A few weeks ago, I was called upon to speak with a park district group before they took a bus trip to a nearby casino. Most of them had played slots before and some had played other games, but I was asked to give a few basics for those who wanted to branch out.
Casino players know well the ups and downs of wagering, with more downs than ups for most of us. But it’s the ups that are most memorable, like those relayed via email by readers Betty and Pearl.
Just about a year ago, I answered a reader’s question about strategy adjustments for cruise-ship blackjack in which the dealer takes no hole card, waits until all player decisions to take a second card and more.
I received an email recently from Mark, a video poker player who just found this column recently, but who said he’s been skimming an online archive to see what he’d missed.
There are a lot of ingredients that go into the success of a slot machine. A great theme to entice players to try the game is a start, and attractive graphics, animation and sound help, too.
Video blackjack games come in all shapes and sizes. There are single-player games, usually part of the package on multigame machines such as IGT’s Game King; there are multiplier consoles; and some games pay 3-2 on blackjacks, while others pay only even money.
Among the many considerations that go into designing a new table game is whether it looks both intriguing and easy enough that players will give it a try. There’s no point in offering a game that scares players off.
Slot machines have long been thought of as an inexpensive way to play. A table games player is looking at minimum bets of $5 and up, and at some premium casinos at busy times it’s tough to find an open spot even at a $25 minimum blackjack table.
Readers send me A LOT of stories of their casino experiences — tales of their first trips to Las Vegas or Atlantic City, big wins, things that impressed or depressed them and even times when they couldn’t win for losing.
Blackjack players come in a wide range of skill levels, from those playing a guessing game and hitting or standing by feel and instinct to basic strategy players to card counters — with several stops in between.
Tales of casino bachelor parties have come rolling into my mailbox ever since the days when my prime contact with readers came through snail mail.
I see hundreds of new slot machines every year, and test at least a few dozen of them. Occasionally, there’s something that piques my curiosity beyond game play. So I look it up, and add to my collection of trivia:
Some players avoid giving advice at the blackjack table, some give more than anyone cares to hear and some will advise only when asked. From time to time, I’ve shared readers’ experiences of all of those situations.
For many years, casinos, marketing departments and gambling analysts agreed that to get the highest payback percentage, slot players should bet max coins. Trump Casinos even has a long-running character named “Max Coins” to drive home the point.
For many years, casinos, marketing departments and gambling analysts all agreed that to get the highest payback percentage, slot players should bet max coins. Trump Casinos even has a character named “Max Coins” to drive home the point.
The bulk of player interactions in casinos are of the mundane variety –- table players talking about where they’re from during a shuffle, or slot players asking if a machine is taken.
Ever since I saw Hot Roll video poker at the IGT booth at Global Gaming Expo in 2014, it had been in the back of the mind that I wanted to try to game in a casino for money instead of just in demo mode.
Blackjack is a game with many variations, and educated players know to look for the number of decks, whether the dealer hits or stands on soft 17, whether blackjacks pay 3-2 or have the abominable 6-5 payoff, and other house rules.
Casino entertainment can take many different forms. There are the games, of course, where winning is the best entertainment. Losing, not so much. There are the showrooms, lounges, dealertainers at casinos that have party pits and much more to keep us amused.
I don’t write a lot about live poker — the Texas Hold’em, seven-card stud and Omaha that you see in casino card rooms. Most of my poker playing has been done in home games, with rules that have little to do with anything you’ll find at casinos. Just try to find a seven-card stud, low hole ca…
On a gray January day, I found myself playing blackjack at a full seven-player table. There was nothing special about the house rules: six decks, dealer hits soft 17, blackjacks pay 3-2, double down allowed on any first two cards including after splits, pairs could be split up to three times…
Streaks are part of life at the gaming table, but there’s no tendency for a hot streak to stay hot. Still, the hot streaks are fun. Here are a few streaks readers have shared in the last few months:
Growing player acceptance has brought a whole new world of opportunity to providers of electronic table games, so much so that Rob Bone, president, North America, for Interblock, personifies the company as a 25-year startup.
A few weeks ago, I answered a reader’s question on tax thresholds on table games and how big winnings have to be in order for players to be required to sign a form W-2G before collecting. Table players get a tax form any time the payoff is $600 or more if the odds against winning are at leas…
Not long ago, a reader shared a story of seeing a roulette table where No. 31 had come up four times in a row. He decided to play and see if he could ride the streak.
I don’t do a lot of backtracking and explaining past columns. For the most part, they can stand on their own, and when readers email me to say they didn’t understand a point, I generally send explanations via email rather than readdressing the topic publically for all to see.
Each year when I go to the Global Gaming Expo, I spend six nights in Las Vegas. I always have some extra projects and meetings going on around expo time, and I play a lot less than you would think. It’s a busy, busy time.
Every year, hundreds of new games are introduced on slot machines. That’s all in keeping up with player demand for new, exciting ways to play. Peak popularity for any game lasts only a few months, and new games have to be continually cycled onto the floor.