New Hampshire Done With Casinos and D’Allesandro?

Breaking news – New Hampshire will not have a casino.

Rockingham Park Racetrack was an original site for a New Hampshire Casino

No, this is not a repeat of a previous post, just “Deja vu” all over again.

Senator Lou D’Allesandro’s 20th consecutive proposal for a casino bill was overturned by an 11 to 10 vote by the Senate last week. After struggling for over two long decades to get his co-legislators to think more progressively, after his bill’s defeat, he has decided to step down from his position and give it all up.

When it comes to gambling states, New Hampshire is not Nevada, nor New Jersey, not that the good senator hasn’t tried to make it that way. It doesn’t have a casino – not that interest hasn’t sparked here and there. Some in the Granite state will stand by New Hampshire’s card rooms (check out “New Hampshire Adds a New…….Casino?”) while others continue to want a commercial brick-and-mortar casino, only to have it knocked down time and time again. All except one have been backed by Sen. Lou D’Allesandro, a longtime backer of expanded gambling in New Hampshire.

Seabrookpoker room

Let’s take a look back:

  • 2013 – Senate’s bill included 5,000 slots and 150 table games at a single casino and was defeated in the House. Rockingham Park considered site.
  • 2014 – The Senate’s bill called for 3,500 slots and 160 table games at the category 1 casino and 1,500 slots and 180 table games at the category 2 facility. The House Ways and Means Committee voted 11-9 to kill Bill 1633 – which would establish the regulatory framework and oversight authority for a casino with up to 5,000 video slot machines and 150 table games. The committee also voted to kill three other casino bills, two that would have allowed six casinos in various parts of the state.
  • 2015 – The New Hampshire House once again rejected casino gambling voting down a proposal that would have legalized two venues that supporters said would have provided badly needed revenue.
  • 2016 – Rep. Dan McGuire pushes for ‘largest gambling bill’ in New Hampshire’s history, House Bill 630, which would allow not just one or two casinos, but hundreds of bars and restaurants in the state to host up to six video lottery machines each. Businesses holding a liquor license could host the machines, which will let customers play slots, poker or blackjack in their premises—as long as the machines are off limits to children and separated from family spaces. McGuire expected at least 1,000 out of the 1,800 liquor licensees in New Hampshire will apply to host these video lottery terminals.
  • 2017 – A bill is introduced that offers two licenses – anybody can bid on them, and can be built anywhere in NH. A Category 1 license is $80 million; the Category 2 license is $40 million. The A license is a little bit larger than the B license. Once again, rejected.

It’s time for a different strategy.  New Hampshire doesn’t seem to want the help of casino revenue.  To be honest, the competition would be steep. The southern half of the state, which includes about 2/3 of state’s land, is also where over 2/3 of the state’s population resides.  Surrounded by MGM Springfield, ??? Boston Harbor, and Oxford Casino (now with two hotels) in Maine provides too much to overcome. Hanover, NH, half way up New Hampshire on the Vermont border is only two hours away from Boston’s new casino resort – Springfield even less.  Gamblers have traveled longer to visit Connecticut casinos for years.

Lou D’Allesandro

D’Allesandro reiterated that by failing to legalize the casino bill in the state, New Hampshire has essentially missed out on nearly $1 billion in casino taxes that could have otherwise served to uplift the local community in the last 20 years.  He also was heard taking credit for the expansion in Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut after legislators in those states copied his ideas, saying they were “taking his cue and reaping the benefits of his unique ideas and suggestions.”

Hmmm, try convincing the Pequots at Foxwoods of that.



Gambling Slang – How Much Do You Really Know?

7525251_origSo, you say you’re a knowledgeable gambler?  Well, I have found 20 slang words used in the casino by players, dealers, and pit bosses – some simple, some rather esoteric. Let’s see what you know.  I dare you to take this quiz and comment to us at NETime Gambling on how well you did.

imageAnswers Tomorrow.  I made it easy – matching!  But, there are more answers than questions, so make sure you check all possible answers A-Z.

_____1. an Ante         A. a bet in poker placed before player sees any of his cards. Arm          B. a player who is skillful in throwing the dice 

_____3.The Blind      C. casino lingo for 10 dollar bet.

_____4.a Buck            D. a forgotten table bet originally wagered by the player.

_____5.a Copy   be broke or totally out of money

_____6.Down to the Felt     F.a Video Lottery Terminal

_____7.Grease           G.losing player

_____8.a Mechanic   H.a bribe

_____9.Barber Pole   I. a bet required to start at hand in card games.

_____10.a Bug              J.refers to a $100 bet

_____11.Cracking the Nut   K. a slang word for a dealer who cheats

_____12. a Fish             L. a drunk player.    

_____13.a George         M.sign above roulette table showing previous wins

_____14. Martingale    N. a net profit after all gambling expenses deducted.

_____15. a Pidgeon       O. more than one denomination/color in a stack of chips

_____16.a Railbird        P. the Joker card.

_____17.Spinner           Q. term for a winning session

_____18.a Tom              R. a generous tipper to table dealers 

_____19.a Skin or Skoon     S. an observer who hangs around a gaming table

_____20.a Ploppy         T. a player who is not knowledgeable about the games.

U. a wagering system where the player doubles up after every loss.

V. irritating player who has high expectations for casino comps and benefits while not deserved.        

W.a non-tipper.        X.a single dollar.        

Y. means a player and a banker have a similar two-card or  five-card hand especially in Pai Gow poker.

Z. a newer player who is not practicing sound strategy nor making correct decisions, however is not above coaching other players about what they should do






When the Video Poker Machine Hesitates – What Does It Mean?

HC MoheganSun.jpgWe have all been there – those of us who play Video Poker and Slots.  You’re playing along, things are going well, and then it happens……the machine pause for a moment!  What does it mean?  Was I winning too much?  Did someone in the “Office Upstairs” turn on that switch that changes winning into losing?

Conspiracy thoughts abound.

Well, you know what it means?  NOTHING!  At least it isn’t a reaction to ant success you’ve had previously.

Yes, we think it might have stopped our winning momentum, or the rhythmic luck we had our mojo in, but nope – it doesn’t have a clue how much you were winning or how your mojo was – it’s a machine and it doesn’t have the consciousness or emotion to care!

A 1980 IGT Video Poker machine.

So, what DOES IT MEAN? Well, certain machines – especially certain generations of Video Poker machine manufactured by IGT – pause every so often to do it’s accounting.  In other words, the counting of hands played, coin in & coin out, for example, are kept in short term memory.  On the IGT VP machines, for example, every 100 hands, it is downloaded into long-term memory, much like your computer does at times.  The more games and denominations on a single terminal, the longer it may take – a single game with a single denomination would be barely noticed.

You will find fewer and fewer machines with that hesitation these days, due to better software upgrades.

Of course we, as human beings, may notice it happen when we are winning, and shortly after we start losing.  “They must have known I was winning!!!!” you might yell.  But, seriously, nothing could be farther from the truth.

That’s all for now.


The 11 Best Gambling Experts by Randy Ray is a trusted guide to help ensure safe online gambling and betting. They also feature articles on a wide range of gambling related topics, written by experts in the field, and available on their blog. One of those experts wrote an article that I would like to share with you. Randy Ray published this article a year ago on February 16, 2017.  At the end, he does admit that this is HIS top 11 Gambling Experts. But I found this article fascinating, with a few names new to my eyes.

What would your top 11 be?  Would you include Max Rubin, Anthony Curtis, Edward Thorp?

Mr. Ray’s eleven is a good place to start.  I hope you enjoy.

The 11 Best Gambling Experts


An old saying holds that “those who can’t do, teach,” and whether or not I entirely agree with that sentiment, it sure does hold true within the world of casino gambling.

