How To Play

High house edge bets are high-risk, high reward propositions

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

dealdicesm

By John G.

For players who take craps seriously, the next step after learning the basics of how to play usually is to probe deeper into the possibilities presented by the dozens of bets and hundreds of potential combinations available.

diamond Read more

Don’t let Vegas talk you into a single-deck game

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

cardstack

By John G.

I once asked a representative of a game manufacturer if he thought players noticed the differences in pay tables. He said that only a small minority of players could distinguish the games at a glance, but that players noticed their bankrolls disappearing faster on the lower-paying games.

diamond Read more

Progressive betting pattern a long-term loser

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

cutben

By Alan Vaughn

There he goes again. The player sitting next to you finally won a few hands and now he is carpet bombing the table with chips and raking in the money. The question soon becomes, does he know what he is doing, or is he just getting lucky at the right time?

diamond Read more

Cheating not the answer to house advantage

Thursday, May 15, 2014

POKERCHIPS

By Alan Vaughn

The world of tournament poker has gotten a lot of press lately about extra chips mysteriously appearing mid-game. In most cases, this has been the result of players cheating by adding high-denomination chips, stolen from previous tournaments, in an attempt to increase their odds of winning the tournament in which they are currently playing.

diamond Read more

Betting the pass line gives an edge on the comeout roll

Thursday, May 15, 2014

roulette23

By John G.

John tackles the question: “In craps, I don’t get why you say the pass line is a better bet than placing 6 or 8. If you bet pass, you have to take the times that the point is 4 or 10, where it’s a lot more likely that you lose. I want the best numbers all the time.”

diamond Read more

Several factors go into determining rewards

Friday, May 09, 2014

crablegs

By John G.

Dollar for dollar, slot players are worth more to the casino than are table games players. When playing the penny slots, your wife is spotting the house an edge of roughly 12 percent. The exact figure varies from game to game and casino to casino, but penny slot paybacks usually are in the 85-to-90 percent range.

diamond Read more

Trust is the key consideration when sharing losses

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Card_Game_Group

By Alan Vaughn

One of the major challenges with playing blackjack is even though the game has a very small house advantage, it is still possible to lose hundreds of dollars due to bad luck. Some players try to offset their bad luck by teaming up with someone else and sharing their results.

diamond Read more

Gaming mailbag: Quitting while you’re ahead

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

dealcardsm

By John G.

The notion that there’s a point in every casino trip when you’re ahead is false. The house edge is working against you from the moment you start wagering. There are days in the casino when you lose your first bet, fall behind, and never climb out of the hole.

diamond Read more

Betting systems rarely live up to claims

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

bustedsm

By John G.

When I first started writing about casinos and casino games, I used to have people pitching systems to me all the time. “You’ll want to talk to me,” one fellow’s phone message started. “I’m the only one who knows how to beat craps.” He phoned me off and on for three years, and finally sent me a detailed computer simulation. Let’s just say it didn’t live up to the hype.

diamond Read more

Blackjack dealer: Friend or foe

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

cardchick

By Alan Vaughn

Over the past several years I have written articles addressing the basic questions of blackjack, but one question that still puzzles me regards dealers: Just whose side are they on?

diamond Read more

The importance of blackjack record keeping

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

moneyrisk

By Alan Vaughn

I recently took on a new blackjack student that caught me a little off guard. When I asked him how much he had won or lost at the tables, he not only told me an exact number, but also produced meticulous records showing how long he had played during each session and how much he had won or lost at each casino.

diamond Read more

Winner, winner chicken dinner

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

moneycart

By John G.

I’m not a high roller by any means, and there are no $20,000 slot jackpots or $10,000 runs at the craps tables on my resume. Mostly, I stick to $5 and $10 tables, and 25-cent video poker. When my wife and I play together, it’s usually on penny slots. So when people ask about my largest casino win, it’s easy to pick one. It came in the late 1990s at the Tropicana in Las Vegas.

diamond Read more

"How much money do I need for blackjack?"

Friday, December 27, 2013

bigbills

By Alan Vaughn

As a professional blackjack player, I need to have a plan before I ever sit down at a table. Most people are surprised to know that I can spend hours simply planning how much I will bet at each different casino.

diamond Read more

Betting the streak can work sometimes – due to chance

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

roulette23

By John G.

That a baccarat bet or roulette bet has won a few in a row is no indicator that it will keep winning, nor is it an indicator that a loss is due. The odds are unchanging, no matter what has happened in the past – at least, they’re close enough to unchanging that the house can count on making its profit.

diamond Read more

Playing percentages always best in blackjack

Friday, October 11, 2013

busted

By John G.

Hitting 16 vs. 7 isn’t always a winning play, but it’s always the right play. There’s no way of telling until the cards are dealt whether it’s the winning play. So without knowing what’s coming next, the right play is to play the percentages, to make the play that gives you the best shot to win.

diamond Read more

More casinos basing comps, offers on spending total

Friday, October 11, 2013

Insider_3-4

John G.

With today’s random number generators and virtual reels, and with no limits on the size of video reel strips, the math is different in today’s slot games. But it remains a rapid-hit game, and maintains its place on the floor in three-reel versions and as an inspiration for 7s-based video slots.

diamond Read more

Free play, comps help narrow the house edge

Thursday, October 10, 2013

crablegs

By John G.

The value of free play and comps is part of the equation that helps narrow the house edge against players. If you’re paying less for a room that you’d have booked at full price, that’s money remaining in your wallet. Same deal on the buffets.

diamond Read more

Little things make big difference in bottom line

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

20spot

By John G.

On any casino trip, the little things count. Just a few little ins and outs about how the games work can make a difference in your bottom line and your enjoyment of the gaming day. Let’s explore a few of the little things, with some short tips for slot players.

diamond Read more

The draw of single- and double-deck blackjack games

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

JohnGBlackjack

By Alan Vaughn

A new casino has been marketing its single- and double-deck blackjack games. It is commonly understood that the fewer decks used for a game of blackjack, the lower the casino edge. In reality, however, that is rarely the case. There are several factors that work against the player as the number of decks increase, but deck size alone is often misleading when deciding which game is superior.

diamond Read more

Splitting 10s an expensive mistake

Friday, August 02, 2013

Ruben_1_cent

By Alan Vaughn

Splitting 10s can be a touchy subject because most players know that it is a huge mistake but often don’t understand why. The players that choose to make this play often are only looking to get more money on the table instead of trying to play well. Before moving to Colorado I had only seen 10s split one time. In the two years I have played locally I have seen 10s split 20 times or more.

diamond Read more

Life is good when you're in a streak

Friday, August 02, 2013

goldsign

By John G.

Streaks happen in any game of chance. They’re not predictable, nor are they indicators of what is to come. But when you’re riding a streak, the good times roll.

diamond Read more

Couple tells of wedding day at tables

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Card_Game_Group

By John G.

After nearly 20 years of writing this column – it launched at the beginning of February in 1994 – I have a fair idea of what resonates with readers. After all, many of you are kind enough to tell me, via email. One message that came through loud and clear is that players love to read about other players. My email box is flooded every time I relay a little table talk

diamond Read more

Author's split was the right 'lose-least' call

Thursday, June 20, 2013

cutben

By John G

It was late on a Monday night on an overnight casino stay, and the table games pit was mostly empty. I was at a $10 blackjack table with three other players, a man and a woman in their late 20s or early 30s who seemed to be a couple, and a fellow with a shaved head and gray beard who appeared to be in his 50s or early 60s.

diamond Read more

Money management key to prolonging play

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

moneyrisk

By John Grochowski

I once was giving a daylong seminar for a park district, teaching the basics of blackjack, craps and roulette. Most the attendees were beginners whose main gambling had been playing the slots, often while on park district bus trips to casinos. But one gentleman spoke up as I was walking players through basic strategy at blackjack, and playing a few sample hands.

diamond Read more

Best ways to practice basic strategy

Thursday, June 06, 2013

bjack

By Alan Vaughn

The other day I was talking with a friend who had recently started playing blackjack. It concerned him that he didn’t know all of the correct plays and he was wondering if I had any advice. He admitted that he tried to play basic strategy but he didn’t want to use a chart at the table and feel like he was holding up the game.

diamond Read more

Players flocking to video slots

Thursday, May 16, 2013

spinninslot

By John G.

Slot machines are constantly changing and evolving. The three-reel games of yore are still with us, but the kings of the slot floor are video games with their array of animation, special effects, 3D sound, second-screen bonuses, free spin events, mystery pays and multi-tiered jackpots.

diamond Read more

‘Safe’ play not so safe when holding a soft 17 or 18

Friday, May 10, 2013

blackjack

By Alan Vaughn

I frequently get asked by players what I think they should do with a soft 17/18. I always tell them the correct basic strategy play and sometimes they listen. More often than not they listen to what I have to say and then immediately choose to stand because they have a “made hand” and don’t want to risk missing their hit.

diamond Read more

RNG still rules slot result when stopping reels

Friday, May 10, 2013

sloticons

By John G.

In nearly all slot games that allow you to stop the reels, there is no skill involved. The random number generator already has determined your outcome when you hit the button to spin the reels, and you’re going to get the same result regardless of whether you stop the reels early or let them halt in their own time.

diamond Read more

Posted results only practical for a few games

Friday, May 03, 2013

roulette23

By John G.

It was a Thursday evening, and I was walking through a casino with my friend Alex while our wives were playing the slots. Alex sticks to table games, mostly blackjack, and we were checking out blackjack house rules, craps odds, table minimums and other playing conditions. As we walked past the roulette tables, Alex pointed to the boards showing the last 18 numbers and said, “Wouldn’t it be cool if they had boards like that in blackjack?”

diamond Read more

Revealed cards: cheating or not?

