TOP PICKS FOR SUMMER FUN
7 SOUTHERN SUMMER GETAWAYS PAGE 22
MAY 2013 Vol. 15, Issue 3 SOUTHERNGAMING.COM
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PAWN STARS PAWN PROS’ NEW SLOT MACHINE IS A HIT! PAGE 10
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ON THE COVER
Pawn Stars Pawn Pros Strike Gold
Celebs and Thoroughbreds More than a Pastime for the Rich and Famous
Sweet Summer Getaways Top 7 Southern Stops
More Bang For Your Buck 15 Travel Tips for your Casino Vacation
Life on the Road
Cool Coastal Living
Tips & Columns
Highlight & Hotspots
50 TournEvent of Champions
Vertical vs. Horizontal Wagering
19 Kentucky Derby: Flashback, 1963
Slot Savvy Showdown
52 Author Spotlight Hitting the Track with Eric Floyd
53 Scenes of the South:
Winning More By Doubling Down
30 Craps: No It Ainâ€™t So
32 Casino Knowledge: Q & A with John G.
38 Video Poker: The New Normal Part II
44 Getting Fit: Custom Clubs Measure Up
12 Great Tips from a Casino Camping Pro
Exploring Ocean Springs
SOUTH E R NGAM I NG.COM
from the Publisher
UP FRONT with G. DOUGLAS
Bisig Impact Group CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
Larry Bisig PRESIDENT & CREATIVE DIRECTOR
make better decisions and keep you from asking, “What if…?”
Do you ever stop and think, What if…? What if I went to Biloxi instead of Tunica? Would I have won instead of lost? What if I didn’t split those 7s at the blackjack table? Would the outcome of cards have changed and given me a lucky streak? Those two words can take your mind through a juggernaut of thoughts and second-guesses that will keep you wondering what might have been. While we all know you can’t go back and change your decision and relive the moment, we can be smarter about future decisions by being more educated and informed based on facts and input from reliable sources, like Southern Gaming. We publish tips and articles from some of the most educated gambling authors in the world. Frank Scoblete is the “King of Craps” with several top-selling craps books and strategy websites. If you are a craps player, you will learn something from every one of his columns. If you play video poker, Linda Boyd’s column will help you follow better play strategies, which will hopefully lead you to better outcomes. Beth D’Addonno is a top-notch food critic and travel writer based out of New Orleans. If you are looking for unique places to wine and dine throughout the South, be sure to check out her food features in each issue. And the list goes on, from Eric Floyd and his horseracing knowledge, to Henry Tamburin and his blackjack insight. We hope you utilize the valuable information in each issue to help you 4
On the cover of this issue, we are excited to feature the cast from the hit cable series show, Pawn Stars. The show highlights day-to-day occurrences that take place at Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas. Since premiering on The History Channel in 2011, the show has been a huge hit. And today, you can find Pawn Stars merchandise, apps and even a slot machine that features the show’s cast members. That’s right, the folks at Bally Technologies knew the show would be the perfect theme for a fun game, and they are excited to add it to casino floors throughout the country. Be sure to check out the article on page 10 to find out more about the show, how it started and the latest craze with the Pawn Stars slot machine. Also in this issue, we’ve highlighted the “Sport of Kings” and the many celebrities who have taken a liking to the rich world of thoroughbreds. From Bing Crosby to Bobby Flay, we take a look at some of the star power of the sport on page 16. Even if you aren’t a celebrity, if you have the opportunity to attend any of the Triple Crown races – Kentucky Derby in Louisville, the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore or the Belmont Stakes in New York – jump on it! Last but not least, I can’t leave out The Comps Club by Southern Gaming. If you aren’t a member, what are you waiting for? If you are a member, thank you! We hope you are enjoying the coupons. And don’t forget to let us know if you refer a friend and we will send you an extra set of coupons! If you can’t be good… be lucky!