During my time travelling the country’s crisscrossed network of casino venues, I’ve met my fair share of would be teachers – who are known as “railbirds” among veteran grinders. The railbird hovers near the poker tables, always watching but never playing, all the while trying to tell folks with money on the line where they might have erred. The railbird chides you after a failed double down in blackjack, claiming that they would’ve gone another route, while roulette railbirds always seem to know which numbers to back – after the wheel has stopped spinning, of course.

Because of railbirds and their ilk – partially informed players who can’t resist the temptation to “teach” their tablemates – long time gamblers are especially wary whenever anybody claims to be a purveyor of insider knowledge. After all, if they really knew the “secrets to success” or “five easy tricks to winning big,” why wouldn’t they be putting their theories into action and snagging huge scores?

For the most part, self-styled gambling experts are a dime a dozen, and their wisdom is worth about as much. Anything they purport to teach, from the odds underlying a game or wager to the correct strategy for certain scenarios, you can almost certainly learn through good old fashioned hard work and practice. These salesmen are almost always failed gamblers; players who found themselves leaving the casino broke and busted one too many times, before turning to the typewriter to write instructional material in hope of making ends meet.

With that being said, every so often a true gambling genius deigns fit to drop a bit of knowledge on the masses. Often motivated by personal pride, or a desire to give back to the gambling community in some way, these players have plied their trade successfully throughout thriving careers. They’ve played the games, they’ve gone on the grind, and they’ve built bankrolls – and lost them too. On the strength of personal experience, having risen to the top of highly competitive fields like professional poker, advantage play blackjack, or video poker, or even game theory analytics, these players truly deserve to call themselves gambling experts.

During my years as a successful casino gambler, I’ve tried my best to avoid the lessons proffered by railbirds, while looking to build a base of knowledge backed by my own personal experience. Even so, a long losing streak or particularly rough run at the tables will compel anybody to reflect on their situation and search for ways to improve. When those moments inevitably arise, I consult my library – both print and digital in today’s world – of the world’s foremost gambling experts.

Legendary professionals, casino game inventors, mathematicians, and even humble recreational players turned specialists in their chosen field; my top 11 gambling experts are an eclectic bunch. I try to spread the focus around to cover my favorite games; classics like blackjack, video poker, and Texas holdem, along with complementary aspects of the industry like accumulating comps and improving my grasp of gambling game math. Some of the figures on my list might be considered outdated by now, and that’s fine, but I try to stay current and keep up with the times.

Take a look below to tour my library of gambling expertise, which covers the full spectrum of casino games and a wide range of eras, to see who I take my cues from at the table.

1) Stanford Wong

For blackjack players of a certain vintage, the name “Stanford Wong” represents a mythical deity of sorts – as he published one of the original texts studying the concept of advantage play blackjack way back in 1975.

If you grew up in the internet age, it can be difficult to appreciate what Wong – a pseudonym used by Stanford University finance professor John Ferguson – achieved with his first book Professional Blackjack. Having learned how to count cards through the seminal work of Edward O. Thorp, Wong found himself straying away from the Stanford campus during increasingly frequent jaunts to nearby Las Vegas. Famously, Wong accepted a salary of $1 per year as a professor in exchange for permission to skip tedious faculty meetings and play blackjack instead.

While trying his hand as an advantage player in Sin City, Wong realized that Thorp’s original mathematical structure for his card counting analysis assumed that the dealer would be standing on soft 17s. But the games in Nevada that Wong was a regular in mandated that dealer’s hit on soft 17s, so the academically inclined PhD student devoted his energies to applying Thorp’s research to this regional variant.

With Professional Blackjack, Wong condensed his own study of blackjack game theory, along with personal experience as an advantage player, to create the first collection of advanced knowledge on the classic game suitable for the laymen. His book became a cult classic among the casino gambler crowd, and many young players at the time (myself included) became inspired by Wong’s teachings on how to beat the house.

Among the most effective techniques advocated by Wong in Professional Blackjack is the concept of “back counting” – or standing away from the table and observing to develop the count before jumping into the game. According to Wong’s advice, by applying the back counting method, sharp eyed players could simply watch and wait for the deck conditions to line up perfectly before sliding into a seat and profiting from a favorable deck. Soon enough, this practice became all the rage among card counting blackjack sharps, as advantage players around the world took their shot at “Wonging” the table.

My younger readers may be scoffing at the idea of back counting, knowing full well that blackjack tables almost always forbid “mid deck or mid shoe entry.” In other words, you can’t use back counting successfully because the house rules forbid players from joining the game until the current deck or shoe has been exhausted. And you’d be right of course… precisely because of Wong and his work.

After realizing that players were successfully using the “Wonging” trick to generate a count, all without even paying to play hands, casino managers quickly worked to remove the threat to their precious bottom line. Rules like the ban on mid deck or mid shoe entries were instituted specifically to combat the techniques taught by Wong, who remains one of the world’s foremost experts on blackjack to this day.

If you’re interested in the history of card counting and advantage play, picking up a copy of Wong’s classic Professional Blackjack should be considered an essential step in your gambling education. But knowing that the information contained therein is mostly of historical appreciation nowadays, I’d also suggest subscribing to Wong’s newsletter Current Blackjack News, which has been published monthly since 1979.

For the tech savvy crowd, Wong also runs a website dedicated to blackjack theory, and his BJ21 platform is known today as one of the thriving blackjack communities found online.

Mason Malmuth

2) Mason Malmuth & Co.

I hesitated to include Mason Malmuth on this list, simply because I don’t know the extent of his personal gambling expertise.

For all I know, Malmuth may be your classic fish who donates to the game and doesn’t know how to calculate pot odds. What I do know, however, is that Malmuth has become one of the most prolific publishers of gambling knowledge that the industry has ever produced. For no other reason, Malmuth’s uncanny ability to assemble world class gambling talent – and let them contribute their collective knowledge to readers – puts him on my personal list of the best gambling experts.

If you’ve ever read a generic poker strategy book, on any game from Texas Holdem to Lowball, chances are high that it came from Malmuth’s TwoPlusTwo Publishing. Since the 1980s Malmuth – a former poker pro way before the boom days – and members of his TwoPlusTwo stable have churned out dozens of full-fledged poker books.

Malmuth’s primary partner is David Skalansky, another former poker pro who transferred his analytical abilities on the felt into a successful career as a game theory expert. Together, the pair have authored titles like Hold ’em Poker for Advanced Players; 21st Century Edition (1999), Seven Card Stud for Advanced Players (1999), and Tournament Poker for Advanced Players (2001).

In addition, Malmuth has used his iconic TwoPlusTwo brand to elevate well known poker pros into the realm of published authors. Legendary poker strategy texts like the Harrington on Holdem (2004 – 2008) series, written by World Series of Poker veteran Dan Harrington, and Small Stakes Hold ’em: Winning Big With Expert Play (2004) by Ed Miller were made possible by Malmuth’s publishing prowess.

As a semi pro poker player who uses the game, mostly No Limit Texas Holdem and Pot Limit Omaha, to subsidize my income, I’ve also become a loyal devotee of the TwoPlusTwo internet forums. Known within the poker world as the go to resource for strategy discussions, up to the minute industry news, and even gossip, the TwoPlusTwo forums are a one stop shop for everything a poker player needs to know when they want to stay current.

Like I said before, I’m not sure if Malmuth was even a breakeven player during his days on the felt… and I don’t care. Judged as a publisher alone, Malmuth’s history of putting out the best in poker strategy content stretches back for three decades and running.

When I shop for new strategy books, I always check for the signature “2+2” playing card logo, because I know that the knowledge found therein has been properly vetted by actual members of the poker pro community. I can trust that actual players stand behind the words, which may seem like a small thing, but actually means a lot in the often cutthroat industry of casino gambling instruction.

Mike Shackelford of The Wizard of Odds

Mike Shackelford of The Wizard of Odds

3) Michael Shackleford

Ask any gambler you meet about “the Wizard,” and watch their eyes light up in appreciation.

