Casino Scene: Winning at slots (or not)

2013-12-05T18:10:00Z 2014-01-10T18:16:11Z Casino Scene: Winning at slots (or not)John G. Brokopp / jbrokopp@comcast.net nwitimes.com
December 05, 2013 6:10 pm  • 

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.

Slot machines are entertaining, they’re fun to play, and the pursuit of the riches they have the power to dispense has created legions of followers who fill casino floors across the nation each and every day.

A trio of landmark developments was instrumental in making slot play the behemoth of the casino industry that is today: Coinless technology, multi-line games, and video formats. They all paved the way for penny games to cultivate a new culture of “high rollers”, a phenomenon that was incomprehensible a decade ago.

This fascination with slots is in many ways no different than the love affair people with a penchant for taking a gamble have with scratch-off lottery tickets. It’s a “pie-in-the-sky” mentality that compels perfectly sensible folks to invest a few dollars on a ticket that could be worth a million dollars.

In many ways playing the slots is comparable to buying a scratch-off. The odds against winning a significant amount are in the hundreds of thousands and even millions to one. In other words, a person is far more likely to be struck by lightning than capturing lightning in a bottle.

There is one very significant difference, however. With lottery scratch-offs, there are only a few jackpot winning tickets out of the upwards of one million tickets or more that are printed for each game.

What are the chances of walking into a store among the hundreds of dealers state-wide that has a big winner among its inventory of tickets?

With slots, even though the odds are tall, you have a chance to win the top jackpot on each and every spin you take on each and every machine in the casino. Sophisticated computer programs and the random nature of mathematical probability make this possible.

Does this fact mean that investing whatever money you have to gamble in slot machine play is more prudent than buying scratch-off lottery tickets? In many respects the answer is yes, keeping in mind that a trip to a casino requires a bigger bankroll than an occasional trip to the convenience store.

BONUS ROUND-UP:

BLUE CHIP: Take a stroll down the property’s new Penny Lane for a chance to win more bonuses more often. Mini-bonus games are built into many of your favorite penny slots. The new bonus games in addition to the bonus rounds offered on many of the newest games located in Penny Lane give players the opportunity to win free slot play, B Connected credits, and other prizes.

FOUR WINDS: Plan ahead for New Year’s Eve Tuesday, Dec. 31, for big money cash drawings to ring in 2014. Two $2,014 winners will be selected each hour from 12 noon to 4:00 p.m. (EST) to kick off the festivities. At 5:00 p.m. there will be a trio of $2,014 winners. The grand prize of $5,000 in cash will be awarded at 6:00 p.m.

HARRAH’S JOLIET: The World Series of Poker Room, open daily 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m., features Deep Stack, Bounty, Mini-Deep and Bounty Deep Stack tournament action every Saturday starting at 2:00 p.m. Every Thursday night at 7:00 p.m. No Limit Hold’em tournaments are run with a featured $2,500 guaranteed prize pool. The room also hosts the WSOP Poker League in which players compete over a nine-week season for weekly prizes and a WSOP Main Event seat in Las Vegas.

HOLLYWOOD JOLIET: Get in on the Home Town Throw Down tonight (Thurs. Dec. 5) and again on Dec. 12 and Dec. 19 when players with their Club Hollywood properly inserted in a slot machine will be randomly selected every 15 minutes from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. to win up to $1,000 in free slot play or prizes from Joliet-area business partners. Joliet residents win an additional bonus valued up to double the prize.

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