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.

Looking ahead to Poker's showcase event

September 18, 2014 1:00 am  • 

The high profile Main Event of the 45th annual World Series of Poker (WSOP), held earlier this year at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, was the fifth largest in the history of the competition.

The final nine players, known as “November Nine”, will reconvene at the Rio on Nov. 10 to battle for a first-place prize of $10 million and the much coveted gold bracelet.

In addition to the $10-million first place money, another $18,480,121 will be shared among the second through ninth place finishers.

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Method to change the way you play blackjack

September 11, 2014 1:00 am  • 

Being labeled as a "card counter" gives a blackjack player a bad reputation among casino owners and operators.

It has always struck me as odd that a person who plays the game with a high degree of skill is subject to being banned from putting that knowledge to work. I cannot think of another pursuit where similar discrimination is enforced.

A card counter keeps mental track of the cards that have been dealt in order to assess the collective value of the cards remaining in an effort to determine statistically whether the game's house edge has increased or if it has tilted toward player advantage.

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Chasing bonus rounds leads to diminishing returns

September 04, 2014 1:00 am  • 

If you’re a slot player, you must know how easy it is to fall into the trap of playing a slot machine longer than you had intended.

In all likelihood, it happened because you were waiting for "just one more bonus round" on one of the video games that have taken over casino floors nationwide.

Interactive bonus and free spin rounds are the new carrot-on-a-stick for slot players. They keep us pushing a machine's "play" button far more than we pulled the handle on traditional spinning reel slots when the only lure was an elusive jackpot.

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Local poker star shines in Amerstar's big tournament

August 28, 2014 1:00 am  • 

The final hand of the Main Event at the Heartland Poker Tour (HPT) stop at Ameristar East Chicago on Aug. 18 boiled down to the luck of the draw as it usually does when all the chips are in the middle of the table.

Notable poker player Aaron Massey held two pair, while his heads-up opponent, Stan Jablonski, had hopes of drawing to a straight. The cards didn’t come for Jablonski on the turn and river, giving Massey the championship and a check for $177,502.

It was the culmination of a successful tournament stop in Northwest Indiana for HPT, which celebrated the return of live poker to Ameristar after an eight-year absence. The casino is home to a new dedicated poker room on the fourth level that’s open 24 hours seven days a week.

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Majestic Star hosts another successful tournament

August 21, 2014 1:00 am  • 

Last March when the Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT) made its local debut at the Majestic Star Casinos in Gary, Ken Baime took home the top prize of $77,681, but it was the third place finisher in the field of 301 players, Brian Zimcosky, who put up a spirited battle.

It was a particularly bittersweet performance for Zimcosky in light of the fact he had the chip lead at the final table.

Earlier this month the MSPT returned to the Majestic Star for another tournament. This time Zimcosky’s aggressive playing style got the job done to the tune of $61,870. Combine that with the $28,141 he earned in March and the Michigan native has cashed for just over $90,000 in the two tournaments.

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Ameristar hosts Heartland Poker Tour

August 14, 2014 1:00 am  • 

Ameristar East Chicago is celebrating the grand opening of its new live poker room in grand style by hosting one of the Heartland Poker Tour’s biggest events of the year.

The 10-day extravaganza began Aug. 8 and runs through Sunday. The tournament is headlined by a nationally televised Main Event that begins today.

Because the tournament is expected to bring in between 400 and 600 players from around the country, the games are being held in the Ameristar Discovery Ballroom.

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Call your own shots with casino promotions

August 07, 2014 1:00 am  • 

Casino destinations bank on cash drawings and merchandise promotions of one sort or another to drive in business. They can be a powerful lure for players to plan a casino outing they hadn’t really intended to make on a day or at a time they normally wouldn’t even think about gambling.

That is the very strategy behind casino marketing divisions to plan such promotions and giveaways in the first place. They know if they entice you to visit the property, in all likelihood you’re going to wind up spending some money on the slots or the table games.

It must do the job quite efficiently because the offers keep coming and coming with ever increasing frequency.

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Birthday bash in Horseshoe's poker room

Birthday bash in Horseshoe's poker room
July 31, 2014 1:00 am  • 

Horseshoe Casino Hammond is celebrating the anniversary of the grand opening of its $500 million casino and entertainment complex with a party that’s guaranteed to put a smile on the faces of poker players.

The Chicago Poker Classic presents the 6-Year Anniversary Summer Mini-Series, which began July 30 and will run every day through Aug. 10. It will feature $300,000 in guaranteed prize money and another $40,000 in added money.

In the spotlight will be the No Limit Hold’em Main Event which boasts a $250,000 guarantee. A $660 buy-in will get you 20,000 in starting chips. The competition runs Aug 7 through 10. One World Series of Poker Circuit Main Event seat has been added.

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Penny slots dominate Illinois casino landscape

July 24, 2014 1:00 am  • 

The Illinois Gaming Board’s latest monthly report, covering May 2014 financial statistics at the state’s 10 riverboat locations, reveals penny slots are king in the Land of Lincoln.

Of the 10,962 “electronic gaming devices” (i.e. slots) aboard riverboat casinos in Illinois, more than half (5,300) are pennies. They accounted for approximately 39 percent of the adjusted gross slot revenues for May.

Gamblers wagered nearly $1.2 billion on slots during the month, of which $107,734,877 was retained by the casinos as “win”. That amounts to adjusted gross revenue PER DAY of $317.03 for each and every one of the machines.

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Quarter slots stand the test of time

July 17, 2014 1:00 am  • 

Before the penny slot revolution captured the imagination (not to mention bankrolls) of average recreational gaming enthusiasts, quarter slots were the games of choice for a majority of players.

According to statistics released by the Indiana Gaming Commission in its June report, 25-cent slots should still be at the top of their list.

Even though quarter games at casinos in Northwest Indiana have done a disappearing act in recent years, players stand to derive a bigger bang for their gambling buck by playing them rather than the pennies.

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