John Grochowski

John Grochowski John Grochowski John Grochowski John Grochowski

A shuffle through the Gaming mailbag:

Q. My sister hit one of the bigger jackpots on a video slot. It was the major on a machine with mini, minor, major and grand. It was almost $1,000, so it was a great day.

She won it in the first five minutes she was playing. I don’t know how many spins, but it was quick. I’ve never won more than a minor, but she’s won a few majors and says they’re always in the first few minutes.

Does that mean it’s best to play for a few minutes and then move on to a different machine? I kind of like to settle in for a while and see what the bonuses are like unless my money is going too fast.

A. I wouldn’t draw any great generalizations from your sister’s experience. She has been lucky a few times, and the similar timing of her lucky spins has been coincidence.

Jackpot winners are determined by a random number generator. In the case of multi-level progressives, they’re usually mystery jackpots that go to the player whose bet pushed the jackpot to a randomly determined target level.

There is nothing in the programming that would make the jackpot more likely to go to a player in the first five minutes of a session than in any other five-minute segment.

If you’re going to play for an hour, there is no advantage to playing five minutes at each of 12 machines as opposed to 10 minutes at six, 15 minutes at four or an hour at the same machine.

When my wife and I play video slots together, we like to jump around and play different games. But if you like to settle in for a while, that’s fine. It doesn’t make you any less likely to win. Just be sure to play within your bankroll and avoid losing more than you’ve budgeted for the day.

Q. My buddies and I were at the Stratosphere in Las Vegas and I saw something I’d heard about but never played: Crapless Craps.

We didn’t play. One of my friends said the house edge was higher because 2, 3, 11 and 12 were all point numbers and that made it harder to win on pass and come.

What about other bets? Does that affect me if I’m just going to place 6 or 8?

A. Your friend was correct. The house edge on pass or come is 5.38 percent, much higher than the 1.41 percent at regular craps.

However, if you make any of the standard place, buy or lay bets, the house edge is not affected.

In your example, the edge on placing 6 or 8 is the same 1.52 percent as in standard craps. The bets are decided in the same way as in standard craps: If the shooter rolls your number, you win, and if he rolls 7 first you lose. Numbers other than your 6 or 8 and the 7 don’t matter.

As point numbers, 2, 3, 11 and 12 also can be placed in Crapless Craps. You wouldn’t want to make those bets, with house edges of 6.25 percent on 3 or 11 and 7.14 percent on 2 or 12, but the bets are available.

If I were playing Crapless Craps and not bankrolled sufficiently to bring a pass/odds combination below 1.52 percent, I’d stick with placing 6 and 8. Of course, if a standard craps table was available, I wouldn’t be at the Crapless table in the first place.

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