Regardless of whether casino operators are looking for inventive new slot games, video poker, electronic table games, management systems or analytics, International Game Technology is practically a one-stop shopping source.
Bally Technologies and WMS Gaming share common ancestry, born of Chicago pinball stock. And for the last few years they've shared a corporate roof after Scientific Games acquired WMS in 2013 and Bally the following year.
Side bets at casino table games exist for a couple of reasons. For players, they open the possibility of larger jackpots than standard bets at their games of choice. For casinos, side bets enhance revenues with house edges that are higher than on standard games.
A couple of overseas university students emailed to ask if I could help with a research project, and they sent a list of questions about how the casino industry works.
There have long been two basic approaches to player rewards programs. The first is to reveal how many dollars in play it takes to earn a point and how many points it takes to redeem for free play, meals or other comps.
Blackjack hands don’t occur with equal frequency. You’ll see 20 a lot more often than a staring hand of 5 or 6, and blackjacks more often than other two-card hands that include an Ace.
Some players know exactly what they want to play before their first casino visit. I know people who have practiced blackjack at home and wouldn’t think of playing anything else.
Video poker players who opt for a little low-cost fun at nickel machines usually encounter pay tables that are a couple of notches below those on games that require bigger bets.
Take a walk through the Asian games room at a large casino sometime and you’ll see a different mix than on the main casino floor. Baccarat is a must, and operators mix and match from a list that includes pai-gow tiles, Pai-Gow Poker and sic bo — along with a little blackjack or craps.
Connie was a student at a daylong seminar I gave for a park district group around 10 or 12 years ago. I taught the basics of how to play casino games, and Connie discovered she loved craps.
My email brings more questions about slot machines than anything else. Most are of the “how can I find a hot machine?” or “how can I tell when a machine is ready to pay off?” variety.
A while back, I relayed a story from a slot player who had a pretty bad time on her first casino visit. She’s a regular player today only because a friend convinced her to give it another try, and she had more fun the second go-round.
The first time I ever played roulette, I kept it simple. It was a $5 minimum table, and I did nothing but bet $5 on red or $5 on black for the hour or so I played.
My old blackjack-playing friend Bob has a son named Mike who is more or less a chip off the old block — so much so that he’s working on basic strategy for when to double down on soft hands.
I don’t know when I last saw a live sic bo table outside Las Vegas or Atlantic City. It’s just not a common game in the U.S., even though it’s very popular in Asia and draws big play in Macau.
When my wife Marcy and I went out to play one stormy July morning, I didn’t expect my focal point to be a nickel multi-hand video poker game, but there are times when a change of course is needed. This change, to Powerhouse Poker, saved my day.
Every veteran blackjack player has seen odd things happen at the tables. Other players’ quirks, our own mistakes and interactions with players, dealers, pit supervisors and others lodge in our memories.
A column on a woman’s attempt to beat slots by fooling the random number generator into thinking she was a big player drew several questions from readers.
Slot machines don’t give systems players as many possibilities as roulette or craps. There are no combination bets such as hedging a pass bet with any 7 in craps or betting 0 and 00 along with red or black in roulette.
I have nothing against don’t pass/don’t come players. I’ve been known to visit the dark side during sessions at the craps table, though I really prefer the win-together feel of betting with the shooter.
A couple of months ago, I shared a few stories from readers about player vs. player tension at the tables. That brought several responses, with the most unusual coming from Elaine, who describes herself as a longtime low-budget player.
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.
It’s not unusual to find a roulette player with a system. It’s less common to find a systems player who wants to coach you in their method just because you happened to be standing next to them.
When it comes to non-wagering video gaming, I’ll admit to being a throwback. The old-school games are the ones I know best, and classic games such as Pong and Breakout from Bally Technologies and Centipede from International Game Technology have always been right in my sweet spot.
It’s been a long time since three-reel slots were the most popular games in casinos. Video slots took over that title more than a decade ago.
A few weeks ago I wrote about playing blackjack with a fellow who took a queasy turn every time he had an 11 when the dealer had a 10-value face up.
Multi-Strike Poker and Five Play Multi-Strike have been with us for well over a decade, long enough to settle in as niche games. Casinos that reach out to video poker players with a large selection of games offer Multi-Strike, but not every casino carries it.