G. Douglas Dreisbach GENER A L M A NAGER
Chip Dumstorf GENERAL MANAGER
G. Douglas Dreisbach MANAGING EDITOR
Roger Angel ACCOUNTING
Peggy Harris CONTRIBUTING AUTHORS
Roger Angel Linda Boyd Beth D’Adonno Eric Floyd John Grochowski Phil Hellmuth, Jr. Mac McCellan Frank Scoblete Henry Tamburin Colby Wolitz Letters to the editor, address changes and other correspondence should be sent to: SOUTHERN GAMING AND DESTINATIONS
640 South Fourth Street Louisville, Kentucky 40202 (502) 583-0333 Fax (502) 583-6487 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org The goal of this publication is to help drive awareness of the evergrowing 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, and 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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TROPICANA CASINO MAKING NEWS IN EVANSVILLE, INDIANA
Bellagio Las Vegas
BELLAGIO LAS VEGAS COMPLETES $40 MILLION REMODEL
Bellagio.com Bellagio Las Vegas has lifted the bar once again with its $40 million project that included a remodel of all 928 rooms and suites in its Spa Tower. The resort also introduced three new Executive Parlor Suites. Each exquisite 2,500 square-foot suite features its own billiards lounge and home theater living area. “The completion of the Spa Tower remodel marks a significant milestone in the evolution of the Bellagio 6|
guest experience,” said Randy Morton, President and Chief Operating Officer of Bellagio. Regarded as one of the most elite casino properties in the world, Bellagio is known for its choreographed property-front water show, impressive collection of luxury retailers and high-end restaurants, and of course, its grand casino. “We continue to seek ways not only to create new experiences and fresh spaces, but also to maintain the superior Five Diamond service synonymous with Bellagio.”
In 1995, Casino Aztar opened in Evansville, Indiana, introducing casino gaming to the Hoosier state. After 17 years and over $212 million invested in their Riverfront Park location, the property is rebranding as Tropicana Evansville this June. “This exciting transition will better leverage the Tropicana brand to attract new guests from outlying regions,” says General Manager Ward Shaw. “It also symbolizes the continued improvements we’ve made for our guests over the years.” Be on the lookout for a full agenda of events to celebrate the transition.
KENNY CHESNEY TO PLAY THE GREENBRIER CLASSIC CONCERT SERIES
greenbrierclassic.com The Greenbrier recently announced country music superstar, Kenny Chesney, as the headliner for The Greenbrier Classic Concert Series, July 1-7, 2013. The concert series coincides with the resort’s fourth annual PGA TOUR Fed Ex Cup Event, The Greenbrier Classic. Chesney, a four-time CMA winner known for his high-energy, regularly sold-out shows, is looking forward to the upcoming event. “This country is an amazing place,” says Chesney. “I can see it every night at my shows: all the heart, the passion and the fun I can see out in the crowd. And to be able to spend the 4th of July somewhere as historic as The Greenbrier, that’s a pretty incredible place to celebrate our nation’s birthday.”
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Biloxi, MS
HARD ROCK HOTEL & CASINO IN BILOXI ANNOUNCES LAS VEGAS PARTNERSHIP
HardRockBiloxi.com Hard Rock Casino & Hotel in Biloxi, Mississippi is excited to announce its new partnership with The Cosmopolitan, a luxury resort located in the heart of Las Vegas. The partnership is anchored by a VIP Customer Loyalty Program, which will allow VIP customers to experience concerts, sporting events and gaming tournaments held at both properties. It will also give employees and visitors of the Hard Rock Biloxi the opportunity to receive special deals and promotions for The Cosmopolitan.
2013 BEST OF SOUTHERN GAMING AWARDS… AND THE WINNER IS?
C C AMERICAN CASINO GUIDE
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When you join The Comps Club by Southern Gaming, you’ll be a winner before you even step foot in a casino. In addition to an annual subscription to Southern Gaming, Comps Club Members also receive special offers and discounts to casinos throughout the South. Don’t miss out! Check out page 9 for more details.
