grochowski

John Grochowski

John Grochowski, a Chicago-based writer and editor, has been covering the casino industry since 1994, when he launched a weekly gaming column in the Chicago …

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Bars’ video gaming a convenience at most

When I first heard of the $2 maximum bet and $500 maximum jackpot video gaming in Illinois bars and restaurants, I wondered what would be done to video poker pay tables. The usual payoff of $1,000 on a royal flush for a $1.25 bet was …

Book informative and entertaining

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’m doing it now with Glen Wiggy’s “1536 Free Waters and Other Blackjack Endeavors” ($18.95, iUniverse), which ranks high on my …

In blackjack, try to slow it down

Standard-sized blackjack tables seat seven players. So do tables at other casino card games. But seven-spot tables aren’t the only options. The casino formerly known as Empress Joliet used to have tables with eight betting spots. And I’ve occasionally encountered five-spot tables. Why would a …

Time, odds work against roulette

Roulette is a game with an appeal for casino players making their first foray into table games. There are no strategies to learn, as in blackjack, nor is there a wide range of house edges that require knowledge to weed the good bets from the …

In blackjack, cards do have memory

In nearly every casino game, every play is an independent trial. Regardless of whether you’re playing slot machines, video poker, roulette, keno, sic bo or craps, past results have no effect on future outcome. That also goes for games in which cards are shuffled for …

Double double bonus strong draw for fans

A shuffle through the Gaming mailbag: Q. I saw that Hollywood Joliet is boasting of better video poker. Is that true? How good is it? A. The new video poker area on the lower level at Hollywood Joliet is a pretty strong attraction, especially if …

New table games focus on poker

When game developers create new table games, the first look usually is at poker. Poker-based games usually are easy to learn and easy to deal, and have proven to attract players with success such as Three Card Poker, Caribbean Stud and Texas Hold’em Bonus Poker. …

New slot machines promise to thrill

Each year at Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas, I get to see the best of what slot machine manufacturers have to offer: the bonus events. Games are set up so potential buyers and inquiring columnists can see the most entertaining bits without spending time …

No, that jackpot never was yours

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 …

Find a new table when stakes rise

If you play much low-limit blackjack, no doubt something like this has happened to you. I’d arrived at a casino about 9 a.m., figuring I could take advantage of early-day sparse crowds and low table minimums. I found a $10 table and bought in for …

What to expect from video gaming at bars

The opening in Morton Grove and Rockford of the first test sites for video gambling at Illinois bars and restaurants has prompted several emails from readers wondering just what kinds of games they’ll get. The basics are simple. Machines are multigame units, with a mix …

Don’t push your luck in blackjack

Sometimes knowing blackjack basic strategy and putting it into practice are two different things. I have an old friend, someone I’ve known since college days. He knows the strategy charts say never to split 10s. He does it anyway if the dealer has a 6 …

Debunking myths  of slot machines

Some slot machine myths have faded into obscurity because of technology and players getting used to technology. Nobody worries about whether a machine will go cold if it senses hot coins fresh from the hopper, since hardly any games use coins anymore. And players have …

Cards still a better bet for low rollers

In both of the two most popular casino table games, players in the know can reduce the house edge to less than 1 percent. A blackjack player has to know basic strategy to get there, and a craps player has to back pass/don’t pass or …

Triple Play Poker offers big rewards

One of my true loves among electronic casino games is Triple Play Poker. I like that I can break even or better with one decent pay even if two hands are losers. I like that I’m paid three times over when I’m dealt a big …

Bankrolling your play as varied as the games

My friend Mark isn’t a casino regular, but he likes to play a little video poker now and then. His goal is just to have a good time and stay in action for a couple of hours. “Do you have a guide to how much …

Boyd Gaming unveils ‘Gone with the Wind’

On a hot summer’s morning, one of the coolest places I could be was at WMS Gaming’s studios on the North Side. There, Bill Pfund, WMS vice president of investor relations, and Jami Thornton, senior product marketing professional, were walking me through the latest and …