Wheel of Fortune slot machines have been with us for 20 years now. The most popular games in slot machine history, Wheel of Fortune machines have commanded space on casino floors in countless variations on video and in the original three-reel format.

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.

Each year at the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas, new table games cluster around two areas. There are new poker-based games, and new blackjack variants.

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.

In this age of multitasking, I will admit to moments of multi-time wasting, checking out free online slots while watching baseball, football, basketball or hockey.

At most Three Card Poker tables, the highest payoff on the Pair Plus option is the 40-1 you get on any straight flush.

A few weeks ago I wrote about automated and semi-automated table games, zeroing in on the Shaq Jack blackjack game that recently made its Atlantic City debut.

Automated or semi-automated renditions of table games have been with us for a couple of decades, and have met with mixed success.

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:

Back in February, I relayed a couple of player stories about poker players who were tipping their hole cards.

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.

For basic-strategy players in blackjack, there are a few absolutes when pairs are dealt: Always split Aces and 8s. Never split 5s or 10s.

It’s spring training time in major-league baseball, and for gamblers that brings talk of odds to win the World Series, who’s favored and what that actually means.

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…

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.

One of the goals of slot machine designers is to get you involved in the game, to make the game entertaining so you’ll stay in your seat even when the wins aren’t coming. “Interactivity” has been a buzzword in the industry ever since the dawn of video bonusing slots, and getting you to be an…

A couple of days before the beginning of this fall’s Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas, I was asked about a video poker game by Matt Bourie, son of American Casino Guide publisher Steve Bourie.

Blackjack has been the most popular casino table game for more than 50 years. So naturally, side bets and variations on blackjack are among the first places developers turn in creating new table games. Here are a few I sampled at the Global Gaming Expo earlier this fall that are available fo…

Usually, when I see a table game for the first time at the annual Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas, I assume it’s going to be some time before I see it again. Table space is limited, it takes time for games to get a trial in casinos, and some games make a splash online before brick-and-mortar…

Blackjack Switch has proven to be one of the more durable variations on 21 on casino floors. There’s a lot to like about it, with the chance to turn weak hands into strong ones by switching cards between two hands, and the house edge of 0.58 percent in a six-deck game with standard rules is …