John Grochowski

John Grochowski John Grochowski John Grochowski John Grochowski

There are times — frustrating times — when playing slots or video poker is a matter of woulda, shoulda, coulda.

If only you woulda bet the max on video poker, covered all the paylines on video slots or made the qualifying bet on a progressive like you shoulda, you coulda left the casino with a nice payday.

A few readers recently shared their woulda, coulda, shoulda stories. If they'd changed their bets, they'd have altered the timing and probably had a different result. That doesn't mean they aren't kicking themselves.

GLENDA: I play a mix of video and three-reel slots. I love the jackpot chances at a three-reel game, but I suppose I play more video. There's so much more of it around.

It was on a three-reel game that I had my little incident. I put $100 in a Double Diamond machine, and was playing a while, but finally had only two credits left. Most of the time, I cash that out and use it in the next game.

This time, I bet the two coins, and wouldn't you know it, that's when I got the three Double Diamonds.

With one coin, it paid $800. With two, it paid $1,600, but with three, it paid the progressive, and that was over $10,000.

I guess I shouldn't kick about winning $1,600, but I really could have used $10,000.

PETE: This goes back some time to one of the video slots with just five paylines — three across, a V and an inverted V.

On my first spin, I got five 7s in a V, and I figured that was a really nice way to start the day. I was looking to see how much that was, and nothing happened. I got no payout at all.

It took me a while to figure it all out. As best I could tell, the player before me had been betting just one payline, the one right down the middle. When I started, I must have hit the repeat bet button without making sure all the paylines were active. My five sevens were worthless.

I suppose this happens less than it used to, now that so many games don't let you bet fewer lines. That would have helped me then!

WINN: You probably hear this a lot from video poker players. My royal flush brain cramp game on a quarter Triple Play Poker machine with progressive jackpots. There were separate progressive meters on the top, middle and bottom hands, and there was a big jackpot if you got all three at once.

On Triple Play, you bet 15 coins at a time, and unless you draw something big, you inevitably get to the point there are only five or 10 coins left. For me, it was 10 ... and you can probably guess the rest of the story.

I bet the 10 coins, and the machine divided that up into four coins on the bottom hand and three each on the middle and top. I was dealt three high diamonds, and on the top hand I drew the royal.

I was just thinking that at least it wasn't a dealt royal when my wife came by and saw I'd just won 750 quarters instead of more than $1,100. Even worse, I'm always telling her that when you don't have enough to make the full bet, you either put more in or cash out and leave.

She was kind enough not to rub it in too much, but she obviously was thinking. "You big dummy, what are you always telling me?"

Look for John Grochowski on Facebook ( and Twitter (@GrochowskiJ).

Sign up to receive the area's top entertainment headlines delivered to your inbox every Thursday.