The world renowned Wizard of Odds casino gambling resource website represents one of the most highly trafficked destinations within the industry. And for good reason, as the content published there is all produced by Michael Shackleford, one of the most talented and dedicated casino game theorists of his day.

On his Wizard of Odds site Shackleford applies the expertise gained from a career as mathematician and actuary to the wide world of casino games. And not simply blanket games like blackjack and roulette, but literally every conceivable variant, offshoot, and innovation added to the industry over time. If you’ve played a game in the casino setting, both brick and mortar and online, over the last two decades, you’re likely to find a page on the Wizard of Odds site which breaks the game down to its nuts and bolts.

The beauty of Shackleford’s work is accessibility, because even though he couches every game analysis in the framework of data analysis and statistical study, he endeavors to present the facts in terms laymen will always feel comfortable with. Everything from concise descriptions of a game’s rules and mechanics, to full-fledged tables outlining the numerical data underpinning every wager’s probabilities and payouts, and even a completely unique attempt at outlining an optimal strategy can be found on the typical Wizard of Odds game page.

Shackleford is the classic math major turned casino gambling expert, having transferred his immense talents for numerical interpretation to become a successful player in his own right. But after spending so much time cracking the code behind casino games, from the instant hits to entries that are now extinct, Shackleford eventually took up casino game design as a side gig.

In 2005 Shackleford took a shot at inventing his own blackjack variant, known as “Ties Win Blackjack,” and even though that game joined thousands of others on history’s scrapheap, he still works as a consultant for major game design firms like SHFL Entertainment, Bally Technologies, Playtech, and more.

Even though you’ll be well served by visiting the Wizard of Odds website – which should become a bookmarked tab in no time for every gambler – Shackleford’s oeuvre has been condensed into print form as well. With Gambling 102: The Best Strategies for All Casino Games (2005), Shackleford distills his industry leading website down to a slim 176 page volume that perfectly encapsulates his industry knowledge.

For any game you can imagine, you’ll find a clear, well written, and accurately researched entry penned by Shackleford himself. That means you’ll know how every wager on the board works, the house edge and expected return rates for those wagers, any discrepancies between pay tables or house rules that can affect your bottom line, and of course, the perfect strategy for playing correctly at all times.

Whenever I’m struggling to understand a high level concept during my casino game studies, the first place I head for a crash course is the Wizard of Odds platform. You should too, as Shackleford has quietly fashioned himself into the foremost casino game expert of the modern era.

4) Doyle Brunson

For all intents and purposes, Doyle Brunson doesn’t gamble at all.

Sure, he regularly risks the average American’s annual income on a single hand of poker, but for somebody like Brunson, that’s hardly a gamble.

Beloved within the world of poker as “the Godfather” of the game, “Texas Dolly” was one of the original road gamblers who toured the country’s backroads in search of the next sucker. Joined by colorful characters like “Amarillo Slim” Preston, “Sailor” Roberts, and David “Chip” Reese, Brunson travelled from game to game, taking on hometown heroes in underground games of high stakes poker. According to his retelling of events, Brunson regularly played with pistols on the felt, endured robberies by criminals and shakedowns by the cops, and faded the lure of cheats and rounders.

By the time Brunson won back to back World Championships at the $10,000 buy in World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event in 1976 and 1977, he had already cemented his status as one of the founding fathers of Texas Holdem. But his impact on the game was immortalized one year later, with the publication of Brunson’s Super / System: A Course in Power Poker. Alternatively titled, Super / System: How I Made Over $1,000,000 Playing Poker, Brunson’s self-published book immediately became the de facto Bible for aspiring poker pros.

Within the dense text Brunson speaks directly to the reader in his familiar Texas drawl, discussing his insights on the game of No Limit Texas Holdem (along with a variety of other poker formats) in a casual, conversational tone. For the first time, Brunson made the accumulated knowledge of successful poker pros public knowledge, much in the same way Thorp and Wong worked to make high level blackjack a mainstream phenomenon.

Brunson was also brave enough to admit when his own wisdom wouldn’t suffice, so he invited friends from the professional circuit like Mike Caro (Draw poker), Bobby Baldwin (Limit Texas Holdem, Sklansky (Seven card stud high low split), and Reese (Seven card stud) to author their own chapters.

The result is a collection of poker teachings that is still considered relevant to this day. And while much of the information presented within Super / System has been passed by as poker evolves, Brunson released an updated sequel titled Super / System 2 in 2004 to bring the content up to speed.

Brunson won an astounding six gold bracelets at the WSOP between 1976 and 1979 alone, but the 83 year old hasn’t faded away into the sunset just yet. Brunson claimed his 10th gold bracelet in WSOP play as recently as 2005, and while he has retired in a sense from the grueling grind of tournament play, he is still a regular in some of the highest stakes cash games on the planet, taking part in the “Big Game” at Bellagio’s “Bobby’s Room” – named in honor of his old partner Bobby Baldwin.

James Grosjean

5) James Grosjean

To put it plainly, James Grosjean is who I aspired to be as an up and coming casino gambler.

As the youngest player to ever garner induction to the prestigious Blackjack Hall of Fame, Grosjean was one of the first individuals to successfully defend the rights of advantage play specialists in the court of law. By successfully suing a pair of Las Vegas casinos – the Imperial Palace (now The Linq) and Caesar’s Palace – Grosjean prevented casino managers from unlawfully interfering with the play of experts who know the ropes of shuffle tracking, edge sorting, hole carding, and counting.

During the course of his studies as a graduate student within the University of Chicago’s Department of Economics, Grosjean developed an affinity for blackjack. In the year 2000, Grodjean authored his one and only contribution to gambling strategy literature, Beyond Counting: Exploiting Casino Games from Blackjack to Video Poker, which promises to teach readers the intricacies of advantage play gambling.

With Beyond Counting, Grosjean devotes 223 pages to revealing the secrets of successful advantage play. While the bulk of the book is obviously devoted to blackjack, Grosjean also touches on effective video poker advantage play techniques.

In 2007 Grosjean published a comprehensive sequel titled Exhibit CAA: Beyond Counting, which took its title from a key item of evidence introduced during the course of his successful court cases taking on casino titan Caesars Palace.

Both books are relatively dense in terms of hardcore math discussion, but for players who have taken the time to apprise themselves of casino game calculations, Grosjean’s style is perfectly suited for sustained success. He takes the time to teach upper level math on probability, but even if you’re math averse, Grosjean’s lessons on advantage play theory are timeless even today.

Bob Dancer

6) Bob Dancer

For video poker enthusiasts like myself, nobody else knows the game quite like Bob Dancer.

In 2003, after successfully embarking on every gambler’s dream, Dancer and his wife Shirley published a retrospective titled Million Dollar Video Poker. The book retold the Dancers’ improbable tale of video poker success, as the happy couple managed to turn a relatively small $6,000 stake into more than $1 million.

Presented as the tale of a plucky pair devoted as much to video poker as they were to one another, Million Dollar Video Poker covers a seven year period during which the couple attempted to earn their living as advantage play video poker specialists. For the vast majority of their trek through the gambling world, the Dancers struggled to merely break even, as documented in brutally honest terms throughout the book.

But between September of 2000 and March of 2001, Bob and Shirley experienced the run of a lifetime, culminating in the kind of hand that every video poker player yearns for. While playing for $100 per hand, Shirley lined up the 10 of hearts, the Jack of hearts, and the Queen of hearts. After holding the three key cards, Shirley drew two more and found the perfect runout: King of hearts and Ace of hearts.

That royal flush produced a massive $400,000 payday for the Dancers, while launching their career as video poker professionals. Their book hit shelves a few years later, and from their, Bob Dancer has worked tirelessly to establish his name as the foremost authority in video poker expertise.

