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SLOT PLAYERS:

2012 Slot Guide!

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VOLUME 14  |  ISSUE 2 |  MARCH 2012

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HOT SLOTS: TOP 10 IN 2012 PAGE 16

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INSIDE this ISSUE

On the Cover:

10 ZORRO: Swordsman of the Slots

Feature Articles:

SLOTS: 16 HOT Top 10 in 2012 SUPERIOR SLOTS: 22 The Industry’s Leading Manufacturers MOBILE MONEY: 28 Slots in Your Smartphone SLOT PLAYS THAT PAY: 34 Advantage Slot Machines AUGUSTA OR “BUSTA”: 40 The Magic of the Masters WHO’S IN CHARGE? SHE IS! 46 Female Gaming Industry Leaders

ZORRO :

Swordsman of the Slots | 10

Columns:

14 SLOTS: Myths and Legends VIDEO POKER: 20 Promotion Equity CASINO Q&A 32 With John Grochowski TRIPLE CROWN PREP: 38 Brisnet.com and Twinspires.com GOLF: 44 Short Game Issues BLACKJACK: 50 Getting the Edge in Tournaments CRAPS: 54 It’s a Riot! SLOT TOURNAMENTS: 56 Strategy for Play NO LIMIT HOLD ’EM: 64 Hellmuth’s Strategy

HOT SLOTS :

Top 10 in 2012 | 16

MOBIL E MONE Y:

Slots in Your Smartphone | 28

Highlights & Hot Spots: ACT: 52 SOLO University of Kentucky Basketball SLOT SPOTLIGHTS: 58 Hot New Products

A U G U S TA O R “ B U S TA” :

The Magic of the Masters | 40 Vol um e 14  I ssu e 2  

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UP FRONT ...with G. Douglas

When you walk through a casino, you will notice a majority of the casino floor is consumed with slot machines. There are games that spin, talk and even rotate. There are machines with jackpots connected to other machines in the casino and across the country. There are even machines that allow you to enter a password, so you can pick up where you left off on your previous session. In addition to all the bells and whistles, you might also notice the array of themes carefully picked to fit the demographic of what the casino and slot manufacturers feel is their target clientele. One of the most popular slot machines of all time is Wheel of Fortune, named after the long running game show. Today you will also find Jeopardy, Deal or No Deal, The Apprentice and Sex and the City just to name a few. In addition, you will also find celebrities like Elvis and Clint Eastwood gracing the machines. On the cover of this issue is one of the latest themed slot machine crazes, Zorro: The Legend Returns. The sly sword-carrying crusader has graced pop culture since the 1920s. Now, we can watch him on our favorite slot machines in casinos across the country. The game features four-levels with multiple jackpots and bonus features as well as a $50,000 award that can be won on any game! Be sure to check out the full rundown of pop culture’s slot machine themes by slot guru, John Grochowski, on page 10. John gives a nice overview of everything from Elvis to Epic Monopoly so you will be ‘in the know’ on your next casino visit. In addition to playing your favorite machines at the casinos, you can also play them at your convenience on your Smartphone! That’s right. Game manufacturers have joined the ever-growing world of mobile apps, and you can find some great games from some of the biggest names like Bally Technologies, Aristocrat and more. These apps will let you play existing games, try out new ones, and let the manufacturer know what you think before they put them in the casinos. Be sure to check out the variety of games on page 28 and download some of your favorites today! Speaking of cashing in, are YOU a Slot Aficionado? If so, then prove it and you could win the Ultimate Casino Getaway! That’s right. We have teamed up with Spielo International, a leading slot manufacturer, to form an elite group of slot players to be on a panel of advisors. Fill out a short survey and you will be registered to win an amazing prize package that includes a two-night stay at your favorite casino, $500 of free casino play, two dinners and more! Don’t miss out! Check out the details on page 26. Good luck! Last, but certainly not least, are you a member of The Comps Club™ by Southern Gaming? If not, what are you waiting for? If you like to go to the casinos, this is the best membership club you could ever join. For just $29, you will receive six Member Coupon Packs loaded with coupons from casinos and racetracks throughout the South, as well as six issues of Southern Gaming and Destinations Magazine. We are excited to welcome Wind Creek Casino & Hotel (Atmore, Alabama) with their buy one, get one free buffet offer. For more information, see the ad on page 9 and either mail in your subscription card or go to SouthernGaming.com to sign up. If you are already a member, thank you and please keep spreading the word! Thank you for your support and remember, if you can’t be good…be lucky!

G. Douglas Dreisbach General Manager 4 

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Publisher Bisig Impact Group Chief Executive Officer Larry Bisig President & Creative Director Chip Dumstorf General Manager G. Douglas Dreisbach Marketing Coordinator & Managing Editor Courtney Bisig Accounting Peggy Harris Contributing Authors Linda Boyd John Grochowski Mark Gruetze Phil Hellmuth Jr. Brad Lanning Frank Scoblete Henry Tamburin Colby Wollitz Letters to the editor, address changes and other correspondence should be sent to: Southern Gaming and Destinations 640 South Fourth Street Louisville, KY 40202 (502) 583-0333 Fax (502) 583-6487 e-mail: editor@southerngaming.com The goal of this publication is to help drive awareness of the ever-growing popularity of the gaming industry and to assist the gamer in enjoying their gaming experience to the fullest. Southern Gaming and Destinations is published for those who seek the best in gaming and in life. ON THE COVER: Aristocrat brings back a noble swordsman in their new slot machine game Zorro: The Legend Returns, page 10. Southern Gaming and Destinations is produced bimonthly by Bisig Impact Group of Louisville, Kentucky. Copyright 2004 by Bisig Impact Group. All Rights Reserved. This publication is printed by Publisher’s Printing Co., Inc. of Shepherdsville, Kentucky. Postage is paid in Lebanon Junction, Kentucky. Opinions of columnists are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher, nor does Southern Gaming and Destinations assume liability for claims of advertisers. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Southern Gaming and Destinations, 640 South Fourth Street, Louisville, Kentucky 40202.


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Concert Calendar MARCH

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Here are some of the best upcoming concerts at your favorite casinos in the South. Visit SouthernGaming.com and use our Concert Connection Calendar to find concerts near you. You can search by location or date, and even buy your tickets!

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Bally Technologies Celebrates 80 Years of Innovation Bally Technologies, Inc. is a worldwide leader in slots, video machines, interactive applications, casino management, and networked systems for the global gaming industry. Bally has celebrated many milestones—most recently, its 80-year anniversary on January 10 by ringing the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). CEO Richard Haddrill stated there have been many milestones reached in the last eight decades culminating in the global success Bally now holds in the industry. From introducing the world’s smallest slot machine to being the first gaming company publicly traded on the NYSE, this brand is constantly innovating and developing better software than ever before. What started out as an arcade game company in 1932 has grown into an award-winning developer of gaming devices, mobile apps and online games.

 WANT MORE? Southern Gaming’s Got It! Don’t forget to visit SouthernGaming.com for the latest gaming news, hot giveaways, gossip, entertainment and great tips. Don’t miss out! Stay connected at SouthernGaming.com!

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FACTS and FU N

Did You Know? 1. Most slot machines are programmed to pay out what percentages of the coins placed into them?

2. Which celebrity does not have slot machines honored in his name?

A) Frank Sinatra B) Ozzy Osbourne C) Bob Marley D) Elvis Presley

The answer is listed on the bottom left corner of this page.

3. What themed slot machines are the most popular for online players?

A) American Theme B) Animal Theme C) Food Theme D) Entertainment Theme

4. What did slots pay out in lieu of cash after they were outlawed by several states in the early 1900s?

A) Peppermints B) Hershey’s Kisses C) Pez Candy D) Chewing Gum

Riddle of the Month Answer: A Golf Ball

By the Numbers 1899 38.7 The largest slot machine jackpot (in millions of dollars) ever won.

A) Hotel Last Frontier B) El Rancho Casino C) Flamingo Las Vegas D) Harold’s Club

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The year in which Charles Fey invented the first slot machine—the Liberty Bell.

5. Which Nevada casino popularized slot machines?

1,200 "Did You Know" answers, below left

The average number of individual parts in a slot machine.

275 The number of pounds the average upright slot machine weighs. 4

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"Did You Know" Answers: 1. A, 2. C, 3. A, 4. D, 5. D

What can be sliced but still remains whole?

A) 83-99% B) 67-83% C) 51-67% D) 35-51%

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The Sudoku Puzzle

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Riddle of the Month:

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Complete the grid so that each column, row and block of nine squares includes numbers 1 through 9 only once. Answers on page 13


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zorro SWORDSMAN OF THE SLOTS AND OTHER POP CULTURE SLOT MACHINES BY JO HN GR OC HOW S K I

Memorable Television Without television, pop culture would not be where it is today. Although reality and game shows are now the norm, there have been some historical television stories that we will never forget. One of the most memorable television shows of all time is Zorro. The secret identity of Don Diego de la Vega, Zorro was a nobleman living in California. He was best known for his dashing looks and the mysterious black mask he wore while defending the people of his land. Zorro was an immensely popular television series that also became a hit movie. Slot players across North America have enjoyed playing Aristocrat’s original Zorro penny slot for many years, as it is one of the company’s top-performing titles of all time. Aristocrat has brought the legend back in an even bigger and better way with Zorro: The Legend Returns.

T H E L EG E N D O F Z O R R O returns in Aristocrat’s new slot game. We live in a pop culture world. Whether it’s the latest box-office champion at the movies or the latest music video sensation on YouTube, it’s part of our pop culture—an experience we share with families, friends and co-workers. For casino players, slot machines are part of our pop culture, and they’re by no means separate from the world around us. Today’s games can integrate video clips from movies, TV or music videos. Some use multiple speakers, both in the machines and in the backs of accompanying chairs, for dialog and songs. And with touch, drag and release technology, some games even give us that old arcade feel. Where do slot makers turn for their taste of pop culture? Everywhere the rest of us look. 10  

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Zorro: The Legend Returns is the first game Aristocrat introduced under the new game category, VIRIDIAN Hybrid with Active Reel Technology. This new line of games has the potential to feature a five-reel stepper base game, a full screen video and a three-reel stepper bonus all in one game. This amazing technology allows for an incredible amount of interactivity for the player. The new Zorro slot has three standalone progressive jackpots, a symbol-triggered progressive jackpot feature, and four additional bonus features. Explore the journeys you remember from the hit television series. Stunning graphics stretch top to bottom of the screen, and exciting sounds surround you. Always wanted to be the swordsman that Zorro was? Now is your chance!

On the Music Charts Oh what a thriller Bally has introduced to the slot world through their chart-topping slot game, Michael Jackson: King of Pop. Featuring one of the most widely beloved and influential artists of all time, this game brings the King of Pop back to life right in


will see videos and exclusive footage of the pop phenomenon’s most famous dance moves and songs, all the while playing your way to winnings (we hope)! The King of Pop remains alive in Bally’s most incredible slot sensation to date, and perhaps the most exciting of 2012. For more than a decade, Elvis lovers have had a burning love for International Game Technology’s games featuring the King of Rock ’n’ Roll. The latest is a video slot with four progressive jackpot levels and a collection of bonus events that make it the most Elvis-y of Elvis slots. There are four progressive jackpot levels, all named for Elvis hits—“Hound Dog,” “Jailhouse Rock,” “Heartbreak Hotel” and “Viva Las Vegas.” Each is tied to a bonus event. In the “Heartbreak Hotel” bonus, an onscreen hotel has seven stories and a penthouse. You choose hotel room doors to find bonus credits, and, if you find Elvis, he awards you all the credits on that level. You don’t want to find broken hearts. They keep you from advancing to the next level. Reel symbols depict Elvis at different stages of his career. And there’s Elvis music. LOTS of Elvis music. When I tested the game, I really liked the Juke Box Bonus, though it doesn’t lead to a progressive jackpot. You choose among Elvis songs. In my test, I picked “That’s All Right, Mama.” The song blared out of the speakers in the machine and in the special sound chair, and credits rolled up on the screen, which also flashed Elvis video and trivia. And I advanced a level, so I got to rock out to “Blue Suede Shoes” for more credits. When it was over, a voice announced, “Elvis has left the building.”

MICHAEL JACKSON : KING OF POP

is Bally Technologies’ newest slot sensation.

front of your eyes. This Bally sensation was the center of attention at the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas this past September, and the hype has certainly not died down. Jackson and slot fanatics are ranting and raving at all this game has to offer. Presented on Bally’s new cabinet with an enormous 22-inch monitor for the main game and 32-inch vertical screen for musical bonus fun, your world transforms as you spin the wheel. Everything you remember about the pop sensation can be found during different points in this game. With a certain reel combination, you’ll watch him moonwalk across the screen. You will also use his famous sequined glove to spin a wheel for even more spectacular bonus prizes. Oh, the bonuses! You are in for a show stopper with these bad boys. Sing along to your favorite MJ hits like “Billie Jean,” “Dirty Diana,” “Don’t Stop 'Til You Get Enough,” “Smooth Criminal,” “Beat It” and “Bad” during the game’s six bonus rounds. Many a slot player might be caught dancing while playing these bonus rounds! This game appeals to all audiences with its incredible performances and creative technology. With every turn you

Even games that aren’t specifically music-themed can carry a pop culture hook. Take the new Cash Eruption slot from Spielo International. It’s a volcano-themed game that spews out bonuses to the sounds of “Hot, Hot, Hot.” It comes with a special effects chair that rocks when the volcano blows. And there’s a three-tiered progressive that is guaranteed to hit within given ranges—$10-$20, $30-$50 and $250-$500. “We tried to look at what people regard as attainable, and what they see as an upset factor,” product marketing manager Mike Brennan said. “If you have a max bet of $2.50, you’d better have your lowest level at significantly above that. We also try to make sure the top doesn’t seem like a pipe dream. The wrinkle here is that you also can multiply these progressives, two times, three times, five times. Pick a tile and, more than half the time, you’ll at least double that bottom award.” Bonus play and progressive jackpots are the main events, while the music helps it pop.

At the Movies John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John, song, dance, young love— “Grease” is a pop culture extravaganza, and so is the hot new Grease video slot from Bally Technologies. It’ll be a wide-area progressive, meaning that in states where it is legal, machines in different casinos can be linked to the same jackpot. There are two playing fields on the screen—two sets of five reels—in a penny game with a 60-cent minimum wager. Reel symbols are chock

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full of movie imagery, and there’re music and video featuring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. At bonus time, you drag your finger across an onscreen high school yearbook, flipping pages to see what event you’ll be playing. In the “How Cool Are You” bonus, you pick a car to race across the screen. When I did a trial run of the game, I chose the Scorpion’s car, finished a little behind the leader, and the game told me I was “Almost Cool” as my bonus rang up. The “Too Pure to Be Pink” bonus is a pick ’em event, choosing among wigs for extra credits. But the event everyone will want to see is the “You’re the One that I Want” free games, complete with video of the showpiece scene of the movie. The stars woo each other in the “Grease” showpiece video in the top box—a scaled down video played atop the spinning reels on the main screen—and speakers in the back of the game’s special chair contributed to a surround-sound effect. Having watched people test the game in a non-wagering situation, Jean Venneman, Bally’s vice president of product marketing and licensing, said, “This one has been fun to watch people play. They seem to be more focused on the video than on the actual game. And everybody has fond memories of the first time they saw the movie, or that they thought Olivia Newton-John was amazing, or John Travolta.”

then spins an onscreen bonus wheel that could take you into one of four bonus events based on Dorothy, the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion and the Scarecrow. If the wheel lands on a witch, you get a “Witch Wheel” with values multiplied. “The ultimate goal here is to get a witch, and then on the Witch Wheel land on Dorothy,” Bradley Rose, executive director of game development, explained as he demonstrated. “The reason you want the “Dorothy” bonus is because it’s our original Wizard of Oz nostalgia right here. This takes you to the original free spin bonus of The Wizard of Oz. All the original symbols that players loved in our first Oz game [tornadoes, hot air balloons and other Oz icons] are there. And it’s collaborative. You pick an emerald on the screen, and try to find Glindas that turn wild.”

At the Arcade Bally’s slot machine version of Skee Ball uses the same touch, drag and release technology that has given us the popular U-Spin slots. On U-Spin games, you touch a bonus wheel on the screen, drag it back and forth, fast and slow, and release it to spin. On some versions, a physical wheel in the top box spins at the same speed, bringing around the same spaces and the video version as it shows you what bonus awards you win.

International Game Technology also looks to the silver screen for its Breakfast at Tiffany’s slots. Audrey Hepburn, as Holly Golightly, lights up the slot video screen just as she lit up the silver screen in the 1961 comedy co-starring George Peppard as her love interest, Paul Varjak.

In Skee Ball, instead of spinning a wheel, you’re dragging and releasing the balls, trying to land them in the circles with the greatest value. As you collect points, you get tickets, and then go to the arcade counter to make picks from toyshelves. The toys you pick reveal your bonus.

The slot machine version is chock full of video, and those who love the movie will have a great time at the game. Holly’s cat, called “Cat,” will walk across the screen from time to time. Pet the cat to earn bonus credits.

“One thing we think about is, ‘How can we engage the players in the bonus experience?’” Venneman said. In Skee Ball, they’re engaged by being active participants.

