John Grochowski

John Grochowski John Grochowski John Grochowski John Grochowski

A shuffle through the Gaming mailbag:

Q. What do you think of these slots where you can win a different number of free spins depending on numbers on the symbols?

You need at least three symbols, and when you get them, you add them up for a number of spins. One that I play has a maximum number of 7. If you got three of the 7 symbols, you’d get 21 spins.

I’ve never had three 7s. In fact, I rarely get a 7 at all, at least in a winning combination. Usually, I get something line 2, 2 and 3 for a TOTAL of seven spins.

Is the game rigged just not to give the high numbers?

A. You didn’t give me a game name and I’ve not seen a lot of that type. But if you’re playing in a state-licensed commercial casino or a tribal casino in the United States, the results are random with no “rigging” necessary.

The game maker could accomplish that by including more of the low-number symbols per reel than the higher numbers. You see 2s more often than 7s because there are more 2s.

Including a 7 in a winning combination would happen sometimes, though not as often as combinations with lower numbers. Even a combination with three or more 7s would be possible, although that could be rare depending on how many total symbols and how many 7s were included on each reel.

That way, the odds of the game would lead toward what you’re experiencing – a game where low-number free-spin rounds are a lot more common that rounds that include a high number of spins.

The games are random, not rigged, but the odds favor fewer free spins per round.

Q. Other than slot machines, what do you think is the easiest casino game?

It’s clearly not blackjack, where there are so many decisions to make. Same with video poker. Craps, there are a lot of bets to learn and pick among, and new players can have trouble figuring out how pass works.

Roulette is easy, but there are still a lot of bets and a learning curve.

I want to say baccarat, where you’re just guessing whether banker or player gets the better hand, but even there, new players can be confused who try to follow along why some hands get extra cards and some don’t, and that commission on banker is a twist you don’t see at most games.

What do you see as a game where you can just walk up, understand the game right away and not have to learn any strategy, pick among dozens of bets or anything like that?

A. Among commonly available games, I’d nominate the Pair Plus bet in Three Card Poker. You make your bet and you’re paid on any hand with a pair or better. You can’t get much easier.

It’s not a slam dunk. Players do have to know Pair Plus is available and easier than the ante-play option.

Ante-play is the better bet with a house edge of 3.37 percent of your ante or 2.01 percent of total action compared with 7.28 percent on the most common version of Pair Plus. But if easier is what you’re after, that’s Pair Plus.

Among less-played games, Casino War ranks high on the easy scale. It’s just the children’s card game War brought to a gambling environment. If your card and the dealer tie, you must make an extra bet and decide whether to go to war, but play isn’t much different from the just-for-fun game you played when you were 6.

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