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John Grochowski

John  Grochowski
John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field. Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago.

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Five-card draw video poker

20 Sep 2018

By John Grochowski
QUESTION: Why are video poker games five-card draw? Casino card rooms don't even offer five-card draw. Why isn't a more popular game like Hold'em the base for video poker?

ANSWER: The short answer is that five-card draw has resonated with video players and Hold'em has not. Over the last couple of decades there have been numerous attempts to bring Hold'em to video poker, and all have failed to attract enough players to earn their keep.

Five-card draw's weaknesses as a table poker game are strengths on a video format. The game doesn't have enough rounds of betting to satisfy table poker players. It's difficult to build large pots in a game where you just look at your initial cards, make a decision on how many cards to draw, then move on.

Video poker players aren't concerned with pot-building. There's plenty of opportunity for large wins on the hands at the top of the pay table. The fast pace of the game satisfies both players, who win or lose after the draw and move on, and casino operators, who get plenty of hands per hour to create the opportunity for profit.

Table players prefer Hold'em which after the blind bets has three more opportunities for betting — after players see their two cards, after the first three community cards are flopped face up, and after the fourth community card is turned up.

That creates the opportunity to build pots and also creates pressure points in which players must decide "Should I stay or should I fold," while trying to read other players as to what they might have and trying to create doubt about their own holdings.

It's a psychological game that doesn't play well on a video format, where you're not playing against other players, just letting the cards match up against a pay table.

QUESTION: I was passing time at a roulette table, just making minimum bets on red or black and odd or even. Mostly I play craps, and on this day I'd had a nice win of about $1,100. When the hot shooter sevened out, I decided to lock up my win, but I had to wait for my wife, who was playing slots.

Just betting $5 at a time on even-money bets, I won six times in a row on black. I didn't increase bets or anything, I was just passing time, but it was fun. I went to bet on black again, and another player told me, "I think I'd be switching to red. You know what the odds are of winning that many in a row on black?"

I just said no, but I'd ride the hot hand. I actually won twice more before I lost.

What were the odds of seven in a row, and should I have switched?

ANSWER: There are 18 black numbers, 18 reds and two greens on an American double-zero wheel, so there is a 47.37% chance of any one spin resulting in a black number.

At the start of the sequence, the chances of seven blacks in a row is 0.54% — only about half a percent.

However, by the time the other player suggested a switch, you'd already made six in row. Past results have no effect on future outcomes, so the chance of a black number winning on the seventh spin was the same 47.37% as on any other spin.

The chance of the ball landing in a red number also was 47.37%, with a 5.26% chance the result would be a green 0 or 00.

This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at

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