Along with Bally and IGT, WMS loves to go to the movies. And one movie it loves to share with us over and over is “The Wizard of Oz.” The latest in its series of Wizard of Oz slot machines is Journey to Oz, where WMS uses a bonus wheel for the first time. “We’re taking the number one brand in the industry, which is ‘Oz,’ and pairing it with the number one play mechanic, which is the wheel,” Rose said. “And you’re combining that with a community gaming experience.” On an average of once every 60 seconds, a mini-wheel spins on one player’s screen. If it lands on Glinda, the good witch rises to the big screen overhead, and with a little movie magic says, “A wave from my wand and we will see what magic may bring.” She 12  

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Sometimes, the pop culture ties can be self-referential. Take Incredible Technologies’ matched set of five-reel video slots, Guys Night Out and Girls Day Out. Girls Day Out has a shopping motif, with reel symbols including dresses, purses and shoes. Flowers cascade alongside the reels. For Guys Night Out, it’s a sportier look, with cigars, steaks and tickets to the big game. The symbols alongside the reels are poker chips. Then there’s the arcade-style game tie. Among the reel symbols are Golden Tee Golf units. It’s Golden Tee Golf, a favorite in bars, restaurants and online, that really put Incredible Technologies on the map, making the company a giant in the amusement game industry before it turned its attention to slot machines. “One thing in these games, when it takes you to the free spin games, it takes you to a new set of reels, and you see changes in the


movement in the background,” said Dan Schrementi, IT’s director of game marketing and new media,. “Girls Day Out is a 30-cent game, Guys Night Out is a 40-cent game. In Girls Day Out, in the bonus you pick your guys, the men that you want to date. In Guys Night Out, you go to the club and pick your lady.” P resu mably for a touch of pop culture.

Around the Board Not only is Monopoly the board game part of our pop culture, a family favorite for generations, Monopoly slots have become a lasting part of our slot culture. The latest take on the board classic from WMS Gaming is Epic Monopoly, which uses the multi-pay format to put four sets of reels on the same screen. That means four chances to get to a bonus event. Wilds on the first set of reels transfer over to others, so good luck on the first reels can lead to some big pays. And the game features an around-the-board bonus, always a favorite among Monopoly players. “As in any Monopoly game, this one has a ton of bonuses,” Rose said. “It has bonuses within the bonuses. But it also has a wheel. It’s the first Monopoly game with a wheel—you’re going to see that theme a little bit now.”

N EO N C I T Y C A S I N O is manufactured by Incredible Technologies.

Did You Know? The Zorro television and movie character is based on a real man named Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, who is considered the father of Mexican Independence.

The Sudoku Puzzle

When the wheel spins, you can either win bonus credits or go to bonus events including the trip around the game board, Community Chest and Chance bonuses, or a free spin bonus.

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Incredible Technologies recognizes that with its Neon City Casino game. It not only has that old-school neon look that shouts, “Play me!” it uses iconic table games—blackjack, roulette and seven-card stud—as bonus events.

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“It’s a very traditional casino experience, like Vegas’s Fremont Street, neon everywhere,” Schrementi said. “We figured it wouldn’t be a casino game unless we got table games into it, so the mini-games are seven-card stud, roulette and blackjack.”

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It’s been more than 20 years since legal casino gambling started to expand beyond Nevada and New Jersey into other states. Casino games are part of our pop culture now, familiar to large segments of the population.

There’s no strategy to learn, though, and no intimidation factor. “This is essentially a pick ’em bonus hidden in a blackjack format,” Schrementi said. “You can’t hit or stand, you pick a hand to see if you beat the dealer.” So what’ll it be? Movies? TV? Music? A blackjack bonus? You get to decide what’s top of the pops.

Answers from Page 8

G A ME CO U RTESY O F SU D O KU TO D AY. CO M

John Grochowski has been writing about casinos and casino games since 1994. He blogs regularly for the Tunica Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, downtheroad. tunicatravel.com. He is the author of six books on gaming, including “The Slot Machine Answer Book” and “The Video Poker Answer Book.” You can find him online at casinoanswerman.com, and on Facebook and Twitter.

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Can a casino manager really push a jackpot button to reward a customer? Are reel-spinners more likely to pay out over video slots? The inner workings of slot machines remain a mystery to most players. As with most mysterious subjects, widely believed myths and rumors fill the void left by a lack of solid information. I’ll let you in on some of the truths about slot machines and debunk some of the myths.

John Grochowski has been writing about casinos and casino games since 1994. He blogs regularly for the Tunica Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, downtheroad. tunicatravel.com. He is the author of six books on gaming, including “The Slot Machine Answer Book” and “The Video Poker Answer Book.” You can find him online at casinoanswerman.com, and on Facebook and Twitter.

SLOTS

Slots: Myths and Legends

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Slots pay more when the player drops coins in by hand instead of playing off the credit meter. False. Slots do not pay more when the player drops coins in by hand. Nor do they pay more when the player plays off the credit meter instead of dropping in coins by hand. The long-term payback is the same no matter how the credits are obtained. Modern slot machines are programmed so reel combinations will show up with the same relative frequency, regardless of whether you play coins or credits. A machine is more likely to pay if the player uses paper money instead of coins. False. The machine is no more likely to pay if you use paper money instead of coins. The random number generator (RNG)—the computer program that determines what combinations are going to come up on the reels—doesn’t know if you’re playing with coins or paper money, or whether you’re playing credits or dropping in one coin at a time. The RNG is on a separate computer chip from the program that counts your money. Nevertheless, I used to recommend to players on short bankrolls they play coins instead of credits. Even if they start by sliding currency into the bill validator, I suggest they then cash out and feed the coins back into the slot. Why? Because play is slower when you use coins. Before bill validators, the casino used to assume customers played about 240 pulls per hour. Now some play 400, 500, even 600 pulls per hour, and it’s possible to play as many as 1,000 pulls per hour if you’re hitting the “max coins” button just as fast as the reels come to a stop. Drop coins in by hand and you slow down play and lessen your risk by limiting the number of wagers. Some slot players find that boring. Others with limited funds find it a good way to make their money last. It’s all in what your preferences and budget are. That advice is nearly obsolete as casinos switch over to making payoffs with ticket printers. Some machines,

especially at low denominations, have no slots in which to drop the coins. Besides, if you’re playing a penny slot with a 200-coin maximum bet, who’s going to drop in all those coins? That would be slow pay, indeed.

John Grochowski After a player hits the jackpot, a slot technician opens the machine and flips a switch to lower the payback percentage.

False. After a jackpot is hit, the slot technician does not open the machine to flip a switch and lower the payback percentage. He might open the machine to verify the combination shown on the reels matches the electronic outcome of the pull. That does not mean he is changing the payback percentage. Slot manufacturers and casino operators know the top jackpot is going to hit once in a while, and they know about how often it’s going to hit. That’s already accounted for in the payback percentage. There is no need for the casino to drive the percentage lower to make up ground faster after a big hit. In the long run (and the casinos are in it for the long run) jackpots are just a normal part of play. On two otherwise identical-looking slot machines, if one shows a bigger top jackpot, that’s the one to play. False. Or at least not necessarily true. If one machine had a bigger top jackpot than the other of two otherwise identical-looking slot machines, it does not necessarily mean the one with the bigger prize has a bigger payback percentage. The machine with a lesser jackpot could be programmed so that paybacks occur more frequently, and could have a higher overall payback than the machine with the bigger prize. There is no way to tell by looking at the machines. Don’t rule out a slot machine for play just because it isn’t the largest jackpot amount at that casino. After all, every win is a win, right?

Did You Know? Southern Gaming has received over 125,000 votes for the Best of Readers’ Choice Awards in the last three years of voting!

For more free slot tips, visit southerngaming.com/slots


The hottest new video slot titles from Incredible Technologies have landed all across the South. Experience these incredible games from the hottest new developer in the gaming industry. EXPERIENCE IT AT THESE SOUTHERN CASINOS FLORIDA

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SOUTHERN INDIANA

· Hollywood Casino, Lawrenceburg

LOUISIANA

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MISSISSIPPI

· Beau Rivage Resort & Casino, Biloxi · Boomtown Casino, Biloxi · Hollywood Casino, Tunica · IP Casino Resort & Spa, Biloxi · Isle of Capri, Biloxi · Rainbow Hotel Casino, Vicksburg · Island View Casino Resort, Gulfport · Hollywood Casino, Bay St. Louis

ITCASINOGAMES.COM MAGICTOUCHWINNERS.COM Goat Cheese™ and Nautica™ images used with permission. Power Lines and Topsy Turvy are registered trademarks of GC2 Inc. All rights reserved. © 2012 All Rights Reserved. Incredible Technologies Inc. 3333 N. Kennicott Ave. Arlington Heights, IL 60004 P:847-870-7027 F: 847-870-0120


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Hot Slots! TOP 10 IN 2012 BY JO HN GR OC HOW S K I

Slot machine manufacturers are in a continuing game of “can you top this?” as they seek to keep us in our seats and coming back for more. Every year brings new wrinkles, new bonuses and new styles of game play. When it all comes together, that brings extra entertainment to the players. And we can choose what style of entertainment we want. A music extravaganza? A stampede of elephants? Rolling big wheels of cheese down a mountain toward goats? Yep, that too. Let’s look at 10 hot slots that will keep us entertained in 2012.

Michael Jackson: King of Pop Bally Technologies It’s all Jacko, all the time on Bally’s thriller of a slot. That includes the base game, which uses scenes from music videos on the video reels. And, as for the bonus events, they’re real showstoppers. King of Pop is on Bally’s new 22-32 cabinet, with a 22-inch video monitor on the main game and a 32-inch vertical screen up top for musical bonus fun. On top of that, there’s a wheel, and you use the U-Spin format to touch the screen. Give the wheel a big spin and see which bonus you’ve landed. The wheel can give you bonus credits or take you to one of six bonus rounds themed after Michael Jackson songs, including “Bad,” “Beat It” and “Billie Jean.” Dance moves are integrated into game play. In the “Smooth Criminal” bonus, the music video is overlaid on the reels, and at a cymbal clash Jackson will halt; point and the indicated symbol will turn wild. At the end of a bonus event, a bandolier-laden Michael Jackson statue image rises in the top box, as golden as your bonus award.

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Moon Goddess Bally Technologies Video slots today command the largest share of space on casino floors, but there’s a lingering love for reel-stepper games. Bally mimics the look of the reel-spinners with its Curved product line, with a curved glass surface. The look is attractive, “but because they’re video, there’s so much more we can do graphically and from an animation perspective,” said Jean Venneman, Bally’s vice president of product marketing and licensing. One game in the Curved line is Moon Goddess where in a trial, three moons took me into the free-spin bonus round. During the bonus, you collect moons, and on the last spin they drop onto the reels as wild symbols. Collect enough moons, and it’ll lead to some howling huge wins.

Total Blast Bally Technologies Bally is going for interactivity with its iDeck, which turns the button panel area into an extra touch screen. The iDeck can be used as a simple button panel, for networked bonus events and to boost the interactivity of game play. In Total Blast, the iDeck boosts the interactivity, giving us a different experience than we’ve seen on slot games to date. In the bonus, we’re called on to shoot down invaders in space. The alien spaceships are on the main screen, and you let your fingers dance rapidly over the iDeck to fire shots from all different angles. In a trial run, I was using all fingers and both thumbs, running back and forth along the deck to fire as many shots as possible. A total blast? Yep. Formerly known as Spielo/Atronic, Spielo has brought us a number of lasting favorites, including Sphinx and the Deal or No Deal games. In Goldify, it puts its own spin on games that allow players to choose the volatility level they want. Reel symbols are from ancient Greece, with Spartan helmets, lyres and Pegasus, the winged horse. Players touch a symbol to Goldify it. Then winning combinations of that symbol pay five times the values on the usual pay table. Goldify a low-paying, frequently occurring symbol, and you bulk up small wins and reduce volatility. Goldify a big jackpot symbol, and you open a chance at a really big win, while leaving small pays small, and that increases the volatility.

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Mission: Impossible Aristocrat Technologies Aristocrat introduces its most exciting new penny video slot game with Mission: Impossible. Should you choose to accept the mission, you will witness action from the legendary television and movie series, as it plays out larger than life on the awardwinning VERVEhd™ cabinet. Experience a daring adventure while you search for the progressive jackpot and its $250,000 top award. The “Big Bang Jackpot Bonus” can be won at random when the player matches three or more Jackpot Lights before time runs out! Get three wins and receive anything from 1,000 credits to the Grand Jackpot! All agents reveal their true identity in the “Masquerade Bonus” while stealth vision reveals bonus reels in the “Stealth Reel Bonus.” Take your choice of heart-pounding m issions i nclud i ng a h ig h-speed showdown, black vault and more! Mission: Impossible is not just a game; it’s an exhilarating chance to solve your given mission and hit it big! 18  

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Tarzan & Jane: Forbidden Temple Aristocrat Technologies The original Tarzan slots were such a big hit that Aristocrat came right back to the theme and brought extra action to the jungle king and queen.

Wonder 4 Aristocrat Technologies What’s better than a player enjoying one favorite Aristocrat game? That same player enjoying four favorite Aristocrat games all at once! That is the magic of Aristocrat’s Wonder 4™, the latest edition to Aristocrat’s family of multi-play, multi-game products. Wonder 4 takes full advantage of Aristocrat’s stunning VIRIDAIN WS™ widescreen monitor, with four of Aristocrat’s best titles combined in one game. The unique configuration provides players a choice where they can play a combination of all four games or one game on four spots. Wonder 4 is launching with four of Aristocrat’s most popular games: Buffalo™, Fire Light™, Pompeii™ and Wild Splash™.

Like the original Tarzan game, Tarzan & Jane Forbidden Temple has a bonus wheel feature with a multilevel progressive jackpot, including a $100,000 grand jackpot. But the bonuses heat up with a second Fire Wheel, a Jane Diamond prize and tons of new and original features. In addition, players play two sets of Reel Power reels in the base game – Tarzan and Jane. In the Elephant Crush feature, the Tarzan and Jane reels are connected giving the players up to 7,776 ways to win and plenty of chances for the 3-D elephants to stampede Wonder 4 gives players more ways to win, and gives more ways to bonus the player. across your screen. Wonder 4 received rave reviews when it premiered at G2E, and now casinos can get the same rave reviews from their players by putting Wonder 4 on the casino floor today.


Goat Cheese Incredible Technologies A relative newcomer to casino games after establishing itself as a big player in the amusement game field with Golden Tee Golf, Incredible Technologies has worked on broadening its slot machine line. A pioneer in “choose your volatility” games in its Magic Touch line, Incredible offers traditional style video slots along with innovative games on the edge.

Wolf Run 2 International Game Technology

Those who liked IGT’s original Wolf Run—and it’s had quite a following—will love this updated version. “We wanted to be sure the integrity of the game was still intact, so those Wolf Run players would come play Wolf Run 2, and say it feels like my first game,” IGT Product Manager Ryan Griffin said. “But we wanted to give them a One of the innovative games is Goat deeper, richer experience.” Cheese, and it’s about as quirky as it gets. The extra wild symbols come up in 3-D, It features a cheese drop bonus where you wolves howl, the screen background gives roll wheels of cheese down a mountain, you images of a lake, river or forest. Much of collecting credits whenever the wheel hits it is real, high-quality nature photography, a goat instead of bouncing over, all with and the game is as beautiful as it is fun to yodeling in the background. In a topsy- play. When the aurora borealis signals a turvy feature, the play field is flipped bonus event, you can take free spins as in around—rotated 180 degrees. Then some the original Wolf Run, but there’s also an symbols become wild and you get a chance option to a pick ’em bonus. It’s Wolf Run, at extra wins. all right, and then some.

King of Bling Incredible Technologies When you talk about quirky games on the edge that push the boundaries of slot players’ expectations, there’s King of Bling, a game that has surprised even other slot makers. “Guys from all the other manufacturers are crawling over this game,” said Dan Schrementi, IT’s director of gaming marketing and new media. “I think they’re shocked we made something like this.” King of Bling has a hip-hop soundtrack, drop-in hip-hop characters and symbols sharing a diamond-encrusted look. On winners, paylines don’t light up; instead, winning symbols enlarge and pop out on the screen.

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VIDEO POKER

Most people are already familiar with home equity— the difference between what your home is worth and what you owe. However, if you’re a frequent casino player, you may want to consider your equity in casino promotions, as well. In the old days, casinos held drawings for luxury cars or a major amount of cash; nice to dream about, but your chances of winning were remote. After attending these large gatherings with crossed fingers and losing once more, player enthusiasm waned and patrons were less likely to go out of their way for a drawing. Today, management teams have switched to either more but smaller prizes, cash or merchandise accessed by swiping your slot card at a kiosk or guaranteed gifts based solely on earned points.

Linda Boyd writes for several gaming magazines. Look for her article in the 2011 Edition of American Casino Guide. Her book, “The Video Poker Edge,” includes free removable pay schedules and her free strategy cards for the most popular games. Amazon, Square One Publishers and bookstores are sending the second edition with a 2010 publishing date. Kindle edition now available.

Video Poker: Promotion Equity

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I see this trend as good news, especially for video poker players, who take the time to determine their equity (odds) in promotional events. Here are some tips for improving your chances. Check Number of Tickets: Now it’s easier than in the past to know the exact amount of tickets you have at any given time, since you’ll find that information when you follow the prompts at a casino kiosk. That’s why the first thing you should do is swipe your card to see all current promos. In addition you will often be given extra entries just for using your card at the kiosk. You may want to know more precise information about the total number of tickets. Simply ask your host or a slot club employee. They will have an approximation (based on similar past drawings) and have no reason to keep it a secret. This will give you ballpark odds on your chances and thus equity information. Coin-In: Virtually all casinos use this standard in awarding slot club points to determine cash, comps and number of contest entries. Coin-in is the amount of money you run through casino devices during your play. This is very different from average daily theo (ADT) used to determine marketing offers, as coin-in is transparent. In other words, it’s an aggregate dollar amount, pure and simple. The casino does not consider the expected return (ER) of the device you are playing like they do for theo, but rather the total amount of money you played. In fact, whether you win or lose during a session is irrelevant in terms of coin-in. Here’s an example. You play 800 hands of video poker per hour on a singleline dollar machine, with a 5-coin max bet. So, you have $4,000 coin-in per hour ($800 x $5 = $4,000). You may play for two hours and win $5,000 or lose $2,000, but nonetheless your coin-in remains $8,000 ($4,000 x 2 = $8,000).

