Never Split 10s and Other Casino Stories from the Casino Floor

dealer with cardsWhile normally this space is taken up by reader questions about casino games or strategy. But sometimes readers take the time to write in with a story instead of a question. Here is a small sampling of a few strange, funny, or interesting casino stories from the mailbag.

From Eileen: They say that craps is a man's game, and while sometimes I might be the only women at a table full of men I've never felt intimidated. Just the opposite, in fact, I think it's fun.

Once, I had just come up to a table and was next in line to shoot. The guy in front of me came out with a 6 and then immediately rolled a 7, passing the dice on to me.

As I put my bet down and chose the dice, the guy next to me, the same guy who just sevened out on his first throw, says, “Don't be nervous, honey. Easy does it.” I paid him no mind as usually the guys are great, but I've heard this kind of thing before. On the come out roll I threw a 7 and everybody won.

Then I threw a 5, followed by a 6, followed by a 9, putting come bets on them each time. Despite this, the guy keeps telling me to stay calm and not be nervous, like it was my first time. After hitting the 9, he says, “Just relax, the numbers will come.”

That was about enough for me, so I shot back, “Oh, is that relax method what you used?” The table exploded with laughter.

I felt a bit bad embarrassing him, but he did keep quiet after that.

From Norb: I'm a bit of an amateur blackjack card counter. I practice at home quite a lot, and have taken to counting in casinos every now and then to see how I can do. To be completely honest, I've reached the point where I am a break-even player, nothing more.

So, it came as quite a shock what happened to me last time I went to the casino. I was sitting at the blackjack table, trying to count and varying my bets to take advantage. After a few hours, I was actually down a bit. So imagine my surprise when a man in a very expensive suit came up behind me and politely informed me that I was no longer welcome to play blackjack there!

I actually wrote the casino a letter telling them that if they check, they can see that I never actually won anything and that they're missing out on my wife's slot play if I don't go there any more. But I don't really expect to hear anything back from them.

From Gordon: My dad's great and we often go to the casino and play blackjack together. And although he might be a great guy, he does have one big flaw – he always splits 10s against a dealer 6. No matter how many times I tell him that he shouldn't, the man is 75 years old and isn't changing any time soon.

This one time, we were playing together and my dad continued to split 10s every time the dealer showed a 6. The first time he ended up with a 14 and 15 against the dealer's 18; the second time two 17s against the dealer's 20. Not only was my dad frustrated, but this other guy on third base started to give him some nasty looks.

Eventually, I had 10s against a 6 and the guy on third base looks at me as says, “You're his son, right?” I told him I was. “And you're not gonna split?” he asked. I replied by making the motion to stand. At that, the guy lightly elbows my dad and says, “Hey old block, you ought to learn something from chip here.”

My dad doesn't really like his new family nickname, 'old block', but the rest of us think it's hilarious.

About The Author

Journalist and author John Grochowski is one of the foremost experts on casinos in America. He writes a syndicated weekly gambling newspaper column and he is a frequent contributor to gambling magazines, websites, and radio programs. His books include the best-sellers The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Casino Answer Book.

  • "Casinos typically put their wheel of fortune tables right at the entrance to the casino, hoping that suckers will plop some money down as soon as they walk in. You should just keep on walking."

  • "Slot machines have been around since 1887 when San Francisco inventor Charles Fey built a machine featuring three wheels decorated with symbols like diamonds, hearts, and bells, which triggered the jackpot."

  • "1930s Montana saw a game similar to the 'Chinese Lottery' become popular as people could win a lot of money from a tiny bet. Eventually this game travelled to the legal gambling pastures of Nevada."

  • "Speed is good for the casino but bad for you. The more times you play per hour, the more the house edge compounds and makes it more likely that you will lose overall."

  • "Sic bo is a relatively new game where you bet on the possible combinations of a set of three dice. It's best avoided as the house edge can reach an almost unbelievable 48%."

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