Today, Dancer hosts video poker instruction courses at the South Point Casino in Las Vegas, serves as the host and emcee for an annual video poker tournament in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and runs a weekly radio segment called “Gambling With An Edge,” which is broadcast in hour long segments via KLAV 1230 AM in Las Vegas.

Having since divorced Shirley, Bob Dancer is credited as the author or co-author of video poker strategy books like the A Winner’s Guide to… (2003) series, which offers tips and techniques for various formats like Jacks or Better, Double Double Bonus, and Deuces Wild. Another contribution by Dancer is Video Poker for the Intelligent Beginner (2008), which offers insights and information specifically suited for new players.

Jean Scott

7) Jean Scott

One of my favorite gambling experts doesn’t claim to possess any special insights into casino games whatsoever.

Instead, Jean Scott – who proudly bills herself as the “Queen of Comps” – has staked her reputation on developing the knowledge needed to beat the house in another way: by exploiting the system of complimentary offers, promotional plans, and other “freebies” that form the casino industry’s lifeblood.

As a recreational video poker player during the early 1990s, Scott found herself spending more and more time inside casinos across the country. As her experience on the casino floor extended into the months and years, Scott began focusing her attention not on beating the actual games, but on the arduous process of securing enough comps to subsidize her gambling escapades.

Knowing that every casino lavished rewards on regulars, along with enticements offered to new players, Scott played both sides of the coin to the fullest. By accumulating “Player’s Points” and other rewards to the utmost, Scott found that her gambling expenses could be entirely mitigated – thus creating a breakeven experience.

After nearly a decade acquiring the secrets to savvy casino play, Scott wrote her manifesto in 1998, titled simply “The Frugal Gambler.” Within the volume’s 240 pages, Scott teaches readers how to get over on casinos that were built on the backs of unsuspecting players. Although I don’t necessarily agree with all of her methods – sifting through trashcans for inadvertently tossed vouchers and absconding with “free” buffet foods are just not my style – Scott’s advice is surely acceptable depending on your personal predilections.

And leaving aside the more controversial techniques espoused by Scott, The Frugal Gambler provides a perfect touchstone text for anybody looking to improve their knowledge of the casino comp game. Remember, casinos have no problem rewarding regular players with free plays, complimentary meals, upgraded rooms, and other goodies. By taking full advantage of these rewards programs, sharp players like Scott have long been able to ensure luxurious stays in Las Vegas mega resorts – all without sinking into the red when the yearly ledgers are balanced.

Lenny Frome

8) Lenny Frome

Regular poker has Doyle Brunson to serve as the game’s “Godfather,” but for video poker enthusiasts, that title is taken by Lenny Frome.

During the late 1980s, Frome – already in his 60s by that time – chanced upon a few different video poker machines while frequenting local casinos. Upon discovering that machines in various venues were programmed to offer different pay tables, Frome put his analytical mind to work. As a result, Frome became one of the first players to view video poker machines as merely a slot game dressed up with playing cards.

When Frome realized that video poker was much more similar to blackjack than slots, owing to the fact that players were able to apply decision making processes to influence the results, his entry to the gambling expertise industry was ensured. Frome was the first person to calculate expected return rates for every possible play and scenario presented by video poker machines, thus devising the optimal strategies that are still in use today.

After publishing small “Tip Sheets” to help video poker enthusiasts expand their own mastery of the game, Frome published Winning Strategies for Video Poker in 1993. With this foundational text, Frome offers intricate analyses for more than 50 video poker variants, from the basics like Jacks or Better and Bonus Poker to offshoots like All American Poker and Joker Poker. As a result of Frome’s intrepid research, video poker shifted from the realm of casino curiosity to one of the few games favored by sharp players. With a preset strategy to guide complex discard and draw decisions, the video poker machine moved into gambling’s mainstream – for good.

Frome passed on in 1998, but his son Eliot Frome carries on his father’s legacy today by producing a wealth of video poker advantage play material through the family’s Gambatria website.

John Grochowski - the Casino Answer Man

John Grochowski – the Casino Answer Man

9) John Grochowski

Back in the pre internet era, Chicago Sun Times columnist John Grochowski did for the gambling industry what his colleague and film critic Roger Ebert did for film review. By making the discussion of casino game strategy a mainstream topic presented in the nation’s major papers, Grochowski helped to teach a generation of gamblers that their favorite pastime was a pursuit to be valued.

Grochowski’s column was syndicated through newspapers all across the country, bringing his fresh take on casino game knowledge to millions of readers every day. In 1996 he published his first full length book, Gaming: Cruising the Casino with a Syndicated Gambling Columnist, the success of which spawned a series of “Answer” books with titles like The Casino Answer Book (1998), The Slot Machine Answer Book (1999), and The Craps Answer Book (2001).

In each entry, Grochowski attempts to bridge that elusive gap between what experienced players know by nature, and the lessons new players are striving to learn. Through a conversational, yet highly informed, style of writing, Grochowski communicates directly to the legions of recreational gamblers who know just enough to know what they don’t know.

In addition to his books, Grochowski is also the author of several regularly running columns which appear in publications like Casino Player, Strictly SlotsSouthern Gaming and Destinations, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Journal, and Slot Manager.

Never one to rest on his laurels, Grochowski also hosted his “Casino Answer Man” radio show on news talk WLS AM (890) in Chicago in 2010. Prior to that gig, he hosted a one minute segment titled “Beat the Odds” on all news WBBM AM (780), along with an hour long Casino Answer Man talk show on WCKG FM (105.9). To round out his resume, Grochowski has been featured on no less than three Travel Channel television specials: Las Vegas: What Would You Do If …Vegas: What’s New 2005 and Vegas: What’s New 2006.

When it comes to spreading the gospel of casino gambling to a wider audience, few experts can claim to have had the impact of John Grochowski. His use of multimedia outlets, from newspaper to radio and television to online platforms, is unrivaled amongst his peers, putting Grochowski at the forefront of the industry’s ongoing evolution.

Next time you find yourself sitting next to an old timer at the tables, casually mention Grochowski’s name and see what happens. Chances are high that they’ve not only heard of him, but used his columns and shows as motivation to finally get in the game for themselves.

Jason Somerville

10) Jason Somerville

The first of my “modern” entries, poker pro Jason Somerville has truly revolutionized the world of poker instruction.

As one of the first adoptees of the live streaming platform known as Twitch, Somerville took the online technology and turned it into an invaluable resource for modern poker players. Rather than write about his insights into the game – which, remember, is entirely dependent on in game circumstances – Somerville invites viewers on his Run It Up channel to play the game along with him.

With nothing more than a $4.99 per month subscription, loyal members of Somerville’s Run It Up legion are welcome to watch their hero play the full duration of tournament and cash game sessions. Using a dedicated streaming schedule which sees him broadcasting for six days per week during seven months of the year, Somerville – known as “JCarver” when playing online as a Team PokerStars sponsored pro – connects directly to audiences that regularly reach into the five figures.

Somerville’s instructional style is perfectly suited for younger players, as he effortlessly spouts off the latest in poker jargon. But rather than simply regurgitate buzzwords or offer superficial advice to his subscribers, Somerville spends every waking second of his streams explaining the thought processes behind each and every hand. Even the most basic auto folds are discussed in detail, with Somerville rehashing the current tournament conditions, commenting on alternative realities in which he might play the garbage hand, or running through possible scenarios that may occur should he proceed.

In each case, Somerville is careful to guide viewers through the maze like structure of high level poker thinking. Rather than just look at his two cards and proceed accordingly, Somerville mentions supplementary information like stack size, field remaining, prize pool jumps, and even the “meta game” between himself and a well-known opponent. As a result, Run It Up subscribers are routinely treated to world class courses in elite poker strategy, delivered straight from the horse’s mouth so to speak.

With Somerville on the other side of the screen, no pretense is needed, and the veteran pro is always playing on his own accounts with his own bankroll. This means viewers are treated to the thrills of victory, as well as the agony of defeat, because every hand played out directly affects Somerville’s bottom line.