You can max your equity (number of tickets) by selecting video poker games that have the highest probability of increasing your coin-in on a given bankroll. The next section has the details. B e s t V id e o P o ker Linda Boyd Games: If one of your objectives is to increase your total number of entries for a drawing, then play a video poker game that has a low variance or risk, like Jacks or Better (JOB). Of course you’ll want the game with the highest expected return (ER) available, say 9/6 JOB (99.54% ER, 19.5 variance) instead of 8/5 JOB (97.30% ER, 19.3 variance). Never give up too much in ER for the sake of a promotional drawing. If the only JOB games available have a very poor theoretical return, like 7/5 JOB (96.15% ER, 19.1 variance), then consider another non-volatile game like 8/5 Bonus Poker (99.17% ER, 20.9 variance). Games like Double Double Bonus (DDB) have a higher variance and therefore you will play fewer hands on the same bankroll, thus having a lesser amount of coin-in and virtual tickets. For example, 9/6 DDB has an ER of 98.98 and a variance of 42.0. This means statistically you’ll run out of bankroll twice as fast as any JOB game and therefore will earn approximately half the number of entry tickets. Bonus Tickets: Check with your host or at the slot club to find out if certain times or days offer bonus entries. This is the latest trend because it’s free for the casino and can increase the player volume during slow times. Read Carefully: Almost all promotions require that you are present for the drawing and that you check in ahead of time. The specifics, such as how far in advance for check-in vary, so make sure you find out in advance. There may be other rules as well, so it’s worth the time to make sure you meet all requirements. Once I failed to collect my free gas card within the designated time span (a few hours after the Sunday promo) and, even though I was only a few minutes late, I lost out on the gas card. Since casinos spend no extra money if there are a large number of entries, they usually include all games. However, make sure by asking if all video poker devices are included in the promo. Consider Number of Prizes: Naturally, your equity is reduced when the prizes are few, but the players are many. You may want to participate in promos even if your equity is small, however it’s more profitable to focus on events guaranteeing a reward, gift certificates for example, rather than a pie-in-the-sky grand prize.

For more free videopoker tips, visit southerngaming.com/videopoker


Your Favorite Games

At Your Fingertips

Now Available:

Coming Soon:

Bally’s Play-For-Fun mobile apps deliver the same amazing play mechanics, bonuses, graphics, and music found in your favorite casino games. These apps feature social-sharing functionality, leader boards, the ability to download popular music featured in some games directly from iTunes®, and a GPS-enabled locator to direct you to the real game at a casino near you. *These games are for amusement only and do not replicate the odds of winning or the payouts of similar Bally games.

BallyTech.com

866.316.1777

©2012 Bally Technologies. All rights reserved. Images are for illustration purposes only and are subject to change. ©2012 Playboy. PLAYBOY and Rabbit Head Design and BUNNIES are marks of Playboy and licensed by Bally Gaming, Inc. ©2012 King Features Syndicate, Inc./Fleischer Studios, Inc.,

™ Hearst Holdings, Inc./Fleischer Studios.


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superior slots THE INDUSTRY’S LEADING MANUFACTURERS BY L I ND A B OY D

To make the games more comprehensible, you must consider the kaleidoscope of creators. In fact, manufacturing slots is such a lucrative business worldwide that some new companies are now giving International Game Technology (IGT) a real run for their money. Each of the companies I’ve listed is reliable and adheres to all legislative requirements within their jurisdiction. You’ll want to be cautious when playing in unregulated areas or on devices manufactured by unknown companies. They may be perfectly legitimate, but take the time to research the company. Make sure Gaming Labs International (GLI) or a similar company has approved them. If you’re a regular slots player, then you already know the payback percentages vary from game to game, as well as casino to casino. That’s because casinos are free to order from a range of available chips for a given game.

I N C R E DI BL E T EC H N O L O GI E S is headquartered in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Looking around the casino these days, you will notice that some industry giants have created brilliant bells and whistles on their latest games, especially during bonus rounds. Soon you’ll find virtual games realistic to the point of mesmerizing that may even include dexterity skills as well as “braininess.” Guess that’s why I find so many people molded to their seats in front of the latest games by Bally, Incredible Technologies, Aristocrat, Konami, IGT and others. You might want to do a little research before your next casino visit. Among other things, you’ll maximize the entertainment value when you know how you earn a bonus round or whether there’s the extra long-shot possibility of lucking into a life-changing jackpot. Today you can even download some games onto your iPhone, Android or home computer. Getting familiar with the newer games on your electronic devices will result in making the real deal (that’s playing for cash) more understandable and exciting. 22  

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For example, a manufacturer may have eight different chips available for the same game, say Wild Panda by Aristocrat, which has a range of chips from 88-95%. The casino orders the chip they want from a book, but the player has no way of knowing which chip is in the machine. In fact, you can have side-by-side Wild Panda devices with two different percentage chips—one could be 90%, while the other could be 95%. If you’re a casino regular, pay attention to paybacks and you may determine a ballpark for the ones with the higher expected returns (ERs). Be aware that anything can happen in the short run, so you shouldn’t make assumptions based on just a few sessions. Slots can have lengthy winning or losing cycles, but if you play long enough you’re guaranteed to lose. That’s why some players choose to walk away a winner and come back another day. One other thing to consider is the pay schedule for the game you’ve selected. If you’re rewarded with something extra for a maximum bet—special bonuses or more per coin for the same combinations—make sure you place a maximum bet. If you can’t afford the amount then find a game that doesn’t punish you for short-coins. Slots have ERs favoring the house, so you’ll want to get value


B A L LY T EC H N O L OGI E S

ventures were lucrative while others failed. Today they have gone back to their roots with outstanding slot choices. You’ll still find classics like Blazing 7’s along with newer choices that contain more bonus features. This company has many popular games and more on the way. Just a few are Betty Boop’s Love Meter, Black & White Sevens, Black & White 5 Times Pay, Cash Spin, Code Red, Hot Shot (progressive), Poppit! and Spin & Win. If you’re a baby boomer, then you can probably answer the question, “Who is that masked man?” You’ll find Lone Ranger slots by Bally that include sound bites from the popular show. Look for some unusual new slots as well from this iconic company. Bally’s really back in town!

Aristocrat (AG): This Australian company opened its doors in 1953 and entered the U.S. market in 1965. But it didn’t become fully licensed in America and other countries until 2000. AG has been trading publicly on the Australian Stock Exchange since 1989. This corporation has never deviated much from its core products—gaming slots. That may be one of many reasons for the success of their slot devices in Australia and on other continents. Although Aristocrat today has slot devices in several countries, they are still king of the devices in Australia, producing more than 90% of their slots. In addition to traditional slots, Aristocrat is the leader of “pokies,” video poker games down under. I’m sure you’ve seen their games scattered on casino floors. Some of their most popular slots are Queen of the Nile, Dolphin Treasure (similar to Queen, but more volatile with a long-shot opportunity for a 150,000 coin bonus jackpot) and Reel Power. 50 Lions is a play on words allowing you to enable up to 50 lines by inserting more coins. Other favorites are Zorro, Lucky Devil, Mr. Cashman, L’il Lucy, Enchanted Forrest and Dollar Storm. Be sure you consider the entire cost of each bet, even though it may say “penny” machine. Some devices incorporate tiered systems of jackpots with the objective of accumulating qualifying bonus points. The more bonus points you collect, the bigger the jackpot. This process can get expensive.

recently celebrated their 80th anniersary. for your money by selecting a slot that’s fun to play. Of course, opinions of what’s entertaining will differ from person to person. However, next time you’re in a casino, look around and you’ll easily be able to determine the hottest slots in town. They’re the ones with people waiting in line to play while other machines remain vacant. What if you’ve been dying to play a new game that you’ve played online or on your phone, but it’s not in your favorite casino? I suggest you contact the slot club manager and ask if they can order a few; frequently they will. Here are the slot industry leaders along with what makes them unique, successful and extremely popular with players. Incredible Technologies (IT): IT, headquartered in Arlington Heights, Illinois, was founded by Elaine Hodgson (President/ CEO) and Richard Ditton in 1985. Their flagship arcade game, Golden Tee, is the most successful pay-to-play game in history. Enthusiasts rave that this game includes varying golf conditions on a virtual course (updated daily at midnight) that take into account pin placement, changing winds and other real-life game variables. They used similar genius technology for Silver Strike Bowler’s Club (online play includes updated player stats) and Silver Strike Bowling (offline for home game rooms). Now IT is entering the casino market in a big way. Their products have already been approved by GLI and have been granted licenses in eight states and counting. In addition, they’ve been licensed by several Native American tribes for Class III gaming for video slots under the name Magic Touch. Based on their bowling and golf virtual games, I expect their creations to be big successes with players. You’ll definitely want to try games created by this innovative company. I certainly do. Bally: This is the granddaddy of slots, with a long history dating back to 1932, when founder Ray Maloney started out with the Ballyhoo pinball machine. You may be wondering if they’re the same company that branched into theme parks (Six Flags), health clubs (Bally’s Fitness), casino ownership (Bally’s Casino) and myriad other endeavors. Absolutely the same, but some

Konami: Konami (meaning “little wave”) is a Japanese company with an interesting and varied history. Kagamasa Kosuki of Osaka founded it as a jukebox rental and repair company in 1969. Konami began to focus on arcade games in 1973, but as they were a small company it took until 1978 for their first games to hit the market. Serendipitous timing as that’s when arcade games were becoming a worldwide fad. In 1981 they released Super Cobra and Scramble with a big success in Japan and a milder one in the U.S. They made enough revenue to break into the PC software market in 1982 and even won design rights for the not-too-successful MSX home consoles. This gave them the experience for their very profitable, and often stormy, relationship with Nintendo. Under the name Ultra Games, this company produced Skate or Die, Gyruss and the infamous Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. (Although Ultra Games is now a defunct company, Konami still holds the trademark for the games they made.) Konami moved Vol um e 14  I ssue 2  

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their offices to Redwood City, California, in the 1980s, and in 2005 they moved their headquarters to Las Vegas, Nevada. If you play their Rocky Slots, you’ll hear clips of Sylvester Stallone from his movie series during the game. Other popular Konami slots are Money in the Bank, Solstice Gold, African Treasure, Coinopolis, Big Payoff and Billionaires. Notice the emphasis on money in the titles. If you see that theme, there’s a good chance you’re playing a Konami game. A few others (without reference to money) are, Mariachi Madness, Blue Ice and Flame Jumper. Look for this successful company to be a major player in the future with the next level of more player interactive slots. International Game Technology (IGT): In the deal of the century, founder Si Redd purchased the company’s video poker rights for a pittance. Redd is not only the founder of IGT, but also the father of video poker. He placed the first video poker device on a gaming floor in the mid-1970s, expecting it to be a novelty item where patrons would wager a few coins on their way to the tables. Instead, it became a mega-hit with players. In fact, the eight classic core games remain popular today and variations are with format options, including increasing the number hands played during the same game. How about slots? In 1981 they moved from mechanical devices to machines with random number generators (RNGs). (My book, The Video Poker Edge, has detailed information about how these computer chips work.) This innovation enabled higher jackpot possibilities than the three-reel mechanical devices. And big they were, starting with Megabucks, the first progressive, in 1986. Later the most popular progressive, Wheel of Fortune, hit the casino floor. In this case there is a bonus wheel that multiplies your winnings. More games followed like Jeopardy, Family Feud and The Price is Right. Some have progressive jackpots while others don’t. Popular sitcoms were IGT themes as well— The Munsters, I Dream of Jeannie, Gilligan’s Island, Beverly Hillbillies and Bewitched. Other IGT choices are Texas Tea and, more recently, Sex and the City. IGT also created the Progressive Network Link concept, which involves a central monitoring system connecting devices throughout a state, several states or any configuration negotiated by casino owners. Now we’re talking about the potential for jackpots in the tens of thousands or even millions—life-changing possibilities although extreme long shots. WMS: This company, also called Williams Gaming, got its start in the pinball machine business in 1974. In the late seventies and early eighties, WMS started selling games to arcades and later they got into the business of making games for handheld devices. Though relatively obscure, they managed to make enough money to get their foot in the door of the lottery business. In 1991 WMS sold lottery machines nationwide to states with lotto games. From there it was a short step right into the casinos making slots. Their first well-known slot machine was Reel ’Em In (you’ll still find some of these in many casinos), a game with multiplier features, as well as several bonus games. Other games produced by WMS are Filthy Rich and Clint Eastwood slots with sound bites from “Dirty Harry,” “The Man With No Name,” “Bronco Billy” and other Eastwood classics. In 1998 WMS began trading on the NYSE. One of their best sellers is Monopoly, based on the board game, which still has a big following. They tend to avoid television franchises and focus more on board games, although 24  

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they did produce the Match Game. Other Williams’s games are Men in Black, Leprechaun’s Gold, King Midas, Cash Crop and Galactic Payback. The newer games are Star Trek (extremely popular and allows the player to use an ID number to continue advancing during future sessions at any casino with the game), Star Wars (with the same ID option as Star Trek), Wizard of Oz Stand Alone and Wizard of Oz Progressive. Atronic: This German company was founded in 1993 and does business in 90 countries. It’s a subsidiary of the famous Gueselmann Group, with offices throughout Europe, Russia, the United States, Australia, South America and Central America. You’ll find their slots nationwide in both Native American and commercial casinos. Because they place slots in many nations, they have an eclectic collection of themes. Grand Master, for example, is based on the game of chess. You’ll go into a bonus round when a king or queen appears on the screen and earn more bonus credits when chess pieces that don’t match your king or queen result in “captures.” Other games are Deal or No Deal, Big Boys’ Toys (based on, what else, cars) and Phantom of the Opera. Asian themes include Tiger and Dragon, Madame Sakung, Kublai Khan and Bamboo Magic. They also have European themes for a variety of countries such as Visit Paris, Mayan Magic (history of old Mexico), Mistress of Egypt and Johnny Vegas (it represents their perception of American excess). This company offers devices in several languages, including English, Spanish, Russian, French and Portuguese. Final Thoughts: One thing’s for sure, slots are truly a global industry, in terms of the manufacturers, players and the countries where games are available. Even in China where you need a visitor’s visa, an exception was made for Macau, a gambling Mecca located on a peninsula off the South Sea of China. The government made it a “special administrative region” (SAR) not requiring a visa—just a passport, for the next 50 years—so people from all over the world can play. Maybe you’re primarily a video poker player or only wager at the tables. Sometimes your luck is so lousy it’s more like going to the dentist than an entertainment venue. That’s when you’ll want to try a new game. Walk around the casino and you’re sure to find a slot option that will capture your attention. Today some companies are offering devices that require skills—mental, dexterity or both. For those longtime slot fans, there’s more to choose from than ever before and the options keep coming. Instead of staying glued to your old standbys, take some time to case the floor and try something different. Just participating in the bonuses of some games, as well as the outstanding graphics, will make it well worth the effort!

Linda Boyd writes for several gaming magazines. Look for her article in the 2011 Edition of American Casino Guide. Her book, “The Video Poker Edge,” includes free removable pay schedules and her free strategy cards for the most popular games. Amazon, Square One Publishers and bookstores are sending the second edition with a 2010 publishing date. Kindle edition now available.


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mobile money SLOTS IN YOUR SMARTPHONE BY MA R K GR UE T Z E

Your favorite slot machine could be stashed in your pocket. Apps for smart phones and tablet computers, such as the iPad, allow users to download an ever-expanding catalog of popular casino slot games and play them anywhere. As the world of technology expands, slot makers are taking advantage of the growing opportunities to bring your favorite games right to your fingertips. “It’s definitely the next frontier for gaming,” says Louis Castle, chief strategy officer for Shuffle Master Inc., a Las Vegas-based company that markets slot machines, as well as automated shufflers and proprietary table games to casinos around the world.

enthusiasts who have an addiction to these popular slot machines are still able to get their fix, without the worry of losing any real bankroll. “We tried to create a player experience that is as close to what you can get in the casino [but] in the palm of your hand,” says Scott Milford, director of mobile and secondary channels for Aristocrat. “We tried to stay very true to the original design of the game in terms of structure, game play mechanics, sounds, animation, all of those things.” In a bonus round of the casino version of Aristocrat’s Imperial House slot game, for example, a player gets to “drag” a coin across the touch screen and put it on one of the reels, where it becomes a multiplier used during free spins. The phone app replicates that experience.

Ba l ly Tech nologies, IGT a nd Aristocrat offer play-for-fun slot apps on iTunes. Selected WMS games are Five Dragons available on iTunes through Phantom Aristocrat’s most popular phone-app Aristocrat EFX, which also makes “Battle Slots” games include Wild Winnings II, and other PC games. Apps typically sell for $1.99 or $2.99 each. Miss Kitty and Five Dragons. The company plans to release a These prices seem quite reasonable when you consider how much new game every four to six weeks. With smartphones seemingly money slot enthusiasts spend at the casinos playing these same taking over the mobile world, there is endless opportunity to games. Similar apps for Androids and other smartphones are create these new applications for nationwide use. available, but they’re outnumbered by the selections on iTunes. “Playing a slot app on a mobile phone lets fans take their Although designed for the small screen, the phone apps for the enjoyment of a game to a new level,” says Warren Baltz, lead major manufacturers’ slot machines have all the bells and whistles producer of mobile content for Phantom EFX, based in Cedar of the real thing—minus putting in and taking out your money, Falls, Iowa. of course, as online gambling is illegal in the United States. “It is a very fun experience you can have any time without Trying to budget yourself more wisely these days? Now gaming 28  

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necessarily being dressed up and making a drive through the weather to get to the casino,” he says. “But it’s also fun to play while you’re sitting on the bus or waiting in the doctor’s office. You can have the same experience you enjoy at the casino, but it’s very convenient in your pocket.” Phantom EFX, which got its start in computer games and makes the Reel Deal line of PC games, adds a video game feel to its offerings. “Since you’re not winning actual money, we put things in place to provide that same emotional award that comes when you get the big payout,” Baltz says. “Things like winning celebrations, additional sound effects and graphics that may be over and above what you would find in a traditional slot machine.”

