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Casino Scene: Are slot bonus rounds really a bonus?

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

April 17, 2014 12:00 am

Recreational Gambling Requires Proper Mindset

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.

April 10, 2014 12:00 am

Life Changing Jackpots Continue at Four Winds

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.

April 03, 2014 12:00 am

Majestic Star casinos deal a winning hand

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

March 20, 2014 12:00 am

Progressives: Let the slot player beware

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.

March 13, 2014 12:00 am
Casino Scene: 'Binionaire' slots a red hot tradition

Casino Scene: 'Binionaire' slots a red hot tradition

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.

March 06, 2014 6:36 pm
Casino Scene: Food for thought about penny slots

Casino Scene: Food for thought about penny slots

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.

February 27, 2014 6:36 pm
Casino Scene: Random thoughts about video poker

Casino Scene: Random thoughts about video poker

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.

February 20, 2014 6:36 pm
Casino Scene: Video poker site is hands down the best

Casino Scene: Video poker site is hands down the best

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.

February 13, 2014 6:36 pm
Casino Scene: 'Have you ever'? situations for gamblers

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

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 whe…

February 06, 2014 6:36 pm Photos


Casino Scene: At Blackjack, there's nothing sweet about 16

Casino Scene: At Blackjack, there's nothing sweet about 16

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.

January 30, 2014 6:36 pm
Diverse slot floors make NWI special

Diverse slot floors make NWI special

Last week’s column was devoted to the latest monthly gaming report released by the Illinois Gaming Board and how the financial statistics revealed about the slot machines at the properties in the Chicago area impact decisions players can make about where to play.

January 23, 2014 12:00 am

The 'reel' truth about monthly slot reports

The only information that is revealed about slot machines is derived from the monthly reports published by state gaming commissions.

January 16, 2014 12:00 am
Take charge of your gambling at the craps table

Take charge of your gambling at the craps table

Have you ever thought of a casino in terms of a stock exchange or commodities market? Sure, it’s a stretch, but similarities are there.

January 02, 2014 12:00 am

Beefing up basic strategy at blackjack

It is crucial for basic strategy blackjack players to ascend to the next plateau if they are committed to being as successful as possible.

December 26, 2013 12:00 am

Strategy to avoid beguiling ways of penny slots

Penny video slot machines may in fact reign as the biggest money makers in casinos around the country, but does that necessarily mean players must surrender to their beguiling ways? I think not.

December 19, 2013 12:00 am

Intriguing 'then and now' slot machine facts

The dramatic evolution of slot machines extends beyond technological advancements. Today’s computer-driven games are also masters at manipulating the people who play them, thanks to the ingenuity of the researchers, mathematicians, and marketing specialists who develop them.

December 12, 2013 12:00 am
Casino Scene: Winning at slots (or not)

Casino Scene: Winning at slots (or not)

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.

December 05, 2013 6:10 pm Photos


Casino Scene: The poker beat goes on at Majestic Star

Casino Scene: The poker beat goes on at Majestic Star

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’…

November 28, 2013 6:10 pm
Casino Scene: The psychological warfare of poker

Casino Scene: The psychological warfare of poker

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”.

November 21, 2013 6:10 pm

Casino Scene

The one best bet any gambler can make in a casino is taking Free Odds at the craps table.

November 14, 2013 2:28 pm
Casino Scene

Casino Scene

Two days after Penn State University suffered its most lopsided gridiron defeat in 114 years, a Nittany Lion from another arena of competition made his alma mater proud with a record-setting performance at Horseshoe Casino Hammond.

November 07, 2013 2:28 pm

Casino Scene

Not too many casino-goers pay attention to the manufacturers of the slot machines they play. IGT, Bally, WMS, and Konami are just some of the companies that make the games, but if you’re a player all you really care is enjoying the way a game plays and how much money you can win.

October 31, 2013 2:28 pm
Casino Scene

Casino Scene

Hopes for a World Series in Chicago this year were snuffed out early in the season by the Cubs and White Sox, but Horseshoe Casino came through in the clutch with a “world series” of its own that makes Hammond the center of attention in professional poker this weekend.

October 24, 2013 7:59 pm

Blackjack strategy can be a numbers game

It’s a fact that the 10s, faces and aces are the most powerful cards for blackjack players. Knowing when there are an abundance of them during the middle game of a 6-deck shoe can be advantageous for players.

October 18, 2013 12:00 am

Know when to cash out when playing slots

Sound money management is an ongoing issue for recreational gaming enthusiasts. It revolves not only around the amount of money you gamble and the loss limits that individual gamblers establish for themselves, but also the amount of money you win and what you decide to keep.

October 11, 2013 12:00 am

Pay no attention to get rich quick scams

Fact: There will always be people trying to scam money out of people who are trying to win money. It just seems some folks who are looking for guarantees to win "money for nothing" are easy targets for scam artists who prey upon their gullibility.

October 04, 2013 12:00 am

Think about revitalizing table games

It seems unfortunate to me that a majority of the marketing energy generated by casinos is geared toward slot machines. New varieties of multi-coin, multi-line video games are constantly being introduced and heavily advertised while table game marketing and promotion is virtually non-existent.