Nowadays every poker pro seems to be running their own Twitch live streaming channel, broadcasting poker instruction while searching for a steady stream of subscribers. But Somerville was the first to make Twitch an essential poker training tool, and his Run It Up channel remains one of the most useful resources aspiring poker players like myself can add to their arsenal.

“Sharpshooter” AKA Christopher Pawlicki

11) “Sharpshooter” AKA Christopher Pawlicki

I haven’t touched on the game craps all that much throughout this page, but that’s an intentional oversight.

In my opinion, craps isn’t a game that can be “beaten” through the application of any upper level strategies, and simply knowing the odds and house edge on each bet is more than enough to throw the dice correctly.

With that said, the craps research complied by Christopher Pawlicki warrants inclusion on this list, because no greater expert on the classic dice rolling game has ever let them fly.

During the 1990s, Pawlicki was just like any other aspiring craps player looking to hone their craft. Having developed a cursory interest in the concept of “dice control” – or the subtle manipulation of dice by rollers designed to increase the frequency of favorable rolls – Pawlicki attended a “Patterson Rhythm Roll” (PARR) course ran by Jerry Patterson.

While most of his students failed to display any discernible skill as dice controllers, Patterson immediately identified Pawlicki as the most proficient roller in the room. Without yet learning the PARR technique to the fullest, Pawlicki seemed to be able to land the dice on totals of his choosing more often than pure chance would suggest.

Patterson soon dubbed Pawlicki with a nickname that endures to this day, and writing under the “Sharpshooter” pseudonym, he has produced many of the most influential craps strategy texts ever published. In 2002 he published “Get the Edge at Craps” under the Sharpshooter name, with the book standing as a lasting testament to the dice controlling techniques he learned under Patterson’s tutelage.

In addition to a comprehensive primer on basic craps math and skills, Pawlicki introduces readers to the world of dice control – an advantage play method that rivals card counting for its ability to provide players with that fabled edge over the house. Of course, not every shooter can become skilled enough to roll the point number on command. But even if you never learn to become a full-fledged dice controller, Get the Edge at Craps still stands out as the game’s primary source of basic strategy and skill.


This personal list is just that, so if you find my taste in gambling experts lacking, please feel free to seek out your own sources of knowledge. These are simply the authors and experts who speak to me, but I’ve come across enough gambling strategy texts and resources to know that we all have different preferences.

I’ve chosen my favorites based on their reputation and renown within the industry though, so rest assured, the 11 names found above are all proficient players or devoted scholars of their respective games. Take their wisdom for what it’s worth, and try your best to play like they once did to truly test their theories out in the field.

New Year Resolutions for the Recreational Gambler

new-years-resolutionDo people really make resolutions and stick to them? C’mon now – really?

I think we make resolutions on January 1st with all good intentions. I really do! They represent hope – change for the better – improvement. Whether we follow them or not, they represent what we think are important changes to make as individuals and as a society.

John Grochowski - the Casino Answer Man

John Grochowski – the Casino Answer Man

So resolutions are good, right? But making too many is fodder for disaster!   Suggestion: better to pick one or two that are best for you, then . work on them for the year.



Here are twelve gambling resolutions for the new year, courtesy of the Casino Answer Man, – John Grochowdki. 


1) I will stay within my Bankroll!Bankroll

Know what you can spend.  If you have a winning session, great! If not, stick to your limit. If losses approach the amount you’re willing to spend, slow down. Take a timeout, get a snack – people watch! If you hit your limit, it’s time to stop

2) I won’t bother people near me – I will respect other players space and focus.

Instead of bothering others, I will do my own homework and learn the games myself. This includes not being a pain in the #$% to the dealer and wait staff. Remember to keep your advice to yourself, unless someone asks.

Blackjack Strategy card.

Blackjack Strategy card.

3) I will learn the games before I play:

A little homework goes a long way in helping to cut the odds against you at casino games. Learn basic strategy in blackjack and for each video poker game you play. Know the rules and best bets in craps. No matter your game of choice, buy a good book and read about the best methods of play.  If you have to ask a stranger about the game or machine, chances are you shouldn’t be gambling.

4) I will keep part of my winnings:

Your winnings are just that YOUR WINNINGS. It isn’t “their money.” As soon as you’ve won it, it’s yours, and you don’t have to give it back. On any sizable win, put at least half of it away. You can buy yourself a treat, go out for an evening on the town, put a little away for the kids’ or grand-kids’ educations, pay bills — whatever you want. Even better, keep part of your winnings for your next session.

They Represent Real money! Treat these chips as such.

They Represent Real money! Treat chips as such.

5) I will keep track of my gambling.

Keeping track of stats such as time spent, casinos visited, promotions used, money won/lost, etc…will force you to look at your gaming experiences. Patterns of losing play, or machines played, may indicate that changes are needed.

6) I will play only with money I can afford to lose:


When the losses come, make sure you don’t have money earmarked for food, clothing, school, the rent or mortgage on the line. Play with money budgeted for entertainment, not for life’s necessities.

Does money just seem to be floating away?

7) I will never chase losses:


What’s worse than losing money? Losing even more in a desperate attempt to win it back. You’re never “due” to win, and wins and losses don’t have to even out in the time we play. A losing streak means it’s time to ease back or quit, not bet more.

8) I will never use credit card cash advances for gambling money:

Think the house edge is high on some games? Try comparing it to credit card interest rates. The house edge added to interest on borrowed money and ATM fees — that’s a tough combination to overcome.  Bring your cash, or if your a big player, get your marker from the casino.  Either way, hide those credit cards and ATM card in your car, or don’t bring them (locals.)

9) I will go easy on the alcohol:alcohol-gambling

If you want to have a drink while you play, that’s your business. You don’t want your judgment impaired with money on the line. Have a good time, but keep a clear head, too.

10) I will keep perspective and play for fun:

Keep perspective and play for fun. Gambling in a casino is not a get-rich-quick scheme. Only a handful of blackjack and video poker players have the skill, discipline and bankroll to enable them to make money in the long run. Most of us will lose more than we win at any game. Most players are best off to treat losses as the price of admission for a day’s entertainment. Casino gambling is a form of entertainment, a way to have a good time. On those days when we take a little extra cash home, so much the better. But even a losing day can be fun if you keep your expectations realistic. Remember, it’s not about luck, or casino conspiracies – it’s all about math + science = house edge.

11) I will pay attention to my TITO Tickets and my belongings in the casino.

 Be careful with your money. There are people out there who look to take other players money, TITO vouchers (TITO = Ticket In, Ticket Out) purses and more. That’s their job! Be careful out there and be aware of those around you.

12) I will be more aware of my Rewards Account. Players Club

Remember, all rewards clubs have different rules. 1 point in one club equals $1, but other clubs have 100 points equaling $1. Take advantage of Players Club promotions – especially 2X & 3X (or more) points days. Be aware of when your points expire.

I’m sure there are more. Whatever your resolutions may be, I hope you keep them as long as possible. I hope your New year is a prosperous one – make 2017 the best gaming experience yet. Get that royal!

That’s all for now.


“The 12 Days of Christmas” – Casino Style

Here’s one of my favorite posts. You all know the song, and all its parodies.  Personally, I still love Allan Sherman’s “The Twelve Days Of Christmas” Lyrics. So, I thought I would tell the story from the gambler’s perspective.  So, without further ado, here is NETimeGambling’s version of “The 12 Days of Christmas.”

On the 1st day of Christmas, my Casino gave to me,

a Jackpot on my Fa-vo-rite Slot.

On the 2nd day of Christmas, my Casino gave to me,

2 Free Buffets


and a Jackpot on my Fa-vo-rite Slot.

