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Best of John G. Brokopp

Gaming Guru

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Be Alert When Playing in a Casino

28 June 1999

Last month while playing double-deck blackjack aboard the City of Lights I at the Hollywood Casino Aurora (my favorite blackjack game in the Chicago area, I may add), I received a little casino "wake-up" call that I'd like to share with you. Here's what happened:

On this particular weekday evening the game was a ten dollar minimum. I was about $50 ahead after playing for half an hour or so. After winning my previous hand, I put a $15 bet in the circle (a hefty wager for me) . I pulled to 19 while the dealer had a 10 card showing. Besides myself, there was only one other player at the table and he had 20. We both had good hands, but a dealer's 10 is always scary.

The dealer proceeded to play out her hand. She had a five in the hole for a 15, then drew a seven to "bust" with a 22. All right! But then, much to my amazement, she scooped up the other player's chips and then started to scoop up mine! I said: "Whoa, there, what do you have?" She looked down, realized sheepishly she had in fact busted, then summoned a supervisor over to explain things. The supervisor confirmed that both of us had indeed won our bets. After the bets were returned along with our winnings, the dealer said that she was sorry and play continued.

I'm not relating this little story to condemn dealers. On the contrary, I have the highest respect for them, their profession, and the outstanding and accurate jobs the majority of them perform. What I am saying is that when you play any casino game, it always pays to be alert and fully aware of each and every decision. After all, what's wrong with protecting your bankroll? Dealers and supervisors are entrusted with the job of protecting the casino's bankroll, and, boy, do they ever take that responsibility seriously! A dispute involving even a dollar chip creates a flurry of activity at the table, and heaven forbid you should ever be overpaid. You should guard your money just as rigidly.

Protecting you bankroll begins with your buy-in. If you put $100 down on the table, make sure you get an equivalent amount in chips by counting them. Not too long ago I saw a fellow buy in for $100 at the craps table and then complain to the dealer he only got $80 in chips. The dealer insisted he had only put down $80, but the boxman came to the rescue by confirming that the player had indeed plunked down $100. The dealer apologized and came up with the missing $20 in chips. It was an honest mistake, but a mistake nevertheless, and one that would not have been discovered had the player not counted his chips.

If you're a slot player and deal with a change person, always be sure to make an accounting of the rolls of coins she gives you and any change you may have coming. Also, if you use the bill validater on the machine, always be certain to observe that the proper credits are registered for the money you have inserted. When you bring a bucket of coins to the cashier to be counted, always know what you've got or at the very least a ballpark amount. I've seen breakdowns in the coin-counting machines, and even rare human error. Be prepared to protect your money by being alert!

When playing table games, especially craps and roulette where there are a variety of payouts, always be aware of what you have at risk on the layout, whether or not you've won, and what you should be paid on a winning bet...then make sure you get it!

Don't take anything for granted in a casino. They all do business with integrity, but mistakes do happen and only if you are an alert and informed player will you be able to catch them and back them up with the proper know-how and knowledge.

Guard your bankroll just as jealously as the casinos guard theirs!

John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp
John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp