John Grochowski

John Grochowski John Grochowski John Grochowski John Grochowski

A shuffle through the Gaming mailbag:

Q. I went back and read about 3x, 4x, 5x odds in craps, and how they make the payoffs easy. Is easy really the point, though? What if I wanted to make a 3x odds bets on a point of 5 or 9? Would they refuse your money?

A. The dealers wouldn’t refuse your money, but they might urge a different bet, to the point of helping you size it correctly.

Ease of payment is one issue. If you bet $5 on pass, then bet $15 in odds on 4 or 10, with a 2-1 payoff, it brings a return of $30. Returns also are $30 if you bet $20 on odds on 5 or 9 at 3-2 odds or $25 on 6 or 8 at 6-5 odds.

But easy, same-size payoffs aren’t the only issue. Possibility of payment in fractions is another.

If you bet $5 on pass and make a 3x odds bet for $15 with a point of 5 or 9, the 3-2 odds would lead to $22.50 in winnings. Some casinos have $2.50 chips and can make that payoff, but many can’t, and few stock tables with coins or 50-cent chips.

Should a player refuse to budge and insist on a $15 odds bet on 5 or 9, the casino can round down and pay $22 instead of $22.50 to avoid the half-dollar issue.

I once saw something similar from a player who insisted on playing single odds without variation. He was a $5 bettor and added $5 in odds on any number. When he won on 5 or 9, he was paid $7 instead of $7.50.

You don’t want less than true odds payoffs on your free odds. Size the bets so they can be paid in whole dollars.

Q. I’ve been playing a lot of nickel video poker on the games with multipliers. I was playing a Triple Play Bonus Poker on Hot Roll, got an 4 on a dice roll, then got four Aces on the deal, with no draw.

Aces are worth 400, which on nickels is $20. with the dice multiplying by four, that was $80, and I got it three times for a total of $240.

That got me thinking. What about a royal flush? A nickel royal is worth $200, so if I got 4 on the dice, they’d be $800 apiece. If I got them three times, that’s $2,400.

Would that mean I’d get a tax form? Is the meaningful figure here the $800 on each royal, or the $2,400 for all three?

A. Yes, you would have to sign an IRS form W-2G before the casino could pay you. The total payoff you get after any one push of the deal button counts toward the $1,200 threshold at which the form is required.

When you’re playing video poker with multipliers and/or multiple hands, there are extra routes to an IRS-level jackpot. A nickel royal will reach tax form level with any multiplier of 6x or more. Even without a multiplier, if you’re playing Ten Play, Fifty Play or Hundred Play, six or more royals could take you to $1,200-plus.

I once watched as a friend was dealt four Jacks in Super Double Bonus Poker on a quarter Ten Play machine, no multiplier. Each set of quads was worth 600 coins, and the total pay was $1,500 once he’d signed the form.

With multipliers, even medium-pay hands like full houses and flushes with enough hands and multipliers can bring tax forms.

But the short answer is that any total payoff of $1,200 or more will bring a tax form, even if the component payoffs are smaller.