Voting is over for the 2013 Best of Southern Gaming Awards, and we look forward to sharing all of the winning properties in our July Issue. Until then, we’re excited to announce Harold S. from Hot Springs Village, Arkansas as the winner of our VIP Casino Trip for Two. Harold was thrilled to receive the call from Southern Gaming and actually thought it was a solicitation at first! At the casinos, Harold enjoys playing the slots, his favorite being Hot Slots, and prefers Sam’s Town Casino in Tunica, Mississippi. He also likes to visit Biloxi, Mississippi when he gets the chance. For Harold, playing at the casinos is a great form of relaxing entertainment. Look for Harold’s trip review in an upcoming issue of Southern Gaming. Thanks to all who voted! SOUTHERNGAMING.COM
FACTS & FUN
WHO WAS THE FIRST HORSE TO BREAK 2-MINUTES IN THE KENTUCKY DERBY?
WHO WAS THE ONLY UNDEFEATED TRIPLE CROWN WINNER?
3 4 5
A. Citation B. I’ll Have Another C. Secretariat D. Count Fleet
A. Seattle Slew B. Sir Barton C. Affirmed D. Gallant Fox
WHERE IS THE #1 VACATION DESTINATION IN THE U.S.? A. B. C. D.
Las Vegas, NV San Francisco, CA New York City, NY Orlando, Florida
WHICH BREED OF HORSE HAS ONE LESS VERTEBRAE AND ONE LESS RIB THAN EVERY OTHER BREED? A. Arabian B. Barb C. Andalusian D. Icelandic
WHICH RACE IS THE OLDEST IN TRIPLE CROWN HISTORY? A. B. C. D.
Kentucky Derby Travers Stakes Belmont Stakes Preakness Stakes
“KILOMETERS ARE SHORTER THAN MILES. SAVE YOUR GAS, TAKE YOUR NEXT TRIP IN KILOMETERS.” – GEORGE CARLIN
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The number of Triple Crown winners in the 20th century
Percentage of Americans who fly when they travel to vacation destinations
THE SUDOKU PUZZLE
“Did You Know” Answers: 1. c. - Secretariat, 2. a. - Seatle Slew, 3. d. - Orlando, FL, 4. a. - Arabian, 5. c. - Belmont Stakes
Answers on page 42 | SOUTHERNGAMING.COM
The number of card decks sold each year in the U.S.
Up to the challenge? Complete the grid so that each column, row and block of nine squares includes numbers 1 through 9 only once.
The first year a “Photo Finish” was used to determine the winner of the Kentucky Derby
Game courtesy of Sudokutoday.com
DID YOU KNOW
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C AT CH I NG U P W I TH R ICK H A R R ISON OF TH E H I T R E A L I T Y T V S H O W, P A W N S T A R S by
G. D OU G LAS D R E I S BACH
F YOU HAVE A TELEVISION, you have probably
heard of The History Channel’s hit series Pawn Stars, a reality show that documents day-to-day interactions of Rick Harrison, the owner of Gold & Silver Pawn Shop. This isn’t just any pawn shop. This is the most famous pawn shop in the world, located in one of the most famous cities in the world— Las Vegas. Each episode features customers negotiating to sell off-the-wall items and collectibles, and depicts Harrison evaluating each piece and trying to get a deal that pleases both him and the customer. The show mainly focuses on Harrison but also includes his father Richard ‘Old Man’ Harrison, his son Corey Harrison, and Corey’s childhood friend, Chumlee. Rick and his father opened the shop in 1988 when the city’s population grew to 250,000. At that time, there was only one more pawn shop license available and Harrison was the first in line to claim it. Today, Pawn Stars is in its fourth season and continues to be a huge hit, airing in more than 150 countries and in 37 languages. It is TV’s biggest cable hit and reaches 7 million viewers during its two airings on any given Monday night. What makes the show so popular you ask? Well, according to Rick, “One word: Chumlee.” The Gold & Silver Pawn Shop is now one of the biggest tourist stops in Las Vegas, attracting 4,000 - 5,000 people per day, a far cry from the 70-100 before the show started. To handle the traffic, Harrison increased his staff from 13 employees to more than 50 and underwent a $400,000 expansion of his showroom, which now occupies 15,000 square feet and houses more than 12,000 items. To be an expert pawnbroker, you have to be knowledgeable 10 |