On the 3rd day of Christmas, my Casino gave to me,

3 Comped Nights

2 Free Buffets

and a Jackpot on my Fa-vo-rite Slot.

On the 4th day of Christmas, my Casino gave to me,


4 Deuces Dealt

3 Comped Nights, 2 Free Buffets

and a Jackpot on my Fa-vo-rite Slot.

On the fifth day of Christmas, my Casino gave to me,

5  Ve-gas Nights!Las Vegas Sign

4 Deuces Dealt, 3 Comped Nights, 2 Free Buffets

and a Jackpot on my Fa-vo-rite Slot.

On the 6th day of Christmas, my Casino gave to me,

6 Royal Flushesth

5  Ve-gas Nights!

4 Deuces Dealt, 3 Comped Nights, 2 Free Buffets

and a Jackpot on my Fa-vo-rite Slot.

On the seventh day of Christmas, my Casino gave to me,

7 Points a-making

6 Royal Flushes

5  Ve-gas Nights!

4 Deuces Dealt, 3 Comped Nights, 2 Free Buffets

and a Jackpot on my Fa-vo-rite Slot.

On the 8th day of Christmas, my Casino gave to me,

8 Busts by the Dealer10857-eisxpozzgc

7 Points a-making, 6 Royal Flushes

5  Ve-gas Nights!

4 Deuces Dealt, 3 Comped Nights, 2 Free Buffets

and a Jackpot on my Fa-vo-rite Slot.

On the 9th day of Christmas, my Casino gave to me,

Natural 9 in Ba-c’ratNatural 9 in Baccarat

8 Busts by the Dealer, 7 Points a-making, 6 Royal Flushes

5  Ve-gas Nights!

4 Deuces Dealt, 3 Comped Nights, 2 Free Buffets

and a Jackpot on my Fa-vo-rite Slot.

On the 10th day of Christmas, my Casino gave to me,

10X Odds in Crapsdowntown6

Natural 9 in Ba-c’rat, 8 Busts by the Dealer, 

7 Points a-making, 6 Royal Flushes

5  Ve-gas Nights!

4 Deuces Dealt, 3 Comped Nights, 2 Free Buffets

and a Jackpot on my Fa-vo-rite Slot.

On the 11th day of Christmas, my Casino gave to me,

11 Hosts Attendingdownload (6)

10X Odds in Craps, 

Natural 9 in Ba-c’rat, 8 Busts by the Dealer

7 Points a-making, 6 Royal Flushes

5  Ve-gas Nights!

4 Deuces Dealt, 3 Comped Nights, 2 Free Buffets

and a Jackpot on my Fa-vo-rite Slot.

On the 12th day of Christmas, my Casino gave to me,

12 of 12 in Kenoth

11 Hosts Attending, 10X Odds in Craps, 

Natural 9 in Ba-c’rat, 8 Busts by the Dealer, 

7 Points a-making, 6 Royal Flushes

5  Ve-gas Nights!

4 Deuces Dealt, 3 Comped Nights, 2 Free Buffets


and a Jackpot on my Fa-vo-rite Slot.

Hope you enjoyed.

Happy Holidays from NETG


Marquee Rewards at Plainridge Park and Hollywood Bangor

You might have been wondering where we have been with only two posts in the last 7 days.  Well, you’ll find out tomorrow.  But today we start a series about the Player’s Rewards Clubs in New England’s Casinos.  Today we look at Penn National which owns two of the seven.

Marquee Rewards connects to Penn National casinos across the country

Casino Players Clubs were born as “Slot Clubs” in Atlantic City in the early 1980’s when the casinos there were trying to find a way to keep players from hopping from one casino to the next. By offering a reward for their loyalty they were able to keep the player coming back.

As we approach casino saturation in the Northeast, NETimegambling is on a quest to find your players club. First we look at The Penn National’s Marquee Rewards.


Level three of Five in the Marquee Rewards Program of Penn National
The club is free, (as most are) Marquee Comps dollars can be used for dining, shopping, and hotel stays at participating Marquee Rewards locations.
No CashBack but Does Include Free Slot Play Offers
You can receive special offers and invitations to promotions, sweepstakes, events, free SlotPlay or VLTPlay based on your level of play.
Tier points are accumulated and tier status awarded on a fixed six-month basis, January 1 through June 30 and July 1 through December 31.
There are five levels – Marquee, Celebrity, Producer, Exec. Producer and Icon.The higher the level, the more benefits are offered. To see those benefits, click here.


Marquee Rewards can be earned at 20 casinos in 12 states. A new connection for the future is Penn’s acquisition of M Resort and the Tropicana in Las Vegas. Hopefully, all properties will soon be completely connected, offering New Englanders a connection to comps in Nevada.

Recently, an announcement was made that Penn National will be purchasing Pinnacle Gaming. Pinnacle operates sixteen casino properties, located in Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, and a horse track in Texas. If the purchase were to take place, that would provide more connections through Marquee Rewards.

They are connected to Carnival cruise lines, where free cruises for highest levels and even 30% off for second level Celebrity players are offered.

Preferred Parking, personal host, and VIP lounge access is offered to Exec Producer & Icon Levels.


Marquee Comps are earned at variable rates depending on game type, game denomination and level of play, so it’s very difficult to get information on coin in for either Plainridge Park or Hollywood, Bangor. Penn Casinos tend to be “won’t tell, so don’t ask.”
Casinos tend to be small racinos, where sports betting wagers don’t count towards any Marquee Rewards.
Table games are usually not included in the players club, while some are. Ask at guest services to see if your table play is included in Marquee Rewards.

Most are smaller casinos and racinos. Most Video Poker paytables are far from full paper. Some, like Plainridge Park, don’t have table games. And most have few dining amenities, hotel options, and entertainment options, except for Nevada.  Most tend to be destination casinos.

The Final Word

Marquee Rewards is rumored to offer a lower than normal % in in points returned for use. A good Rewards club will return above 30% from your play – Penn’s Marquee is rumored to offer a little above 20%.

But no matter what the percentage offered, it is always better to play with your players card in! – It’s like a rebate after buying an appliance. The appliance isn’t free, but a little off the top always helps.

This week we will look at other Rewards Clubs in New England, including a look at the future – MLife at MGM Springfield and Wynn’s Red Card at the future gem of New England, Wynn Boston Harbor.

Stay tuned!


Don’t Be “That Guy” at the Casino

At the casino, you play next to introverts, extroverts and everyone in between. My story today is probably familiar to those of you who are gambling introverts. It’s not that we are unfriendly, it’s about visiting the casino for the solitude, the me time, just me and the machine.

When I’m at the craps table, I’m more out-going. After all, it IS the party at the craps table.

But when I’m at my machine, don’t assume I’m your long-lost friend, and don’t assume I’m unfriendly if I don’t want to chat with you.

Sunday, taking advantage of Triple Status points at Mohegan Sun, I was playing $1 video poker. I was minding my own business, concentrating on the game. That’s my usual way to play slots and VP. I don’t initiate contact with others – I respect others and don’t impose. I may mention to a player that they may need to reinsert their players card. (I hate to see players lose points on their cards).

As I am playing, some guy sits two seats down with no one in between us. As I continue to play, he yells at me, “hey, what should I play?”

I didn’t realize he was talking to me.

“Hey, you, look at this”

“Hey, stop ignoring me, you ignoring me?”

Now he is screaming.

I look over. He has four to the Royal, with a made flush. Really, he doesn’t know this play?

So, I say, “Royal.”

He hits the deal button – no Royal, no flush.

Unhappily, he remarks, “never happens, (I ignore and continue to play) “what’s the matter you don’t like friendly people?”

I reply, “I don’t visit here to tutor players who don’t know the game.”

Now, he just gets ugly. “I make more money than you’ll ever see. What you have against being friendly?”

(I think to myself) Yes, sir it’s my fault that your imposition upon my solitude is MY fault.

