RSSCasino Scene By John Brokopp

Gaming and casino expert, John Brokopp has advice on beating the odds and how to play the game each week.

Casino Scene: Are slot bonus rounds really a bonus?

April 17, 2014 12:00 am  • 

We all know what we're up against when we play the slots:

Every game is a computer program that guarantees a profit for the casino. Players as a collective group are guaranteed to be returned a vast majority of the money the machine takes in. Only a select few share in the wealth. Remember, there are thousands of people who play the machine over the course of a year. There is only one casino operator.

What a slot machine possesses in the way of eye appeal is vitally important to both slot machine manufacturers and casino executives. The colors, the sights, the sounds, the name of the game, and the jackpot symbols and how they are depicted play a major role in attracting potential players to sit down and try their luck.

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Recreational Gambling Requires Proper Mindset

April 10, 2014 12:00 am  • 

People have different reasons for making visits to a casino part of their entertainment regimen. The one incentive common among them is the hope of winning money.

For some, winning money means hitting a jackpot. For others, it means just coming out ahead.

As a rule, the higher you set your expectations the less your chances of walking out the door happy. Jackpots are not easy to hit. Chasing them is a recipe for disaster.

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Life Changing Jackpots Continue at Four Winds

April 03, 2014 12:00 am  • 

One big advantage that tribal casinos have over state-regulated properties in the Chicago-area market is the presence of wide-area progressive slot machines that are capable of awarding jackpots in the hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars.

When jackpots are funded by banks of machines that are networked in casinos state-wide or even around the country, huge progressive awards are made possible simply because of the vast number of people who play the games.

This happy fact of casino life in the Midwest hit home for a lucky player from St. Joseph, Michigan to the tune of $509,036 in the early morning hours of Saturday, March 22, at Four Winds New Buffalo.

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Majestic Star casinos deal a winning hand

March 20, 2014 12:00 am  • 

Majestic Star Casinos in Gary have always been very proactive in bringing big money poker tournament action for everyday players to the Chicago area.

The property’s most recent venture was partnering with the Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT) earlier this month for an event that attracted 301 poker enthusiasts from around the Midwest.

When the dust of battle settled at the final table of the Main Event, the winner was Kenneth Baime from Glenview, Illinois. He took home a $77,681 first prize, reason enough for him to make plans for MSPT’s next stop at Majestic Star August 16 – 24.

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Progressives: Let the slot player beware

March 13, 2014 12:00 am  • 

When you walk into a casino, generally one of the first sights that will catch your eye is the brilliantly lighted display of a bank of progressive slot machines.

The jackpot on the meter builds right before your eyes as people chase the dream of winning a lumberyard of greenbacks for a toothpick investment.

Casinos make concerted efforts to entice people to play progressives. It’s the nature of the gaming business. Under no circumstances should you chase jackpots. Going into a gaming session with “pie-in-the-sky” hopes can prove disastrous to your bankroll. Playing with a mindset that “Somebody is going to win, why not me?” has been the downfall of many a slot player.

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Casino Scene: 'Binionaire' slots a red hot tradition

Casino Scene: 'Binionaire' slots a red hot tradition
March 06, 2014 6:36 pm  • 

Some slot machines come and go, others go on and on. So it is with the “Who Wants to Be a Binionaire” progressives at Horseshoe Casino in Hammond.

The machines are a time-honored Horseshoe tradition that dates back when gaming industry legend Jack Binion acquired the property and rebranded it.

Binionaire made its debut at the Shoe in November of 2000. Nearly 14 years later it is still going strong as evidenced by the double-barreled jackpot frenzy that took place on Saturday, February 22.

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Casino Scene: Food for thought about penny slots

Casino Scene: Food for thought about penny slots
February 27, 2014 6:36 pm  • 

Video poker has been described by some groups that oppose gambling as being addictive. It derives this reputation because it is marketed as a game of chance that incorporates an element of skill.

If any genre of electronic gaming device deserves to be accused of having obsessive qualities it would have to be the penny slots.

The intriguing nature of the games is complex. They come in a wide variety of game formats that are attractive to the senses and to the nostalgic inclinations of "baby boomers".

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Casino Scene: Random thoughts about video poker

Casino Scene: Random thoughts about video poker
February 20, 2014 6:36 pm  • 

When you play video poker, the result you obtain after making a bet and initiating a play is a random event that determines whether you have won or lost.

The dictionary defines random as “of or characterizing a process of selection in which each item has an equal probability of being chosen”.

Because of this, video poker is generally regarded as the best casino game to play over the long haul if expert strategy is used with an optimum pay table.

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Casino Scene: Video poker site is hands down the best

Casino Scene: Video poker site is hands down the best
February 13, 2014 6:36 pm  • 

Video poker has a legion of enthusiasts simply because there’s an element of strategy to the game. It is as close to playing with a real deck of cards as a computer program will allow.

If you’re a fan of the game there’s no better online source for information that you can use to make you a better player than It was founded 10 years ago and today boasts a world-wide membership of over 300,000 people. is a legal non-wagering web site devoted entirely to one of the most popular casino games. It also is the only place to play real video poker games found in casinos. No gambling takes place on the site and all the contests are free to enter.

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Casino Scene: 'Have you ever'? situations for gamblers

Casino Scene: 'Have you ever'? situations for gamblers
February 06, 2014 6:36 pm  • 

Have you ever thought of blackjack in terms of football? It can indeed be both an offensive and a defensive game. You’re on offense when you double down on 11 against a dealer’s 6. For the player, it’s first and goal in an attempt to capitalize on a favorable situation. You go on defense when you split eights against a dealer’s 10. A pair of eights gives you 16, a very treacherous hand. Splitting those eights means you’re gambling to turn one bad hand into two good ones in hopes of sacking the dealer at a price of doubling your bet. You also risk playing two bad hands instead of just one.

Have you ever noticed that periodic two-second delay when the slot machine you are playing won’t allow you to initiate a wager? I’ve heard players say the machine is somehow recycling into a winning mode, or perhaps a losing one. Maybe it’s a tip that a jackpot is on the way. It’s all a myth about gambling devices that are fertile ground for misinformation. The delay isn’t a signal at all. It takes place when the machine’s internal electronic meters are being updated. The meters have no connection with the random number generator and therefore have no significance for the player or anything at all to do with winning or losing.

Have you ever watched with anticipation as the reels on your slot machine stop one by one until a decision is reached? One jackpot symbol falls, two jackpot symbols fall, then a single bar. You see the third symbol that will generate a jackpot hanging enticingly above the pay line. Is the machine teasing you? Not really. The reels on traditional spinning reel and video slots do not spin independently of one another. The outcome of the symbols on the pay line or the grid of symbols on a video slot is predetermined the instant you initiate a play. The drama of watching the reels is an illusion that is created to simulate a game-playing experience.

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