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'Hot' and 'cold' tables

7 Apr 2019

By John Grochowski
Within the large set of casino table games players, there’s a much smaller subset of those who scout tables before they play.

They look for hot tables and happy players with large stacks of chips in front of them. They don’t want to be stuck with cold tables and vanishing bankrolls.

I belong to the non-scouters. There is nothing within the games that would make a hot table stay hot or a cold table stay cold.

Blackjack odds change with every card dealt, but in most games, the house edge is constant. Those large stacks of chips tell us a table has been hot, but not that it’s currently hot or likely to stay hot. You’re as likely to win at a table that has been cold as one that gives the appearance of hotness.

If others want to scout for hot tables, that’s fine. It does no harm.

Otto, a longtime reader, goes to different extreme. He likes to play at tables that have been cold. It’s not that he thinks that helps his odds. It’s just his way of laughing at the notion of scouting.

“I’m a contrarian, I guess,” he said. “I not only don’t believe in hot or cold tables, I like to bet against the grain.

“If a craps table is cold, I try to go liven it up. I tell them, ‘Give me the dice, it’s time to win.’”

Not only that, but when a table is hot, Otto likes to switch sides and ride against the tide.

“If the craps table looks hot, then I’ll go start betting the don’t. It has to cool off some-time, right? It might as well be while I’m there. I’ve gotten a few glares, but no big deal.”

Another reader, Loren, is a blackjack player who also has no use for focusing on hot tables. He doesn’t go to Otto’s extreme and purposely seek out the frigid, but he doesn’t shy away from them, either.

“To me, hot and cold tables are nonsense,” Loren said. “I play the game I want to play when there’s a place open at the price I want to play. If I’m there to play $15 blackjack, I’m not going to play at a $25 table just because it’s hot.”

Even an ice storm warning won’t send Loren scurrying to another game.

“I had a great time once at a table where the dealer tried to warn me off. It was a $5 table, and it was empty while all the other tables were busy. Other players had been losing, and the dealer told me, ‘You don’t want to play with me. I’ve been red hot.’

“He wasn’t red hot while I was there. I started at $15 a hand and was playing a progression. I had a lot of little four- and five-win streaks. One was longer, and my progression took my bet up over $100. Before I knew it, I had about a $1,200 profit.”

Both Loren and Otto know they’re no more likely to win at a cold table than a hot one, and vice versa.

“OK, sometimes if I go to a cold table, I’m going to lose,” Loren said. “But I’m going to lose at hot tables sometimes too. If you’re afraid of losing, you shouldn’t be playing.”

Otto is on the same page.

“I can’t say my way is any better than anyone else’s. I probably win and lose about as much as you should. But I have a good time doing it, and there’s something satisfying about winning when you’re going against the grain.”

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

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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