gaming

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PokerStars putting down U.S. stakes?

Chances are you’ve not thought much about PokerStars in recent years. During the Internet and TV-fueled poker boom of the last decade, it was one of the hottest of the hot sites to play Texas Hold’em, Omaha and seven-card stud. It amplified its presence by …

Throwing it all in may improve odds

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When most players go to the casino, they have more than wins and losses in mind. Profit may be the reason for the games’ existence to blackjack card counters and poker pros, but for most players, entertainment lives in harmony with a shot to win. …

Wheel-spin bonuses skew to low payouts

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Slot machines with wheel-spinning bonus events have been with us since Anchor Gaming introduced Wheel of Gold in the mid-1990s. The original wheel was affixed on a tower atop Bally slant-top slot machines and was a sensation. When the tone sounded signaling an upcoming spin, …

Reader frustrated over high-end Rivers

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A shuffle through the Gaming mailbag: Q. I held out for a year or so, but my wife and I finally went to the Rivers Casino in Des Plaines to see what all the fuss was about. It was nice, and we liked the buffet, …

Settling the score on gaming in 2012

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Casinos, amenities and games in the Chicago area continued to change in 2012. As we head into 2013, let’s look back at a few of the highlights: ♦ Hollywood Joliet (the former Empress Joliet) and Hollywood Aurora both opened new video poker zones. Of the …

Bars’ video gaming a convenience at most

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When I first heard of the $2 maximum bet and $500 maximum jackpot video gaming in Illinois bars and restaurants, I wondered what would be done to video poker pay tables. The usual payoff of $1,000 on a royal flush for a $1.25 bet was …

Book informative and entertaining

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Over the years, I’ve read and reviewed many a blackjack book. Rarely have I recommended one simply because it’s so much fun to read. I’m doing it now with Glen Wiggy’s “1536 Free Waters and Other Blackjack Endeavors” ($18.95, iUniverse), which ranks high on my …

In blackjack, try to slow it down

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Standard-sized blackjack tables seat seven players. So do tables at other casino card games. But seven-spot tables aren’t the only options. The casino formerly known as Empress Joliet used to have tables with eight betting spots. And I’ve occasionally encountered five-spot tables. Why would a …

Time, odds work against roulette

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Roulette is a game with an appeal for casino players making their first foray into table games. There are no strategies to learn nor is there a wide range of house edges that require knowledge to weed the good bets from the bad. It’s not …

In Blackjack, cards do have memory

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In nearly every casino game, every play is an independent trial. Regardless of whether you’re playing slot machines, video poker, roulette, keno, sic bo or craps, past results have no effect on future outcome. That also goes for games in which cards are shuffled for …

Double Double Bonus strong draw for fans

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A shuffle through the Gaming mailbag: Q. I saw that Hollywood Joliet is boasting of better video poker. Is that true? How good is it? A. The new video poker area on the lower level at Hollywood Joliet is a pretty strong attraction, especially if …

Newcomers vie for multi-game share

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Video poker players may not consciously seek out International Game Technology machines, but that’s where they play. Well over 90 percent of the poker machines we see in casinos are IGT games — and that’s likely an understatement. Two Chicago area companies are trying to …

New table games focus on poker

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When game developers create new table games, the first look usually is at poker. Poker-based games usually are easy to learn and easy to deal, and have proven to attract players with success such as Three Card Poker, Caribbean Stud and Texas Hold’em Bonus Poker. …

New slot machines promise to thrill

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Each year at Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas, I get to see the best of what slot machine manufacturers have to offer: the bonus events. Games are set up so potential buyers and inquiring columnists can see the most entertaining bits without spending time …

Gaming expo like kid in candy store

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Each year at the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas, I roam from booth to booth to look at the major slot machine manufacturers and the coming attractions that will draw us to their games over the next year. There are hundreds, perhaps thousands of …

Nowadays, change name of the game

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The video age has been liberating for slot machine designers, and not just in ability to use animation and special effects to create entertaining bonus events. They can play with the configuration of the reels, and even change the number of reels from spin to …