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Gimmicky twists on video poker don’t necessarily appeal to the game’s hardcore purists and advantage players, but for everyone else they are becoming a staple at casinos nationwide.

International Game Technology (IGT) is the longtime industry leader in the research and development of new games. At last count there were 72 different video poker variations in the gaming giant’s inventory, at least 10 of which are relatively new.

Here is a summary of just some of the new games, many of which are already in play at properties in Northwest Indiana. For complete information and even some playing strategy tips, please visit videopoker.com:

Super Triple Play is a brand new variation of the format that started the video poker revolution. The price you pay to play is manageable, too – one extra coin bet per hand to fund the bonus for a chance at winning double or triple the normal jackpot on four-of-a-kinds.

Powerhouse Poker, which I observed in play at Blue Chip, has a “top box” component designed to win over slot devotees. Players have the opportunity to get up to 27 additional hands when they receive a winning hand on the deal. When the bonus hands are triggered they move to the top box for a very entertaining experience.

Color Match Royals gives players a chance to revolve their winning around flushes: black and red, straights, and royals. The game math makes royal flushes 12-times more frequent, straight flushes 17-times more often, and regular flushes 26-times more frequent.

Split Card Poker is a cerebral twist on the base game. One card may “split” into another card of the same suit and value, or one value lower or higher. The player, therefore, gets six cards to make a hand. The “split card” feature appears randomly both on the deal and the draw and occurs approximately once every four hands. More premium payouts as well as new pay categories are a result.

Super Hand Poker is another twist on Triple Play Poker in which the player is dealt three independent hands. Any winning dealt hands are paid. The hand with the highest expected value is selected for the next round of play in traditional Triple Play format.

Super Draw 6 Card Poker is yet another Triple Play hybrid. In this game the player gets to see the first five cards, make their hold selections, and draw into their hands. The excitement here is that during the draw the replacement cards are dealt along with a sixth card for each hand.

BONUS ROUND-UP

AMERISTAR: The pavilion at the East Chicago property rocks with live musical performances on select weekends, including June 23 and 24, when April’s Reign will be in the spotlight. Enjoy the performances from 8 to 11 p.m. While you’re there, check out Ameristar’s great dining options, including Stadium Sports Bar & Grill, Heritage Buffet, Burger Brothers, Bugatti’s Steak & Pasta, Noodle Bar, or Sbarro Italian Eatery.

BLUE CHIP: The second annual Breaking Down the Barriers: Salute to Our Veterans will be held Saturday. This police-escorted motorcycle ride, veteran’s vendor fair, and dinner is held in cooperation with The Guardian Riders. Proceeds benefit local post-traumatic stress disorder programs. Tickets are $15 for the dinner in the Orleans Ballroom and an additional $5 for the police-escorted motorcycle ride, or $30 for a double-ride and dinner. Visit ticketmaster.com, The Gift Box in the casino pavilion, or participating VFW’s in LaPorte, Lake, and Porter Counties.

FOUR WINDS: The property’s signature seafood & prime rib buffet is now available all day every Saturday in The Buffet from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Eastern. Enjoy an enhanced variety of selections from the sea along with hand-carved meats plus a wide variety of sides. Both American and Asian cuisine is also featured. The price per person is $36. Children three years of age and younger are free, while ages four to 12 dine for $21.

HARRAH’S JOLIET: There’s a $15,000 giveaway happening every Thursday this month. Total Rewards members swipe their cards at the promotional kiosks from 2 to 8:30 p.m. to receive complimentary entries based upon their tier level. Hourly drawings will take place from 4 to 9 p.m. to select five winners, each of whom will receive $500 in free slot play. One winner at the 9 p.m. drawing will win $2,500 in free slot play plus any unclaimed prizes from the previous drawings.

HOLLYWOOD CASINO JOLIET: All Marquee Rewards members have a chance to double the points they earn on Thursdays in June with the “Tier Point Multiplier” promotion. Simply play with your player’s card at any slot machine or table game. On June 29 there will be a bonus free slot play giveaway held from noon until 9 p.m. Two winners will be selected every half hour to win $100 in free slot play.

HORSESHOE: Visit the promotions desk to find out about the $21,000 Blackjack Tournaments that are being held every Tuesday this month. It’s a blackjack player’s rare opportunity to compete under tournament conditions and share in over $5,000 in prize money each week. Registration is open on the day of each tournament from 5:30 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. The competition is held from 6 to 10 p.m.

MAJESTIC STAR: The “Deal or Reveal Hot Seat” promotion runs every Tuesday this month at the Gary casino. One winner will be selected every 15 minutes starting at 5 p.m. and continuing until 8 p.m. Each winner will “make a deal” for $300 in promo cash, or they will have the opportunity to open a briefcase to reveal a chance to win more. The briefcases contain $100, $200, $400, or $500. Please visit Majestic Rewards for complete details.

Opinions are solely the writer's. Reach John Brokopp at jgbrokopp1@gmail.com.

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