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Best of John G. Brokopp

Gaming Guru

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Don't Be Short-Changed At The Casino

16 August 1999

Not too long ago this columnist learned a valuable lesson about just how important it is to know exactly how much money you have in your coin bucket, or at least a ball park amount, before you bring it to the cashier's cage to be counted.

I was playing a 3-coin fifty cent Five-Times Pay slot machine aboard the Empress I in Joliet one evening. I bought in for ten dollars and was fortunate enough to have worked my winnings up to 200 coins, or one hundred dollars, a return on my investment for which I was quite content to cease playing and cash out.

The machine started paying me my coins until the meter read that 200 coins had dropped in the tray. I walked up to the cashier with my bucket of coins. The attendant dumped the coins in the counting machine. Much to my amazement, when the counting stopped, the display read $96.50 instead of the $100 to which I was entitled!

I explained to the cashier that there were 200 fifty-cent tokens in that bucket and that I should have been paid $100. She said $96.50 is what was counted and that is what I was going to be paid. Fortunately, the machine that I had been playing was in clear view of the cashier's window, and as luck would have it, nobody else had begun playing it, so the 200 coins was still on the payout display.

I pointed the machine out to a couple of slot attendants, who in turn went over to the machine to see if there was a problem. Indeed there was. After opening up the panel and performing some tests, they determined I had been cheated out of seven coins in spite of the fact the machine verified it had paid out all 200 coins to which I was entitled. The casino made good on the money it owed me, but only because I knew exactly how much money I had in my bucket.

Slot machines and counting machines aren't perfect, so always be alert. Just as casinos guard their bankrolls, you should guard yours. It's tough enough to win. When you get cheated out of even a small portion of your winnings, it stacks the built-in odds against you even more.

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