The Games We Love Not To Play
Players share experiences on table game play
By John Grochowski
If you’re the kind of casino player who likes to try a lot of diﬀerent games, you’re going to run into games you just don’t like.
A jackpot hunter might not go for blackjack, where successful sessions mean grinding out a proﬁt. Players who like to take their time might not like the pace of craps.
The players who contributed the following experiences plan never to return to games they didn’t like.
I’m a jack of all trades. I play blackjack, craps, Three Card Poker, Ultimate Texas Hold ’em. I’ll play a little roulette for a change of pace if they have very low stakes. Odds aren’t good enough to play for bigger money.
I won’t play the Big Six, where you bet on the diﬀerent dollar- bill denominations. I played once. It looks exciting, but the odds are terrible.
Baccarat, the odds are much better, but I won’t play that either. I kept hearing it was one of the best games, and strictly by odds, that’s right. But you know what? BORING. No decisions to make and the payoﬀs are small. It just kind of ambles along.
I tried hard to like it, but I don’t. I’ve eliminated it from my list.
I guess this is weird because lots of people like Three Card Poker and it’s kind of replaced Caribbean Stud, but I’m the opposite. I love Caribbean Stud and just walk away when I see Three Card Poker.
I was one of the ﬁrst to play Caribbean Stud, I think. My husband and I used to go on cruises for our vacations. Cruise ships had Caribbean Stud before Vegas or anybody else, so it was kind of my secret game that our friend knew about only through me.
I got lucky the ﬁrst time out and was dealt a straight ﬂush. I got another straight ﬂush one time in Atlantic City once it had moved onto land.
I loved it. But the game lost momentum and Three Card Poker moved in. I ﬁgured I’d give it a try. I got a straight ﬂush there, too, but instead of the thousands I’d won on Caribbean, this was worth only a couple of hundred dollars.
You’d think even winning a couple of hundred would be reason to celebrate, but it kind of left me cold. I got an “Is that all there is?” kind of feeling.
My husband tells me it’s all about the odds and that you get a lot more straight ﬂushes in Three Card Poker, but it just doesn’t do it for me. Sorry, but I can’t play a game when I can’t even get excited about winning.
Do you remember a game, I think it was called Triple Action Blackjack? It was pretty common maybe 20 years ago. You could make up to three bets, but you’d only get one hand.
You’d play your hand, and then the dealer would play his hand three times. He’d use the same up card, so if you stood on 16 and he had a 6 up, he’d draw cards to that 6 until he either busted or made a standing hand. That would settle the ﬁrst bet. Then he’d repeat the process to settle the second bet, and then play it once more to settle the third bet.
It sounded great to me in theory. If I had a great hand, I could win three times instead of once. Even if I had a so-so hand, I might win once or twice if the dealer got a bad draw or two.
In practice, the ﬁrst time was so frustrating I could never bring myself to play again. Early in the session, I was dealt a blackjack. The dealer had an Ace up, but I ﬁgured I’d still win a couple of times at least.
No such luck. The dealer turned up a Jack, then King, then a 10. Three blackjacks. Push, push, push.
Just to rub salt in the wound, it happened again not 10 or 15 minutes later. I had a blackjack, the dealer had an Ace, and we pushed three times.
It’s frustrating enough when that happens once in regular blackjack. To have six bets turn into six pushes, that was just too much. I went back to the regular tables and never played Triple a second time. It just wasn’t the game for me.
I’m sure you hear this a lot, but craps doesn’t do it for me. I’ve never really understood the game and I guess I never will.
On a surface level, I get it. I’ve read the articles and practiced with friends who are craps players. One dude even has a felt layout to practice on.
I always come away knowing exactly how everything works. I know how the pass line works, I know how don’t pass works, I know how to place and buy, I know how to take and lay odds.
Then I get into a casino, and it all leaves me. There’s something about the other players, the dealers, all the other things going on around the table and through the aisles that I just totally lose concentration. Maybe even though I know all that stuﬀ, I just haven’t internalized it.
Whatever, the moment it’s time to bet, it’s all gone. Last time I tried, I bought in for $200, put chips in my rack and just totally went blank. Like “WHAT DO I DO NOW? HOW DO I BET?”
It’s awful. That doesn’t happen to me with any other game. I play quite a lot of blackjack, a little Three Card Poker and am perfectly comfortable at other games. But I’ve decided it’s time to put craps on my permanent “do not play” list.