Kaku says today’s smartphone has more computer power than all of NASA had in 1969, when the United States landed two astronauts on the moon. Milford says mobile technology continues to grow at an astronomical rate. “There’s so much processing power available in those devices that it really unlocks the potential and creative imaginations of developers and game designers,” he says. “That technology is moving very quickly. I think we’re going to see more convergence between mobile technology and social games and the casino experience. What we want to do is give people an experience they can take from the casino to their mobile and from their mobile back to the casino.”

Phantom’s initial line of apps for WMS games includes Reel o’ Dublin, Brazilian Bally Technologies, whose apps Beauty and Kilauea. “Those have been Brazilian Beauty include Playboy Hot Zone, Cash insanely popular on iTunes,” Baltz says. Phantom EFX Spin and Vegas Hits, sees even The company plans to continue releasing more ways gamblers could use their WMS titles as long as demand holds up, which doesn’t seem to smartphones. The company is partnering with casino firms to be changing any time soon. combine marketing and gaming, says Mike Daly, Bally’s director of business development. He’s head of the recently established Phantom EFX’s apps offer users a choice between two payback Interactive Division, the company’s first new division in 50 years. rates. One is the casino-plus payback percentage, which Baltz says is comparable to the original game structure in payouts, but still “Bally is taking the approach of: ‘How do we bring the casino a little higher than in a real casino. The other is the dream play to players, wherever the players may be, and the players to the mode, which has a payout significantly more than 100 percent. casino, wherever the players may be?” Daly says. Think of it as playing a machine set in tournament mode to award lots of jackpots. While brick-and-mortar casinos remain an entertainment destination, Daly envisions mobile apps that can be used before, “We’re just trying to gear up the payouts so people can experience during and after a visit to enhance players’ enjoyment. “Your the bonus more often, experience larger wins more often, and entertainment experience doesn’t end when you’re at the casino, generally have a more entertaining casual experience,” Baltz says. and it doesn’t start when you get to the casino,” he says. “It becomes a fully immersing, embracing experience.” Shuffle Master’s Castle, whose company is a large supplier of slot machines to Australia, says the attributes that draw slot players At the most basic level, app users can play a slot machine on their to the casino also draw them to try games online—the graphics phones to while away the time. It could be a nostalgic return to and animations, the sound effects and the excitement of winning. a classic game such as Aristocrat’s Wicked Winnings II—once a top performer, but now hard to find on the casino floor. Or it “Clearly, most people who sit behind a slot machine don’t expect could be a test run of a game about to be released. Users can get to win, but everybody hopes to win,” he says. “The games that a feel for a game without putting their money at risk. give you the right balance between expectation and hope are the ones that do the best.” But the experience could extend well beyond seeing the reels spin and the free credits mount. For example, casinos might notify Recent business deals underscore the increasing importance app users that the slot they’ve been trying out on their phones of mobile gaming in the casino industry. Besides the WMS is being added to the floor, and invite them to give it a spin in partnership with Phantom EFX, Bally bought Macroview Labs, which develops smartphone apps, and International Game person. When players get to the casino, they can use the app to Technology bought Double Down Interactive, which operates guide them straight to the machine without wandering down one the free-to-play DoubleDown casino on the Facebook social row after another in a frustrating search. “I can see where it is networking site. in relation to the restaurant that I like,” Daly says. “And, by the way, what special is that restaurant running today?” The emphasis on smartphone apps illustrates how far technology has advanced in the past few decades. Author and physicist Michio By their nature, free-to-play slot apps make little, if any, money for Vol um e 14  I ssue 2  

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manufacturers or casinos directly. Bally is pushing an interactive marketing approach so casinos and players can talk directly to each other. With casino apps, gamblers could check their players club points or apply them to comps. A player at a casino resort could order room service and have the delivery timed to his return to the room. A property could use the technology to set up a special event, such as a casino scavenger hunt for customers. “It’s not just gaming. It’s a casino destination experience,” Daly says. In Nevada, some sports books already allow bettors throughout the state to place wagers via smartphone apps without having to go to the property. However, the service is not available to anyone outside the state. Daly says the concept of “geofencing”—establishing an electronic boundary in which an app works—can be refined even within a casino. He says some areas of Nevada allow “onproperty-not-at-the-device” gaming. A customer can play slots electronically, for money, from his room or by the pool without actually sitting at a machine.

Cash Wizard Bally Technologies

Slot manufacturers foresee players being able to rate games with a “like” or “dislike” on networking sites. They could tweet back and forth without having to leave the casino environment the app maker has developed. The popularity of slot machine apps offers a glimpse at the potential of legalized online gambling. The United States is considered the number one market in the world for online gaming, and the possibility of legalization here increased with a Department of Justice ruling released in December 2011. It said the Federal Wire Act forbids only sports-related gambling in interstate and foreign commerce. Previously, the department interpreted the act as outlawing all forms of gambling. Many casino-related companies are preparing for legalization and regulation of online gaming—not just poker, but also slots and table games, such as blackjack. Companies already in international markets, including Shuffle Master and Bally, are getting ready in the event the federal government or individual states approve online gambling. Southern G aming an d De s t in a t io n s

Bally has more than two million users of its apps across various casinos and customers, Daly says. Because so many people use smartphones, such numbers are likely to grow. Gartner Inc. of Stamford, Conn., an information technology research and advisory company, says smartphone sales total more than one million per day worldwide. The company predicts that by 2013, more than half the people accessing the Internet will do so through a mobile device.

Free-to-play games help gamblers learn and enjoy the games so they’ll look for the machines when they go into traditional casinos. At some point, players could be able to log on and play tournaments with their friends who are online at a social networking site and end with game play at a casino.

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Daly does not think mobile or Internet gaming would take players away from brick-and-mortar casinos. “Some of those who look at the mobile and the Internet offerings will be people who have not yet visited their local casino,” he explains. “They get interested in the gaming experience and we attract new players to our casino customers. You may grow your player base. As we head toward wagering sometime in the future, there may be additional players who never come to the casino, but just play online. We don’t think casinos are going to lose players to online gaming.”

Ma ny ca si nos m ig ht have to ma ke infrastructure changes to allow wifi or a mobile signal, but Daly says Get the Hottest Mobile that usually Slot Apps Today! Check is not an inordinate for the apps seen in exp en s e. “ Eve r yb o dy this article on your expects to be able to talk on Sma r t phone iTu nes the phone everywhere now,” account. he says. “So for our casinos to cater to their patrons, they’re Aristocrat: addressing these infrastructure Imperial House issues—if they have them—to Wild Winnings II ensure that players can talk Miss Kitty on the phone when they’re in Five Dragons the casino. “T hese a re cut ti ng- edge technologies, not just for gaming but for the entire world,” Daly says. “Casinos are moving into that space as well. We’re not ahead; we’re keeping pace with what is going on in the world.”

Phantom EFX: Reel O Dublin Brazilian Beauty Kilauea

Bally:

Cash Wizard Golden Pharaoh Fireball Betty Boop’s Love Meter

Mark Gruetze writes a weekly gambling advice column, Player’s Advantage, published in the Pittsburgh (Pa.) Tribune-Review and online at www.triblive.com. He has been a recreational gambler and journalist for more than 30 years. E-mail questions or comments to players@tribweb.com.


Q. I have to disagree with all the experts who say you shouldn’t take even money when you have a blackjack and the dealer has an ace up. I always take even money. This way, I always win the hand. The object of the game is to try to win every hand. Maybe in the long run, I’ll miss a few 3-2 payoffs, but when I’m just going to play an hour or two, I can’t afford to pass up winning hands. I’ll take even money every time.

John Grochowski has been writing about casinos and casino games since 1994. He blogs regularly for the Tunica Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, downtheroad. tunicatravel.com. He is the author of six books on gaming, including “The Slot Machine Answer Book” and “The Video Poker Answer Book.” You can find him online at casinoanswerman.com, and on Facebook and Twitter.

Q&A

Casino Q&A: With John G.

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A. The object in blackjack is NOT to win every hand and, if you try, you’re doomed to fail. Because the player must complete his or her hand first, the house wins any time the player busts, even if the dealer busts too. That one simple fact means the house will win more hands than you do, no matter what strategy you use. Players who always take even money, players who use basic strategy and players who count cards all lose more hands than they win. The objective is to maximize wins and minimize losses. We do that by taking the opportunities to win extra money, above the amount of our original bet. We double down when the situation favors us. We split pairs to get extra money on the table when it’s to our advantage. And we go for the 3-2 payoffs on blackjacks while refusing to give the money away on even money or any other form of insurance. Unless you are a card counter, the assumption when the dealer has an ace up against your blackjack is that there is a 69.2% chance the dealer will not have a 10-value card down, and only a 30.8% chance that the dealer will have a blackjack. Let’s say you’re betting $10 a hand, so the 3-2 payoff on blackjack is $15. When you take even money, settling for a $10 payoff instead of risking a push if the dealer also has blackjack, there’s better than a 69% chance that you’re giving away $5 of your winnings. You don’t maximize wins by giving away money. Unless you’re counting cards and know that more than a third of the remaining cards are 10-values that will complete a dealer blackjack, taking even money is a bad play. Sometimes it works, just as other bad plays work sometimes. It’s still a bad play, one that actually is more costly than some plays basic strategy players would never make, such as standing on 16 vs. 10. The casino gives 2.3% of its mathematical edge back to us by paying 3-2 on blackjacks. I’m not inclined to give any of that back by settling for even money. Q. How much odds do they have to give you on the craps table before the player has an edge

when bet ting pass and taking the odds? A. Unless we’re talking about dice controllers and non-random rolls, the player never has an edge at the pass/free odds combination. The combination has two John Grochowski components, the pass line bet and the free odds. The pass bet carries a house edge of 1.41%, while the free odds are an even bet. The more odds you’re permitted to take, the more the house edge on the pass portion of the combination is watered down. At single odds, the house edge on the combination is 0.8%; at double odds, 0.6%; at 10x odds, 0.3%; at 100x odds, 0.02%. The house edge gets smaller and smaller, but never disappears entirely. In all my years of playing in casinos, I’ve seen only one craps proposition that had no house edge without also requiring you to take on a bet that gave an advantage to the house. That was in the mid-1990s, when one of my regular casino haunts offered a field bet that paid 3-1 both on 2 and 12. When both 2 and 12 in the field pay 2-1, the house edge is 5.56%. When the 12 pays 3-1 instead, the house edge drops to 2.78%. When both pay 3-1, the house has no edge at all, which is why you so rarely see such payoffs. Q. I hit a slot jackpot for $12,500 on a dollar machine. We had high fives all around. They had me sign a tax form. Then the attendant turned a key in the machine before I could play again. My question is, what does that key do? The man next to me says its resets the machine into “collect” mode, that the machine has just paid out and now it has to take money for a while. A. Congratulations on your big hit—reason for high fives all around, indeed. As for resetting to “collect” mode, well, no. There is no “collect” or “payback” mode on slot machines. Results remain as random as humans can program a computer to be, regardless of whether you’ve just collected a jackpot or have been on a cold streak. What the attendant is really doing is unlocking the game so you can play again. The game locks up automatically when an IRS-level jackpot of $1,200 or more is hit, and the casino can’t unlock the game until you’ve signed that tax form. Big jackpots are accounted for in the odds of the game. The machine just keeps making its random payoffs, and in time, the jackpot fades into statistical insignificance. Of course, for you it’s very significant. Congrats again!

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slot plays that pay ADVANTAGE SLOT MACHINES BY F RA N K S C OB LE T E

This article is meant to show specific machines that can actually give the player an edge over the casinos at slots. These machines were discovered by Jerry Stickman, and have been put through extensive computer studies and casino play. These are just a sampling of the machines. To see them all, read my book, Slots Conquest: How to Beat the Slot Machines!

A Different Type of Slot Machine

Smart slot players can now get a real edge over the house if they play these machines properly. These machines can be considered “banking machines” because they build up redeemable credits, objects or multipliers that are not wiped out when one player leaves the machine and another player replaces him. In fact, you will need the other players to play the machines in a negative mode, so that the banking credits build up for you.

The pool of items builds when a special symbol or some combination of symbols appears on the reels. This can be one particular symbol, a combination of symbols, or even the absence of symbols sometimes called blanks or ghosts. For example, if a cherry appears in one of the nine positions that are visible on the reels, a cherry is added to the corresponding section of a pie. Each different machine has its own criterion for saving.

However, at a certain point the “accumulated bank” causes the machine to become positive for any player who plays the machine from that point forward. In short, more money will come out of the machine from that point than goes in the machine. That is when you play the machine. And guess what? The machine will tell you when it is in positive mode based on how much has been banked. The banking will be in various saved symbols on the machines. There’s money to be made by playing these machines in positive modes.

Once a certain combination of symbols appears or a section of the collection area is filled, a bonus is paid that is proportionate to the number of hats, gems, fruit or whatever symbol that’s been banked. For example, a diamond is added to one of three columns corresponding to the reel that contains a diamond. When a column is filled with diamonds, a bonus of 10 credits is collected and the column is emptied.

Now, let’s get the obvious question out of the way for the dreamers in the land of slots. Yes, while some of your wins can be fairly big, most of them will not be fairly big, but somewhere in the land of reasonable. But all will make you smile because you are doing something very few players have ever done—getting an edge over the casino at the slot machines. Yes, you can also lose, as even in a positive mode machines can take your money. In poker that’s called a bad beat. You have a great hand and still lose. But overall, play these machines just the way you are told to play them and the money will be coming out to you much more than the money going in for the casino. 34  

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This type of advantage-slot machine is similar to progressive slot machines in the sense that something builds. It is not a jackpot dollar amount, though. Instead something else builds. It could be coins, hats, gems, fruit or even firecrackers. It can be almost anything.

The more things in the collection, the better chance the game might be positive. And this article will show you which games can become positive, as well as when they become positive. It will give you the best method to play them and let you know how much money you should have available once you decide to play a given advantage machine. A proper bankroll is absolutely necessary to give yourself the best chance to win.

General Rules for Playing Advantage Slots Once you have found a game that has a positive expectation, there are certain rules you must follow to maximize your wins. The following rules for play are not suggestions— they are requirements.


1. O nly play when you have an advantage. 2. Have the required bankroll in your pocket. 3. Once a machine becomes positive, it remains positive until someone collects the bonus, and then the collection is reset and the positive machine is no longer positive. 4. You must play until you collect the prize; if you don’t do this then you are purposely giving up your advantage. Make sure you have enough money with you—in your pocket! 5. Quit playing when you no longer have an advantage. 6. Once you collect the bonus, verify if you still have an advantage. Now let’s take a look at many of these advantage-play machines.

S&H Green Stamps How It Works This is probably the most widespread of the advantage slot machines. As you play, the appearance of a green stamp with a number on the reels adds that number of stamps to a book. The stamps have a multiplier (1X, 2X, 5X) that multiplies the number of stamps that are collected. It takes 1,200 stamps to fill a book. Once a book is filled, you are given the option to continue collecting or to play the bonus games. What To Look For If the game has 600 or more stamps in a book, it is positive. There

is one stamp displayed in the book for each 100 stamps collected, so look for six stamps. Six stamps is one row or half a book. The actual number of stamps is also displayed near the books. How To Play Play 25 lines at one credit per line until you play the free games. This amounts to 25¢ a spin for a 1¢ machine, 50¢ a spin for 2¢ machines and $1.25 a spin for 5¢ machines. Once you fill a book (1,200 stamps), you will be given a choice to play free games or to continue filling another book. Play the free games. DO NOT continue filling another book. Bankroll Requirements Your minimum bankroll must be at least 2,000 credits. This amounts to $20 for a 1¢ game, $40 for a 2¢ game and $100 for a 5¢ game. Comments Most S&H Green Stamp games have a feature where you can immediately stop the spinning by hitting the spin button. Take advantage of this feature to minimize the time spent playing this game. The faster you play the better for you. Get your winnings and leave. This game is fairly volatile. You will tend to have many smaller wins and losses with occasional fairly large wins and losses. Don’t let a losing game tempt you to stop play before you collect the free games. Vol um e 14  I ssue 2  

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Double Diamond Mine How It Works There are three shafts that hold diamonds. A diamond is added to a shaft when the corresponding reel contains a diamond symbol. When a shaft is filled, you collect the bonus. Once you collect the bonus and the shaft is emptied, re-evaluate whether you have an advantage or not. What To Look For This game is positive when any of the following is true. • • •

1 shaft contains 9 diamonds 2 shafts contain 8 diamonds each 3 shafts contain 7 diamonds each

How To Play Play one credit per spin until you collect the bonus. This amounts to 25¢ a spin for the standard 25¢ machine. Bankroll Requirements Your minimum bankroll must be at least 80 credits. This amounts to $20 for the 25¢ game. Comments This game is not very volatile. The games tend to be fairly short. You will tend to win most games, sometimes for a relatively large amount. Losses tend to be fairly small.

Fishin’ for Cash How It Works Fishin’ for Cash works exactly the same as Double Diamond Mine and Triple Diamond Mine, except fish are used instead of diamonds. There are three columns that hold fish. A fish is added to a column when the corresponding reel contains a fish symbol. When a column is filled, you collect the bonus. Once you collect the bonus and the column is emptied, you then re-evaluate whether you have an advantage or not. What to Look For This game is positive when any of the following is true: • • •

1 column contains 9 fish 2 columns contain 8 fish each 3 columns contain 7 fish each

How To Play Play 1 credit per spin until you collect the bonus. This amounts to 25¢ a spin for the standard 25¢ machine. Bankroll Requirements Your minimum bankroll must be at least 80 credits. This amounts to $20 for the 25¢ game. Comments This game is not very volatile. Games tend to be fairly short. You will tend to win most games, sometimes for a relatively large amount. Losses tend to be fairly small.

