the worst of gambles, because divorce is always...

2017-02-21 02:05:18

Clare Fitzgerald - Top 10 most bananas stories from Trump's time as a casino boss  

President Donald Trump (photo by Gage Skidmore)It's President's Day here in the U.S., and while we've certainly had our fair share of presidents who gamble — as I wrote about last year — for the first time in history, we have a president whose gambling experience comes from the operator side. In the 1980s and 1990s, Donald J. Trump was the Casino...

2017-02-21 01:30:10

John Grochowski - Some blackjack complaints  

Many of the stories I relay from other players come from conversations at blackjack tables. There's time to talk while cards are being dealt or shuffled, and while some player would rather not be bothered, many like to do little socializing.Sometimes the social experience turns sour. Not every player interaction is pleasant. Here are a few ...

2017-02-19 03:31:49

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