IGT's "Stack the Deck"


Video poker has come a long way since when it was first introduced years ago as a basic five-card draw game.

The researchers and developers at International Game Technology are always coming up with new and imaginative ways to play.

One of the most recent additions to its menu of more than 70 variations is a game called “Stack the Deck” poker which literally stacks the deck with the cards you need on qualifying deals to give players a better shot of hitting premium hands.

When you are dealt three-of-a-kind or four-to-a-royal, the bonus awards up to five of the specific cards needed to complete a high-paying hand. The feature also incorporates some new pay categories made possible by the addition of the cards to the deck.

For example, say that you are dealt three aces. The card you need is the ace of diamonds to complete your premium four-of-a-kind or even better if you are playing for a “kicker”.

Under this scenario, the bonus associated with “Stack the Deck” poker will populate the remaining cards in the draw deck with five additional aces of diamonds to give you a better chance of drawing the very card you need. In fact, by game calculations your chances will increase by nearly 30 percent.

When you play video poker, a 52-card virtual deck is constantly shuffling between plays. When you hit the deal/draw button, the shuffling stops and five cards are dealt from the top of the pile, popping up left to right on the screen.

While you are deciding which cards you want to hold, the remaining 47 cards are shuffling. After you decide and hit the button again, the cards stop shuffling and the x-number of cards you need to fill your draw hand come off the top and occupy the vacated positions.

When video poker was first introduced, some manufacturers developed games in which 10 cards came out, five up and five behind (shadow cards). With some games back in the day, five cards were dealt off the top and the cards remaining sat stagnant until the draw.

It’s a whole new ball game now, thanks to advanced software technology that makes video poker as close to playing with a real deck of cards as a computer program will allow.

If you love the game, there is no better website than videopoker.com to play for fun and learn the best strategies.


AMERISTAR: Start off 2018 a winner with the return of the Heartland Poker Tour to the East Chicago property Jan. 4 to 15. The schedule of events kicks off with a $350 No Limit Hold’em Monster Stack tournament with a guaranteed prize pool of $200,000. There are five other tournaments with a guaranteed prize pool on the slate, including the Jan. 7 $300 No Limit Hold’em Seniors event (50 years of age and older) that carries $30,000 guaranteed. The $1,650 Main Event will be held Jan. 11 to 14 with the televised final table (spectators welcome) on Jan. 15. Please visit hptpoker.com for a complete tournament schedule.

Also, if you are a craps player, you have to get in on the “Know Your Roll” promotion every Friday and Saturday from 4 to 11 p.m. through the end of the month. If you “beat the streak” you’ll be in line to win some cash. The top craps roll streak will be awarded $700 in cash. Visit the table games section on board the vessel for complete details.

BLUE CHIP: Check out these December promotions at BConnectedOnline.com: Every Monday, “Young at Heart” members (age 50 and older) receive 50 percent off a meal at Options Buffet after earning 25 slot points from 6 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. Also, 8-times points on reel slots and 5-times points on video poker. If you don’t have a BConnected card, this month is the perfect time to get one. Earn 1,000 base points on sign-up day and you’ll receive $5 in slot points; 2,500 base points earn $15; 5,000 base points net $40.

FOUR WINDS: The 10th anniversary national tour of “Cirque Dreams Holidaze” will have two performances at the New Buffalo, Michigan, property on Saturday, Dec. 16, at 9 p.m. EST, and Sunday, Dec. 17, at 5 p.m. EST. This holiday family spectacular combines everything unique about cirque with a Broadway musical theme. It was created by Cirque Dreams founder and Broadway director Neil Goldberg. The multi-million dollar live stage production incorporates costumes, gravity-defying feats, illusions, singers, original music, and seasonal favorites starring Santa Claus. Purchase tickets at ticketmaster.com.

HARRAH’S JOLIET: Total Rewards members are invited to “Build Up the Bucks” every Thursday this month for the opportunity to earn tier-based entries for a chance to win $500 in hourly drawings that will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. A $2,500 finale drawing will be held at 9 p.m. to include prize money not claimed from the hourly drawings. Winners must be present on the casino floor to be eligible.

HOLLYWOOD JOLIET: If you’re looking for some extra holiday cash (and who isn’t?) jump on the “Lucky Lottery Hot Seat” promotion on Thursdays this month. Four winners will be selected every half-hour from noon to 8 p.m. via floor scan among all those actively playing with their Marquee Rewards player’s club card inserted in the machine. Each winner will receive $30 in Illinois Lottery instant tickets.

HORSESHOE: Every Sunday this month, with the exception of Dec. 31, Total Rewards members are invited to the “Mystery Gift Grab”. Earn 200 tier credits on promotion days to reveal your mystery gift, including kitchen gadgets, cooler bags, and more. Each week, seven winners will be in for a holiday surprise when they reveal either a Samsung 55-inch curved 4K TV, designer handbag, designer watch, or other luxury prizes. The point earning period is from 6 a.m. to 7:45 p.m. Gift pick-up is 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the pavilion gift center.

MAJESTIC STAR: Christi Hardesty, the Gary property’s imaginative director of marketing, loves to incorporate tactile sports challenges into her promotions calendar. This month is no exception with the “Slapshot Hockey Challenge” on Friday (Dec. 8) and every Friday this month from 6  to 10 p.m. Four winners will be selected every hour to receive $200 in Promo Cash plus three chances to “shoot” a goal. Net the first one and receive $50, the second $100, and the third $150. Complete the “hat trick” and receive an additional $200 in Promo Cash.

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