Wild Cherry Bonus Pie How It Works A Wild Cherry symbol in one of the nine visible reel positions 36  

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(3 rows, 3 reels) adds a cherry to the corresponding section of the pie. Each section requires 6 cherries to fill it—54 cherries to fill the entire pie. When a section of the pie is already full, the cherries are added to the corresponding section of a bonus pie. When the main pie is filled, the player collects a random jackpot (25-250 credits) and a bonus equal to the number of cherries in the bonus pie. The bonus pie then replaces the big pie and the bonus pie is emptied. What To Look For This game is positive when 5 cherries (or fewer than 5 cherries) are needed to complete the entire pie. They could be needed in one to five different sections. It is the total number of cherries needed that is important. How To Play Play 1 credit per spin until you collect the bonus. This amounts to 25¢ a spin for the standard 25¢ machine. If there are two or more cherries required in each of the unfilled sections, play 2 credits per spin as you will get 2 cherries when you land on the needed section. Only bet 2 credits per spin if each of the unfilled sections requires 2 or more cherries to fill them. Bankroll Requirements Your minimum bankroll must be at least 400 credits. This amounts to $100 for the 25¢ game. Comments This game has some volatility. It may take quite some time to fill the pie and collect the bonus. Wins and losses tend to vary considerably. If you follow the rules completely, the game will never be positive after you collect the bonus because at least one section of the new pie will have no cherries in it, therefore requiring six cherries to fill that section. Since the game is not positive until only five cherries are required to fill the pie, do not continue playing this game after collecting the bonus. Now you know how to make money playing advantage slot machines. Using a little knowledge, you are now in a position to beat the casinos at a game where other casino players usually get trounced—and you can make money consistently from these former one-armed bandits, too. You have to make sure you have enough money with you to play the game until you collect. I gave you minimum bankrolls to go with each machine, but those are just minimums. I bring more with me so I don’t ever panic when I am playing. Yes, you will have losing sessions. Because a machine is positive during your play does not mean you are absolutely guaranteed to win. But it means you will win more than you lose over time. That is really what it is all about, isn’t it? Winning is the most fun!

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Triple Crown Prep BRISNET.COM AND TWINSPIRES.COM

Ed DeRosa is director of marketing for Bloodstock Research Information Services, a Churchill Downs, Inc. company that is the official data provider of the Kentucky Derby, presented by Yum! Brands and TwinSpires.com. Ed first started handicapping with his grandfather during trips to Thistledown near Cleveland. He is an avid handicapper who most enjoys chasing Pick 5 carryovers. His favorite horse is Real Quiet.

BY ED D E R OS A

needed very deep pockets to have come up with the winning superfecta combination in 2009, but the $20,750.30 trifecta was certainly in reach, and the $1,037.40 exacta should have been a no brainer for someone whose top pick was Pioneer of the Nile. The key for handicapping the Kentucky Derby is that you have to be prepared for not only the week of the race itself, but also starting now to follow the Triple Crown trail as it winds through New York, Florida, Arkansas, New Orleans, New Mexico, California, Illinois and into Kentucky.

DU R I N G T H E T R I P L E C R O W N , Brisnet.com and Twinspires.com offer value to the player. When it comes to the Kentucky Derby, horseplayers are drawn to the greatest two minutes in sports not because of the glitz, glamour or pageantry, but because of the opportunity to make a life-changing score on one race. The world watches the Derby, and the bragging rights afforded someone who cleans up with one of the most difficult races to handicap is worth almost as much as the cash itself. Almost. The superfecta in 2011 paid $24,063 for $1 with 20.9-to-1 Animal Kingdom on top of the second (Nehro) and the third (Mucho Macho Man), with eventual Preakness winner Shackleford in fourth. Things really blew up in 2009, of course, when 50.6-to-1 Mine That Bird keyed a combo that paid $278,503.20. No horse there was less than 6.3-to-1 and three of the four would have paid at least $25 to win. Still, three of the top four finishers—Santa Anita Derby winner Pioneerof the Nile, Illinois Derby winner Musket Man, and Arkansas Derby winner Papa Clem—had each won key Derby preps in their last outings and had their respective fans. The last favorite to win the Derby was Big Brown, who paid a rather depressed (relative to recent payouts) win mutual of $6.80, but he keyed a $29,368.50 superfecta that included two last-out winners plus Calvin Borel’s mount. Easy game, right? Well, of course it’s not, otherwise every horse would pay $2.20, and these superfectas would be peanuts compared to what they actually paid. But the lesson here is that it’s far from impossible to come up with these rainmaking combinations. Bankroll is often a bigger impediment than is information. I would have 38  

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The Daily Double that offers the most value to a horseplayer is accessing both Brisnet.com and TwinSpires.com on a daily basis during the Triple Crown trail and beyond. Obviously there is no Triple Crowncaliber racing every day, but the mind needs exercise the same as the body does. Use Thursday and Friday to prepare for the weekend’s top races. Watch the races on Saturday and Sunday, and review on Monday and Tuesday. Read Brisnet.com’s Handicapper’s Edge every day. To prepare, check out Brisnet.com’s Ultimate Past Performances, which provide detailed information about each horse’s start, as well as track bias information, proprietary speed, pace, race and class ratings, plus pedigree information to help you determine which horses will handle stretching out in distance and/or surface changes. On race day, use TwinSpires.com to place your bets and watch all the action live via TwinSpiresTV, which streams each track’s uninterrupted simulcast feed with Brisnet.com Profit Line built in to the wagering module. Follow @TwinSpires and @Brisnet on Twitter for great discussion during big races. Once the dust settles on the weekend, fire up TwinSpiresTV again to watch replays and look for cues that indicate a horse is moving in a forward direction. Two of the past three and six of the past 11 Derby winners did not win their final prep race. Mine That Bird finished what many thought was a bad fourth in the Sunland Derby, but the previous year’s Canadian champion two-yearold male had excuses in both starts at three. It was conceivable that the rider change to Calvin Borel would improve the horse’s performance enough to at least contend at monster odds, and being by Belmont Stakes winner Birdstone certainly gave him license to improve stretching out to 1-¼ miles. Again, this is not to suggest that Mine That Bird was an easy horse to land on, but no one picks straight superfectas either. You only had to like him enough to use him with other horses you loved and make a big score. I picked Pioneerof the Nile first and Musket Man third that year, but didn’t use Mine That Bird. Paying closer attention to all the tools TwinSpires.com and Brisnet.com offer could have gotten me there.


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augusta or “busta” THE MAGIC OF THE MASTERS BY BRA DLE Y LAN N IN G

We were off to Augusta—a place we had only seen on TV. We were so pumped up to go. The question is why. Why were we so excited to go to watch other people hit golf shots? What makes this tournament so special? The answer is this tournament delivers. From its inception, the Masters or Augusta National Invitational, has been arguably the most valuable ticket in sports. In the 1930’s Bobby Jones started it. The guy was a star before there were billions of them. Stick his name to a golf tournament, on a course that Alister MacKenzie designed, and you better bring something great to the table. The place had star power from the get go and it promised great moments. Great moments bring great memories and great memories bring people back. The people who have been there for the moments talk about them. From Gene Sarazen’s “shot heard round the world” in ’35. To Tiger Woods shooting a 40 on the front nine on day one and still winning by 12 in ’97. Moments of greatness happen there, and my feet were going to walk on 40  

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THE MASTERS TOURNAMENT is held in Augusta, Georgia’s second-oldest city. those grounds. I was there in person for the first time, and I had great expectations. Some places, especially in sport, look wonderful on TV and fail in person. The Augusta National Golf Club is not one of those places. Television does not do it justice. Walking that place makes you understand what the hill is like on 9. You can look at the approach shot and understand how Greg Norman’s ball ended up at the bottom of that hill in ’96. A golf course filled with beauty and hazards seen and unseen make golf on TV both captivating and somewhat dulled in regards to the reality of the terrain. Before I got there, I would have loved to putt those greens and after seeing them, I could not have imagined how I would have gone about it. Getting the ball in the hole would be too lofty of a goal. I’d be happy just to keep the ball on the surface.

PH O TO CRED I T: A U G U STA CO NVENTI O N & VI SI T ORS BUR EAU

The Masters! I have a ticket to the Masters? I was 26 years old when my father told me that his buddy that goes to Augusta every spring, didn’t want to use his tickets Saturday and Sunday for the Masters. He was going to give his tickets away. Do you want them? HELL, YES! I’m a diseased golfer, with an addiction for the game that has been growing since I was six. This was my golden ticket and there was no way I was going to let the opportunity pass. My older brother, who helped introduce me to golf, snatched the other ticket. Twenty years earlier he traded our five pet turtles for a brown shopping bag full of golf balls. It was then I learned that golf was a great game and turtles kind of suck. Road trip!


I N 19 8 6 , J AC K N I C K L A U S won his sixth green jacket. The place is just different. It’s like a little oasis in the middle of a city that looks like Anywhere, USA. Complete with chain restaurants, shady-looking gas stations, and places to get cash for gold and checks cashed for a nominal fee. Walking through the gates, it’s as if you are teleported to a different place and time. It’s a major sporting event where manners exist. You can put your camp chair down on a hole, leave it for hours, come back and not only will it be there, but also someone else’s butt won’t be in it. Shocking, I know. And if you happened to get a beer while you were gone, you can expect to pay all of $2. Is this 1953? Is Ben Hogan leading this tournament? I guess when a membership already has most of the money in the country; they are not interested in sticking it to you in the concession stand. This is, after all, the place that turned down Bill Gates for membership. Money! The place has got money. Standing at the bottom of #2 on Saturday I got to see money in action. I looked up the fairway and saw a John Deere mower coming around the corner. It looked as if it was fresh off the showroom floor. Sparkling green and yellow and it was not alone. It had least a dozen clones, staggered like a flock of geese cruising down the fairway to ensure a uniform cut. I don’t know how many millions of dollars in mowers that was, but I think it was more money allocated for the maintenance budgets for all the municipal courses on the planet. I know the eight $2 beers I drank weren’t chipping that much. For me, the opportunity to go to Augusta was the opportunity to see the place where so much golfing history has taken place. The Masters is the only major golf tournament that returns to the same

course every year, so the list of great moments is long. Every hole on the back nine, I found myself recalling what Jack Nicklaus did on those holes in ’86. This is where Jack started his run on 10. That’s the spot on 15 where he hit a 4 iron to 20 feet and made eagle. In the back of my mind, I held out hope that I was going to see some kind of great moment like those. As I watched the players hit shots on holes I only knew from television, I couldn’t help but hear the voice of Jim Nantz in my head the entire time I was on the grounds. The year I went was 2003. That was during a time when the club was attempting to “Tiger proof” the course. Tiger proofing was also excitement proofing. The course was so long and tough, that the back nine on Sunday was not a case of eagles flying players to the top of the leader board, but laying up and dependable wedge play would help Mike Weir win his green jacket. The combination of dependable wedge play, $2 beers and Jim Nantz’s voice in my head was a recipe for a nap, and I discovered that outside the gates was the real story. That was the peak of the Hootie Johnson vs. Martha Burke battle. The club was under a lot of pressure to allow female members, and Burke had threatened to go after tournament sponsors. In another big-money power move, the club dropped all sponsorships and announced that there would be no commercials for the event. What? No commercials! Of course, this is the year I get a ticket. No matter where you stand on the membership issue, you have to concede that a commercial-free event is pretty cool. We hear Hootie and derogatory Martha shirts were being sold outside the

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If you are a fan of golf or grass, I highly recommend putting the Masters on your bucket list. It’s a beautiful place to see. The grass in the fairway is so dense it’s hard to imagine anyone ever having a bad lie. The problem is when you get home and play golf on your home course you’ll want to punch the greens keeper in the face, and he’s most likely stronger than you. Can you imagine playing there? I sure did. Every moment I was there I thought about the shots I would hit. I have to tell you, it’s the best I’ve ever hit the ball. I didn’t hit one shot that wasn’t dead in the sweet spot. Maybe it’s better that I have a 0% chance of ever playing it because the reality of my game on that course would produce temper tantrums that F R E D C O U P L E S would ensure my never being invited back. I could probably stand on the has the lowest Masters career scoring average at 71.94. tee box on #12 with a bag of balls and never hit the green. That green looks to gates for the low price of about 15 beers. I didn’t see one inside be about the size of a VW bug. I’m sure my patience would be the gates. Officials of the club made sure nothing like that made tried, constantly putting the ball off greens into water hazards. it into the event. There is a sense when inside the gates that this place is constantly being protected by the membership—from the meticulous way the grass is kept to the fact that trash can barely hit the ground without a worker putting it in a plastic bag. The quality of the visitor’s experience is groomed in the same manner. They want you to have a good time. That’s another reason the ticket is so special. There aren’t that many of them. It’s tough to watch a golf tournament when there are a billion people crammed into 18 holes. The Masters only lets in 35,000 a day. You have plenty of space for yourself and it’s easy to move from place to place during play. I’ve been to other major golf events and the feeling of being herded like cattle definitely exists. Not to mention, beers are about 8 bucks elsewhere.

Maybe I didn’t go to the greatest Masters of all time, but I got to go. If you ever have the opportunity to go, do it. It’s a different type of tournament and you will enjoy yourself. You just might witness history.

If I ever get to go back I’ll do things a little differently. For starters, I’m bringing plenty of insect repellent. Spring rains in southern Georgia produce a particularly violent brand of mosquito. They have hair and, if you look close enough, they’re all wearing tiny green jackets. At one point I accidentally brushed up against one of the many pine trees and so many of those little guys grabbed me, I thought I was being thrown out of the place. Something around 99.9% DEET should do the trick.

1978: Gary Player came back to win from seven behind.

I’m also coming ready to walk some hills. It’s one of those things you can’t tell by watching on television. The place is HILLY! Hiking boots and some rappelling equipment may be needed. I’m getting older. Also, heavy smokers should not walk this course. I saw a man struggling up the hill walking towards 10 tee box have to stop and catch his breath. His breath was mostly made up smoke from another cigarette. For all I know he’s still sitting there. Pick out a nice spot to watch from like the 16th or your couch.

2004: Arnold Palmer played his 50th and final Masters.

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Memorable Masters Moments 1935: Gene Sarazen hit a double eagle on No. 15, which became known as the “Shot Heard Round the World.” He ended with a win after a two-round play-off.

1968: Roberto de Vincenzo signed off on the wrong

score, costing him a shot and a play-off with Bob Goalby. He had seven birdies in the last 10 holes and became the 1978 Green Jacket winner.

1986: Jack Nicklaus won his sixth Green Jacket and became the oldest Masters champion in history.

1997: Tiger Woods became the youngest winner of the Masters.

Kirk Triplett and Padraig Harrington both sank a hole in one on the 16th. Phil Mickelson finally won the Masters during his 47th attempt.

Brad Lanning is former golf professional from Louisville, Kentucky. He’s currently working as a stand up comedian specializing in golf and country club shows. Contact him at bradleylanning@yahoo.com.


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I f y o u r N e w Ye a r ’s Resolution was to lower your handicap, this is a must-read for you! Improving your short game is a sure-fire way to lower your scores immediately. Whether you are new to the game or a seasoned veteran, we can all use a short game tune-up after a long winter. By: Colby Wolitz

Colby Wollitz is a PGA-certified teaching pro at Oxmoor Country Club in Louisville, Kentucky.

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Let’s start with the basics. W ha t is t he dif f er en c e between a chip and a pitch? Generally speaking, a chip shot will have more roll than flight, while a pitch shot will have more flight than roll. Consequently, we usually chip the ball when closer to the green, and pitch the ball when we are further away. Most of us understand that the chip shot and pitch shot are designed to make the ball react differently. Why then do I see players using the same club for both? I cannot tell you how many times I see players chipping with a high lofted wedge when they should be using a different tool. First, let’s establish a good set-up for the chip shot. I refer to the chip shot as a putting stroke with loft. The stance should be narrow and slightly open. Opening your stance, or dropping your left foot back, will effectively shorten your left leg and move your weight to your left side. The ball position should be center and your hands should be slightly in front of the ball. You may want to choke down on the grip for control. Finally, you are using your shoulders, not your hands, to make the stroke. Thus, I recommend using your putting grip. As I mentioned earlier, a chip is simply a putting stroke with loft. Thus, a chipping stroke is controlled by the shoulders. One of my keys to good contact is the left wrist. At impact, the left wrist must remain flat and should be in front of the ball. This will promote a downward strike and help ensure solid contact. One of the biggest flaws in chipping technique occurs when the player tries to cup his left wrist at impact to help get the ball in the air. Remember, a chip shot is designed to roll more than it flies. If we want to get the ball up in the air, we either need to choose a different club or a different shot type. To better understand club selection, we must first talk about philosophy. My goal when chipping is to get the ball to land ON the green and start rolling as quickly as possible. Thus, I chip with three different clubs— 7-iron, 9-iron and SW. I recommend practicing the technique and experimenting with different clubs to find which you feel most comfortable using. The best way to a better chipping game is to get out to the practice green and experiment!

Similar to the chip shot, I recommend setting up a pitch shot with a slightly open stance and choke down on the grip for control. I prefer a centered ball position, however, this will change depending on the desired trajectory of the shot. You should pitch the ball with any and all of your wedges. For the pitch shot, you will need to set up with the shaft pointing at your centerline to maintain the bounce on your wedge. The bounce of a wedge, when used properly, will allow the club to glide along the turf for a period of time that will actually assist in the consistency of the shot. To practice this feeling, make practice swings by folding your right elbow and turning through the shot, so the shaft once again points at your centerline at impact. Try to feel like the back of the sole on your wedge is striking the ground. This is quite different from the chip shot where the leading edge of your club strikes the ground and tends to dig. Once you feel comfortable with the basic motion of a pitch shot, I recommend experimenting with different ball positions, as well as different wedges, to see how each will produce a different shot. Use the following “Flight-to-Roll Ratio” chart as a guideline for your own experimentation. This chart outlines the basic flight distance to roll distance for four wedges (pitching wedge, gap wedge,sand wedge, and low wedge) when played from each of the three ball positions (back, middle, and forward of stance). All shots are played with the same pitching motion. Flight to Roll Ratio Back

Middle

Forward

PW

1-4

1-3

1-2

GW

1-3

1-2

1-1

SW

1-2

1-1

2-1

LW

1-1

2-1

3-1

Knowing is half the battle. I hope you now understand the difference between a chip shot and a pitch shot, as well as when each should be used. Remember, when playing a round of golf, you should always hit the shot type that you are most comfortable with. The other half of this battle is in your hands. It is up to you to go out and practice the techniques outlined here and experiment for yourself what shots will help you become a better golfer.