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

cardstack

By Alan Vaughn

According to basic strategy, when your hand reaches a hard total of 17 or more you should stand against any dealer card. But have you ever thought about doubling down? Recently, I did just that. I was playing at a small casino in the Midwest and I was dealt a 17 against a dealer 8, but instead of standing as basic strategy recommends, I decided to double. The reason was simple: I knew that the next card was either a 2 or a 3 and by doubling down, I was able to gain a huge advantage over the house.

diamond Read more

How different rules affect the bottom line

Thursday, April 25, 2013

blackjack

By Alan Vaughn

It isn’t uncommon for table game players to frequent several different casinos, either to take advantage of special promotions, cash in on comps, or simply for a change of scenery. While most casinos in an area will have a similar edge over their patrons, it is common for each location to have a slightly different set of rules. These subtle changes in the game can have a big impact on your expected loss.

diamond Read more

Use basic strategy to maximize return on investment

Thursday, April 25, 2013

burnincards

By Alan Vaughn

In the world of investing, risk and return are often seen as partners. The more risky an investment is, the higher potential reward that an investor will demand. The most heavily used investment instrument is the stock market, where savvy investors demand 10% to 12% returns on their money every year. Yet in the casino, players regularly pass up on 10, 20, or even 30% returns – because they are afraid that the risk is too high.

diamond Read more

Law of averages often broken at craps table

Thursday, April 25, 2013

skydiesm

By John G.

Craps is not a family game in the Grochowski household. I do have a craps layout that I use in seminars, but we don’t sit around the kitchen table and roll them bones unless we’re playing Yahtzee or Monopoly. But there are plenty of dice in the house, and we picked a pair one night when old friend Jeff was over for dinner.

diamond Read more

Unlikely that coin payouts make return

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Slot_Machines

By John G.

A reader misses the coins in the slot machines, saying there was nothing better than a big win and hundreds of coins pouring out. Is there any chance we could get those kinds of games back into casinos?

diamond Read more

Couple’s night out changes gaming approach

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

johngslot

By John G.

My casino play has a bit of a split personality. Multiple personalities, to be more accurate. When I’m playing for recreation, I want games that give me the best shot to win. So you’ll find me playing blackjack, video poker when I can find good pay tables, and occasionally craps.

diamond Read more

Don’t buy into poor play when masses descend

Friday, March 08, 2013

Leyba09Gaming0536-1

By Alan Vaughn

If you have ever been in a casino on a holiday, you know that it is a mad house. All of the tables are full and it seems as if no one has ever played any of the games before. I’m not sure what it is about holidays that draw new players to the tables but if you are like me it can be very frustrating to watch so many boneheaded decisions made in one night. What can you do to avoid playing like the masses? Here are four tips that can help.

diamond Read more

Keep gaming fun and affordable in 2013

Monday, February 11, 2013

bustedsm

By John G.

All year long, I write about casinos and casino games, pointing out what’s new and cool in the games people play and examining the strategies that give us the best chances to win. Early in each year, though, I like to strike a cautionary note. It’s far too easy to get caught up in the atmosphere, betting credits and chips rather than dollars and cents, and spending more than we ought.

diamond Read more

Always a place for live blackjack dealers

Monday, February 11, 2013

cardshuffle1

By John G.

There’s a market for fully automated blackjack, and that market is growing. But there’s no imminent danger of fully automated games taking over the market, says John G. in his latest Q&A.

diamond Read more

Splitting at correct times can lower casino advantage

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

cardstack

By Alan Vaughn

In the game of blackjack, splitting pairs is one of the biggest advantages that a player has against the dealer. Despite the infrequency that players are dealt pairs that should be split, knowing the correct strategies can help the player to regain about .5% of the casino advantage against them.

diamond Read more

Kick off 2013 with good gambling reads

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

JohnGBlackjack

By John G.

Over the years, I’ve read and reviewed many a blackjack book. Rarely have I recommended one simply because it’s so much fun to read. I’d doing it now with Glen Wiggy’s “1536 Free Waters and Other Blackjack Endeavors, which ranks high on my list of must-reads for gamblers.

diamond Read more

Machine designers are having fun in the video age

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Slots2

By John G.

The video age has been liberating for slot machine designers, and not just in ability to use animation and special effects to create entertaining bonus events. They can play with the configuration of the reels, and even change the number of reels from spin to spin.

diamond Read more

Watching craps winner leaves 'em amazed

Friday, December 14, 2012

dealdicesm

By John G.

Several years ago I was one of about a dozen presenters at a weekend forum on casino games. It was there that I met Paul, who was attending my session on baccarat. He explained that he usually played video poker along with a little blackjack, but was looking for a third game to spice things up.

diamond Read more

The ins and outs of playing 21+3

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

dealcardsm

By Alan Vaughn

Recently several Colorado casinos have opened tables labeled 21+3. Despite the confusing name these are just standard blackjack tables with a three-card poker side bet. In this case, the casino is allowing players to play two of their favorite games simultaneously.

diamond Read more

Video poker plays big role at Gaming Expo

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

vidpoker1

By John G.

Video poker players may not consciously seek out International Game Technology machines, but that’s where they play. Well over 90 percent of the poker machines we see in casinos are IGT games – and that’s likely an understatement.

diamond Read more

Tipping dealer is OK, just don’t go overboard

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

cutben

By Alan Vaughn

One of the most costly mistakes that I see players make at the table is to give too much of their money to dealers. I’m not saying that tipping the dealer is a mistake, but I don’t think that many players realize the overall cost of their generosity.

diamond Read more

“Shoulda been mine” doesn’t stand up to scrutiny

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Slot_Machines

By John G.

Walking the aisles at a busy casino, I saw the lights flash and heard the music change to celebration mode – surefire signs that someone had just hit the jackpot. I walked toward the winner to see what was going on, and it turned out that a woman who appeared to be in her 40s had just lined up the three double symbols on a Double Diamond reel-spinning game. She looked stunned as the attendant took her information for a $2,500 jackpot.

diamond Read more

Advice for new blackjack players

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Blackjack

By Alan Vaughn

Every time a new player starts playing blackjack, he or she is given the same advice: Hit if the dealer has a seven or higher and stand if the dealer has a six or lower. The intent of this advice is to give the new player a brief glimpse of basic strategy without getting too complicated. But there is a problem with this advice.

diamond Read more

Sometimes, a mistake turns out in your favor

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

roulette23

By John G.

When things are really going wrong in a casino, the numbers on the credit meters are in free-fall, or our stacks of chips have become stack of chip. But sometimes something goes wrong that turns out right. You make a mistake, and win anyway. It happens – through you wouldn’t want to keep making the mistake. But for one brief moment, you’re glad you did.

diamond Read more

Variance makes winning big possible

Thursday, September 27, 2012

bigbills

By Alan Vaughn

Have you ever noticed that casinos never seem too concerned about players winning? This can be explained using one word: variance. Simply put, variance is a measure of the distance between actual results and theoretical results. The casinos know that they make their money by offering games where the player you can win big money but they also know that they get a cut of every wager placed at their tables.

diamond Read more

How to make aggressive play work for you

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

chippin

By Mark Lasser

One of the big changes that poker players have learned to incorporate into their game in the post-$5 betting cap era is to manage betting aggression.

diamond Read more

Stacked symbols add volatility to video slots

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

sloticons

By John G.

Video slots are the most popular, most played and most widely available games in modern casinos. They’re also the games with the most variation, full of little wrinkles that affect gameplay.

diamond Read more

Q&A: Coupon not valid on 1, 2-deck games

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

cardstack

By John G.

A reader asks John G. why a coupon for a 2-1 payoff on his first blackjack was not valid on one-deck or two-deck games. Could it be that the one- and two-deck games were paying 6-5 on blackjacks, while perhaps the six- or eight-deckers were paying 3-2?

diamond Read more

Random rollers and controllers: Q&A

Monday, July 30, 2012

dealdicesm

By John G.

Dice controllers don’t have to roll specific numbers in order to make money. A few can increase the frequency of specific numbers, and even increase the frequency of hardways and turn bad bets into big profit situations. For most who attempt dice control, however, the game is about making the good bets, and depressing the frequency of loser 7s.

diamond Read more

Stretching your blackjack dollar

Friday, July 13, 2012

coolcashlogo

By Alan Vaughn

Playing the game of blackjack is a lot of fun, but if you aren’t careful it can become a major drain on your finances. In order to play responsibly it is important to set aside specific money that is used for gambling (money you can afford to lose) and only use that money when you visit the casinos. If you play well, you can usually hold on to this money for weeks or months at a time, but eventually you may find yourself asking “Is there a way to stretch my blackjack money so that it lasts longer?”

diamond Read more

Young or weak players have kicker problems

Thursday, June 28, 2012

dunce

By Mark Lasser

This week is dedicated to one of the most frequent mistakes I see made by young, inexperienced and weak poker players. It’s about getting deep into a hand with bad kickers and then thinking you had bad luck.

diamond Read more

“Can you wait?” Question causes friction at table

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Leyba09Gaming0536-1

By Alan Vaughn

The other day I ended up in an argument at the tables that should have been avoided. I sat down, put my money on the table, and I was immediately asked “Do you mind waiting until the shoe is over?”

diamond Read more

Does slot payback % change with denomination?

Friday, June 22, 2012

slotsx

By John G.

