A shuffle through the Gaming mailbag:
Q. Three-dimensional imaging on slot machines has gotten really good, and you wrote that Sphinx 4D adds touch to the mix. Then you have the games with the motion chairs, so at least some of the games are going for a full-sensory experience.
My question is, with all that, why don’t we have games with sense of smell? They use vision, hearing, touch, so why can’t you smell the ocean on the Reel ’Em In games or the candy on Candy Bars? I can almost taste it.
A. Smell as a slot attraction was tried in Lucy and the Chocolate Factor, and IGT nickel video slot introduced in 2002.
Based on one of the most popular episodes of “I Love Lucy,” the game had 12 paylines and a bonus event in which players touched the screen to pick chocolates off a factory line. In a feature called “Chocolate Smell-o-Rama,” machines gave off a chocolate aroma.
The game held its own, but results weren’t so strong that manufacturers rushed to produce their own odorous slots.
There are challenges. Aromas must be strong enough that players notice, but not so strong they impinge on neighboring players. Smells must be regarded as pleasant, or at least not offensive. And if a significant share of slots featured smells, they’d have to be arranged on the slot floor so competing odors didn’t create something truly noxious.
Similar problems have surfaced in motion picture attempts to incorporate smell, including the Smell-O-Vision process used for the 1960 film “Scent of Mystery.” Customers complained smells were too strong in some parts of the theater, too weak in others, nauseated some viewers, and were poorly synchronized with action on the screen.
There have been other experiments with smell in the movies, and there probably will be others on the slots, too. Whether any are successful enough for slots of smell to become a regular casino feature is problematic.
Q. A long time ago, my wife and I went on a casino trip where we got a pretty nice package. The room was cheap, we got a couple of free buffets and we got $55 in match play on table games.
The match play came in 11 special $5 bet. You’d bet a real chip along with a match play chip, and if you won they paid you on both. Win or lose, they’d take the match play chip. It was good for one play only.
We didn’t know much about the games, so we decided to use the match play chips on red or black in roulette. We figured that had an almost 50 percent chance of winning, so if we bet $5 plus a match play 11 times, we’d win five or six and have an extra $25 or $30. That was a big deal to us back then.
I’ve wondered ever since if that was the best way to use the match play. We didn’t blackjack strategy and would have been lost there. What easy bets were a better for match play?
A. As an easy bet with a high win percentage, it’s tough to beat baccarat provided the casino had a mini-baccarat table within your betting limits.
On the even-money payoff bets at roulette, such as red/black, you win 47.4 percent of decisions. At baccarat, bets on banker win 50.7 percent of decisions and bets on player win 49.3 percent.
When you win on banker, you have to pay the house a 5 percent commission. But on either banker or player, you win a greater percentage of your wagers than when you bet red/black at roulette.