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who’s in charge... she is! FEMALE GAMING INDUSTRY LEADERS BY G . DOUGLAS DR E ISB A C H

Positions held by women pay 85% of what their male counterparts earn for similar jobs and responsibilities. But, just a decade ago, it was only 76%, according to a report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While upper-level business positions have historically been held by men, there are a growing number of women holding top-level management spots, specif ica lly in t he gaming industry. After considering the percentages mentioned above, one might think there is a lot of gender inequality in the marketplace. A study showed that just over fifty percent of gaming employees were female; however, the trend didn’t translate into higher-level positions, which are still dominated by men. In the South, there are several top-tiered casino properties with female general managers and in other management positions. Whether it is marketing, finance or general managers, you will find a fair spread of gender, race, and ethnic background across the board. “Female executives are in leadership positions in a myriad of gaming-related industries from multi-property casino-resort corporations, technology and manufacturing companies, and tribal enterprises,” commented Beth Deighan with Casino Careers, LLC. “I am proud to say that our industry is gender blind.” As Southern Gaming covers a multitude of properties with females in the top spot, we thought you might like to hear a 46  

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Felicia Gavin little bit about them. We caught up with a few female general managers from some of the top properties in the South. They all shared similar attributes— hard work, determination, and the drive to succeed.

Felicia Gavin

DiamondJacks Casino & Hotel, Vicksburg, Mississippi DiamondJacks.com | 1-877-711-0677 Boasting over 15 years in the industry, Felicia Gavin follows a common trend among gaming executives— she worked her way up from an entry-level position. Starting in the accounting department in 1993, her goal was to eventually become


workplace experience, our customers certainly feel welcome and we are proud of that,” she added. While a general manager wears a lot of hats, Gavin particularly enjoys meeting guests from around the region, as well as spending time with them by hosting dinners or informal meetings where she can get their direct feedback. When she is away from the property, she takes pride in giving back to the community through charitable organizations like the United Way. She is a big New Orleans Saints fan (her favorite player is Jimmy Graham) and enjoys gospel and R&B music. Her biggest role model is her husband who is a business owner. She likes to read motivational books, with her most recent being The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace by Gary Chapman and Paul White.

Eileen Moore

Eileen Moore the property’s general manager, which is exactly what she accomplished. Prior to Diamondjack’s Casino, she was the senior director of finance at Isle of Capri in Vicksburg and the director of finance at Harrah’s Entertainment’s Vicksburg property. With a finance background, she admits there was a learning curve in overseeing all of the areas of a casino property, but she has adapted and excelled. “I have always felt that constant communication among our team is extremely important,” commented Gavin. “I like to be a face and not just a name. I like to spend time on the casino floor and around the property. I like to know team members’ names. That is an important element to having a strong team and it will ultimately translate to the players… our customers.” By creating an environment where team members feel important, Gavin is proud to say there are several employees who have been there since the property first opened, and who were with Isle of Capri prior to Diamondjacks. (The Isle of Capri Casino became Diamondjacks in 2006). She recently contracted an outside company to conduct a survey among Diamondjacks' employees to gain honest feedback about their overall work experience, with an effort to make it a better workplace for everyone. Surprisingly, the results showed a high level of workplace satisfaction among the employees! “At the end of the day, customer service is paramount for a customer’s overall experience. When they come to our property and are greeted by people they recognize, who know their name and know what they like, that means a lot. By having a lot of team members who have been here a long time, because they like their

Horseshoe Casino Southern Indiana, Elizabeth, Indiana Horseshoe-Indiana.com | 1-866-676-7463 When you get a call from the CEO of one of the largest casino companies in the world wishing you a Merry Christmas on Christmas Eve, you know you are doing something right. At the age of 39, Eileen Moore is not only the general manager of Horseshoe Casino in Southern Indiana, but she also oversees operations at the company’s Joliet and Metropolis, Illinois properties. When she started working at a hotel at the age of 15, she knew it was the industry she wanted to be in and continued to work hard, achieving regular promotions. During her tenure in the revenue department at the Waldorf Astoria in New York, she received a call from Harrah’s looking for someone to fill a similar position. The rest is history. After holding several positions at Harrah’s corporate headquarters and Harrah’s Casino in New Orleans (including assistant general manager), Moore got the appointment to oversee the Horseshoe property in Southern Indiana, near Louisville, Kentucky. In 2009, there were only a few other female general managers in the entire Harrah’s organization, but she was up for the challenge. “Given my background, I feel I can relate to scenarios on many levels of the property, from the hotel to the casino floor, because I have been there. I know what some of the challenges are and what it takes to achieve certain goals in each,” commented Moore. “I make it a point to listen to what our employees say, and I feel their input and suggestions are very valuable to their overall workplace happiness, which directly translates to the way they treat our customers.” Moore prides herself in being a very transparent general manager who stresses the importance of employee and customer feedback via Facebook chats and a call-in phone calls with employees called ‘Straight Talk’. “It basically serves as a platform allowing me to hear any praises, suggestions or concerns in real time. It might be a suggestion of something simple like turkeys at Christmas or different sodas in the break rooms,” Moore added. “But regardless, it is all information that helps us make the work environment a place they enjoy coming to.” Since she arrived at the property, a string of events beyond anyone’s control have burdened the property and its bottom Vol um e 14  I ssue 2  

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line. The Ohio River twice flooded the property, resulting in extended closures. Also, the main bridge connecting Kentucky to Indiana has been shut down for repair for two months. This is all on top of an already sluggish industry that has been hit hard by the economy. “I learned long ago that you have to stay positive and focus on what you can control. It doesn’t do any good to worry about the things you can’t control. Hopefully, the worst is behind us and we can focus on the most important things like our employees and customers.” The property recently received honors as a ‘Top Place to Work’ by Louisville’s Courier-Journal newspaper, and also received great results from employee surveys backing up exactly what Moore focuses on the most. When away from work, she likes to travel internationally, because she gets great ideas for customer service and food concepts. Her favorite charity is Blessings in a Backpack and she likes to play golf, especially at the property’s links-style course, Chariot Run. Her role model is Caesars Entertainment CEO, Gary Loveman who believes in ‘Meritocracy’ when promoting individuals from within the company. “This philosophy takes gender, age and race totally out of the promotional equation and rewards strictly on results,” she commented. “It allows people to advance based on their accomplishments. It puts faith in the person and is very rewarding.”

Susan Varnes

Treasure Bay Casino & Hotel, Biloxi, Mississippi TreasureBay.com | 1-800-747-2839 Growing up, Susan Varnes always liked playing cards with her family. She appreciated good family values and liked being with her loved ones embracing the good times. As a child, running a casino was not a part of her imagination. After some prodding by her brother in 1991, she took classes to become a card dealer, which started her journey in the gaming industry. Growing up on a farm, she saw first-hand what it meant to work hard and have a good work ethic. “I learned from watching my father and brother that you have to work hard until the job is done,” said Varnes. “If you have a good attitude and give it all you’ve got, you will find that you will achieve much more and feel better about yourself, too.” The hard work and good attitude has paid off and today she manages not just one property in Biloxi, Mississippi, but also six more in the Caribbean! She has always stressed that co-workers should treat each other as if they were customers, and show respect and a willingness to help out another team member. “A good attitude 48  

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Susan Varnes will carry out to the customer. What happens ‘behind the door’ definitely has an impact and translates to what happens on the other side of the door.” And a positive attitude is what has gotten her through dealing with multiple hurricanes, one of which (Katrina) completely ravaged the casino, and when the BP oil spill virtually erased most of the tourists for the Gulf Coast hurting an entire industry so many in the community depended on. “We have all had to deal with adversity at some level. We worked together to make the best of the situation, put it all back together and move on,” Varnes said referring to dealing with setbacks. “The silver lining with Katrina was we needed some property enhancements and it allowed us to do some of those.” When it comes to customers, she has two mandatory philosophies. One, is to always give the customer what they want and the other is to treat the customers like they are part of your family and they are in your home. You have to make them feel welcome. “I love being in my position because I can have a positive impact on people and their lives and the ability to make changes for the better,” she said. “One of my favorite parts of this job is when we do employee recognitions and give out awards.” When she is away from the casino, Susan likes to bike along the beach boardwalk and read mystery novels. In addition, she supports the Gulf Coast Women’s Center for Non-Violence.

Toni Burns

Sam’s Town Casino & Gambling Hall, Tunica, Mississippi SamsTownTunica.com | 1-800-456-0711 Whether it is reeling in a six-pound flounder or managing a casino with hundreds of employees, Toni Burns is up for the challenge. At the helm of one of the most themed properties in the South, she has continued to help the property excel in many areas including entertainment, player services and the


of time. But, as the saying goes, what doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger. “When you are faced with adversity you have to stay focused and positive, especially in a time of crisis. Times like these are when strong teams really come together.” In her spare time, Burns enjoys camping, fishing with her biggest catch being a six-and-a-half pound flounder, and spending time with her family. She enjoys country music and music from the 1980’s. In addition, her favorite author is Janet Evanovich. She is looking forward to release of the movie, One for the Money, based on a popular Evanovich novel. In addition to the few highlighted female leaders we covered in this article, there are several others who continue to excel in their respective markets. Pearl River Resort in Philadelphia, Mississippi, is owned and operated by the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. Recently, they appointed their first female chief, Phyliss Anderson. Anderson recently served two terms on the Tribal Council as well as held the position of secretary-treasurer for the tribe. She is a driven leader who has several goals for uniting and moving the Choctaw Nation in the right direction. Another leading lady of the South is Sue Ascanio, the senior vice-president and general manager of two Pinnacle Entertainment-owned properties, Belterra Casino Resort & Spa in Florence, Indiana and River Downs Racetrack in Cincinnati, Ohio. Prior to Belterra and River Downs, Ascanio represented 23 years of gaming entertainment management experience in several markets, such as Las Vegas. Most recently, she was the assistant general manager for Hollywood Casino in Lawrenceburg, Indiana.

Toni Burns culinary department boasting several Southern Gaming Readers’ Choice Awards. Prior to Sam’s Town in Tunica, she spent time at Treasure Chest Casino in Kenner, Louisiana and Delta Downs Racetrack & Casino in Vinton, Louisiana when they became one of the first racinos (a property that combines a horse racetrack and a casino) in the country. Being on the forefront of a new trend is always difficult to learn how to market to new audiences, and educating your existing customers on the new product. “In the beginning, there were a lot of people who weren’t exposed to horseracing or the other way around,” commented Burns. “They are really two separate runways and we tended to market them each that way.” Burns is proud to say that Boyd Gaming is very pro-diversity with four female general managers and a lot of female executivelevel leaders. She attributes her achievements to hard work, determination and her finance background, and believes that if you surround yourself with good people and are confident in your decisions, good things will happen. By implementing a direct player communication model and a true open-door policy, Barnes feels that she achieves better overall results. “I try to spend time in the casino, especially on the weekend, talking with our players and getting their feedback on a variety of things,” she said. “By talking directly with them, we get great feedback right away.” Burnes was at the Tunica property in 2011 when the Mississippi River flooded the entire area, causing the casinos in the market to shut down for an extended period

These women represent just a few examples of female empowerment in the southeastern United States. However, it doesn't stop there. Women in businesses across the nation increasingly earn senior leadership positions in their establishments. Over the last ten years, the number of femaleowned businesses has grown 20% in the U.S., and that number continues to climb, especially among the gaming industry. Female executives are becoming more prevalent in the gaming industry today, and these women are proud to be part of that statistic. With hard work and determination, females across the globe have become a powerful force in the business world. The casinos you have come to know and love in the South employ many of these fearless females, and we are proud to highlight each of them as they continue to help their businesses thrive.

Did You Know? The number of women-owned businesses in the United States increased by 20% from 2002-2011.

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BLACKJACK

Many casinos offer blackjack tournaments, and they are becoming quite popular among players because it is possible for an average player to win a sizable sum of money for a relatively modest entry fee. Mini-tournaments take only a few hours to complete, whereas major tournaments take several days. The entry fee for mini-tournaments is usually in the range of $10 to $30, whereas the entry fee for major tournaments could be hundreds of dollars. Of course, the prizes for the top winners in major tournaments are much greater.

Henry Tamburin is the editor of Blackjack Insider Newsletter (www.bjinsider.com), lead instructor for the Golden Touch Blackjack Course (www.goldentouchblackjack.com), and host of www.smartgaming.com. For a FREE three-month subscription to his blackjack newsletter, go to www.bjinsider.com/freetrial. To receive his FREE Casino Gambling Catalog, call 1-888-353-3234 or visit www.smartgaming.com.

Blackjack: Getting the Edge in Tournaments

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Having played in everything from mini-tournaments to major televised tournaments with millions of dollars in prizes, I’ve learned a lot about tournament strategy. Here are some tips to get you started to help you become a better tournament player. 1. The objective of blackjack tournaments is simple. You want to end up with a larger bankroll than your fellow table players after a specified number of hands. Your primary adversary is not the casino, it’s the other players. Whether you win or lose your bets against the casino is not important. 2. Only play in tournaments where the majority or all of the entry fees are returned as prizes. 3. Always read the tournament rules before you begin playing. Be sure you know what the playing rules are, what the minimum and maximum betting limits are, how many rounds will be played, and whether there will be a countdown of player’s chips prior to the last few hands in a round. 4. Be careful not to make a “string bet.” In tournament play, if you want to bet more than one chip, you must stack your chips outside of the betting spot, and then slide the entire stack into your betting spot. If instead you grabbed a pile of chips and dropped them one at a time into your betting spot, the dealer will only allow the first chip that hit the felt to be your bet. 5. If you fall behind a leader, it’s best to make one or two large bets to catch up, rather than a series of medium size bets. Wait for the dealer button to pass you before you make your catch-up bet. Another way to catch up to a leader is to bet opposite. If he bets bet big, you bet small or vice versa. 6. If you happen to be the chip leader, it’s best to match the amount wagered by your nearest competitors, making it more difficult for them to catch you. 7. You should practice “chip counting” so you can estimate your opponent’s bankroll going into those last few crucial hands. Purchase some

inexpensive casino chips of different denominations, stack them at home, and estimate the amount of money in each stack. Players who learn how to count Henry Tamburin chips accurately have a big edge in blackjack tournaments. 8. Pay attention to the maximum betting limit. You don’t want to be more than one max bet behind the leaders going into the last couple of hands. Otherwise, you won’t be able to bet enough to catch them (unless you have enough chips to double down or pair split). 9. Your betting position is also very important. A contender who bets last on the last hand has a big edge over one who has to bet first. You must also be ready to pair split or double down on the last hand if necessary to get more money on the felt. (I once lost on the last hand of a major tournament to a smart player who doubled down a blackjack and drew a 10. He wouldn’t have had enough chips to beat me with a 3-2 payoff for a blackjack, which is why he wisely doubled down.) 10. If you don’t have enough chips to catch the leader, hold back one more chip than the leader; bet the rest, and hope the dealer beats the table (this is known as going for the low). I won two major tournaments by betting the low on the last hand. 11. If several opponents in a qualifying round bet it all on the last hand (or you believe they will) and you plan to do the same, hold back one chip. If the dealer beats the table, you might end up in second place, and advance because you held back one chip while they busted. 12. If you need to make a large bet toward the critical last few hands (but not your entire bankroll), consider betting half your bankroll. This gives you the option of pair splitting if you draw a pair. Unlike doubling down, you can’t pair split for less, which is why you bet half your bankroll and have the other half in reserve to pair split or double down. Even though luck plays a big role in tournaments because of the limited number of hands you play, players who have at least a modest understanding of tournament play and betting strategy have a much better shot at ending up in the winner’s circle. My advice is to read tournament pro Kenneth Smith’s new e-book, How To Win Even More Blackjack Tournaments, Vol. 2, for more expert advice on how to get the edge in tournaments. Go to www.bjinsider.com/HowToWin2 for details on the book.

For more free blackjack tips, visit southerngaming.com/blackjack


• Strategy Development • Web Development • Public Relations • Market Analysis • Focus Groups

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solo act IS KENTUCKY THE SEC’S ONLY SHOT TO GO DANCING IN NEW ORLEANS? BY ZA C H S PAR AZ Z A

effectively in transition and in the half court. They have run through SEC play with efficiency and dominance, and with the core group of talent seemingly improving with familiarity, the sky is the limit for this club. As good as the season has been for Big Blue Nation, the sports betting world still has questions concerning Kentucky’s validity, as the Wildcats have struggled mightily against the spread this season. With so much public action backing the Wildcats consistently as double-digit favorites, the well-oiled machine has failed to cover big spreads and has forced sports bettors to wonder if a team that performs so poorly against the spread can advance to the sport’s final weekend.