“I’M RICK HARRISON, AND THIS IS MY PAWN SHOP. I WORK HERE WITH MY OLD MAN AND MY SON, COREY. EVERYTHING IN HERE HAS A STORY AND A PRICE. ONE THING I’VE LEARNED AFTER 21 YEARS: YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT IS GONNA COME THROUGH THAT DOOR.” about different items, or know someone who is. While Harrison does call in experts from time to time, he handles most of the trade-ins himself, since he can spot a fake or fraudulent item quickly. “The pawn industry changes like everything else,” he explains. “Real slot machines have gone to high-def video machines now. We have gone from pocket watches and DVRs, to Rolexes and Xboxes.” This means that Harrison has to constantly stay informed of the current trends, as there is no way to predict the next item a customer will bring in. Harrison explains that one of the most common misconceptions in the industry is the assumption that pawn shops work with stolen merchandise. “We are one of the most regulated industries in the country. It is as difficult to get a pawn license in Nevada as a gaming license.” “I am an incredible bookworm. Up until a few years ago, I would read three or four hours a night. I mean I read science books, chemistry books, history books. I read that stuff for
The all-star cast of Pawn Stars is Chumlee, Richard ‘Old Man’ Harrison, Rick Harrison and Corey Harrison.
fun. And eventually all of it started melding together. It not only helps when I’m buying the stuff, but when I’m selling it too. So, I’m not that cool; I’m just a bookworm,” said Harrison in an interview with TV Guide. Harrison admits there are items that he prefers to keep. “With things I really like, I will put them in the store with really exorbitant price tags on them so they don’t sell for a year or two,” he said. “And then, once I am over it, I sell it. Otherwise, I’d have a whole house decorated in pawn motif!”
Harrison said the coolest items in the shop are a flag that has been on the moon and a first edition Playboy magazine featuring Marilyn Monroe. Harrison does have some advice when it comes to pawning an item. “Do your research, and then your expectations might be more reasonable. We offer [the customers] what [their items are] worth to us. It is a business, so it has to make financial sense for us to buy it. The price we are willing to pay may be determined by whether the item will sell quickly,
The world famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop is located on The Strip in Las Vegas, Nevada. Here you’ll find rare art, guitars, jewelry, tools, electronics, comic books, and more!
or is so unique we will have it for quite a while before a buyer or collector wants to purchase it.” With new fame comes fortune. Revenue has increased exponentially for the shop, the cast receives appearance fees, and fans can purchase Pawn Stars branded shirts, hats, games, smart phone and tablet apps, and more. So when Bally Technologies unveiled its Pawn Stars™ video slot machine, no one was surprised that it was a big hit, just like the show. In the game, you can select Rick, Old Man, Corey or Chumlee as your primary character. Then you’ll enter the world of buying, selling and negotiating, and interact with the characters as if you are on the show. All the video footage of the Pawn Stars was shot specifically for the game. The interactions are not clips from the show. As you play, you collect items that can be bought or sold during bonus events. A wheel spin took me to Rick’s Bonus, where it was time to negotiate a price. I was pitching my old bicycle, and asked a high price. Rick laughed. After a little give and take, Rick made his final offer, and then offered to call in an expert. Should I take the money? If the expert ruled my item to be genuine, it would double the price. I called for the expert, who informed us my classic bike was a 12 |
phony. There went my bonus. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. There are a total of 46 items to collect and sell, with values that randomly change. The bike, for example, isn’t automatically worth more than the baseball, so there’s no strategy in selecting higher-priced items to sell. It is totally up to the player, the Pawn Star and the random number generator inside the machine. Throughout the game you have the option to keep the same character, or change to one of the other Pawn Stars. And spinning a winning combination of the character’s symbol pays double. The game is rich in features and has multiple bonus events, including a wheel spin that shows just what event you are going to play. The machine is making its way to casinos throughout the country and is receiving great reviews from players. The Pawn StarsTM video slot game invites players to pick an item to buy or sell, then negotiate with the Pawn Stars for credit awards. Free games, 11 wheel bonus prizes, wilds, pick ‘em features, and iDeck interaction all make this game a rewarding new way to experience the popular TV series. Look for this exciting game at your local casino, and check out Pawn Stars Monday nights on The History Channel!