“Does the payback change as you change the denomination, or are you getting a lower payback for dollars because you can play the smaller denominations also?” Deal gaming insider John Grochowski takes on this question and others in this dip into his gaming mailbag.

diamond Read more

Bad kickers a big problem for weak players

Friday, June 15, 2012

pokerbeat

By Mark Lasser

This week is dedicated to one of the most frequent mistakes I see made by young, inexperienced and weak poker players. It’s about getting deep into a hand with bad kickers and then thinking you had bad luck.

diamond Read more

Parts of a ‘royal’ determine value

Thursday, May 31, 2012

vidpoker1

By John G.

Jim is a Colorado reader who emails me several times a year, usually with video poker conundrums. His latest came after a session at 9-6 Double Double Bonus Poker, the full-pay version where full houses pay 9-for-1, flushes 6-for-1 and where the return with expert play is 98.98 percent.

diamond Read more

The downside of blackjack streak side bet

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Blackjack

By Alan Vaughn

If you have been reading this column for any length of time you should know that I don’t have a very high opinion of side bets. In this article I want to cover one of my least favorite side bets: “streak.” My primary complaint isn’t that it has a large casino advantage or that it encourages players to misplay their hands, but that there is no reason for it to exist.

diamond Read more

Just get in the game

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

dealcardsm

By Mark Lasser

Once upon a time, poker was accessible to anyone with an Internet connection and five bucks in the bank. Before that “once upon a time” period, if one wanted to learn the game, they could hope for some willing friends and family members, or they could overcome the intimidation factor of buying into a live game and hope for the best.

diamond Read more

Jackpot details forever imprinted on memory

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

slot7777

By John G.

Big jackpots don’t come along every day. They’re rare treats, and players remember the tiniest details of how they happened. The largest jackpot I ever won in a casino was a modest $8,000 for a royal flush on a $2 video poker machine. I rarely play the biggest jackpot games, but this was a big enough win to imprint itself on my memory, starting with the head rush that came with the shock of seeing the royal at higher stakes than I usually play.

diamond Read more

‘No Bust’ system puts players on road to ruin

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

bustedsm

By Alan Vaughn

The other day a friend told me about a new blackjack system that he had learned. The system promised to give the player an advantage by using a very simple strategy: never bust. He told me, “All you do is stand on any value 12 or higher and then the house doesn’t have an advantage anymore.”

diamond Read more

Lowering the house edge on craps

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

skydiesm

By John G.

Among the dozens of betting options at the craps table, some of the most commonly played are the place bets. They’re wagers that the shooter will roll the number of your choice before rolling a 7.

diamond Read more

Playing with heart against the bad beat jackpot

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

tvpokersm

By Mark Lasser

In a few months the televised poker season will be getting under way as players stream into Nevada for the World Series of Poker. One of the expressions you’ll hear from the commentators is that a player has “heart.” What they mean by that is a player is unafraid to take risk and is committed to winning.

diamond Read more

Playing with integrity helps all involved

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

20spot

By Alan Vaughn

Let’s say you decide to play blackjack for a couple minutes. The dealer just finished shuffling and you are feeling lucky, so you throw a green chip onto the felt and hope for the best.

diamond Read more

Tale of an accidental winner

Friday, April 13, 2012

moneycart

By John G.

One of my standard warnings to players is to never overbet your bankroll. If you bet too large a percentage of your budget for the day’s entertainment on each bet, the usual result is that you’ll be heading home early, or worse, digging for extra funds.

diamond Read more

Weaknesses in different betting patterns

Friday, April 13, 2012

clock

By Mark Lasser

Many times while playing low-limit Hold’em, I watch betting patterns of other players and internally shake my head. The biggest mistake players make is betting with no rhyme or reason. Or they bet amounts that are empirically wrong for a variety of reasons. Often players bet an amount based on what “feels” right. Here are a few types of betting patterns and the weaknesses inherent in the type.

diamond Read more

Size of bet deserves some thought

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

pokerroundup

By Mark Lasser

You’re in middle position in a 1-2-100 cash game and are dealt AK suited, a very nice starting hand. The player under the gun limps and the person to your right makes it $7. The rest of the table seems uninterested in their cards except for the dude wearing a hoodie in the hijack position who looks to be putting together $20 in red chips. What do you do?

diamond Read more

Electronic roulette a low-cost diversion

Monday, March 19, 2012

lowcost

By John G.

Roulette has never been my game of choice. I’ll use it as a diversion at low-limit tables when I’m taking a break from my usual mix of blackjack, video poker and perhaps a little craps.

diamond Read more

Bet sizing, part II – and some definitions

Friday, March 09, 2012

manaphone

By Mark Lasser

In a previous column I wrote about bet sizing before the flop and why being consistent can help disguise your hand, or conversely, why altering bet sizes can become a tell for other players. This week, we’ll get into bet sizing the flop and the turn.

diamond Read more

Benefit of doubling 10, 11 doesn’t hold with lower cards

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

kingcardz

By Alan Vaughn

In my last article I explained the power of doubling down on 10s and 11s. I pointed out that not only are 10s and 11s extremely strong against dealer bust cards but that they are also strong enough to be doubled against stronger dealer holdings.

diamond Read more

Charting craps tables conveys only what has been

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

burnincards

By John G.

I’m a very patient person, and a very patient gambler in many respects. I’m patient enough to practice blackjack and video poker strategies on the computer, and patient enough to stick to the strategies in the casino. I’m patient enough to wait for the count to turn favorable before raising my blackjack bets, regardless of whether I’ve been winning or losing. I’m patient enough to refrain from playing video poker until I find machines with the pay tables I’m looking for. But charting craps tables? It tries my patience.

diamond Read more

Don’t pass on doubling opportunities

Thursday, February 16, 2012

numbers

By Alan Vaughn

If you could start with any two cards in the game of blackjack, what would they be? The obvious answer is an Ace and a 10, but what would be your second choice? I think that if you eliminate a blackjack, most players would choose to be dealt a 20. While this is a great choice, I would personally prefer to sit at a table where I am dealt a 10 or an 11 on every hand. Part of this is because I really enjoy doubling down, but the other part is because doubling on a 10 or an 11 in the right situations presents a unique opportunity.

diamond Read more

"The price of a day's entertainment"

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

losersm

By John G.

When readers share stories about their casino exploits, it’s usually about big wins. Let’s face it, the wins are more memorable and more memorable to talk about than the more common losing sessions. Still, every now and then a reader looking for a sympathetic ear will e-mail me with a tale of a day when nothing went right.

diamond Read more

On the future of online poker

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

mousecards

By Mark Lasser

A quick note on the future of online poker: as things stand right now, individual states are writing legislation to make online poker legal on a state level pending a federal decision that would allow this to be regulated on a state-by-state level.

diamond Read more

Dealer not to blame for negative result

Monday, January 30, 2012

busted

By Alan Vaughn

There are lots of things to blame when a player loses his or her money at the blackjack table: poor play, insufficient funds, bad luck, horrible timing, etc. One thing that a player cannot blame is the dealer.

diamond Read more

Book a good primer for Three Card Poker

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

3cards

By Mark Lasser

Three Card Poker is an increasingly available and popular game and yet very little has been written about it, and certainly not with the authority that Avery Cardoza brings to the table.

diamond Read more

8 for '12: Tips for a prosperous new year in casinos

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

smileychip

By John G.

Casinos are filled with temptations. They’re fantasy zones, where most of the time we don’t bet with actual money. We play with chips, or credits on a meter. Those chips and credits are bought with money, and can be exchanged for the real thing, but while we’re playing it sometimes doesn’t feel like we’re spending money. For some, it’s easy to get carried away and overbet until it’s all gone. They’re only chips, right?

diamond Read more

Talkative guy goes silent on big winner

Thursday, January 19, 2012

talkinguy

By John G

Two to four times a year, I find myself in Las Vegas. It’s mostly business – and I’ve even convinced my wife of that – but I make a little time to play. And in the interest of getting the best blackjack rules and best video poker pay tables, I take my play away from the Strip, to places where the locals play.

diamond Read more

Chip capping a crime that doesn’t pay

Friday, January 13, 2012

chipcheat

By Alan Vaughn

Back in November, a San Diego-based blackjack team made the news for winning over $7 million. Unlike blackjack players in the movies, this team will be forced to return their winnings, and several of the players will face jail time for their efforts. The FBI labeled them as one of the most elaborate card-cheating rings in recent history and as such they will be prosecuted by the casinos for defrauding them of millions of dollars.

diamond Read more

Look for progress in world of online poker

Friday, January 13, 2012

onlinemouseSm

By Mark Lasser

Happy 2012 everyone. I’m predicting this is the year where we will see some progress in the world of online poker. Last year was pretty darn bad for online players in the U.S. and I think two things will happen this year (with the qualifier that I think they’ll happen late into 2012).

diamond Read more

Tale of beginner’s luck boggles the mind

Friday, January 13, 2012

luckystreak

By John G

Given enough trials, anything that can happen eventually will. A Megabucks slot jackpot can be years in the making, but eventually there will be a new multimillionaire. A craps shooter holding the dice for a couple of hours? It happens. And then there’s the best streak of beginner’s luck I’ve ever heard.

diamond Read more

The ways of chopping a prize pool

Thursday, December 15, 2011

cutben

By Mark Lasser

Last week I played in one of the tournaments at the Golden Gates. I hadn’t played a tourney in awhile and it was starting right when I got there, so I took a shot. I think their breakdown for a $90 buy in is $10 for the dealers, $17 for the house and $63 for the prize pool. We had 40 players so the event paid four spots. With 20-minute rounds, things move pretty fast and I figured it would be four to five hours.

