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Best of John Robison

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Barry's Big Weekend

25 June 1999

Have you ever noticed how nothing goes right on some of your trips to the casino and on other trips everything goes your way? You win in the casino. Your room has a great view. The buffet even has your favorite dishes. The gods of Chance didn't smile on me this past Easter weekend, but they did select someone for special treatment. I'll call him Barry, because that's his name. Barry attended the first Easter in Vegas Weekend with Midwest Gaming and Travel's columnists Frank Scoblete and John Grochowkski.

Rick Barton, owner of Make Your Bet travel agency, organized the Easter in Vegas weekend. The people who booked the weekend package received accommodations at the Golden Nugget, a $50 food and beverage credit, and a gift, which ranged from a Golden Nugget mug to an upgrade to a spa suite. The participants also received invitations to two informal chats with Frank and John at the Golden Nugget's bar and an invitation to a cocktail party celebrating the one-year anniversary of Make Your Bet and the first Weekend in Vegas.

The weekend's scheduled events began with the first get-together at the Nugget's bar. Barry and the other participants picked Frank's and John's brains for over two hours. Although Frank and John make frequent public appearances, this session was a rare opportunity to meet with them in a smaller group. Surely, meeting John and Frank was all the gods had in store for Barry.

But wait, there's more.

Frank had a special treat for subscribers to his newsletter, The New Chance & Circumstance. Frank invited them to dinner at Stefano's, the Golden Nugget's gourmet restaurant. Barry, a subscriber, got a gourmet dinner and another chance to trade stories with Frank and John. Surely, meeting John and Frank and being treated to dinner by Frank were all the gods had in store for Barry.

But wait, there's more.

After dinner, Frank asked the subscribers what they wanted to do next. They said that they wanted to shoot craps, so we went across the street to Binion's to try our luck at the craps tables.

Frank, Barry, Barry's son Peter, Rick, and Bill Burton, gambling guide on the Abount.com web site (www.about.com) found places at a craps table they liked. (John Grochowski played video poker while his wife, the magnificent Marci kept him company. Rather than joining the craps game, I decided to watch it along with Frank's wife, the beautiful A.P.—no dope I.)

The dice went around the table a few times, but nobody could get a roll going. Then Frank got the dice again and the magic began. Frank threw number after number after number. Frank held the dice for forty-five minutes.

The chip racks around the table, which were nearly empty when Frank began his roll, were now overflowing. Everyone made money at that table. Barry, who was down before Frank began his monster roll, left the table several hundred dollars ahead.

Everyone in our party left the table at the end of Frank's roll. Peter came over to A.P. and me and said, "My Dad's going to want to hug him." And sure enough, Barry gave Frank a big hug right in the middle of Binion's craps pit. Surely, meeting John and Frank, being treated to dinner by Frank, and being part of Frank's hot roll were all the gods had in store for Barry.

But wait, there's more.

The next morning, John, Rick, Barry, and I got up at 6 A.M. to be on Frank's radio show in Tunica, The Good Times Show. The main topic, of course, was Frank's roll from the night before. Being on the show was a special treat for Barry because he lives in the Tunica area. Surely, meeting with John and Frank, being treated to dinner by Frank, being part of Frank's big roll, and being interviewed on a radio program were all the gods of Chance had in store for Barry.

But wait, there's more.

After the show, we went to the Golden Nugget's buffet for breakfast and Barry had yet another chance to talk with Frank and John. And two hours later, we had the second informal session at the Nugget's bar and Barry had still another chance to ask questions and swap stories. Surely, multiple meetings with John and Frank, being treated to dinner by Frank, being part of Frank's big roll, and being interviewed on a radio program were all the gods of Chance had in store for Barry.

But wait, there's more.

The last event on the weekend's agenda was the cocktail party. Other notable guests besides Frank and John included Jean Scott, author of The Frugal Gambler; Jeffrey Compton, slot club expert and author of The Las Vegas Adviser Guide to Slot Clubs; and Barney Vinson, gambling instructor at Caesars Palace and author of Chip-Wrecked in Las Vegas, Casino Secrets, and Las Vegas Behind the Tables.

I wanted to have my own victory story to tell at the party, so I tried for a royal flush on the Nugget's one-dollar 9/6 Jacks or Better machines. I didn't get a royal, but I did get nearly 600 hands out of one $100 bill. That's a victory of sorts.

Even if I had gotten a royal flush, I wouldn't have been able to top Barry's story. When Barry arrived at the party, he said that we would never believe what just happened to him. He decided to try a quarter Triple Play video poker machine at the Golden Nugget. He put a $10 bill in the bill validator and pressed the Bet Max button. The machine dealt him a royal flush in clubs. On the first hand he played on the machine, he was dealt a royal flush. He won $3,000. The Golden Nugget took a picture of him by the machine.

Being dealt a royal flush on a Triple Play machine was a perfect way to end Barry's big weekend.

John Robison

John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a slot and video poker columnist and has written for many of gaming’s leading publications. He holds a master's degree in computer science from the prestigious Stevens Institute of Technology.

You may hear John give his slot and video poker tips live on The Good Times Show, hosted by Rudi Schiffer and Mike Schiffer, which is broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoon from from 2PM to 5PM Central Time. John is on the show from 4:30 to 5. You can listen to archives of the show on the web anytime.

Books by John Robison:

The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots
John Robison
John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a slot and video poker columnist and has written for many of gaming’s leading publications. He holds a master's degree in computer science from the prestigious Stevens Institute of Technology.

You may hear John give his slot and video poker tips live on The Good Times Show, hosted by Rudi Schiffer and Mike Schiffer, which is broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoon from from 2PM to 5PM Central Time. John is on the show from 4:30 to 5. You can listen to archives of the show on the web anytime.

Books by John Robison:

The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots