Most of the slot machines I write about come from a few large companies – International Game Technology, Aristocrat Technologies and Scientific Games (which now holds both Bally and WMS) command the most attention, with Incredible Technologies, Konami Gaming, Everi and international giant No…
I’ve often mentioned Bob, my blackjack-playing friend and a retired high school math teacher. A little over a year ago, I also wrote about Mike, Bob’s son, a middle-school science teacher who was drilling himself on strategy for soft doubling.
The put bet in craps is not exactly one of the topics high on readers’ request list. Nevertheless, in one November week I received three emails requesting additional information.
From time to time, table games inventors ask if I’ll take a look at their games, whether just to add my input or for a little publicity. I can’t get to every game – if I did, this column would be strictly a new games report.
When my old blackjack-playing buddy Bob and I get together, the talk doesn't always center on the game of 21. We've known each other long enough that talking blackjack usually means rehashing oft-told tales.
Introducing a new table game to the public isn't as simple as hitting on a concept that's fun to play, gives the house a reasonable edge and convincing a casino to try it. There's a seemingly endless series of hoops a game developer must jump through.
Building a successful slot machine involves multiple elements. There needs to be an eye-catching theme and graphics to attract players, intriguing elements such as bonus events and jackpots and the right math to yield a mix of payout frequency and shot at a big payoff.
When I've relayed readers' stories of back-to-back jackpots, they've generally focused on big wins. A thousand dollars for a video poker royal flush qualifies; $2.50 for three bars on a three-reel slot or $1.25 that just covers your bet for a pair of Jacks, not so much.
In discussing Three Card Poker, I've often mentioned that the house edge on the most common Pair Plus pay table is 7.28 percent, while the original version had a 2.14 percent edge.
I never volunteer advice on strategy while playing in casinos, but the temptation was strong in early May when I found myself at a Mississippi Stud table where a new player — let's call him Bill — was being coached by a friend.
A long time ago, I attended a seminar in which Peter Griffin, the late mathematician and author of "The Theory of Blackjack," told the imaginary tale of Mr. Fourteen.
One of the strategy quirks in video poker is that the best play is to break up full houses that include three Aces in games with big four-Ace jackpots.
I’m not a superstitious sort. I don’t carry lucky icons, wear lucky clothing or perform good-luck rituals while I play. I’ve been known to egg on my brother Jay in his jackpot dance, probably to the amusement of surveillance rooms everywhere.
Slot machines are the most widely played games in American casinos. And naturally enough, the largest share of my emails from readers are about the slots.
Anybody who plays casino table games very often sees some odd things happen. I've heard from players who have told me of three of a kind on two and three hands in a row at Three Card Poker, a roulette player who accidentally wandered behind the table and was escorted away, and a blackjack pl…
Baccarat is more popular among big bettors than average players, and I don't hear from baccarat players as often as I do from those who play blackjack, video poker, slots, craps, Three Card Poker, roulette or Mississippi Stud.
Anyone who’s spent much time playing video slots has encountered ancient Egyptian themes. When it comes to pyramids, the Sphinx, scarabs and asps, there seems to be a strong archaeologist strain among slot players.
Asian themes have become slot machine staples, with images of far Eastern gardens, koi fish, pagodas and more taking their places along symbols of good luck and progressive jackpots.
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.