There is little doubt that hundreds of University of Kentucky fans have already booked their Final Four tickets in New Orleans, Louisiana, for the nation’s premier college basketball event. As March rolled around, John Calipari once again assembled an elite contender primed to finally break through and bring him the elusive National Championship. While his Wildcats are once again overflowing with talent throughout the lineup, one can only wonder if this group is the team that will put Calipari among college basketball’s elite? There are other schools in the SEC that will have something to say as the most exciting month of college sports is upon us. But for the third straight year, the boys from Lexington are marked as the favorite in the minds of many to hoist the trophy in the Big Easy. With five players averaging double figures, the Wildcats are as balanced as any team in the country and can attack opponents 52  

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As a group that ranks in the top 25 of every major offensive statistical category outside of assists, Calipari’s mix of young and veteran players seems poised to make a run through both the SEC and the NCAA Tournaments. Led by the projected first pick in this year’s NBA draft Anthony Davis, a 6'10" freshman from Chicago, Illinois, Kentucky fans finally have the eraser they have craved. As complements, Terrence Jones and Doron Lamb have flourished in year two, giving Calipari a bevy of talented scorers to trust down the stretch. Freshman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, a highly touted and top-ranked recruit from Elizabeth, New Jersey, and senior Darius Miller, a former Kentucky state high school champion, are both contributing upward of 10 points per game. Kidd-Gilchrist and Miller are crucial pieces to the Kentucky attack and important names to know if you plan on betting the Wildcats come tournament time. While Kentucky advanced to the Elite Eight in Calipari’s first year on the job, and defended their way all the way to the Final Four in Houston last season, the Wildcats are a clear cut favorite to reach the sport’s pinnacle in New Orleans this season. Outside of these Wildcats, is there another team from the SEC that has a chance to make it to the final weekend of college basketball? Certainly. At this point, the SEC looks as if they will send five teams to the NCAA Tournament: the aforementioned Kentucky Wildcats,


Florida, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State and, if they can finish conference play with some fire, Anthony Grant’s Crimson Tide. With back-to-back national championships in 2006 and 2007, it is hard to doubt Billy Donovan when March rolls around. However, this Gators team is undersized and unbalanced, so Donovan will have to do one of his best coaching jobs if he wants to maneuver this team through a field filled with teams similar to his. Florida shoots 40% from three point land, the best in the SEC and near the top of Division I basketball, but as sports bettors and fans alike know, living by the three also means dying by the three, and such a tagline epitomizes yet another Donovan-coached team. While long midseason win streaks have become the norm once again in Gainesville, the questions remains: Will this Gators bunch be able to put back to back good shooting games together on short rest vs. high level competition in the NCAA Tournament? The contributions Florida gets from its big men will determine how far this team can go as March nears. This team will advance as far as their hot and cold shooting guards Kenny Boynton, Bradley Beal, and Erving Walker will take them. While the Sweet 16 looks like a likely destination for this number three or four seed, the road is never easy for undersized clubs. Florida’s longtime rival and former SEC East Division foe, the Vanderbilt Commodores are a virtual mirror image of the Gators and their guard-oriented style of play. Led by three-point sharp shooters John Jenkins, Jeffrey Taylor, and Brad Tinsley, this team is finally the one that will break the string of tough-luck losses in round one of the NCAA Tournament for Kevin Stallings. In the past, an inability to get a big stop and finish possessions with a rebound has been crippling for Stallings and Vanderbilt, but with Festus Ezeli finally healthy, Lance Goulbourne playing as well as he ever has during his career in Nashville, and Jeffrey Taylor cleaning up the glass, it is hard not to assume big things for this program. Stallings has been on the cusp of something very big for the most academically charged school within the Southeastern Conference, but close losses to Richmond and Murray State by a total of four points have forced the Commodores to hit the bricks much earlier than anticipated in their past two appearances in the big dance. Three overtime losses may push some away for the fear of failure to perform in close games is pervasive amongst sports investors, but make no mistake that Kevin Stallings is the best Xs and Os coach in the SEC and will have his team prepared to make a deep run come March. Although the former SEC East Division continues to dominate the conference, recently dormant powers Mississippi State and Alabama have seen a resurgence during the 2011-2012 campaign. Rick Stansbury’s club has garnered some great wins this season during a brutal stretch in which they had to play four games in 11 days, but winning in overtime at Memorial Coliseum in Nashville gave the Bulldogs a huge boost of confidence as they hit the final stretch of their SEC schedule. With the play of Renardo Sidney and Arnett Moultrie improving with each game, point guard Dee Bost remains the engine that keeps this train rolling. The 6'2" senior from Concord, North Carolina averages just under 16 points per game, and while his assists are down from a year ago, he has made it his mission to be a score-first point

guard—which is what this team must get from him. Stansbury is working with a very limited bench, and with Moultrie, Bost, and Rodney Hood, the team’s third leading scorer, all logging over 34 minutes per game, fatigue could play a factor as the 68team field begins play in mid-March. As long as big men Renardo Sidney and Arnett Moultrie can avoid foul trouble, this Bulldogs team has a chance to be a Sweet 16 team, even as a number seven or eight seed, but staying out of foul trouble has been a tall task for this bunch in the past. Look for the Bulldogs to give themselves a chance to advance by rebounding the ball at a high level on both ends of the floor and, if Dee Bost can come up big down the stretch, Mississippi State may just have their most memorable season in recent memory. Rounding out the SEC’s chances for an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament is an Alabama team that has seen its share of peaks and valleys this season. With Anthony Grant putting together another solid recruiting class highlighted by Levi Randolph, former Mr. Basketball from the state of Alabama, the Crimson Tide had a lot to look forward to coming into this season. Unfortunately, while the football program was adding another chapter to its great history, the basketball team slipped into a spiral of tough losses. Combined with a tough schedule and a rough patch of shooting, the Tide dropped four straight in January. It is not often a team can recover from four conference losses. But with a favorable February slate and a defense that is anchored by senior JaMychal Green, Anthony Grant’s team made the statement necessary to qualify for the NCAA Tournament. They will not be a team any high seed looks forward to playing if the Tide are fortunate enough to advance past their first round matchup. Although the inability to hit the three point shot has troubled the Tide, their defense-first attitude will keep them in games and give their fans reason to believe in Alabama basketball as the calendar turns to March. While SEC basketball has taken its lumps over the past few years for a perceived lack of depth, the top of this conference can compete with any conference in the country. Led by top-ranked Kentucky, the SEC is home to elite talent and an increasingly strong crop of coaches, which will give the conference the chance to be six to seven teams deep in future NCAA Tournament fields. As for which teams will be dancing with a chance to punch their ticket to the Big Easy as early April rolls around? Well, start your trip with Lexington’s finest, connect with I-65 South and head to Nashville for Vanderbilt’s sharp-shooting attack and finish your trip with a stop in Starkville, Mississippi. Time will tell if the SEC’s finest can bring home another national championship for a clean sweep of the major sports. Good luck and good gambling.

Zach Sparazza owns WinningAddicts.com and hosts “Point Blank with Zach Sparazza” on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7-8 PM EST at BestSportsPicksToday. com/radio-show. He has won multiple elite handicapping contests over the past three seasons and received acclaim as one of the best college basketball and NHL handicappers around. He can be reached at thewinningaddict@gmail.com.

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On rare occasions you might hear a cheer or two coming from a blackjack game, usually a weak cheer, “Oh, wow, I won a hand.” It is rare you’ll hear more than one person ever say a loud, “All right!” at a roulette game. No one ever cheers at baccarat for that game is way too sedate for anyone who is prone to yelling, applauding or backslapping. Single big winners at slots might give a holler and a hoot, but slot players only win one spin at a time and no two-slot players win on the same machine at the same moment.

Frank Scoblete’s newest books are“ Slots Conquest: How to Beat the Slot Machines,” featuring advantage-play slots; and “Casino Craps: Shoot to Win,” complete with DVD. “Cutting Edge Craps: Advanced Strategies for Serious Players” and “Beat Blackjack Now” are available from Amazon.com, your favorite bookstore or by mail by calling 1-800-944-0406.

CRAPS

Craps: It’s a Riot!

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While playing casino games is fun, the real frenzy only occurs on a craps table or as Henry Dalton, someone I just met at a craps table, said, “Craps is a riot!” Indeed it is. First let’s take a look at the various meanings of the word “riot,” lifted and paraphrased from the American Heritage Dictionary. • A wild or turbulent disturbance created by a large number of people. • A violent disturbance of the public peace by people assembled for a common purpose. • An unrestrained outbreak, as of laughter or passions. • A profusion: The garden was a riot of colors in August. • Unrestrained merrymaking; revelry or debauchery. • An irresistibly funny person or thing: Isn’t she a riot? • To live wildly or engage in uncontrolled revelry. • To waste (money or time) in wild or wanton living. Obviously, the vibe at a craps table fulfills all the qualifications of a riot. When you hear a “wild or turbulent disturbance created by a large number of people” in a casino, where do you tend to look? All you have to do is turn your head to a craps table where such a wild disturbance is likely taking place. While craps is not violent in the “I punch you; you punch me” school, there is much hardy back slapping and high-fiving going on during a hot roll. There are almost choreographed moans and groans during a cold roll. I am convinced that some craps players have actually turned into werewolves by the sounds of their howls and growls. What about laughter and merrymaking, and revelry and intense passions, and debauchery? How about wild behavior and wantonness? All of these words certainly define the “profusion” of players at a craps table. Just check out the faces of the sober and often not-too-sober players and you will see a kind of “rioting” right before your eyes.

But real riots and intense demonstrations often leading to riots also have another thing in common—churning emotions that will make rational thinking next to impossible. Frank Scoblete If you have ever been in a riotous demonstration, you know what I am talking about. A person is swept on a wave of emotion, often doing things they never thought they would do—curse and harass other people; throw stones and bottles at the police or break the windows of private businesses, for example. (When the riots in England were in full swing, only one type of store did not have its windows broken and its products looted by the rioters. Can you guess? Bookstores! Seems no one is interested in reading anymore.)

Thoughtlessness is encouraged in a riot. Note how often demonstrators and rioters will say the same phrase over and over: “Down with capitalism! Down with capitalism! Down with capitalism!” Such chanting destroys rationality. Mindlessness at craps is a common occurrence, too. Just look at all the extremely bad bets craps players make at the table. Why would anyone of sane mind make bets that come in with double digits? For example, why would anyone make the Any Seven bet with its expected loss of $16.67 per $100 wagered? Why make bets where your expected loss can be 10 to almost 17% per $100? Perhaps only a riotous mind can do such a thing. I seriously believe that many players at a craps table get caught up in a kind of mindless madness—a frenzy. This frenzy causes them to throw caution to the wind and follow the betting patterns of the most impassioned and radical players at the table. (These radical players might also be labeled stupid.) They get caught up in the game to the point that they give the casino an amazing amount of action. To the casinos, “action” has a simple definition—how much can I expect to make from this player? A player giving a lot of action on bad bets is a rioter following the lead of those who wish to use that rioter for their own benefit. It is not easy to be at a craps table and see stupid bets hit, making the radical bettor money, without wanting to imitate that bettor. But doing so is like taking a knife to the throbbing heart of your bankroll. Craps is a great game to play; but if you get into the riot mode, it might just turn out that your own windows will be broken.

For more free craps tips, visit southerngaming.com/craps


When it comes to hosting over one hundred thousand people for a weekend of entertaining and celebrating the most exciting two-minutes in sports, no one does it better than the city of Louisville, Kentucky and the famous Churchill Downs. When it comes to hosting a Celebrity Poker Tournament and Party, no one does it better than Hall of Fame basketball coach Denny Crum and poker professional Robert Williamson III. Once again, the two will team up on Thursday, May 3rd to host an evening of food, music, fun, and poker, all to benefit Blessings in a Backpack, a charitable organization driven to feed needy public school children on the weekends. Traditionally, the star-studded event has been co-hosted by another world-renown poker professional, Phil Hellmuth, Jr. However, this year, a special honorary celebrity cohost will be announced and the event will be held in the Grand Medallion Ballroom at the historic Seelbach Hilton in Louisville. Guests will once again enjoy an evening of music, themed food stations, premium bourbon and wine tastings, worldrenowned performance artist, Matt Lewis, and more! In addition, there is a Texas Hold ‘em Tournament open to the public where players compete against poker pros and celebrities for cold hard cash. Approximately half of the tournament buy-in and rebuys go to Blessings in a Backpack. Last year, Nathan Morris from R&B group Boys II Men and poker professional Dan Shak split the first and second place prize after a showdown for top honors. Other well-known names who have played or attended the party include Ron White (comedian), Nora Roberts (best-selling author), Vicki Gunvalson (Orange County Housewives), Ken Davitian (actor), Oscar Nunez (actor), Melissa Biggs (actress), Corey Pavin (pro golfer and Ryder Cup Captain), Chris “Jesus” Ferguson (pro poker player), Antonio “The Magician” Esfandiari (pro poker player), Paul Hornung (Heisman Trophy winning football player) and more. Over the past two years, the event has raised over $50,000. “Last year’s event benefitted the kids at Roosevelt Elementary here in Louisville,” commented event producer, G. Douglas Dreisbach. “We took Phil and Robert to the school while they were here for the Derby to help stuff backpacks with food for the kids and they were blown away. It is nice to see the end result and benefits of the hard work of so many people.” Tickets range from $80 to $160 and include an array of benefits from food to complimentary premium bar. The buy-in for the Texas Hold ‘em Tournament is $500 +$50 with optional re-buys and add-ons in the first hour for $200 each. For more information or to purchase tickets and tournament buy-ins, visit DerbyPokerChampionship.com or call 502-583-0333.

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During a tournament, you are competing against the other players to see who can rack up the most credits on their slot machine. This means that depending on the number on entrants, your odds may be better for winning a large amount of money compared to the normal return for slot machines or table games.

This excerpt comes from casino gambling expert Bill Burton’s book, 1000 Best Casino Gambling Secrets. Find this book and others from Burton online at Amazon.com.

SLOTS

Slot Tournaments: Strategy for Play

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Some players enjoy playing tournaments because they know ahead of time what their potential losses will be. Since tournaments have a set entry fee, the participants know how much it will cost them to play. They can only lose the amount of their entry fee.

Most tournaments have several qualifying rounds with the final event being held for all players who advanced from the earlier rounds. You should look at the session times for the entire tournament before entering to determine if it fits into your schedule. During a tournament, the time between the qualifying rounds and the final round can be several hours. This means that if you qualify, you are committed to staying at the casino while you wait for the final round. The casinos plan it this way to get you to play while you wait. Watch your spending between rounds. Tournament Strategy

Not all tournaments are created equal. Tournaments fall into one of several categories: free, full, equity, invitational and bad.

Slot tournaments have a simple format. When you sign up for the tournament, you will be assigned a slot machine number and a session time to play. When it is your time, you find the machine with your number and have a seat.

Free Tournaments: Some casinos of fer free tournaments that are open to the public. They hold weekly or sometimes daily tournaments as a way to attract players into the casino. If you have never played in a slot tournament before, these free tournaments are an excellent way to find out if tournament play interests you.

A common format is to give each player 1,000 credits with 20 minutes to play them. Each time you hit the spin button, the amount of credits for a maximum bet is deducted from your starting credits. Any credits you win are shown on a separate meter. You do not get to replay any credits that you win.

Full Equity Tournaments: Many tournaments require the participants to pay an entry fee. The best-paid tournaments to enter are the ones that give back all the entry fees in the form of prizes. Casinos post the tournament rules and will list the prize structure with them.

When your time is up, the machine will lock up and your play is over. Any credits that you have not played will be lost. The score on your winning meter will be compared to those of the other players to determine a winner.

Invitational Tournaments: Invitational tournaments are usually held as a reward or comp for loyal players. These are by invitation only and not open to the public. This is the ultimate comp for a slots player, as everyone usually walks away with some sort of prize. Some of these tournaments last two or three days and include lodging. Bad Tournaments: A bad tournament is one that the casino runs just to make a profit. They take a big portion of the entry fee, but offer little to no incentives in return for the player. If the casino takes any percentage of the entry fee and does not give you anything in return, you should pass on the tournament and look for one that offers you a fair return on your investment. Some casinos offer a tournament package that will include additional incentives, freebies and discounts. Some of these are discounted for free hotel rooms, a welcome party, an awards banquet, door prizes and raffles. You should figure these additional benefits into your evaluation of the tournament.

After you finish playing, you wait at your machine until an official comes by and records your score. After your score is recorded, you will leave the machine. In many tournaments, the highest scores are posted on a display near the tournament area. These are updated after each playing session. This allows you to judge how you are doing compared to other players. Since you must play all your credits within a certain time, you must play fast enough to use all of them. Each winning spin will increase your total score. Any unused credits are lost. Focus on hitting the spin button. Don’t be distracted or spend time celebrating if you have a big hit. If you hit a big win, it will take a few seconds for the meter to register the credits. You must be prepared to start tapping as soon as this is done. Have fun! Tournaments are fun for players who have a competitive spirit, but they are not right for everyone. If you are not competitive by nature, you may not enjoy tournament play.

For more free slot tips, visit southerngaming.com/slot


Slot Spotlights Lightning Jackpots™

Fish’n for Loot™

The new companion game to the hit Fireball™, Lightning Jackpots™ is electrifying the slot f loor wherever it strikes. This towering slot offers an unprecedented 15 mini-games in the Lightning Ladder bonus utilizing Bally’s popular Game-in-Game™ play mechanic, where miniature versions of lightning-themed slot games are played during the bonus round for a chance to win an assortment of progressive jackpot amounts. The Magnetic Wilds feature delivers another jolt of excitement as wild symbols are awarded around each Tesla symbol. Up to five Tesla symbols can occur per spin

The winner of the Best Slot Product Gaming & Technology award at G2E 2011, Fish’n for Loot is the industry’s first game to feature the iDeck™ virtual button deck as an arcade-like player-input device. This game introduces Bally’s new U-Shoot™ virtual shooting gallery bonus game play mechanic, in which players touch the iDeck to create bubbles targeting fish swimming on the main game screens during the “Bubble Bonus.” This new title also features a Free Games Bonus where players are awarded three free games where all wins are tripled and up to 50 additional free games can be won.