Enter the world of buying, selling and negotiating with Bally’s new Pawn StarsTM video slot game.
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HORSERACING: Vertical vs. Horizontal Wagering
ECENTLY, I RECEIVED a revelation;
what “old-school” race trackers regularly label as “straight betting” has become somewhat of a lost art. If I put my head on a swivel during any particular session there is overwhelming evidence that a majority of my fellow horseplayers have all but abandoned the traditional Win, Place and Show pools in order to mount a lustful affair with “exotic wagering.” Before we delve into our lesson, I will admit that yours truly will always revert back to straight betting as a primary means to turn a pari-mutuel profit. However, on certain occasions, an oval’s card dictates that a player employ improvisational money management. Thanks to the imagination of those in power, there are literally countless angles from which one may launch their assault on a racetrack. Aside from the traditional flutters already mentioned, wagering alternatives include, but are not limited to: exacta, trifecta, superfecta, daily double, pick 3, pick 4, pick 5 and pick 6. Actually, whether most exotic players realize it or not, they tend to gravitate towards a certain sect of this register, which in turn ultimately defines them as either a “vertical” or “horizontal” bettor. Loosely defined, a vertical bettor is someone who limits their exotic play to a single race – keying one or more horses “on top,” then further building a ticket with other entrants who are placed “underneath.” Exactas (selecting the first two finishers of a race in order), trifectas (selecting the first three finishers) and superfectas (selecting the first four finishers) are all examples of vertical bets. Conversely, horizontal bettors routinely attempt to select the winner of a predetermined number of consecutive races. The daily or rolling double (selecting the winner of two consecutive races) and all other “pick” exotics are examples of horizontal wagers. The next progression in this tutorial naturally involves answering the question: “Which is superior, vertical or horizontal wagering?” Like most things equine related, this is a matter of opinion, but upon dissection, each strategy will undoubtedly exhibit a fair share of pros and cons.
Vertical bettors bank on predicting a race’s order of finish, and while locating horses with a chance to win is somewhat plausible, a minor award is realistically in range for any entrant that leaves the starting gate. The horizontal bettor’s aim to solely pick winners may seem rudimentary. However, even if multiple entrants are used in each leg of a Pick 4, for example, it still only takes one overachieving long shot to upset the apple cart. Correlating vertical and horizontal wagers may just be the answer, and for illustrative purposes I’ll reference my recent session at Tampa Bay Downs. When Verrazano was announced as the 4-5 morning-line favorite for the Tampa Bay Derby, realization materialized that it would take an outside the box mentality to exit Florida’s bay area with anything more than forty cents on the dollar. Initially I decided that Dynamic Sky, second choice on the morning-line behind Verrazano, was a logical candidate to complete an exacta, although what amounted to an all-stakes Pick 3 that culminated with the card’s feature seemed to be extremely playable. After proceeding through the turnstiles at Tampa Bay Downs, I immediately purchased a $50 exacta with Verrazano over Dynamic Sky, and settled in the grandstand. With a slate of twelve races ahead, there wasn’t much fat left on my bankroll, yet I did wisely surrender a sawbuck in order to play a $5 all-stakes Pick 3. In the Suncoast Stakes, my top selection (Carolinaonmymind) faltered, but the inclusion of the race favorite (Manuka Honey) preserved the day’s only horizontal wager. A single in the Hillsborough Stakes named Old Tune went wire to wire, and though Dynamic Sky finished up the track, Verrazano won the Tampa Bay Derby, thus rounding out a Pick 3 that returned $76. Now coming out ahead a mere $16 may seem inconsequential, but this particular session was salvaged due to stepping outside of an established comfort zone, which is something every horseplayer must challenge themselves to do from time to time.