diamond Read more

Looking for an edge? Take comps into account

Monday, December 12, 2011

quarterz

By John G

There’s only a handful of casino games in which the player can get an edge. Start with blackjack for card counters, video poker at certain pay, craps for a select few dice controllers. Add in live poker for those more skilled and disciplined than their opponents, and sports and racing betting for serious handicappers. That’s about it. But there are opportunities to play on the positive side if you take into account the value of cash back, free play, room and meal comps and other perks.

diamond Read more

The word on Buffalo Bonus Blackjack

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

buffy

By Alan Vaughn

There’s a new blackjack side bet in town and it can pay as much as 75 to 1 if you are lucky enough bet at the right time. Like most side bets, the payout schedule is tempting but the casino advantage is big.

diamond Read more

The truth about blackjack streaks

Monday, November 28, 2011

Blackjack

By Alan Vaughn

It’s 7 p.m. and you just hit the casino floor. Money in hand, you find a seat and start playing. After placing a $25 bet you are dealt a 9 and a 2 against the dealer’s 6. You double the bet, draw an 8, and the dealer busts. It continues like this for the entire shoe, and 15 minutes later you are up over $500. Now what?

diamond Read more

Log-on technology keeps players coming back

Friday, November 18, 2011

By John G

Casinos are always looking for ways to drive repeat business, to entice players to come again. International Game Technology has come up with a video poker variation that certainly would keep me coming back, provided the casino put a high enough pay table on the game to attract my business in the first place.

diamond Read more

Live coverage of WSOP made it one to remember

Friday, November 18, 2011

MarkLasser

By Mark Lasser

Somewhere around 1 a.m. on a recent night I wondered if I was going to see the sunrise as I watched the final two players in the World Series of Poker battle six hours and through 119 hands in one of the longest heads-up matches in the history of the main event.

diamond Read more

The faulty reasoning behind progressive betting

Friday, November 18, 2011

dealcardsm

By Alan Vaughn

In my time at the tables I have seen a lot of players that claim to have a winning system. I have even read books by authors claiming that their “system” is a guide to riches. Unfortunately, many of these systems do more harm than good. The most popular losing system used today is called progressive betting.

diamond Read more

'Big Buck' draws big crowds at Gaming Expo

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Elvis

By John G

For three days, I watched the hunters, stalking their prey. They’d raise their rifles, fire, lights would flash … and bonus credits would appear on the screen. “We’re kind of blurring the line between the slot and the arcade game,” said Boris Hallerbach, Megajackpots product manager for International Game Technology.

diamond Read more

Trick to beating new breed of player

Monday, November 14, 2011

Poker_Ace

By Mark Lasser

When I started playing poker, making a bet usually meant you had some semblance of a hand, or it meant that you were making a calculated bluff. Checking was generally a sign you had a weak or near worthless hand. And so tight aggressive play was the way to beat the game. Play good cards and be aggressive when you have them. Life was good. Sunshine. Big pots. Cheap buffets. Your house was still worth something.

diamond Read more

Cheats: Separating fact from fiction

Thursday, October 27, 2011

roulette-shot-09

By Mark Lasser

If you’ve ever watched a movie about gambling, there was probably a character that was a cheat. “The Sting” is all about an elaborate horse racing scam. There’s the backroom scene in “Casino” where a blackjack cheat has his hand broken with a hammer. Ed Norton in “Rounders” is what we call a mechanic, someone good at physically manipulating cards. Paul Newman in “The Hustler” is a pool con artist. There’s team of card counters in “21.” The list goes on.

diamond Read more

Shuffling through the Gaming mailbag

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Mailbox

By John Grochowski

Q. The random number generator on a slot machine stops as soon as you press the button or pull the handle. So how does the RNG work when you play a cascading machine? You don’t press any buttons, you just watch. So how does the RNG determine what comes up and when to stop? Read on for the answer to this and other questions.

diamond Read more

Separate side-bet decisions from hand

Friday, October 21, 2011

aces

By Alan Vaughn

Side bets at the blackjack table allow you to bet on various aspects of the game ranging from the number of player wins to whether or not the dealer will bust. These bets are different from wagers like splitting or doubling down because they have no impact on the outcome of the hand.

diamond Read more

Let's get back to blackjack basics

Friday, October 07, 2011

balls

By Alan Vaughn

For the average, player proper basic strategy, coupled with money management techniques, can make the game of blackjack one of the best bets in the casino. Unfortunately, most players only learn the most obvious parts of basic strategy and rely on their logic to guess at the remaining play decisions. For the most part these guesses are accurate, but I routinely hear players explain the faulty logic that they use to avoid correct basic strategy. In this segment I am going to explain why this reasoning falls short and explain why the appropriate basic strategy play is superior in the long run.

diamond Read more

No gain, all pain in roulette wagers

Friday, October 07, 2011

rouletteart

By John Grochowski

Nearly every wager on a double-zero roulette table gives the house a 5.26 percent edge. It makes no difference whether you bet single numbers or 18-number combinations such as red or black, or anything in between. As long as you steer clear of the five-number bet on 0, 00, 1, 2 and 3, where the house edge soars to 7.89 percent, the house expects to keep $5.26 per $100 wagered.

diamond Read more

Book ‘Read’em and Reap’ tells all on ‘tells’

Friday, October 07, 2011

reademweap

By Mark Lasser

I’ve been having fun this summer catching up on my poker book reading. Some folks get more reading done during the cold months of our Colorado winter, but I like to sit outside with a cigar and a drink, work on my tan and read like crazy.

diamond Read more

Theory of slot randomness not a theory at all

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

coolnumbers

By John Grochowski

Not a month goes by that I don’t receive at least one e-mail with a slot machine question that starts, “If your randomness theory is correct, then … ” I have to issue a disclaimer. That slot machine results are determined by random number generators is not my theory. It’s not a theory at all. It’s a fact of slot machine life, and it certainly didn’t originate with me.

diamond Read more

How does the number of decks affect house advantage?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

hotcards

By Alan Vaughn

You know what they say about dealers with big shoes… they have a large advantage. OK, so no one actually says that – but they should. It is a commonly accepted fact that the fewer decks in a blackjack shoe the more advantageous it is, but very few players know why.

diamond Read more

Bet big and go home (broke)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Ruben_1_cent

By Alan Vaughn

Have you ever wondered why you lose so much money at blackjack when the house edge is supposedly so small? For most players this problem is a result of over-betting. While the amount that you bet does not change the math behind the game of blackjack, it is one of the easiest ways to give the casino more money than they deserve. Let’s look at an example.

diamond Read more

Never give up, sometimes surrender

Monday, September 12, 2011

whiteflag

By Alan Vaughn

Probably my favorite blackjack variation is when a casino offers surrender. Surrender is a little known rule that favors the player. Even though the option to surrender does not make a huge impact on the house advantage it is easy to learn and helps you avoid some of the most frustrating situations in the game.

diamond Read more

Small house edge makes blackjack attractive

Thursday, September 01, 2011

dealcardsm

By Alan Vaughn

It sounds so simple: the person closest to 21 without going over wins. But it is a game that is so complex you could spend a lifetime learning it and only scratch the surface. I have spent years studying the game of blackjack and it is my hope that over the next several months I can teach you some of the basic elements of this fascinating game. Let’s start with the first question that any player should ask before playing a new casino game: why does the house have an advantage and how big is it?

diamond Read more

Poker Beat: Be careful what you wish for

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

xraycards

By Mark Lasser

I’m going to revisit a topic I’ve written about before: playing weak starting cards in any game of poker from Hold’em to Stud to Razz. By now ESPN has been running a few weeks of coverage of the World Series of Poker main event, and we’ve seen some pretty crazy play. Now, keep in mind that when you’re watching the version of poker on ESPN where you get to see the hole cards, you’re watching an edited version of the tournament. The producers and editors of this show have the hindsight of who made the November Nine, so – spoiler alert – they’re focusing on guys like Ben Lamb for a reason.

diamond Read more

New poker book tastes good, is good for you

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

pokerbook

By Mark Lasser

Some poker books are like Fruit Loops. They taste good, they’re sweet, easy to digest, and make claims of nutrition but you know you’re eating candy for breakfast. Other poker books are like All Bran. Lots of nutrition, fiber and vitamins. Tasty? Not so much. These books are a grind to get through and although they are good for you, the process of consuming them feels more like an obligation and work than fun.

diamond Read more

Big bankrolls can play 100x odds

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

crapdeal

By John Grochowski

Of all the most popular casino table games, craps seems the most mystifying to casual players. I often hear from players who tell me they just can’t understand what’s going on at the craps tables. And of all the things casual players don’t understand about craps, it seems they don’t understand the free odds most of all. So when a Midwestern casino opened in mid-July boasting of 100x odds in craps, I received e-mails and phone calls from readers wondering what that meant.

diamond Read more

A night out in Central City

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

crablegs

By Mark Lasser

The weather this summer in Denver has been funny. Not haha funny. OMG-it’s-so-hot-and-when-the-heck-is-the-rain-gonna-stop-funny. One gets to a point where between the heat and the monsoon, one just needs a break. And so it was a recent weekend that my wife and I decided that a night on the town in Central City would be a good idea. Bought a few tickets for Central City Opera. Check. ATM cards. Check. Hunger for crab legs. Check. Off we go.

diamond Read more

Basic strategy still offers best chance of winning

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

blackjack

By John Grochowski

It was time for a get-together with my old blackjack-playing buddy Bob. I’ve mentioned him before. We’ll talk about kids – and in his case, grandkids – baseball and life in general, just like normal people. But at some point, a blackjack issue always pops up. “You know me,” he said. “I’ve played basic strategy for about a hundred years, and have picked up some wrinkles beyond the basics. But a guy at the office has been trying to convince me it’s all wrong.” I asked what was supposed to be all wrong.

