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.
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.
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".
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.
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 www.videopoker.com. It was founded 10 years ago and today boasts a world-wide membership of over 300,000 people.
VideoPoker.com 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.
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.
There probably isn’t a blackjack player around who looks forward to being dealt a 16. It’s a hand that is so uneasy to stand and so tempting to hit. Draw a card and only an ace through five will help you. Anything else and you bust.
What’s a player to do?
The best percentage play from the basic strategy standpoint is to stand on any 16 when the dealer is showing two through six. When the dealer is showing a seven through ace, the best percentage play is to take a hit.
There’s much more to slot machines than meets the eye. Even referring to the sophisticated electronic gaming devices that have evolved over the last quarter of a century as “slot machines” is akin to calling a refrigerator an ice box.
They are by far the casino industry’s biggest money maker, which in fact makes slots the most convenient means by which people who gamble are relieved of their cash. At the same time the machines are also responsible for paying off the biggest wins and even life-changing jackpots. It just doesn’t figure.
Think about it: There is no strategy to learn, no rules to play by, no other players to intimidate you. One-on-one with machines that were called “one-arm bandits” before technology and computer programs made them marvels of the modern era.
When the poker craze was in full swing a decade ago, the game was an unlikely component of mainstream entertainment world wide. Its popularity was fueled by innovations which made it a perfect fit for television, the most significant of which were mini table top cameras that revealed player’s hands to the viewing audience.
Although its widespread pop culture presence has waned in recent years, poker remains the most high profile form of gambling. The annual World Series of Poker in Las Vegas has been embraced by sports fans as a spectacle worthy of hours of coverage on ESPN throughout the year.
In the wake of the recent World Series of Poker Circuit Event held at the Horseshoe, big time professional poker has returned to the Chicago area at Majestic Star Casino. The Heartland Poker Tour (HPT) is currently hosting a tournament at the Gary property that will continue through Dec. 8.
One definition of sport as a noun is “an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature, as racing, baseball, tennis, golf, bowling, wrestling, boxing, hunting, fishing, etc”.
Given the fact a sport requires skill OR physical prowess, can anyone deny that poker deserves a rightful place among the activities included in the “etc.” portion of the definition?
The recent World Series of Poker Final Table in Las Vegas exemplified the combination of skill, strategy, and patience that is required of people who play the game successfully.
The one best bet any gambler can make in a casino is taking Free Odds at the craps table.
The odds are free because the house takes no edge. Payoffs are made at true mathematical odds. It doesn’t happen anywhere else.
In order to take advantage of the odds bet, you must have a Line bet on the table, either on the Pass or the Don't Pass (or on the Come or Don't Come).
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