E R I C F L OY D
Eric Vaughn Floyd is a turf writer for various gaming publications as well as a Triple Crown pari-mutuel consultant for several nationwide media outlets. Excerpts from his gambling memoir, My First Decade Playing the Game, can be found at LuLu.com.
“THERE ARE LITERALLY COUNTLESS ANGLES FROM WHICH ONE MAY LAUNCH THEIR ASSAULT ON A RACETRACK.”
FOR MORE FREE HORSERACING TIPS, VISIT SOUTHERNGAMING.COM 14
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H O R S E R AC I N G :
Celebs & Thoroughbreds
Recording artist Bing Crosby checks out a photo finish camera installed at Del Mar Racetrack in 1937.
THOROUGHBREDS MOR E THAN A PA S TIM E FOR THE R ICH & FAMOUS
HOROUGHBRED R ACING is often referred to as
the “Sport of Kings.” However, due to the pastime’s intoxicating aura, nearly every culture on earth contains a sect of humanity that revels in equine ownership. On our native soil we find that the general interest in racehorses is growing exponentially, so much so that celebrities from practically every conceivable genre have opted to dedicate a percentage of their disposable income towards locating pristine pieces of nimble horseflesh. Though the depth with which they have entered the game varies, each eminent individual we are about to profile eventually discovered their veiled desire to become totally immersed in the exciting, unpredictable and decadent world of thoroughbred horseracing. BING CROSBY
His bass-baritone voice made him one of the most successful recording artists of the twentieth century, yet Bing Crosby’s love affair with the turf has been well documented as well. Crosby co-founded California’s Del Mar Racetrack with several notable personalities, including Charles S. Howard, the owner of Seabiscuit – undoubtedly the early twentieth century’s most revered thoroughbred. On August 12, 1938 Del Mar hosted a $25,000 winner-take-all match race between Howard’s “Biscuit” and a racer from Crosby’s Binglin Stable named Ligaroti. Though the hefty purse ultimately eluded Crosby by a nose, this renowned entertainer succeeded in capturing several prestigious races, including the Irish Derby with a leggy runner named Curragh. In tribute to one of its chief pioneers, Del Mar annually hosts the Grade I Bing Crosby Handicap, which is contested at six furlongs over the main track. B O B B Y F L AY
Once he decided to seriously pursue the spoils of thoroughbred racing, it didn’t take celebrity chef, restaurateur and reality TV personality, Bobby Flay, very long to make an impact. Success at the stakes level eludes even those horsemen who have logged decades on the backside, yet Flay has sent out several such victors, including 2010 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies by
E R I C F L OY D
Left: Acclaimed celebrity chef, Bobby Flay; Center: Louisville Cardinals’ Mens Basketball Head Coach, Rick Pitino; Right: The most decorated Olympian in history, Michael Phelps.