I get up and leave, with him barking at me, still telling me and half the casino how he is such a better gambler than me. I didn’t know being an overbearing fool decreases the House edge.

The moral of the story, don’t be that guy. Some gamblers are introverts some are extroverts. And some are just imposing bullies.

Don’t be THAT guy.


Best Blackjack Quiz by Henry Tamburin

Henry Tamburin was one of those authors of gambling materials I followed in my humble beginnings when I started delving into the strategy for gambling, along with experts such as Bob Dancer, Jean Scott, John  Grochowski, Max Compton and Frank Scoblete.  They always seemed to have the answers I was looking for, no matter what gambling topic.

Henry has been very busy over the years. His best-selling book “Blackjack: Take The Money and Run,”  being editor of the Blackjack Insider e-Newsletter, and Lead Instructor for the Golden Touch Blackjack course are just a few of his current accomplishments. His website SmartGaming is a go to website with “strategies for casino players who want to learn to play and win.”

For over 40 years, he has been an advocate for better odds for casino players, while also teaching the general public how to play smart. His specialties are blackjack and video poker.

Here are the publications that he currently writes for:

Casino Player Magazine
Strictly Slots Magazine
Midwest Gaming & Travel Magazine
Gaming South Magazine
Southern Gaming Magazine
New England Gaming News
Casino City Times
Bingo Bugle

In Casino City Times this week, he posted a Blackjack Quiz that I had to share.  Many of our followers are Blackjack enthusiasts, so I knew that if you thought you were so good at your strategy, you must take this quiz.  Answer the questions, take down your answers and check out how you did after all are done.  Here goes……




The Ultimate Blackjack Test – By Henry Tamburin

So you think you are a hotshot blackjack player? Take this short test and see how much you really know about the game. (Assume a six-deck game, with S17, and DAS.)

1. You hold a pair of eights and the dealer shows a face card. Would you hit, stand or split?

2. You hold an A-7 (8 or 18) and the dealer shows a five up card. Would you stand, hit or double down?

3. You hold a 10-6 and the dealer shows a seven up card. Would you hit or stand?

4. You hold a pair of nines and the dealer shows a nine up card. Would you stand or split?

5. You hold a 10-2 and the dealer shows a three. Would you hit or stand?

6. You hold a pair of fives and the dealer shows a six. Would you hit, split or double down?

7. You hold a pair of face cards and the dealer shows an ace and asks for “insurance”? Would you make the insurance bet? Yes or no?

8. You have 2-3-A-A and the dealer shows a five up card. Would you stand or hit?

9. You have 9-6 and the dealer shows a face card. Would you stand, hit or surrender?

10. You have A-3-4 and the dealer shows a nine up card. Would you hit or stand?

Which statements are true and which are false?:

11. Always take even money on a blackjack hand when the dealer shows an ace.

12. The third base player is the most important player on the table. If he stands or hits correctly, everyone will win.

13. A player who doesn’t have a clue about when to stand or hit will cause his fellow table players to lose.

14. Card counters always win.

15. Surrender is a playing rule that when used correctly can limit your losses.

16. Which of the following rules favor the casino, and which favor the player?
• Dealer hits soft 17.
• Double after pair splitting.
• Six decks vs. one deck.
• Resplit aces allowed.
• Double only on 10 or 11.
• Surrender.
• No resplitting of pairs

Cats Playing Blackjack

Answers (give yourself five points for each correct answer):

1. Split. You are better off starting a hand with an eight rather than with a 16 against a dealer face card. Overall you’ll lose money in the long run by splitting compared to hitting (standing is the least desirable play). As a general basic strategy rule, you should always split eights no matter what the dealer shows.

2. Double down. Even though an 18 is a strong player hand, you will win more money in the long run if you double down. The main reason is that by doubling, you can get more money on the table when the dealer has a good chance of breaking with a five up card.

3. Hit. Most blackjack players will hit a 16 against a dealer 10 but not against the dealer’s seven up card. They reason is that a 10 is a stronger card than a seven, so it’s more important to hit against the 10. In fact, the opposite is true. It’s a worse mistake to stand on 16 against a dealer’s seven vs. a 10 up card. Why? Even though the risk of busting the 16 is the same whether the dealer has a seven or 10 up card, your chances of eking a win by drawing a small card are greater when the dealer shows a seven compared to a 10.

4. Split. You are slightly better off starting with a count of nine on two hands rather than an 18 against a dealer’s nine up card. You’ll win 41% and lose 59% of the hands if you stand on 18 (at a dollar a hand, your net loss is $18 after $100 bet). If you split, you’ll end up winning about 47% of the hands and losing 53% (net loss is $12 – because you double your bet when pair splitting- per $100 bet). You’ll gain an extra $6 by splitting.

5. Hit. Only a 10-value card will bust your 12. Plus the dealer is not as vulnerable to busting with a three (and two) up card compared to a four, five or six up card. For these reasons, you should hit 12 when the dealer shows a three (and two) up card but stand if the dealer’s up card is four, five or six.

6. Double down. Most novice players make the mistake of splitting fives. Never split fives. Treat a pair of fives as a 10, and against a dealer’s six up card the best percentage play is to double down.

7. No. Insurance pays 2 to 1 on a bet that has less than 1 chance in 3 of winning (i.e., the odds are greater than 2 to 1). That will cost you money; about $7 for every $100 worth of insurance bets you make. Don’t do it!

8. Hit. Be careful with soft hands. A-2-3-A-A is a soft 17, and you should never stand on soft 17 no matter what the dealer shows.

9. Surrender. You will lose greater than 50 cents per dollar bet if you stand or hit. By surrendering, you limit your loss to exactly 50 cents. Therefore, you will save some money in the long run when you surrender.

10. Hit. An A-3-4 is a soft 18, Normally you would stand when you hold an 18 but in this case you have a soft 18. Against a dealer’s nine, you are slightly better off hitting a soft 18 rather than standing.

11. False. You will be giving up about 4% of your potential profits in the long run every time you take even money. Your best percentage play is to pass on taking even money.

12. 13. All false. These are misconceptions that most players have about blackjack.

14 Card counters do not win every time they play. They have a long-term advantage, which means over time they will win more money than lose. Over the short term, like a single playing session, they can lose.

15 True. When used correctly surrender can limit player’s losses.

16 The player favorable rules are double down after pair splitting, resplit aces, and surrender. The casino favorable rules are dealer hits soft 17, six decks vs. one deck, double only on nine and 10, and no replitting of pairs.

If you scored 75 or 80, you should be holding your own at the blackjack tables.

If you scored 60 – 80, you are probably losing more money than winning when you play blackjack.

If you scored less than 60, you had better spend some time improving your blackjack playing skills; otherwise, be prepared to lose a lot of money.

Casino Comps & Your “Average Daily Theoretical”

Ever wonder how the casino you visit decides on what comps to give you? When I first started, I thought that if I went to the local casino (or closest) and played a little more often, they (the casino) would see me as a loyal customer and raise my comps. How could they depend on that visitor that appears once a year instead of me – they had me for life if they played their cards right.

But, alas, my comps continued to be menial – “minion’s comps” I call them. Then I found out about Average Daily Theoretical – the average amount that a gambler losses per day for a certain gambling activity, usually expressed in absolute terms (such as dollars). It’s your value to the casino, based on your average daily play – NOT the numbers of appearances at the casino.

Your players card is how the casino tracks your play.

Back to Average Daily Theoretical, the amount (expressed in percent or real units) a casino assumes certain play is worth to them. A positive Theoretical is an assumed loss to the the player. A casino typically comps players based on their actual Theoretical. For example, a casino may assign a certain game a Theoretical of 5%. Assuming a player’s coin-in is $10,000, a casino would then limit total comps to some fraction (less then one) of the theo, $500. If the player had the same coin-in on a game with 1% Theoretical, the comps would have been limited to some fraction of $100.