diamond Read more

‘Hangover’ slot fun, even for the uninitiated

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

tiger

By John Grochowski

I’ve never seen “The Hangover.” You might think anything with an iconic “Vegas, baby!” trek would be automatic for me, but life fills up, and this is one movie I missed. “The Hangover” slot machine is another matter. I make it my business to check out as many new casino games as I can. I’d seen “The Hangover” in demo mode at Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas last fall. And now I found myself spending a day in Hammond, Ind., where the Horseshoe Casino is one of the Caesars Entertainment properties that has rolled out the game.

diamond Read more

Job 1 at WSOP: Take in the chaotic surroundings

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

riolv

By Mark Lasser

The World Series of Poker, held annually now at the Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, is mayhem. Not organized mayhem like a big concert and not quite the free-for-all mayhem of a Canadian city after losing the Stanley Cup, but mayhem nonetheless. Walking into the Rio, one starts to see signage for the WSOP event. As the convention center nears, one is welcomed by 30-foot pictures of previous winners and player of the year heads: Lisandro, Negreanu, Duhamel.

diamond Read more

House edge is 1.36 for don’t-pass bettors

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

craps1

By John Grochowski

Craps can be a game of opposites. You can bet the shooter’s going to make his points on pass and come, or bet he won’t make ‘em on don’t pass or don’t come. You can place the 6, betting the shooter will roll a 6 before a 7 or lay the 6, betting the 7 will come first. And so on.

A reader who identified himself as Jason phoned last month, asking about don’t pass. “It’s the opposite of pass, right?” he asked. “So if the house has an edge on pass, why don’t I have an edge on don’t pass?”

diamond Read more

Justice drops hammer on poker sites

Friday, June 17, 2011

cardchips

By Mark Lasser

I’ve been remiss in writing about this, yet anyone who plays poker or knows someone who plays poker has probably heard that on April 15, the Department of Justice shut down three of the largest online poker sites, and a few weeks later closed another 10. It’s probably no surprise to you that I’m politically in favor of online gaming and without any question, in favor of online poker. For most of us players, the idea that poker is a more important priority for Justice than anything else in the country is nails-on-a-blackboard irritating.

diamond Read more

Vegas with Dad seems like old times

Friday, June 17, 2011

cardguys

By John Grochowski

It was just like old times, staying and playing in Las Vegas with my dad Jerry and brother Jay. It used to be an annual tradition, until Jay’s kids and mine got to the age where school activities were taking too much of our time for a guys-only getaway.

diamond Read more

Best payback on video poker requires expert play

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

JohnG_6-3

By John Grochowski

Different video poker games, and different pay tables within the same game theme, have different payback percentages. That’s not because the odds of drawing any particular hand are different in one game than another. It’s down to two factors: Some games pay more on winning hands than others, and player strategy changes to account for those differences in payoffs.

diamond Read more

Waiting: Airports not so different from poker rooms

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Lasser_6-3

By Mark Lasser

Playing poker all over the country requires a certain amount of travel. So, today, like many other poker players, I find myself waiting in an airport. It’s sort of like being at a poker table. “Huh?” you’re thinking. How is waiting in an airport like sitting at a poker table? Well, there are some things about dealing with travel that are in your control and some things that aren’t. Granted, I never get patted down by guys in smurf blue shirts in the card rooms.

diamond Read more

Keep those wild-and-crazy guys in game

Thursday, May 19, 2011

wildcard1

By Mark Lasser

The last month or so I’ve managed to get myself wedged into games with some pretty wild characters. Before I go any further, I should probably talk about player types. Sometimes in poker, we talk about players being tight or loose. Passive or aggressive. For this column, I’m talking about more general types of characters.

diamond Read more

Hand vs. machine shuffled? No difference

Thursday, May 19, 2011

cardshuffle1

In his Gaming Mailbag column, insider John G. answers a question regarding the odds on hand-dealt vs. machine-dealt Three-Card Poker games. Is there any difference in the odds based on these two different manners of dealing?

diamond Read more

'Straddling' a gamble with little strategic value

Thursday, May 12, 2011

POKERCHIPS

By Mark Lasser

Here’s something you don’t see much of when poker is played on TV. It’s a straddle. OK, you might see the move on some random games when things get loose on “Poker After Dark,” but you will see it frequently in live play.

diamond Read more

Slot payback percentages explained

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Slot_Machines

By John Grochowski

It was a quiet Monday morning, and I was strolling down an aisle of a casino on a barge, dollar slots to my left, video poker to my right. A voice rose over the background hum – not that difficult in this relatively quiet corner, away from the clamor of the penny video slots and their bonus events. “Ninety-five percent! Hah!”

diamond Read more

'Albuquerque Turkey' a solid work of fiction

Friday, April 15, 2011

cardchick

By Mark Lasser

We’re taking a little departure this week to review a novel that will be of interest to gamblers and fans of con-artist literature by a well-known poker player. John Vorhaus is an interesting guy. A regular contributor to Card Player magazine and creative consultant to the film and television industry, Vorhaus has just delivered an intriguing and utterly enjoyable novel called “The Albuquerque Turkey.”

diamond Read more

'Age of innovation' changing slots

Thursday, April 14, 2011

spinninslot

By John Grochowski

When a slot machine innovation is successful, it quickly brings new spins on the idea – or at least imitators. If the new spins and innovations are successful, you have a trend on your hands. We’re in an age of innovation at the slots, and also in an age of trends. Let’s take a stroll through the slot aisles and see what trends we can spot.

diamond Read more

Know what to hold, what to fold

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

By John Grochowski

Video poker, as played in state-regulated casinos or on Class 3 machines in Native American casinos, is a game of chance with strong elements of skill. Your choices in drawing and discarding cards make a difference. At a seminar I gave not long ago, one younger man was unclear on where the skill makes a difference.

diamond Read more

The art of making the deal

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

By Mark Lasser

Unlike most competitive endeavors like baseball or football, poker sometimes allows participants to make agreements amongst themselves that results in a tie or settlement. We call this a chop, and it occurs in four prominent scenarios, three of which are very acceptable and one of which is basically cheating.

diamond Read more

Playing favorites bad for the game

Friday, April 08, 2011

angryman597

By Mark Lasser

Poker is not a game lacking emotion. A table of 10 people confronting each other in Black Hawk for money and proof of skill is bound to draw out our competitive spirits and that’s a positive thing. Sometimes we internalize emotions and that can manifest itself as tilt or become the cause of inflated egos. Other times, players externalize emotions and that can also influence the game.

diamond Read more

A shuffle through the gaming mailbag

Thursday, March 17, 2011

colorchips

By John Grochoeski

Nearly all games remain random when you stop the reels yourself. Game designers call it “illusion of skill.” You feel like you have control of the game, but the random number generator has already determined your result immediately after you start the reels spinning. Your timing in stopping the reels doesn’t really make any difference.

diamond Read more

Video slots have players rethinking approach

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Insider_3-4

By John Grochowski

It used to be so easy, advising players on whether to bet maximum coins on slot machines. You’ll get the highest payback percentage when you bet maximum coins, I’d tell them. Stay within your budget, but if you’re going to bet less than the max, don’t play progressive slots, and don’t play buy-a-pays where you need to bet the max to unlock all the winning symbols. In the age of the video slot, things are different.

diamond Read more

Live to play again with 'Stop-and-Go'

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

PokerBeat_3-4

By Mark Lasser

If you’ve ever played chess or bridge or backgammon, you probably know some games have well-rehearsed moves executed by advanced players. Poker is no different. Sometimes poker strategy is less than intuitive. Here’s a move you may have seen, but not understood why a player acted the way they did. This is exclusively a Texas Hold’em tournament maneuver and takes place when you find yourself short stacked against an opponent.

diamond Read more

Are roulette wheel flaws trackable?

Monday, February 21, 2011

roulette

(Second of two parts)

By Mark Lasser

In a recent column we got into the difference between single- and double-zero roulette and basic betting etiquette. We discussed inside and outside bets and basic payoffs. I also explained the important differences between felts that list payouts as being “for” and “to.” In this column we’ll look at betting systems and biased wheels.

diamond Read more

John G tackles readers' questions

Thursday, February 17, 2011

vidpoker1

By John Grochowski

A reader wants to know, if he plays almost exclusively video poker (on a “keep perspective and play for fun” basis only), if it is worth the effort to try to find the machines that pay the best odds, and what the best way to do that is. What does he look for? The “full house” odds, the “straight” odds, the “flush” odds, or a combination of all? John G takes on these and other questions.

diamond Read more

Talkin' poker on the way to the Tech Center

Thursday, February 17, 2011

sophistipoker1

By Mark Lasser

I recently had Kevin Boudreau on my radio show and we drove down to the station in the Denver Tech Center together. It gave us a chance to talk about some poker scenarios before he took off for a nice, month-long vacation. I knew he’d been playing a ton of poker, often 12 to 18 simultaneous games on Poker Stars. If you want to quietly observe his play, look him up on Poker Stars. He plays as Phwap.

diamond Read more

Take a chance on iconic casino game

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

rouletteart

(First of two parts)

By Mark Lasser

I’ve been getting beat up pretty bad lately in poker, so this week so I decided to shake things up a bit and write about one of the oldest casino games, roulette. I play roulette once in a while, but I’ve never been a huge player so I dipped into my bookcase and found a book called “Secrets of Winning Roulette,” by Marten Jensen.

