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Interesting gambling books
Casino Answer Book
by John Grochowski
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Subtitled 'How to Overcome the House Advantage When You Play Blackjack, Video Poker and Roulette,' this book provides the basics of the three games in question/answer and multiple choice quiz formats. It includes the author's own 'Spin' roulette approach that has proven to be very popular; bets and percentages; basic blackjack, and card counting strategies. Grochowski is a gaming columnist who writes with an easy-to-read style geared to beginning and intermediate players. You could use this book in an entertaining educational way by asking the questions of a partner to check his or her knowledge of casino games.
A Huge Collection of Loose Slots!
Book Picture
Online casino slots are loose. Why? Because with the lower overhead, no slot employees to pay, and lower taxes, they can afford to pay more back to their customers. Roxy Palace offers a huge range of casino slots for you to play for fun or for real money prizes. From easy to play 3-reel games and fruit slot machines, all the way through to popular video slots, progressives slots and brand new releases from Microgaming, every game provides a high level of quality.
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Comparing Your Costs: Slots vs Table Games

In the last couple of articles, we've explored how speed of play and the house's mathematical edge on casino games work together to make money for the casino. And we've taken both speed and edge intoJohn GrochowskiJohn Grochowski is the author of six gaming books including the "Answer Book" series -- The Casino Answer Book, The Video Poker Answer Book, The Craps Answer Book and a revised edition of The Slot Machine Answer Book. His articles cover blackjack, slots and video poker strategy  as well as casino etiquette and getting the most bang for your buck in Vegas.  John's website is  account to list your average cost per hour when you play, first on table games, then on electronic games.

Now let's put the two lists together. On table games, we're assuming a $5 wager -- if you're a $25 bettor, multiply the cost per hour by five. On slots and video poker, the wager is included in the game description. That leaves us with four "cost zones," starting with the games that cost an average of less than $5 a hour to play:

$5 or less: Basic strategy blackjack, full table ($1.25); quarter 9-6 Jacks or Better video poker, one coin ($2); craps, pass or don't pass ($2.10); quarter 9/6 Jacks or Better video poker, five coins ($3.125); quarter 8-5 Jacks or Better video poker, one coin ($4.88).

$5-$10: Three Card Poker, Pair Plus ($5.75); basic strategy blackjack, one-on-one ($6.25); average blackjack player, full table ($6.25); dollar 9-6 Jacks or Better video poker, one coin ($8); Three Card Poker, play against the dealer ($8.50); Let It Ride ($8.75); penny video slot machine, 20 lines, one coin per line ($9).

$10-$20: Roulette ($10.52); mini baccarat ($10.60 on banker, $12.40 on player); quarter reel-spinning slot, one coin ($11.25); dollar 9-6 Jacks or Better video poker, five coins ($12.50); Caribbean Stud ($13); nickel video slot machine, 9 lines, one coin per line ($13.50); quarter 8-5 Jacks or Better video poker, five coins ($16.88); dollar 8-5 Jacks or Better video poker, one coin ($19.50).

$20 or more: quarter reel-spinning slot, three coins ($26.75); average blackjack player one-on-one ($31.25); dollar reel-spinning slot, one coin ($35); dollar Jacks or Better video poker, five coins ($67.50); dollar reel-spinning slot, three coins ($75); craps, any 7 ($83.75).

A few notes:

** Keep in mind that these are AVERAGE costs per hour. In any one session, your results may vary wildly. Average losses for a basic strategy blackjack player betting $5 a hand at a full table may be a buck and a quarter, but I've lost $100 in half an hour. Haven't you? In the long run, big losses, small losses and winning sessions average out into the cost figures above.

** Results will vary even more wildly on electronic games than they do on table games. That's because a large share of the return on slots and video poker games are tied up in large jackpots -- when we win, we have bigger wins on slots than on tables, but we also have bigger, more frequent losses.

** The video poker figures assume you're using optimal strategy for the game you're playing. If you're just winging it, playing by intuition, then the house edge against you in 9-6 Jacks or Better is more like 2 or 3 percent instead of a half percent, and your average cost per hour with five quarters wagered climbs from $3.125 to $13 to $19.50.

** The cost per hour on any game is lower when you take into account cash back and comps. And the kings and queens of cash back are slot players. On any close call in cost between a table game and a slot game, some of the difference will be made up in the cash back awarded to slot players.

** Whatever game you choose, be sure you're properly bankrolled. To bet three coins at a time on dollar slots, with an average cost of $75 an hour, your starting bankroll probably should be at least five times that, and even then there's no guarantee it won't disappear in an hour. If you're starting with $100, you can't afford the game. Even if you're starting with $200, be prepared to move to quarters or to a different game if your bankroll drops to $100. Understand that the losses can come fast, and don't overbet your bankroll.

ADVISOR COUPON BOOK: Ever since I started writing this column 12 years ago, I've touted the monthly Las Vegas Advisor newsletter as a must for anyone who visits Vegas regularly -- and by regularly I mean even once a year. The newsletter alone is worth the $50 subscription, but the annual coupon book more than makes up the price.

The 2006 Advisor coupon book arrived in mid-January, and it's a dandy. There are 146 coupons this time around, good for discounts and freebies on rooms, meals, shows, rental cars and other attractions around Las Vegas. I like to take the gambling coupons -- free slot play, four of a kind bonuses, table games match play, slot club bonuses and more -- and see what kind of profit I can build up without dipping into my own money.

One new coupon that caught my eye this year is from Slots A Fun, toward the north end of the Strip next to Circus Circus. It promises a "giant 1/2-pound hot dog" including chili and cheese if you wish, and a bottle of beer for free. I doubt my stomach would hold up to that -- but the price is right.

Check out the Advisor at

Listen to John Grochowski's "Beat the Odds" tips Saturdays at 6:20 a.m., 2:50 p.m. and 7:41 p.m. and Sundays at 8:20 a.m., 2:50 p.m. and 10:42 p.m. on WBBM-AM, News Radio 780 in Chicago, streaming online at

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