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Slot machines

Every slot player is bound to “get lucky” once in a while. It’s knowing how to take advantage of luck and how to properly manage your money during both hot and cold streaks that puts smart slot players at the top of their gambling class.

First of all, know that video poker is in a class by itself in the genre of “electronic gaming devices.” Unlike their traditional reel and video slot cousins, long-term success on video poker is dependent upon strategy to a large degree, although there is no doubt luck also comes into play.

Learn basic poker strategy before you play video poker. You can make a real science out of the game by learning the variations in strategy depending on the game you are playing and the pay table you are working with. As with all games in which strategy is a factor, you can make video poker as simple or as complicated as you wish.

Jackpot hands in video poker are few and far between. I define a jackpot hand as any four-of-a-kind, premium fours-of-a-kind (aces, deuces, threes, and fours) a four-of-a-kind with the “kicker”, straight flushes, and, of course, the royal flush.

Whenever you are fortunate enough to hit a jackpot hand, cash out, put the proceeds aside as your cash reserve, and continue play with another 20.

Cash in the form of credits in the machine is just too easy to gamble away. Do yourself a favor and take your jackpot winnings as soon as you get them to eliminate any temptation.

If you find yourself having to dip into those winnings later in your playing session, always make sure you preserve something to take advantage of your good fortune. It doesn’t come easy.

As for those multi-line video slot games, we’re dealing with a different kind of slot “animal” here. In many cases, this animal has a voracious appetite for player’s money in regards to the high “hold” percentage, particularly in the penny denominations.

There is no doubt the games are fun and exciting to play. They add a dimension of interactive interest that the traditional reel slots just can’t match. But there is a price to pay for the entertainment value that players derive from these machines and it can really wreak havoc with your bankroll.

The insidious nature of multi-line video machines is the number of coins you can play. When you are talking about up to 300 and even more coins per play, even penny machines can devour your bankroll in a jiffy. Simply play the number of coins per line that is comfortable for you.

Finally, as is the case with all slot and video poker games, always cash out a jackpot. If you are fortunate enough to win $100 or more from a $20 investment, take the money and run.

Put it in your pocket and start out a fresh playing session with a new $20 bill. Learning how to preserve profits and take advantage of good fortune helps make you the best and smartest slot player you can be. Have fun!


AMERISTAR: If you can wait for the weekend for your Valentine’s Day celebration, Bugatti’s Steak & Pasta will make it worth your while Friday and Saturday (Feb. 15 and 16). Bugatti’s will feature a very special “Tease”, “Tantalize”, “Satisfy”, and “Shared Indulgence” menu. Tease with a choice of Delaware Bay oysters or fire cracker shrimp and crab cakes for starters. Tantalize with lobster bisque, French onion soup, Caesar salad, or roasted beet salad. Satisfy with a 28-day aged 40-ounce long bone ribeye or one-pound cold water lobster tail. Top it all off with a shared indulgence dessert. Hours are 5 to 10 p.m. both days. Please call 219-378-3330 for reservations.

BLUE CHIP: William B’s Steakhouse is celebrating Valentine’s Day through the weekend, February 13 – 17, with a chateaubriand dinner for two featuring Caesar salad, chicken consommé, sliced filet mignon, fingerling potatoes, sautéed Brussels sprouts, sauce Bearnaise, and Chef Rudy’s signature chocolate duet for $120 per couple. Reservations are required.  Please call 888-879-7711, Ext. 2118.

Option’s Buffet will be serving a Valentine’s Day special menu from 3 to 9 p.m. for $26.99 per person plus an extra $9.99 for a one-pound bucket of snow crab. Selections include prime rib, lamb loin chops, lemon pepper salmon, chocolate-covered strawberries, red velvet cake, and Valpo Velvet strawberry ice cream.

FOUR WINDS: If you are looking for that special place to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your significant other, think about the award-winning Copper Rock Steakhouse in New Buffalo. Valentine’s Day dinner from 5 to 9 p.m. includes this special for $160 per couple: Shrimp cocktail, Caesar salad, Chateaubriand center cut 20-oz filet, truffle demi-glace, with asparagus and mashed potatoes, and white chocolate or chocolate mousse for dessert.

In you’re up for a drive to the South Bend location, Kankakee Grille is serving a “Land & Sea” Valentine’s Day special for $85 per couple. It includes loaded potato soup or house salad, along with filet and lobster with chef’s choice of vegetable, topped by “Amour De Ma Vie” – a dessert for two featuring ivory white chocolate mousse encasing a filling of raspberry/strawberry compote with fruit sauces and meringue.

HARRAH’S JOLIET: The property’s fine dining establishment, The Reserve, is spotlighting a Valentine’s Day prixe fixe dinner for two every evening through Sunday (Feb. 17). The “perfect pair” appetizer is a filet pop and prosciutto wrapped asparagus. A choice of one of three entrees includes a petit filet mignon, lobster Oscar roasted lobster tail, or mixed grill. The shared dessert for two is crème caramel. The price per couple is $120. Please call 877-346-4642 for reservations.

HOLLYWOOD JOLIET: The $200,000 “For the Love of Money” drawings are taking place every Saturday this month from 2 to 10 p.m. Every hour three winners will be selected to pick an envelope to win a minimum of $50 in free slot play all the way up to $2,500 cash. Marquee Rewards players club members earn entries each day of the promotion when they swipe their card at a promotional kiosk and use it playing slots and table games. Earn 2-times entries today (Thursday, Feb. 14) and again Thursday (Feb. 21).

HORSESHOE: The World Series of Poker Circuit, one of the most highly anticipated tournaments of the year in the Midwest, opens one week from today (Thursday, Feb. 21) and will continue through March 4. The schedule of events includes the opening $400 No Limit Hold’em Multi-Flight tournament over four days with a prize pool guarantee of $500,000. On Feb. 27 it’s the $250 Multi-Bag Bonus Event with a $250,000 guaranteed prize pool. The $1,700 Main Event will start on Friday, March 1, with a guaranteed $1-million prize pool. Please visit for a complete tournament schedule.

MAJESTIC STAR: Chef Richardson will have the Majestic Chop House all ready for Valentine’s Day celebrations every evening through Sunday (Feb. 17) with a sweetheart candlelight dining menu highlighted by romantic cuisine offerings. There will also be fresh-cut flowers and other surprises awaiting couples. Three-course specials start at $32.95 per person. The restaurant is open 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday and Sunday, 5 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Please call 888-225-8259 for reservations.

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