diamond Read more

Author Scoblete an entertaining read

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

slotsx

By John Grochowski

The year 2010 was a busy one for Frank Scoblete, one of gambling’s most prolific, as well as entertaining, writers. He rolled out four books through his new publisher, with “Slots Conquest” ($16.95, Triumph Books) rounding out the quartet late in the year.

diamond Read more

John G's gaming resolutions for 2011

Thursday, January 20, 2011

deal2011cover

By John Grochowski

Over the course of a year, I give a lot of advice to gamblers. Split Aces and 8s against any dealer up card in blackjack, but not 5s or 10s. Stay away from the one-roll propositions in craps. Break up a full house that includes four Aces to go for the big payoff in any video poker game that pays 800 credits or more for four Aces on a five-coin bet. When you play in 2011, try to keep these other tips in mind.:

diamond Read more

'Check raising' a legit strategy

Thursday, January 06, 2011

pokerbeat

By Mark Lasser

“Check raising” is one of those funny things that get people heated up. In case you haven’t executed this play or been victim to it, a check raise occurs when a player checks or does not bet when the opportunity arises, but then raises if a player acting after them does bet. Here’s Mark Lasser’s take.

diamond Read more

Casinos can hold out for the long run

Thursday, January 06, 2011

quarter

By John Grochowski

Suppose a casino offered a game with no edge at all, such as a coin flipping game. Would the casino make money over time on it? The obvious answer of course is no, as they have no edge. But there’s a concept called gambler’s ruin that comes into play, even in a dead-even game.

diamond Read more

Expecting to lose not the right mindset at table

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

winlose

By Mark Lasser

I hadn’t played poker at the Lady Luck Casino in a while and thought I’d stop in to see the new poker room digs. The good news is Sunday night had lively games with three tables going until about 11 p.m. and then two reasonably full tables after that. The new room is a section of the upstairs casino paired with a selection of machines. This is nicer than the basement, but the popcorn machine is gone, which is kind of a bummer.

diamond Read more

Making sense of free odds wagers at Colorado craps tables

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

craps

By John Grochowski

For those who understand the possibilities, the payoffs on free odds wagers in craps make perfect sense. Given two six-sided dice, there are 36 possible rolls. Six of those rolls total 7 and are losers on pass or come bets, and also losers on the free odds. There are five ways to roll 6, and five ways to roll 8. So the odds against winning with 6 as your number are 6-5. The payoff on a free odds wager on 6 or 8? Yep, 6-5.

diamond Read more

What's coming in 2011

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

VegasStrip

By Mark Lasser

I spent last week in Las Vegas. Not to play. Not to eat at fancy restaurants. Not to see the sights. I was at the annual Global Gaming Expo, otherwise known as G2E, the largest showcase of casino products in the world. Imagine several convention hall spaces full of vendors hawking their latest and greatest products to the casino industry. Slot maker IGT’s booth alone seemed about the size of a football field running the entire length of one convention hall.

diamond Read more

Poker pros exhibit good sportsmanship

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

break_bankp14

By Mark Lasser

Well, the World Series of Poker is now over and poker has a new champion. I pushed my deadline so I could stay up and track the play on the WSOP site. This year’s winner for the first time is Canadian – 22-year-old Jonathan Duhamel took home the bracelet, bragging rights and almost $9 million bucks. He defeated the extended short stack of 24-year-old John Racener who can console himself with his $5.5 million. The only poker “veteran” at the table, Michael Mizrachi, failed to capture the bracelet after running into pocket Aces.

diamond Read more

Playing the fool in New Orleans

Friday, November 12, 2010

bluffing

By Mark Lasser

Poker can be kind of funny. I had a chance to play recently at Harrah’s in New Orleans and faced a game that wasn’t what I thought it was. First, I have to give a tip of the hat to The Big Easy. I love being in Denver, but when I am forced to travel, I do have to say that not all cities are created equal. The food in New Orleans is just soooooo good. I had a chance to visit both high-end fancy joints like Emeril’s and also established holes-in-the-wall like Mothers.

diamond Read more

It’s 2010, but slot myths persist

Friday, October 29, 2010

slots156

By John Grochowski

There are slot machine myths that have waned through the years or become obsolete because of technology. I can’t remember the last time I heard from anyone who believed that you were better off playing slots with fresh money, because the machine could detect the warmth of coins fresh out of the game’s hopper. Some myths persist, though.

diamond Read more

Poker stats offer guide to player types

Thursday, October 21, 2010

playerplayer1

By Mark Lasser

When I first started playing poker, we used to categorize players along two spectrums. The first was loose vs. tight. Loose players played lots of hands, saw lots of flops and chased flushes and straights when they weren’t getting the right odds. The extreme end of this spectrum was the “maniac.” Tight players had narrow ranges of starting hands and would often fold when they didn’t connect with a flop. The extreme end of this crowd was made up of the “rocks.”

diamond Read more

There are plays you should never make

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

pokerplays

By John Grochowski

People play casino games for different reasons, with different goals, and that’s something I try keep in mind when writing about the games. You’re out for some entertainment on the slots? Great, I’m not going to tell you to leave that behind just because the house edge is lower on blackjack. You love roulette? Fine, I’m not going to drag you to the craps table for better odds.

diamond Read more

Book details poker champ’s journey to depths and back

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

blackjack

By Mark Lasser

“Check Raising the Devil” is the autobiography to date of one of poker’s more colorful characters, Mike “The Mouth” Matusow. I’ve been watching Mike play for years and haven’t known much about him beyond what I’ve seen on TV. His reputation is that he’s a constant talker and can be a little – no, considerably – inconsiderate of his fellow players. That said, he’s moneyed in a bunch of WSOP and WPT events and has three WSOP bracelets dangling from his wrists as well.

diamond Read more

Omaha: The next big thing?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

poker-hand-chips

By Mark Lasser

Stud Poker is a classic, like Sinatra. Hold’em is mainstream, like U2. Omaha is still somewhat of a rogue’s game. I don’t know if it’s punk rock or alternative country, but it’s an action game that seems to be gaining more attention every year. For those of you not familiar with it, Omaha is a flop game like Texas Hold’em except you get dealt four cards instead of two.

diamond Read more

Colorado video poker experts play for those 'rare royals'

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

JohnG

By John Grochowski

No doubt you’ve heard that certain skilled players — blackjack card counters and video poker experts — can swing the math and gain an advantage over the house. This is true. Card counters with sufficient skill, discipline and bankroll can beat the house. Well-funded video poker players who stick to the best-paying games can be long-term winners.

diamond Read more

Poker table etiquette for beginners

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Lasser

By Mark Lasser

I often see newbie etiquette mistakes at poker tables. I think there are more of them than ever, largely because so many players learn to play online at the big sites like Full Tilt and Poker Stars, and others start casually playing on Facebook.

diamond Read more

Video poker decisions rife with consequences

Thursday, September 30, 2010

clues2

By John Grochowski

Video poker strategy can be a bit of a balancing act. A decision that increases your chances of drawing one winning hand decreases, or even eliminates, your chances of drawing others. That leads us to make decisions based on fine distinctions between pre-draw hands. One of those fine distinctions led to a note from a reader named Beverly. “The experts all tell you to discard the Ace when dealt three unsuited high cards,” she wrote. “Why?”

diamond Read more

Gambling books give players a leg up

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

full-tilt

As with any topic, reading gambling books is a good way to clear the cobwebs, learn the ropes and advance your skills. Here are a few tomes, covering poker, blackjack and craps, that will help give readers a leg up when visiting Colorado’s casinos.

diamond Read more

Talk poker like a pro

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

poker1

By Mark Lasser

Every casino game has traditions and terminology. Craps has its “hardways” and “yo” bets. Blackjack has “anchors” and roulette has “corners” and “columns.” But poker … poker speaks a language so strange it can freak out new players. I talk poker incessantly and my wife still only understands a fraction of what I’m talking about. Perhaps it’s the long history of the game that brings it so much banter. Or, it could be the amount of interaction between players.

diamond Read more

Controlling dice? Book makes case

Thursday, September 23, 2010

dealdicesm

By Mark Lasser

Craps is maybe the most exciting and adrenaline filled game in the casino. Wins and losses can swing pretty wide and there’s likely no louder spot in the casino than the craps table. The problem with craps has always been a lack of winning strategy. The game delivers a negative expectation for the player that cannot be overcome by strategy like blackjack. It doesn’t have versions that pay over 100 percent – or close enough that with point multipliers it becomes positive like slots or video poker.

diamond Read more

ABCs of Slot Machines

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Slots2

By John Grochowski

Looking at gambling by the numbers is the usual way of going about things – house edges, payback percentages, odds. Let’s do it by the letters for a change, with some ABCs of slot machines. “A” is for Adaptive Gaming, the WMS Gaming line that starts with Star Trek.

diamond Read more

Don't let snippy players bother you

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

dealcardsm

By John Grochowski

Table games aren’t always easy on new players — and not just because of the odds of the game or unfamiliarity with rules and procedures. Other players can add to the discomfort, especially at a strategy-laden game like blackjack where some veterans feel compelled to critique the play of newbies.

diamond Read more

Colorado casinos stack up with Sin City

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

VersusVegas

By Mark Lasser

Last month I visited the new Aria mega-hotel/casino in the City Center project of Las Vegas to see the newest poker room on The Strip. After a few hours I got a feel for the place and started making a mental list of the pros and cons of poker in Colorado vs. Vegas.

diamond Read more

'9-6 Jacks or Better' and other terms

Thursday, September 09, 2010

jackcard

By John Grochowski

I try as best I can to make this column easy to understand, but every now and again I receive an e-mail from a reader that makes it apparent I have to give a few explanations. Take this e-mail, from a Colorado reader: “Hey John, what the heck do you mean by ‘9-6 Jacks or Better’? What do the numbers mean? I’ve also noticed that when you write about video poker, you’ll say something about a ‘6-for-1’ payoff. Is that the same as ‘6-TO-1’? Explanations, please.

