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Oct

29

2018

Stories from the Casino Floor: Triple Double Bonus Poker

There's nothing quite like snatching victory from the jaws of defeat to make you feel good about a day in the casino. One big win at the end that erases previous losses and makes you a winner doesn't happen anywhere near often enough, but it feels great when it does. Paul, a video poker player I've known for years, had one of those days with a nice win on Triple Double Bonus Poker after a day when Bonus Poker had grinded down his bankroll. All were 25-cent, single-hand games. "I budget $100 for the day," he said. "Bonus Poker is…

There's nothing quite like snatching victory from the jaws of defeat to make you feel good about a day in the casino. One big win at the end that erases previous losses and makes you a winner doesn't happen anywhere near often enough, but it feels great when it does.…

Oct

25

2018

Is House Edge Affected by Length of Play?

Table games players have their own styles and preferences. One of the divisions is between those who will play all night and those who prefer short sessions. In the long run, the house edge remains the same. You can't change it by playing shorter or longer times. That's something I explained not long ago to a player who was having luck playing short sessions. He asked about the house edge in short vs. long sessions. As it happens, there's nothing in the math of the game that makes it more likely for you to win in multiple short sessions than…

Table games players have their own styles and preferences. One of the divisions is between those who will play all night and those who prefer short sessions. In the long run, the house edge remains the same. You can't change it by playing shorter or longer times. That's something I…

Oct

15

2018

Do My Choices Matter in Pick ‘Em Bonus Rounds?

I've often told slot machine players that when they play pick'em bonus rounds, their choices make a real difference. If you choose an icon hiding a big prize, you'll get the big prize. The machine doesn't decide you should get a lower award and change the hidden value. As long as all potential prizes are displayed at the end of the round, you can be confident your win is not pre-determined. Often, readers ask how that is possible. One recently asked, "There's a programmed payback percentage, right? How can they do that if they don't know how much the bonus…

I've often told slot machine players that when they play pick'em bonus rounds, their choices make a real difference. If you choose an icon hiding a big prize, you'll get the big prize. The machine doesn't decide you should get a lower award and change the hidden value. As long…

Oct

09

2018

Should I Double Down on 11 in Blackjack?

Blackjack basic strategy includes a number of decisions that can give a player second and third thoughts. One of those comes when you have a two-card 11 and the dealer has a 10-value card face up. Basic strategy calls for you to double down -- you make a second bet equal to your first, then get just one more card on the draw. That second bet against a strong dealer card is what gives players pause. One reader emailed me to ask, "Why should I double down on 11 when the dealer has a 10 up? It seems to me…

Blackjack basic strategy includes a number of decisions that can give a player second and third thoughts. One of those comes when you have a two-card 11 and the dealer has a 10-value card face up. Basic strategy calls for you to double down -- you make a second bet…

Aug

22

2018

Sports Betting and House Edge

In a previous entry discussing the point spread, over/under and money line wagers at sports books, I mentioned that the house typically charges an extra 10 percent on point-spread and over/under bets. To win $10, you must bet $11. Bettors are sometimes misled into thinking that gives the house a 10 percent edge, which would be very high casino standards. Actually, the house edge is 4.55 percent. Here's how it works: Let's say you and I each bet $11 on opposite sides of a game. Between us, we risk $22. The winner gets his $11 back plus $10 in winnings,…

In a previous entry discussing the point spread, over/under and money line wagers at sports books, I mentioned that the house typically charges an extra 10 percent on point-spread and over/under bets. To win $10, you must bet $11. Bettors are sometimes misled into thinking that gives the house a…

Aug

14

2018

Sports Betting 101

The legalization of sports betting no doubt will bring throngs of new players who need to know the ropes before they bet. Old hands who have wagered in Nevada or online already know the basics, but for those finding a new betting experience in Mississippi, here are a few of the basic ways to bet. **Point spreads: Most sports fans are familiar with spreads. On a sports book board, you might see a New England Patriots-Buffalo Bills NFL game listed with a +3.5 next to Buffalo. That means the Patriots are favored, and if you bet on them, they must…

The legalization of sports betting no doubt will bring throngs of new players who need to know the ropes before they bet. Old hands who have wagered in Nevada or online already know the basics, but for those finding a new betting experience in Mississippi, here are a few of…

Jul

30

2018

Stories from the Casino Floor: Soft Hands in Blackjack

About a month ago, I told of being at a table with a blackjack player who insisted on standing on all 16s, including the soft ones, no matter what the dealer had. In a common six-deck game in which the dealer hits soft 17, basic strategy for soft 16 is to double down if the dealer's up card is 4, 5 or 6, and to hit if the dealer has anything else. Never stand on soft 16. My experience drew responses from others who have encountered players who have trouble with soft hands. Let's share a couple of their tales.…

About a month ago, I told of being at a table with a blackjack player who insisted on standing on all 16s, including the soft ones, no matter what the dealer had. In a common six-deck game in which the dealer hits soft 17, basic strategy for soft 16 is…

Jul

17

2018

Betting on Multiple Paylines

When video slots started their rise to prominence in the late 1990s, the most popular games were in nickel denominations, there were relatively few paylines -- five, nine, and eventually 15 -- and you could choose the number of paylines and amount per line you wanted to play. If you wanted to play one line for one credit, you could play for a nickel a spin. In today's casinos, the most popular games are pennies, have 30, 40, 50 or more paylines or use the Reel Power 243 ways to win format, and often require a minimum bet to cover…

When video slots started their rise to prominence in the late 1990s, the most popular games were in nickel denominations, there were relatively few paylines -- five, nine, and eventually 15 -- and you could choose the number of paylines and amount per line you wanted to play. If you…

Jul

16

2018

New Slots: Heat Em Up Power Wheel

Incredible Technologies is always trying something new on its slot machines, and right now a lot of the excitement revolves around its Power Wheel games. One of the latest is Heat 'Em Up Power Wheel, involving a big wheel display for bonuses. A five-reel video slot, each reel three symbols deep, Heat Em Up has a classic look with 7s, bars, bells and cherries among the symbols. It's all on the new Infinity V55 cabinet, which features a huge 4K, vertical 55-inch monitor for ultra-high resolution on the largest core-product cabinet in the slot industry. Its towering size makes it…

Incredible Technologies is always trying something new on its slot machines, and right now a lot of the excitement revolves around its Power Wheel games. One of the latest is Heat 'Em Up Power Wheel, involving a big wheel display for bonuses. A five-reel video slot, each reel three symbols…

Jul

03

2018

Should You Play the Ultimate X Feature?

Among the many video poker games IGT produces that offer bonus multipliers in exchange for an extra bet, the most popular appears to be Ultimate X. That's especially true among low-denomination players, who love the Ultimate X option when playing nickel multiple-hand games. And it seems there's an incentive for playing more hands. In Ultimate X, you wager an extra five credits per hand to activate a multiplier feature. Winning hands bring a multiplier for the following hand. The multiplier depends on the rank of the winning hand. In Triple Play Jacks or Better, for example, if you've activate Ultimate…

Among the many video poker games IGT produces that offer bonus multipliers in exchange for an extra bet, the most popular appears to be Ultimate X. That's especially true among low-denomination players, who love the Ultimate X option when playing nickel multiple-hand games. And it seems there's an incentive for…