Turf Winner More Than Real. Rather than remain on the industry’s fringe, this “Iron Chef ” has wholeheartedly committed to the wellbeing of equines in both major and minor markets. Subsequently, Flay has been selected as this year’s recipient of the Earle I. Mack Thoroughbred Champion Award, which honors an individual who demonstrates outstanding effort and influence in circles relating to thoroughbred racehorse safety, welfare and retirement. Bobby Flay also served as an honorary ambassador for the 2012 Breeders’ Cup with seven other notable celebrities including: Jim Rome, Bo Derek, Joe Torre and Toby Keith. RICK PITINO
As a collegiate coach in the Bluegrass State for more than two decades, Rick Pitino is all too familiar with Kentucky’s other primary preoccupation. In 1998, Pitino swung for the fences with Halory Hunter, a Nick Zito-trained colt who managed to carve out a gutty fourth place finish in the “Run for the Roses.” Stoking Pitino’s Triple Crown aspirations a few years later was A P Valentine, a racer that eradicated the field in Belmont Park ’s marquee juvenile event, the GI Champagne Stakes. After a lackluster performance in the 2001 Kentucky Derby, A P Valentine validated his owner’s confidence by placing second behind Point Given in the Preakness Stakes. As a lead partner in both Celtic Pride and Ol’ Memorial Stables, Pitino regularly names horses after his players. His horse, Siva won a race at Gulfstream 18 |
Park on March 2. Multiple graded stakes winner Goldencents, recently won the Santa Anita Derby to gain entry to the Kentucky Derby MICHAEL PHELPS
With a total of twenty-two medals, eighteen of those being gold, Michael Phelps is far and away history’s most decorated Olympian. This legendary swimmer, who became a household name after winning eight first place medals in the 2008 Games in Beijing, gracefully retired following the 2012 Summer Olympics, yet still retains a competitive alliance with former aquatic coach Bob Bowman. Phelps and Bowman share ownership in Cerro, an Irish bred colt handled by Graham Motion, trainer of Animal Kingdom, winner of the 2011 Kentucky Derby. Victorious in a 1 1/8 mile optional claiming route at Gulfstream Park on January 26, Cerro also ran respectably verses Kentucky Derby hopefuls on February 23 in Gulfstream’s GII Fountain of Youth Stakes. DREW BREES
Best known as an NFL icon, Super Bowl MVP and seven time Pro-Bowler, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees doesn’t at all mind the title of “horseman.” Perhaps more serious about his ponies than any other celebrity owner, Brees is unbelievably astute concerning the racing equine and even made a serious run at the 2012 Kentucky Derby starting gate with Holy Candy, fourth place finisher in
Keeneland’s GI Bluegrass Stakes. Brees recently made headlines when he and his partners claimed a Hollywood Park racer named Siempre Mio, away from Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol of the Los Angeles Lakers. Who Dat Ambush, a Mark E. Casse trainee who broke his maiden at the Fairgrounds Racecourse in early January, is another promising runner co-owned by Drew Brees. This Canadian bred son of Orientate competes under the colors of Last Mango Racing Stable, whose partners include New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton, general manager Mickey Loomis, V.P of communications Greg Bensel and Jimmy Buffet. STEVEN SPIELBERG
Accredited as the architect of modern Hollywood blockbuster filmmaking, director Steven Spielberg has captivated the imagination of moviegoers for well over forty years. One of the two-time Academy Award Winner’s more recent projects includes War Horse, an epic equine adventure set against the canvas of Europe during World War I. Spielberg’s fascination with horses isn’t just relegated to the set, and with an estimated net worth of 3.2 billion dollars, this cofounder of Dream Works Studios can more than afford to zealously participate in the “Sport of Kings.” An investor in the Delaware-based Biscuit Stables, Spielberg’s claim to fame in horseracing involves Atswhatimtalkingabout, a syndicated colt who finished fourth in the 2003 Kentucky Derby.
he came into the race undefeated at three (3-0) including a win in April’s Blue Grass Stakes, Chateaugay was all but ignored amid the hype surrounding the three star horses, and was sent off at 9-1 odds.
Chateaugay in the Winner’s Circle in 1963
Kentuckyderby.com recalls this exciting race: “As the gates opened, