John Grochowski

John Grochowski John Grochowski John Grochowski John Grochowski

A while back, I relayed a story from a slot player who had a pretty bad time on her first casino visit. She’s a regular player today only because a friend convinced her to give it another try, and she had more fun the second go-round.

That drew responses from many readers who wanted to share their own first-time experiences.

Kari: Like that woman, my first time was on a bus trip. It was a package tour that included a lunch buffet and a voucher for a little free play.

It was fun! It took most of an hour to get there, and it was fun just talking with the others on the bus. Most had been to the casino before so they were telling me what was there and how to play and what games to look for.

A couple of women promised to show me, so I felt well prepared. They were on a budget just like me, so we played penny slots together. They showed me free spin games and pick bonus games and progressives. I had no idea, but it was fun trying everything.

The one I did pretty good at was Lucky Larry. I got some nice lobsters — video, not real — and won some money. For the day, I lost a little, but not very much, but had a great time. I made some friends, too, and some of the ladies have coffee besides going to play.

Goff: My first time gambling was with my wife and her sister and brother-in-law. The others had all been before.

They all said first-time players always start on the slots, but I’m stubborn. I went straight for craps. I guess I marked myself as a newbie right away when I tried to hand $100 to the dealer. He told me no, I had to put it on the table.

He was nice about it, too. He could see I had no idea what I was doing, but it was too busy for him to talk me through the bets. A player next to me said, “Why don’t you just put $5 on pass here and watch a little before you try anything else?”

That’s what I did. Before long I was placing 6 and 8, too, though I didn’t get the hang of odds that first time.

One shooter had a nice roll and I won $50. Then I joined my wife and in-laws and showed them my chips. They were impressed. So yes, I had a very good time, even if I didn’t know what I was doing.

Colin: I’d played poker with friends long before I ever went to a casino. So when I went to a bachelor party at a casino, I figured I’d play poker.

Guess what? This casino didn’t have a card room. It never occurred to me I wouldn’t be able to play Hold’em. For Blackjack, the only open seats were $25 and up, and I didn’t want to do that. Craps, I had no clue.

I wound up playing Mississippi Stud. That was easy enough to pick up within a few hands. It threw me a little playing against a pay table and not against other players, but it’s not hard to learn at all.

I did OK, won a little bit of money, then joined the other guys in the nightclub for general madness. A very good night, but when I’m the one to pick a casino, I make sure it’s one with a poker room.

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

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