September 20, 2013 12:00 am

Casino Scene: Slot machines fertile ground for player arguments

I think it's rather strange that slot machines, more than any other game in casinos, including video poker, often bring out the worst in gamblers.

September 20, 2013 12:00 am

Casino Scene: Casino winnings and accountability

Have you ever wondered why slot machine jackpots are the only casino winnings for which players are held accountable for federal and state taxes, while big scores made by table games players go undocumented?

September 13, 2013 12:00 am

Casino Scene: A casino's way of getting to know you

Just how much do the casinos know about you? If you're a slot player and you use a player's club card, it's a cinch they know quite a bit.

September 06, 2013 12:00 am

Casino Scene: One important rule for casino visitors

Have you ever fallen 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.

August 30, 2013 12:00 am

Empirical knowledge and gambling

There's a school of philosophy known as "empiricism". The dictionary defines empiricism thusly: Experimental method; search for knowledge by observation and experiment; a disregarding of scientific methods and relying solely on experience.

August 23, 2013 12:00 am

Casino Scene: Company develops twist on Baccarat

Even if you're a regular casino player, baccarat is an easy game to ignore simply because it does not have the high profile presence on casino floors as games like blackjack, craps and roulette.

August 16, 2013 12:00 am

Misinformation about slot machines abounds

The majority of people who play slots know very little about the operation of the machines, the computer programs that drive them, and the economics of the games.

August 09, 2013 12:00 am

Casino Scene: Touch screen table gaming makes impact

The new generation of touch screen table games making an impact on casino floors worldwide may never completely replace traditional felt tables, chips and dealers, but it has become a viable alternative.

August 02, 2013 12:00 am

Casino Scene: Slot machine twist to video poker

Speaking generally about the games of preference for casino gamblers, there are three categories of players: Those who prefer slots, those who prefer tables, and those who prefer video poker.

July 26, 2013 12:00 am

What to look for in a good craps game

With all of casino destinations from which to choose in the Greater Chicago area gaming market, it's always wise to go "shopping" once in a while to check out the differences in house rules and determine which establishments offer the best deals to match your style of play. Today's survey co…

July 19, 2013 12:00 am

Casino Scene: Caribbean stud poker a blast from the past

One of the most popular table games used to be Caribbean Stud Poker. The lure of a progressive jackpot for a dealt royal flush kept the tables packed. The game is still available at some properties, so if you ever decide to sit down and play here are some factors to keep in mind:

July 12, 2013 12:00 am

Player's Club benefits can vary from game to game

When it comes to choosing playing slots or video poker, it really is no contest. Video poker wins hands down. Why?

July 05, 2013 12:00 am

Putting casino entertainment into perspective

Are casino outings for gambling or entertainment? The casino industry's spin is entertainment, which in a broad sense is credible when you factor in dining, recreation, shopping and shows.

June 21, 2013 12:00 am

Casino Scene: Give those slots a fight

Given the built-in house advantage that casinos wield over all of the games they offer, there is very little chance for gamblers to show a profit over an extended period of time.

June 14, 2013 12:00 am

Love those penny slots

This columnist should be last in line to send up caution flags about playing multi-line penny video slots.

June 07, 2013 12:00 am

Casino Scene: Casino floors reflect real world technology

Walk into any casino in the country today and you'll find a gaming floor that's dominated by slots that bear little resemblance to the machines that were there two decades ago.

May 31, 2013 12:00 am

Understanding the game of craps

Have you ever watched a craps game during a casino outing and wished you knew how to play? The game can appear very intimidating and the layout can look very complicated, factors which prevent many people from getting up enough nerve to step up to the table and get into the game.

May 24, 2013 12:00 am

Casino Scene: Knowledge is power when you gamble

Whenever you go on a casino gambling venture, you should bring along more than money. You should arm yourself with the proper know-how, self-control, and the ability to play the games intelligently. If you don't do it, the casinos are not going to do it for you.

May 17, 2013 12:00 am

Answering questions about video poker strategy

The late Lenny Frome was the father of modern video poker strategy. He was an unabashed devotee of video poker as the game of choice in casinos across the country and mentor to many of today's popular writers on the subject. Lenny's constant admonition to players was: "Learn video poker stra…

May 10, 2013 12:00 am

Derby-themed slot slow out of the gate

In spite of the fact casinos and race tracks are related through gambling, slot machine manufacturers have been unsuccessful in developing a game that incorporates the excitement of horse racing.

April 26, 2013 12:00 am

Millions to one odds can be beaten

A number of years ago a 25-year-old software programmer from Los Angeles lined up the Megabucks jackpot symbols on a machine in the Excalibur Casino & Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip and won a world record slot jackpot of $39,713,982.25.

April 12, 2013 12:00 am

This lawsuit had plenty of food for thought

A good number of years ago a woman filed a $10 million class-action lawsuit against Detroit casinos claiming the bonus spin feature on Wheel of Fortune slot machines is programmed to pay off an abundance of lower awards.

April 05, 2013 12:00 am
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