John Grochowski

John Grochowski John Grochowski John Grochowski John Grochowski

A shuffle through the gaming mailbag:

Q. I read your column with players' stories about winning back to back, even if the jackpots were small, and I wondered if my story qualified.

I still like Super Jackpot Party after all these years. The casino I usually go to still has two of them on pennies, and they're the first games I look for,

It felt like I'd been playing a long time without getting the bonus. I don't know how many times I spun, but it felt like a lot. Finally, I got a surprise party. You know how that works, right? I didn't get the noisemakers or anything, it just went straight to the bonus.

I had one of those rounds where everything goes right. I picked some big prizes. I got the Whack-A-Pooper, where you bop the characters, like Whack-A-Mole. I got the dancing bonus, where you get credits as long as the disco guy dances, right up until his pants split.

I got the 3x multiplier that triples your next pick, and that's when I got a Pooper. When you have the multiplier, the Pooper doesn't end the round. You get to keep picking and have your win multiplied.

I picked and picked, and I won nearly $400. Not bad for pennies!

A. That is a very nice win, and I'm glad you shared your story. I'm not going to use every tale of small back-to-back jackpots or bonus events, but just as with the big pots, they serve to illustrate that all results are possible on all spins.

Back to back jackpots, big or small, are low-probability results. But they're not zero-probability results, and given enough trials, they will happen sometimes.

If we assume the odds of a game will lead to a bonus about once per 80 spins — some happen more often, some less — then we would expect to see two in a row about once per 6,400 spins.

More likely than not, you won't see that happen in a few hours of play, but somewhere in the casino, someone, and probably several someones, is getting two bonus events in a row.

Q. In a high-limit room, I saw the pai-gow tiles game. It wasn't the poker game with cards that you've written about. It used dominoes instead and looked intriguing, though I didn't understand enough to play.

Can you explain the game and give any strategy tips.

A. Alas, I have never played pai-gow tiles and can't give you any tips for setting your hands. I highly recommend that anyone interested take at look at Michael Shackelford's explanation at

Pai-gow tiles is one of the oldest casino games and is the game on which pai-gow poker was based. It's played with tiles that have dots, like dominoes. Each player gets four tiles and must arrange them into a high hand and a low hand. Pairs are the highest-ranking hands, the higher the pair the better the hand.

From there, you're better off reading Shackelford's page than having me expound on something outside my experience.

Q. Have you seen those decks of cards where clubs are green and diamonds blue instead of black and red. Would blackjack be blackandgreenjack?

A. I've seen them, though not often in casinos. Today's blackjack doesn't differentiate in payoffs with or without a black jack, but you can always just call the game 21 if you like. You could invent some cool color-coded side bets, though, or maybe bonus paybacks such as 2-1 Greenjacks on St. Pat's.

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