diamond Read more

Starting hands in Texas Hold'em

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

poker2

By Mark Lasser

A few readers have expressed interest in getting details about starting hands. In some previous columns, I’ve described players as being “donks,” who recklessly play weak starting cards. This week, I want to get into some details about which starting hands are worth playing, which are worth mucking and why.

diamond Read more

Take this quiz and learn about the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ of blackjack

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

blackjack

By John Grochowski

Blackjack offers some of the best odds in the casino for those who take the time to learn basic strategy. But not all blackjack games are created equal. Casinos choose among a mix-and-match set of rules, some favorable to the player, some padding the house advantage. In our first blackjack quiz, let’s take a look at some of the hows and whys of blackjack.

diamond Read more

A shuffle through the gaming mailbag

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Mailbox

Gaming expert John Grochowski answers reader mail regarding Vegas resort fees, downloaded credits and video poker.

diamond Read more

Trying poker for the first time

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

pokerbeat

By Mark Lasser

It’s hard for me to remember the very first time I played poker. It might have been at summer camp or on the playground. In those first games, we didn’t have chips or even pennies. We played with toothpicks or Legos … whatever we could amass a few piles of. And – it almost doesn’t need to be said – we weren’t playing Texas Hold’em.

diamond Read more

Offense or defense? Both have a place in blackjack

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

blackjack

By John Grochowski

My friend Ralph has played blackjack for decades, probably longer than I have. He’d never really studied the game, but absorbed enough through all that play that he was zeroed in on basic strategy, as long as we were talking only about hard totals. If he had a hard 16, he was going to hit if the dealer had a 7 or higher and stand if a dealer had a 6 or lower.

diamond Read more

Roulette system anything but...

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

roulette

By John Grochowski

It was a busy night in Las Vegas, at the end of a busy day. I hadn’t eaten since breakfast, all the restaurants were crowded, and I found myself dining at the counter of a casino coffee shop. From my stool, I couldn’t help but overhear the conversation to my left.

diamond Read more

Slow down there, pardner

Thursday, July 22, 2010

poker1

By John Grochowski

Time is money in the casino world as much as anywhere. And time is on the side of whoever has a mathematical edge on the game. Unless you’re a skilled card counter at blackjack or an expert on certain favorable video poker games, that’s not you. The more chances you give the house edge to work against you, the more likely it is that the house edge will grind you down. What’s a player to do? Look for opportunities to keep the tempo from going into hyperdrive.

diamond Read more

Odds and ends from the poker table

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

poker2

By Mark Lasser

I’ve had a crazy couple of weeks. I managed to finish third out of 166 players in a Full Tilt Poker medium buy-in Pot Limit Omaha Tournament, and then got crushed in live games with pretty much the best hand or coin tosses for the next two weeks. The tournament was a blast and my wife, Stephanie, was watching the final table as we made a list of restaurants where we’d celebrate depending on my finish.

diamond Read more

Colorado casinos meet green players halfway

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

craps

By John Grochowski

It seems like a lifetime ago, but in the early days of legalized gambling’s move into markets outside Nevada and New Jersey I was talking with a long-time casino executive, one who had made a career in Nevada but now was on of those new-fangled riverboats. I asked if the move into new markets had forced changes in procedure.

diamond Read more

TV poker is not reality poker

Thursday, July 08, 2010

tvpoke

I started playing poker a long time ago. By that, I mean before it was on TV. Sure, ESPN covered the main event of the World Series of Poker. In the ‘90s, the event was played in one day, it was always held at Binions in downtown Las Vegas and the audience never saw hole cards unless there was a showdown and the players turned them over. The entire experience was so different. By not knowing what the players were holding, one couldn’t really judge how well anyone was playing. You couldn’t see the bluffs. You couldn’t see the slow plays. Of course, all that made for a boring viewing experience.

diamond Read more

Woman's 'jackpot' exceeded penny record

Thursday, July 08, 2010

slots156

The largest jackpot ever awarded on a penny slot machine was just shy of $3 million – $2,995,071.87 – on an IGT Twilight Zone slot in Laughlin, Nev., in 2005. Progressive jackpots keep growing until somebody wins. A percentage of each wager is added to the jackpot. So it’s theoretically possible for a penny jackpot to get as high as $42.9 million, but in practice, years, and perhaps decades would have to pass without anyone winning. To say it’s unlikely would be an understatement.

diamond Read more

Basic strategy the right play in blackjack... most of the time

Thursday, July 08, 2010

JohnGBlackjack

Sitting at a blackjack table in Black Hawk, I found myself with one of those hands. You know the kind. With the dealer showing a 10, I started with a 5 and a 4. Then I drew another 5. Then a 2. That’s one ugly 16. It’s also a hand almost nothing will help. Hit, and you’re more likely than not to bust. Stand, and the dealer will make 17 or better and beat you about 80 percent of the time. Players who know their basic strategy will bite the bullet and hit, figuring they have to take a risk and try to improve the hand to have a chance. Average players will hem and haw, moan and groan, then probably stand, not wanting to risk busting.

diamond Read more

Name of the game

Thursday, July 08, 2010

craps

Everyone knows how casino games get named nowadays. The game inventor, or perhaps the marketing department in a large company, decides what best describes the game, or what will sell the game to the public. Someone at Shufflemaster decided, “Hmmm … You can choose to pull a bet back or let it ride for another card … we’ll call it Let It Ride.” Blackjack, craps and keno weren’t named by anybody’s marketing department. Let’s play the name game, and try to decipher why we call these games the names we do.

diamond Read more

Big Hands: Poor Position

Thursday, July 08, 2010

poker-hand-chips

There are days at the poker table that can be incredibly boring. You just keep getting dealt bad cards that you know you shouldn’t play. When I have days like these I pull out my iPod to keep me from doing anything stupid. I mean, let’s face it, you didn’t drive up to the card room, wait 45 minutes for a seat and miss out on seeing Lost or American Idol to sit there folding cards for two hours. The temptation after seeing so many bad cards is to want to play something. Anything.

diamond Read more

Potential rewards high with Multi-Strike poker

Thursday, July 08, 2010

msp

Q. I often play Multi-Strike poker, which has random “free rides.” It seems to me that frequency of the free rides is controlled by the casino and can be adjusted to suit them. The frequency is not posted as part of the payback table, therefore, although the player has more pay back information than a slot machine would give him, he has significantly less than regular video poker provides.
A. I have come to believe that, where I play, dollar machines are “free riding” more than the quarters. Apart from denominations, a machine could be programmed to free ride more with a max coin bet. A machine could be programmed to simply make more money.

diamond Read more

Let's talk about playing craps, Colorado (part 1 of 3)

Thursday, July 08, 2010

The basic rules of craps are pretty simple and the game, despite lots of lingo, is easy to learn. The dice are rolled by a player, and everyone at the table bets on a variety of outcomes. The person rolling is just facilitating the dice. They can bet any way they want to. There are lots of places to place chips on the table, but we’ll focus first on the basic bet called the “Pass Line.”

diamond Read more

Let's talk about playing craps, Colorado (part 2 of 3)

Thursday, July 08, 2010

crapstable

In craps, The Odds are such a good wager for the player that the craps table doesn’t even advertise it.

diamond Read more

Let's talk about playing craps, Colorado (part 3 of 3)

Thursday, July 08, 2010

craps-table-close-up

In other columns, we’ve discussed the favorable bets on the craps table, including pass Line, Odds and Place bets. There’s also a big area in the middle of the table that players like to play despite the odds being pretty tough. The dealers like to make calls “advertising” these areas and players like to make a big show of betting them. Some of bets you’ll hear called out are “C and E,” “Hardways” and “Horn Bets.” We call all of these bets “Proposition” bets.

diamond Read more

A few clues to playing Colorado casinos

Thursday, July 08, 2010

clues1

Following are a few clues to playing at the casinos.

Poker a great choice
What’s the best game to learn if you really want a long-term chance of winning? Hands down, it’s poker.
Poker players are not playing against the house, as in all the other casino games. They’re competing against the skill of other players, as well as a modest “rake” of the pot by the casino as a percentage cost for operating the game.

diamond Read more

'Strategy' not that appropriate for winning at Colorado slot machines

Thursday, July 08, 2010

johngslot

Maggie is a friend of a friend of my wife’s, someone I met at as holiday party when someone told her I was just the person she needed to talk to about slot machines.

“Tell me how to win,” she said, and I laughed. That’s the most common request I get about slot machines, and it’s one I can’t fulfill. There’s nothing you can do to change the results determined by a machine’s random number generator.

diamond Read more

Popular new poker game debuts in Colorado

Thursday, July 08, 2010

six card

Poker rooms can be intimidating. I usually peak inside at the players around the tables and then keep on walking to the blackjack pit and video poker machines. Sometimes, I’m tempted to make a splashy entrance, shout my hellos, give everyone a high five — you know, just to break the ice. But there never appear to be many willing high-five partners. Some players seem more likely to give me “closed fives.”

diamond Read more

Dealing with Donks in the Colorado gaming towns

Thursday, July 08, 2010

dunce

Before I even get into this issue I need to qualify that if you’re new to the game of poker, you’re excused in advance and not the target or subject of this wrath.

diamond Read more

Player reward program at Lodge in Black Hawk

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Poker players

The Lodge Casino in Black Hawk has a new players’ reward program, with two tiers. Casual players earn $2/hour in comps for 1-2-100 and 4/8, and $5/hour in comps for 10/20 and higher. There’s an option to also take cash in lieu of comps at half that rate. Comps can be used for hotel rooms, merchandise, and food and drinks. More serious players can qualify for the Premium Choice Club by playing an average of 75 hours each month from January to March. These players earn double comps, $4/hour in lower limits and $10/hour in 10/20 and above. These points and comps do not expire and are better than anything offered anywhere in Colorado.

diamond Read more

Bankroll management

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Casino profits

Every year promises to be one of new games, new ways to play, new technology, and, of course, some old problems.

To a casino player, the most important of those problems is that sometimes the money just goes too fast. When it does, make sure you’re in control, and not let your losing day spiral into bigger problems:

diamond Read more

Roulette 101: Don't forget the wheel

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

roulette-shot-09

The action of roulette is fast and fun, whether you are playing or watching, and is a favorite of social people. The language of the game is just as interesting, with bets such as the corner, street, alley and the Carmelo (straight up 15) or Elway (7). You can place easy, safe bets such as red or black, even and odd – or cover the board with wild combinations of numbers. All have different odds and pay back varying amounts to the winners.

diamond Read more

New slots wow 'em at Gaming Expo

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

jg

Every year at the Global Gaming Expo at the Las Vegas Convention Center, slot manufacturers show of their latest and greatest wares, the games that will be drawing in the crowds in the coming months.

Some of these already have been approved by regulators and are in casinos. Most are a little further down the line. Either way, these are a few of the games that caught my eye at G2E 2009:

diamond Read more

Public resources for Colorado poker players

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

annie duke

I’ve found that the Denver Public Libraries have some amazing resources for card players. Some of the following are out of print and only available used or from the library, others can be bought directly from the publishers or via Amazon.com. Either way, you can save a buck and hone your skills on the following DVDs and books. Star ratings are based on five-star potential.

diamond Read more

Poker Beat: Flopping flushes at Black Hawk's Ameristar

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

bluffing

By Mark Lasser

A few days ago I was playing in a fairly wild 1-2-100 game at Ameristar. Players were very loose (six to eight players in hands that had been raised before the flop) and extremely aggressive. Almost any raise would be re-raised, even with rags. This makes it really tricky to put reads on other players. Anyone who watches Poker After Dark on NBC and witnessed maniac Dario Minieri beat up on poker greats Howard Lederer and Chris Ferguson knows what I’m talking about.

diamond Read more

Explaining 'third man walking' rule

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Lasser

By Mark Lasser

I recently got an e-mail asking about a poker rule often posted in card rooms. The rule states that the cash poker games have a “third man walking” rule in effect. Yesterday, I encountered the ruling in actual practice. I had been playing the 2-5-100 cash game at Ameristar in Black Hawk and hadn’t taken a break in a few hours. I got up to get a drink and the dealer notified me that I’d be the fourth man walking. That’s where the story gets interesting …

diamond Read more

Programmed slot machines still random

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

john_p16

Slot machines also are programmed in a way that will lead toward a targeted payback percentage. That mix — programmed, yet random — is something that has confused many a player in the decades since slots went electronic. Slot manufacturers have to be able to program payback percentanges to comply with the law in states that set minimum and maximum returns. And the machines still have to be able to meet state randomness standards.

diamond Read more

Colorado poker players: Beware the demon tilt

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Lasser

By Mark Lasser

Tilt. It’s the demon that lurks beneath the surface of even the best players. It’s about losing control and playing with raw emotion instead of brains as a result of getting beaten by a ridiculous long shot or a player that has no idea what he’s doing. Tilt is the opposite of a Zen state. It’s Elmer Fudd blowing steam out his ears as Bugs Bunny gets away again and again and again despite having laid the
perfect trap.

diamond Read more

Classic slot machines never go out of style at Colorado casinos

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

SLOTS

By John Grochowski

It happens when players walk down the aisles of casino slot floors every day. A hot new game catches your eye. You give it a try – and you like it. You like the game play, you like the bonus rounds, maybe you have a couple of pretty good wins. You seek out the game each time you go to the casino. You become old friends.

diamond Read more

Blackjack basic strategy still applies with multiple cards

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

bjack

By John Grochowski

Q. I recently saw 21+3 blackjack games for the first time. The side bet on the player’s two cards plus the dealer’s up card combining for a flush, straight or three of a kind, paid 9 to 1. I assumed with that payoff, the real odds are probably more like 10 or 11 to 1, maybe even higher. I saw a lot of people lose a lot of money on that side bet. What are the true odds on the side bet?

diamond Read more

'One of those days' at the casino

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

john_p16

My friend Jack had just had one of those days at the casino, and he phoned me to vent.

“You know those days when nothing goes right? This wasn’t quite one of those,” he said.

I asked if that meant he didn’t lose his bankroll for the day.

“No,” he said, “but not for lack of trying. I brought $500 with me for the day, and figured I’d play some $5 blackjack and some quarter video poker.”

A man after my own heart.

diamond Read more

If soft-hand hit goes bad, follow basic strategy

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

john_p16

Q. This may be a dumb question, but I understand the hitting soft hands in blackjack to try to beat the dealer’s up card, but what if I get a worse hand? Do I go back to hitting a 14, 15, 16 as I normally would? Even after I may have doubled down?

diamond Read more

Roulette proving to be a fun diversion in Colorado casinos

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

roulette-shot-09

By John Grochowski

An e-mailer apparently was feeling aggrieved about a perceived lack of attention paid to his favorite game. “You must really hate roulette,” he wrote. “You’re doing your readers a disservice. They’re missing out on one of the best games. It seems like it’s almost an even bet.” Now, I don’t hate roulette. I’ve had some good times at the game, mostly when my wife and I have played together at the cheap tables in some of the older joints in Las Vegas. Let us loose at a table with dollar minimum bets with chips that can be broken down to 25-cent level, and we’ll play family birthdays to our hearts’ content.

diamond Read more

Poker Beat: Bluffing in Black Hawk

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

bluffing

This week we’re going to cover a great hand played at the Lodge, and, in the adjoining piece, I’m also going to cover some poker etiquette that should be reviewed once in awhile by even the best players.

diamond Read more

Colorado casino poker beat

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Leyba09Gaming0536-1

There can be days when you’re playing well and losing. Heck, there can be weeks, months, even years. Sometimes when you’re losing you have to examine the table and make sure you aren’t out of your league. Other times, you look back and realize you’re playing great poker and getting whupped anyway, and there’s just nothing you can do about it. Such was my July.

diamond Read more

Hands that separate blackjack players

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

There are times I’m tempted to break blackjack players into two groups. Of course, there are way more than two groups – card counters vs. non-counters, pleasure players vs. money players, basic strategy players vs. hunch players and novices. But given a familiarity with basic strategy, I can pick out those who have really studied the charts from those who have just glanced them over on the basis of two hands: What does the player do with soft 17, and what does the player do with soft 18?

diamond Read more

A primer: Colorado casinos happy to assist new players

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Poker players

If you’ve watched poker on TV or played with friends on a makeshift table, you should try your hand at a professionally dealt game. Black Hawk and Central City lie only 45 minutes from Denver and offer a wealth of options for both novice and advanced players.

If you’ve never played poker in a casino, it can seem intimidating at first. Don’t worry; it’s not as difficult as it appears. Dealers and poker room supervisors will be glad to help you, and players are generally accommodating to newbies and will be patient as you get used to the rhythms and customs of the tables.

diamond Read more

The road to video poker success

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

By John Grochowski

No matter how good you are, the majority of video poker sessions will be losers. There’s a lot of marking time, accepting losses until the royal flushes and other big-paying hands come.

diamond Read more

Big changes in Colorado's poker rooms

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

poker_hands_cards

By Mark Lasser

Big changes have hit Colorado’s poker rooms. The old limitation of a $5 cap on bets created some habits that may be hard to break as the limit is raised to $100.

Colorado card rooms have typically dealt two types of Texas Hold’em as well as a few 7-Card Stud games and an occasional Omaha Hi Lo. Most Hold’em has either been 2-5 or 5-5. These numbers indicate the blinds, so in a 2-5 game, for example, the small blind is $2 and the big blind is $5. Betting on the flop can be anywhere from $2 to $5 dollars. In the 5-5 game, every bet and every raise is exactly $5. This tends to be a more aggressive game with large pots.

diamond Read more

Guaranteed win? Don’t bet on it

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

By John Grochowski

If someone guaranteed they could make you a winner at casino games, what would you do?

diamond Read more

Craps 101 for Colorado gamers

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Craps is an exciting, fast-action game that allows you to wager with or against a shooter (the player throwing the dice). Traditionally, play starts on the “come-out” roll, which is the first roll of the dice for the shooter’s pass line number. Betting options and payoffs are varied, as are the different ways to win.

diamond Read more

A day in the life of a Colorado poker table

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Lasser

By Mark Lasser

Poker tables are like Colorado weather. They can change from warm and sunny to cold and frosty to violent and frightening in seconds. Well, maybe not seconds but certainly in hours. Sit at a table for 24 hours and you’ll see the progressions. All of these conditions can be profitable, but they all require different adjustments.

diamond Read more

Rag time at loose tables

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

poker2

Generally speaking, I’m a big advocate of disciplined and tight aggressive play. That doesn’t mean you should be a rock. Playing only big pocket pairs and top suited connectors is nearly as bad as playing every hand. This is particularly true on loose tables where almost everyone wants to see the flop and there’s not a ton of raising or re-raising pre-flop. In fact, there are certain late position situations where I’ll call with just about anything.

diamond Read more

Bookmark and Share