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Winner Winner

Author: Mark Pilarski

Dear Mark: I was wondering, do you have any idea where the phrase “Winner Winner Chicken Dinner” originated from? Why do people shout it out when playing?
Johnson T.

“Winner Winner Chicken Dinner” is occasionally yelled out on the casino floor to suggest a positive gambling result. Its origin, the way I’ve heard it told, was that years ago every casino in Las Vegas had a three-piece chicken dinner for $1.79. Your typical wager back then was $2, so if you won your bet you had enough for a chicken dinner.  

Speaking of cheap eats, don’t we all long for those 99¢ breakfast specials or $3.49 prime rib buffets? I still believe that a trip to a low-cost chow line is the casino’s best way of encouraging repeat business. But I digress.  

Dear Mark: I recently played video blackjack on a Game King machine and did well using the standard rules for hit, stay, double down, etc. I'm wondering how this machine differs from the table game aside from the speed of play. I completed 6-7 hands per minute.  Are there any advantages or disadvantages?
Mike H.

Manufactured by IGT, Game King offers different pay table variations and rules for different casinos, so an iron-clad all-port answer’s impossible, and a literal answer would be difficult, but, here are some generalities that might help.  

Single-player video blackjack games are usually dealt from a single electronic deck, which is reshuffled after every hand. The advantage of a video blackjack machine over a live game is the low minimum bankroll requirement needed to play. The video machines also lack the intimidation factor of  the live game, and one makes a dandy practice companion for working on perfect basic strategy.  

One of the benefits of a Game King machine is that it permits late surrender, meaning that if the dealer does not have blackjack, the player may surrender half the bet after the first two cards are dealt as an alternative to playing out the hand. Single-deck basic strategy, which you should use since the deck reshuffles after every hand, recommends only surrendering on a hard 16 against a dealer's 10 or Ace. 

Also, always play an even money amount because machines that do pay 3 to 2 for blackjacks typically do so only when an even sum has been wagered. Don't short-change yourself out of the correct payoff by betting an odd amount. Which leads me the biggest disadvantage you’ll find on a lot of video blackjack machines. Never play on a machine that offers even money for a blackjack.