To make it simple, basically it’s based on your play in one day. A long play in a casino’s day raises your “comp-ability” and playing a little lowers it. So, you can start to receive amazing offers if your play is fairly concentrated into small capsules of time (one or two trips a month) with longer play – basically more money through in a casino day. Now, if you spread out the same amount of money over more visits, less time each visit, the offers decrease.

One very important part to know is the “casino day” which may not be what you consider a day, or may differ from casino to casino. Some casino day’s start at 12:01AM, while others start at 6:00AM. Make sure you know which day your play falls on at, for example, 1:00AM.

Great Podcast fpr Craps, home poker games, and all sorts of gambling advice.



The guys from “You Can Bet on That” give a good example. Let’s say you are staying at a casino for two nights with $400 as your bankroll. If you play the $400 through on the first day, your ADT is better than if you split your bankroll over two days. And what if you get up to check out and put in one more $20 before you leave? Well, your ADT is now figured over three casino days, thus lowering your ADT.

So, if you visit often and put through $50 each time, don’t expect great offers. Make fewer visits putting though the same amount in a month and you will find your your offers increase.

But please remember – play for fun, play for recreation with the bankroll you can spend. DO NOT PLAY MORE THAN YOU CAN SPEND JUST TO GET BETTER COMPS. Always spend up to your allowable bankroll.

Big Data, Casinos, & Jean Scott


More in the news than ever.  It’s all about analytics these days.  In order to stay competitive in the the gaming & entertainment industry, casinos and their resorts have to watch the fluctuations and trends in their clientele and that of their competitors.  Expansion of gaming throughout the country, and especially in New England, will mean more BIG DATA looked at as Wynn Boston Harbor, MGM Springfield, Tiverton Hotel Casino, and the third CT Casino look to open.


It all has to do with keeping their players, their diners, and event-goers coming back. So, gaming centers are turning to data analytics to make the gaming experience better for customers while also keeping the casinos solvent.

Players Cards are one of the ways casinos keep track of your points and your play.


What does this have to do with Jean? Well, I subscribe to Jean Scott’s weekly newsletter Frugal Vegas for two reasons:

  1. I love hearing about Vegas
  2. The info  Jean covers is often applicable for any casino around the country.

You remember Jean, don’t you?  The Frugal Gambler – the Queen of Comps?  For related information on Jean Scott’s expertise and career in the gambling industry, click on the links below:

Cousin Vito’s Casino Podcast – E:53 Frugal Gambling with The Queen of Comps Jean Scott

Las Vegas Advisor  –  Jean Scott’s Frugal Vegas

NETG Posts – The Frugal Gambler, Jean Scott – Challenging New Post, Essential New Book

10 Money-Saving Tips For the Casino – Jean Scott, The Queen of Coupons

Her recent newsletter pointed me in the direction of BIG DATA.  Some of our NETimeGambling followers on Twitter also shared some stories about the lack of comp points at New England’s casinos. Casino comps have gone new age, dependent upon algorithms that determine your comps through your players card.  The accumulation of points differs from casino to casino, slot machine to video poker machine, craps to baccarat.  And I haven’t found one casino that will tell you exactly how your points accumulate on every game, as in “how much play = how many points?”

Jean Scott


Jean Scott’s recent post listed the following import elements in a casino takes into consideration in determining your points.  The Frugal Gambler says,

“Although casino information systems vary widely in their capabilities, from the simple to the complex, the technology exists to take into consideration all of the following:

* specific machine played;

* how much the casino projects to win from the average player on that game

* your skill level in playing that game;

* what denomination you’re playing;

* how long you play the game,

* the frequency of your play;

* whether you have won or lost during one period of time;

* your long-term history of play at that casino


More time is needed by yours truly to investigate BIG DATA in the Casino Industry.  In the mean time I suggest three calls to action:

  1. Subscribe to Jean’s Newsletter (see links above),
  2. Try asking questions at your casino about earning points (both status & Comp dollars)
  3. Check out your casino data at vpFREE2 for comp information and point earning data.

Have a good session, and be aware of your play.  Remember, simply put:

Time played X money thru = comps




Video Poker – When To Play Fast

Video poker is not like slot machines – there is skill to it. It’s knowing the probability of the dealt hands, memorizing the strategy and holding what gives the best advantage for the best winning hand.

Video Poker machines often have a button where the player can set the speed of the cards dealt. Mostly, it is about where your comfort level is with your speed of play, but there is a reason when playing as fast as you can is suggested, as long as it’s accurate perfect strategy.

One time, I sent a question to noted Video Poker Expert, Bob Dancer.  For great software to practice your Video Poker Play, go to I asked him, “When do you suggest to play as fast as you can?”

His answer – “Always.”

From his stand point, it was the correct answer.  However, he insists on only playing advantage games – full pay, or very close to it. That means he plays games such as:

  • Jack or Better – 9/6 **
  • Bonus Poker – 8/5 **
  • Double Bonus – 10/7 **
  • Double Double Bonus – 10/6 **
  • Full Pay Deuces Wild – 9(StrFl)) /5 (40faK)
  • NSUD (Dueces Willd) – 9(StrFl)) /4(40faK) / 4 (FH)

** Please note – The first number = payout for Full House, second number = payout for Flush in these games


Jacks or Better best paytable (called 9/6 because of the full house and flush pay out). Notice the jump in pay out from 4 to 5 coins.

These games are seen as full play because they have a pay out of 99.7% to over 100% with perfect strategy. Because Mr. Dancer plays perfect strategy on full pay VP, his answer is correct – full speed ahead always.

Playing Video Poker as fast as one can should only be played when the player has the advantage, as in the above VP paytables. For more information about which games are FULL PAY, go to vpFREE2 and the Wizard of Odds.

But, the rest of us have a few considerations that many advantage players don’t. Consider these:


Whatever video poker game you play, you need to practice, and practice. Advantage players can play over 15 hands per minute. They only play full pay VP, and learn to minimize the time for each deal/hold play. Practice teaches AP’s what patterns of cards to memorize for whatever strategy is needed, no matter in what order the patterns are in on the deal.

Playing full pay VP also needs a technique that alleviates excess movement.  I average 400-600 hands if needed by using my left hand for the holding of cards and my right hand for the deal/draw.  By rolling my left hand slightly, I can hold whatever button is needed without looking down, keeping my eyes on the screen.


No matter how good, or how fast you play video poker, the fact remains that full pay options are increasingly hard to find. Many casinos offer playable (like 8/5 JOB or 9/5 DDB) to incredibly bad (6/5 JOB, 7/5 DDB).  The only full pay video poker in New England can be found at Mohegan Sun – 9/6 JOB.

SPEED CAN KILL (your Bankroll, That Is)

Since most casinos in the country don’t offer full pay VP, playing fast is not a template for success. Playing any casino game – slots, tables, VP – with a higher house edge should be played accurately first, speedily second.  Playing slow can be a friend to your bankroll. Besides, if you play fast and make mistakes – don’t play fast.  Unless you are playing full pay VP, there is absolutely no reason to speed.


The primary strategy is knowing the optimum strategy for the game you are playing.  Even with JOB (Jacks or Better, remember?) basic strategy, or the cards you hold, is different depending if the pay table is 9/6 or 8/5.


Jerry “Stickman” wrote the following in his post “How Fast Should You Play Video Poker?” in Casino City Times.

“First and foremost, if you are playing a machine where the house has the edge, you are best off pacing your play. The more you play, the more you will lose. Sure you may hit some big winners, but the more you play, the more the house will take your hard earned money. So if you don’t have an edge (including slot club points and possibly comps), take your time playing. Don’t rush to give the house any more money than you must. Only play as fast as you can be accurate. When playing with an edge, Wyatt Earp probably said it best when he quipped, “Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything.” Don’t get killed. Make sure you are playing correctly.”

Now, go get that Royal Flush!