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tournament schedule GAME TyPE

Buy- IN

ENTRy FEE

BONuS CHPS

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

No Limit Hold’em Pot Limit Omaha 8 or Better No Limit Hold’em (2 Day Event) Limit Omaha 8 or Better (2 Day Event) No Limit Hold’em Ladies No Limit Hold’em No Limit Hold’em/1 Rebuy/1 Add-on Stud 8 or Better

$200 $200 $300 $200 $200 $200 $100 $200

$30 $30 $40 $30 $30 $30 $25 $30

+$10 +$10 +$10 +$10 +$10 +$10 +$10 +$10

12pm 4pm 12pm 4pm 12pm

9 10 11 12 13

No Limit Hold’em Pot Limit Omaha/1 Rebuy/1 Add-on No Limit Hold’em 6 Handed Bounty No Limit Hold’em No Limit Hold’em (2 Day Event)

$200 $100 $360 $100 $500

$30 $25 $40 $25 $50

+$10 +$10 +$10 +$10 +$10

Thu Fri Fri Fri Fri

4pm 12pm 4pm 8pm 10pm

14 15

Limit Omaha 8 or Better No Limit Hold’em Super Satellite ($40 Re-enrtries) Mega Satellite Late Night Mega Satellite

$200 $200 $80 $125 $125

$30 $30 $20 $25 $25

+$10 +$10 +$10 +$10 +$10

Mar 31 Mar 31

Sat Sat

10am 2pm

16

Last Chance Mega Satellite Championship No Limit Hold’em (2 Day Event)

$125 $1,000

$25 $80

+$10 +$10

Mar 31 Apr 1 Apr 2

Sat Sun Mon

4pm 2pm 2pm

17 18 19

Limit Omaha 8/B Championship (2 Day Event) No Limit Hold’em (1 Day Event) Farewell Shot No Limit

$300 $200 $100

$40 $30 $25

+$10 +$10 +$10

DATE

DAy

TIME

Mar 23 Mar 23 Mar 24 Mar 24 Mar 25 Mar 25 Mar 26 Mar 26

Fri Fri Sat Sat Sun Sun Mon Mon

12pm 4pm 12pm 4pm 12pm 4pm 12pm 4pm

Mar 27 Mar 27 Mar 28 Mar 28 Mar 29

Tue Tue Wed Wed Thu

Mar 29 Mar 30 Mar 30 Mar 30 Mar 30

EvENT #

exclusive Delta gold Hotel rates $44* Sun-thurs $69* fri & Sat $80 + $20 Nightly No Limit Hold’em Tournament 7pm March 23-31, 2012. 5pm Daily No Limit Hold’em Mega satellite March 23-29, $80 + $20/ single $40 re-entry. Registration opens at 9am on March 23 and is open daily from 9am to 9pm.

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Slot Spotlights Dandy Dan the Ice Cream Man™, Incredible Technologies Dandy Dan the Ice Cream Man™ by Incredible Technologies puts a unique twist on a throwback theme with five colorful reels and 25 lines of video slot action. Mounds of ice cream-themed symbols are piled with seven unique random award events including various wild reveals, award multipliers, i nsta nt w i nners, re-spi n opportunities and loads of free spins. In the Fun Town Meltdown™ bonus game, a broken down ice cream truck is threatened by the heat of the summer while Dandy Dan frantically flings his half-frozen credit wins and players can win up to 10,000 credits.

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Southern G aming an d De s t in a t io n s

Fortune Firecracker™, Aristocrat Players love Aristocrat’s Mega Pay category, which creates more opportunities for players to win during the free games feature, by giving the player up to four sets of reels to play. Now players will be celebrating the newest Mega Pay game—Fortune Firecracker! In this game a charming monkey is your guide, a free game feature is triggered at random or when three or more scattered Firecrackers appear. During free games, which will begin after two sets of reels appear in the bonus feature, players are on a quest to gather Red Packets to add third and fourth sets of reels. After the 10th Red Packet is collected, three sets of reels will be played and all symbols on reel five become wild. But, collect 15 or 30 Red packets, and chances of wilds are greater. Fortune Firecracker is a medium volatility game with steady feature frequency. It accepts all denominations but one and two cents are the preferred denominations.

All Mixed Up™, Incredible Technologies Crazy characters, colors and comical chaos converge in All Mixed Up, the exciting new Sidewinder Reels™ game by Incredible Tech nolog ies. T hree rows comprised of heads, bodies and legs rotate horizontally on five reels as players try to create 23 amusing characters and match six color sets offering a combined 355 ways to win. Multiple bonus events are featured, including second chance re-spins, as well as a chance to win up to 100 free spins in the amped up Big Win Reels™ pay table. In addition, All Mixed Up features a unique puzzle-based pick ’em bonus called the Portrait Puzzler.


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Southern Gaming’s Preferred Hot Spots

Southern Gaming and Destinations Magazine strives to recommend quality establishments located throughout the region to our readers. On this map, you will find an array of our preferred casinos, racetracks, racinos, hotels and restaurants we feel will deliver a quality experience and encourage you to consider them when you travel. WANT COMPS? If you are a qualified casino player, let us know! We will be happy to connect you with some of our preferred casino properties around the world! For more information, please email comps@southerngaming.com or call 1-877-582-9478.

1 Gulf Coast

Shula’s Steak House (Tampa)

Beau Rivage Resort & Casino (Biloxi)

1-813-286-4366

Fallen Oak Golf Course (Biloxi)

1-877-242-6464

Nevel Meade Golf Course (Louisville)

Miccosukee Resort & Gaming (Miami)

1-502-228-9522

Pat’s Steak House (Louisville)

Grand Biloxi Casino Resort Spa

Mardi Gras Casino & Racing (Hallandale)

Half Shell Oyster House (Gulfport & Biloxi)

Seminole’s (Coconut Creek, Hollywood & Tampa)

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino (Biloxi)

Watermark Grille (Naples)

1-888-750-7111

1-877-805-4657

1-800-WIN-2-WIN

1-228-867-7001

1-877-877-6256

IP Casino Resort Spa 1-888-946-2847

Island View Casino Resort (Gulfport) 1-877-774-VIEW

Silver Slipper Casino (Bay St. Louis) 1-866-775-4773

The Shed BBQ (Ocean Springs) 1-228-875-9590

2 Alabama Riverside Casino (Wetumpka) 1-800-897-7198

The Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail 1-800-949-4444

• Oxmoor Valley Golf Course (Birmingham) • Hampton Cove Golf Course (Huntsville) • Magnolia Grove Golf Course (Mobile) • Capitol Hill Golf Course (Montgomery) Wind Creek Casino & Hotel (Atmore) 1-800-826-9121

3 Arkansas Arkansas Departmet of Parks & Tourism 1-501-682-7777

The Faded Rose Restaurant (Little Rock) 1-501-663-9734

Hot Springs Visitors Bureau 1-888-SPA-CITY

Loca Luna Restaurant (Little Rock) 1-501-663-4666

Oaklawn Park Racing & Gaming (Hot Springs) 1-800-OAKLAWN

Southland Park Gaming & Racing (West Memphis) 1-800-467-6182

4 Florida Daytona Beach Kennel Club & Poker Room 1-386-252-6484

Derby Lane Race Track (St. Petersburg) 1-727-812-3339

1-877-55-SLOTS

1866-2CASINO

1-239-596-1400

5 Georgia The Horseradish Grille (Atlanta) 1-404-255-7277

New York Prime Steakhouse (Atlanta) 1-404-875-4242

Soho Restaurant (Atlanta) 1-770-801-0069

6 Indiana Belterra Casino Resort (Vevay) 1-888-BELTERRA

Casino Aztar (Evansville) 1-800-342-5386

Oriental Wok (Fort Mitchell) 1-859-331-0770

1-502-896-9234

Porcini Italian Restaurant (Louisville) 1-502-894-8686

Seelbach Hotel (Louisville) 1-502-585-3200

Waterfront Restaurant (Covington) 1-859-581-1414

8 Louisiana Café Giovanni (New Orleans) 1-504-529-2154

Delta Downs Racetrack & Casino (Vinton) 1-800-589-7441

Fair Grounds Race Course (New Orleans) 1-504-944-5515

L’Auberge Du Lac Hotel & Casino (Lake Charles)

Rising Star Casino Resort

1-866-580-7444

Hoosier Park Racing & Casino (Anderson)

1-800-946-1946

1-800-GRAND-11

1-800-526-7223

Horseshoe Casino Southern Indiana 1-866-676-SHOE

Indiana Live! Casino (Shelbyville) 1-877-386-4463

7 Kentucky 21C Museum Hotel (Louisville)

Paragon Casino Resort (Marksville) Shreveport/ Bossier Visitor’s Bureau 1-888-45-VISIT

9 Mississippi (Tunica) Gold Strike Casino Resort 1-888-24-KSTAY

Harrah’s Tunica

1-800-WIN-4-WIN

Brown Hotel (Louisville)

Sam’s Town Hotel & Gambling Hall

Churchill Downs (Louisville)

Hollywood Casino Tunica

877-217-6400

1-502-583-1234

1-800-283-3729

Equus Restaurant (Louisville) 1-502-897-9721

1-800-456-0711 1-800-871-0711

10 Mississippi Boka Homa Casino (Sandersville)

Galt House Hotel & Suites (Louisville)

1-866-447-3275

Golf Courses of Kenton County

1-866-534-5825

1-800-THE-GALT 1-859-371-3200

Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse (Louisville) 1-502-584-0102

John Phillip’s Restaurant & Bar (Crestview Hills/N. KY) 1-859-344-0444

Keeneland Racecourse (Lexington) 1-800-456-3412

Lassing Pointe Golf Course (Boone County) 1-859-384-2266

Harlow's Casino Resort & Hotel (Greenville) Pearl River Resort (Philadelphia) 1-866-44-PEARL

11 Missouri Ameristar Casino St. Charles 1-800-325-7777

Argosy’s Alton Belle Casino 1-800-336-7568

Casino Queen

1-800-777-0777

Lumière Place Casino & Hotels 1-314-881-7777

River City Casino 1-888-578-7289

12 Nevada (Las Vegas) Aria Resort and Casino 1-866-359-7757

The Bellagio

1-888-987-6667

Caesars Palace 1-800-HARRAHS

Ferraro’s Italian Restaurant 1-702-364-5300

Golden Nugget

1-800-634-3454

Golden Gate Hotel & Casino

1-800-426-1906 Hard Rock Hotel & Casino 1-800-473-7625 MGM Grand 1-877-880-0880 Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino 1-877-632-7800 Mirage Las Vegas 1-800-627-6667 Palms Hotel 1-866-942-7777 Paris Las Vegas 1-877-796-2096 The Venetian 1-877-283-6423 Wynn Las Vegas 1-888-320-WYNN Wild Wild West Hotel & Casino 1-800-6-STATIONS

13 Nevada (Laughlin) Aquarius Casino Resort 1-888-662-5824

Golden Nugget Laughlin 1-800-950-7700

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Southern G aming an d De s t in a t io n s


For comps and information on these facilities, visit www.SouthernGaming.com!

Harrah’s Laughlin Casino and Hotel

Gaylord Springs Golf Links (Nashville)

1-800-427-7247

14 Nevada (Reno) Atlantis Casino Resort 1-800-723-6500

Circus Circus Reno Hotel & Casino 1-800-648-5010

Eldorado Hotel & Casino 1-800-879-8879

Hyatt Regency Resort Spa & Casino (Lake Tahoe) 1-800-233-1234 Peppermill Resort Spa Casino 1-866-821-9996

15 Ohio Blue Ash Golf Course (Cincinnati) 1-513-745-8577

Elks Run Golf Course (Cincinnati) 1-513-735-6600

Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse (Cincinnati) 1-513-784-1200

Montgomery Inn Boathouse (Cincinnati) 1-513-791-3482

16 South Carolina

Half Shell Restaurant (Memphis)

CQ’s Restaurant (Hilton Head)

1-901-523-2746

Golden Bear at Indigo Run (Hilton Head)

1-901-274-2556

1-843-671-2779

1-843-689-2200

Harbour Town Golf Course (Hilton Head) 1-843-363-4485

Hilton Head National (Hilton Head) 1-843-842-5900

Salty Dog Café (Hilton Head) 1-843-363-2198

17 Tennessee

Rendezvous Barbecue (Memphis) Tsunami Restaurant (Memphis) Vanderbilt Legends Club (Brentwood) 1-615-790-1300

18 West Virginia Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races 1-800-795-7001

The Greenbrier (White Sulphur Springs) 1-800-453-4858

Mardi Gras Casino & Resort

Cherokee Valley Golf Course (Memphis)

Mountaineer Casino Racetrack and Resort

Folk’s Folly (Memphis)

Wheeling Island Hotel, Casino & Racetrack

1-901-525-4653 1-901-762-8200

1-800-777-5848

1-901-682-3966

Bound’ry (Nashville) 1-615-321-3043

Atlantis, Paradise Island

1-615-458-1730

Aunt Chilada’s Easy Street Café (Hilton Head) 1-843-785-7700

Bahamas

1-304-776-1000

1-800-489-8192

Check out SouthernGaming.com today! Get the best gaming tips, reviews, gaming news, sports scores and odds, and more! Don’t delay...you are just a click away!

1-304-232-5050

Vol um e 14  I ssue 2  

63


I trust my instincts when I’m deciding whether or not a player is bluffing. I hone these instincts by practicing reading my opponents when I’m out of the hand being played, to try to get a better read on them when I need it later. If someone has raised in front of me and I feel that he is weak, I usually fold anyway. But at the end of the hand, I’ll watch to see if he exposes his hole cards, so I can confirm that he was weak or see that I was wrong. If I was right, then I will wait for him to do it again. Anyone who makes one weak raise can be expected to make more than one.

Phil Hellmuth Jr. is an 11-time World Series of Poker Champion leading all poker players in the world. He has two New York Times best-seller books, “Play Poker Like the Pros” and “Bad Beats and Lucky Draws.” Both books can be found at Amazon.com. Phil’s books, blog, tips and more can also be found at PhilHellmuth.com. Learn about his new cell phone game at HellmuthHoldem.com.

POKER

No Limit Hold ‘Em: Hellmuth’s Strategy

64

Phil’s Strategy: Re-raise with Nothing I like to use an example from the World Series of Poker (WSOP) in 2001. I had been watching Daniel Negreanu very closely during the championship on day three. In this particular hand, Daniel opened the pot for $10,000. I knew he had nothing, and when it was my turn to act I made it $30,000 to go with 10♦–2♦ (bluffing). Now, John “World” Hennigan decided to move all-in for $30,100, and Daniel quickly folded his hand. I called $100 more, but I would have called another $10,000 because of the size of the pot (I had about $210,000 in front of me at the time). After all, I already had $30,000 in the pot plus John’s $30,100 and Daniel’s $10,000. Much to my embarrassment, the tournament director required us to flip our cards face up before the flop. When the hands were announced, a lot of snickering was heard from the crowd, and most of the players left in the tournament came over to watch this pot. John had 9-9 and I had 10-2! Basically, I needed a 10 to win. The flop and the turn came 7-8-3-K and then a 10 hit on the last card! What a lucky card for me! I don’t know what John was doing putting his last $30,000 into a pot when it was raised and re-raised in front of him before the flop, and I didn’t like his play at all. I hadn’t been making any plays that day, and even if he suspected that I was making a play, pocket nines isn’t a very good hand to make a stand with, especially given that he couldn’t even raise me out of the pot. John’s instinct was right, so I have to give him credit for his call, and perhaps for figuring out that Daniel and I were both bluffing! Anyway, here is an example of a pot that was won while someone was making a move. If someone raises a very small amount before the flop, I will often call with suited connectors and take the flop. When I do this, I am putting a lot of pressure on myself to read my opponents. Sometimes it works out beautifully and sometimes I have to scramble in order to save chips. I absolutely hate getting all my chips in with any hand. When you are all-in you can go broke! Of course, if I

had the best possible hand on the last round of betting, then I love to get all my chips in. I try to avoid getting all-in in NLH unless it can’t be helped. More of ten than I probably should, I will Phil Hellmuth Jr. throw away the best hand when I play NLH. I will throw away very strong hands if I believe that they’re beaten, no matter how much money is already in the pot. When you can do this, you can escape losing situations. I folded pocket kings before the flop at the World Championships in 2001 when my opponent opened for $1,200. I re-raised him to $3,800, and he then moved my last $12,000 all-in. I thought he had pocket aces, so I folded my hand, rather then risk my last $12,000. As he was throwing away his hand facedown, I said “Show me pocket aces!” Amazingly, he did show them. The ability to throw away strong hands is a mark of an NLH champion. I often protect my hands with huge bets and raises. At the preliminary NLH event at the WSOP that I won in 2001, I moved all-in with A-A after I was check-raised on a flop of A♦-6♥-7♥. Even though I had the best possible hand and a good reason to suspect that the opponent who had checkraised me on the flop was drawing dead (had no wins!), I didn’t want to take a chance that my opponent might catch two perfect cards. This was the classic slow-play situation because we were the two chip leaders at the time. Instead of smooth calling my opponent’s $15,000 check raise on the flop, I went ahead and raised him his last $50,000, and he threw his hand away. Perhaps if I had slow-played my hand, my opponent would have caught an eight and a nine to make a ten-high straight with his A-10 and a board of A-6-7-8-9. I like to play conservatively and hang around in the tournament until I smell blood or have a good situation come up for me. I wait for the chips to come to me. Eventually, my opponents start to make mistakes that I can take advantage of. When I feel the time is right, I will make some moves. I might call someone with a weak hand when he’s bluffing, or I might bluff someone when I smell weakness. I may even try to trap someone if I make the nuts, but generally I bet the nuts to give someone the chance to break himself against me in a pot. I play by feel, with some discipline, to make sure I stay around for a while. And I trust my reading powers. I sit back and watch what others are doing, and then I make some adjustments to my play. Sometimes I play my style, and other times I play a style based entirely on my opponents’ styles.

For more free poker tips, visit southerngaming.com/poker


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It’s gaming, re-mixed. We create the world’s greatest gaming experience, every day. Aristocrat is bringing you all-new ways to help your players experience excitement. From downloadable content on your gaming floor to real solutions for internet gaming to mobile apps that help you build player loyalty on the go, the amazing popularity of Aristocrat games can now enable you to generate profits in more ways – and more places – than ever before. © 2012 Aristocrat Technologies Australia Pty Limited. © 2012 SEGA. SEGA, CRAZY TAXI and CRAZY TAXI FARE 4 ALL are either registered trademarks or trademarks of SEGA Corporation. © 2012 Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved. © 2012 EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS, INC., All Rights Reserved. TARZAN® and TARZAN Yell® Owned by EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS, INC. and Used by Permission. © 2012 Zorro Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved. © 2009-2011 Godard’s Rockin’ Olives is a trademark and copyright of Michael Godard. All Rights Reserved.

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Southern Gaming & Destinations March 2012 Slot Guide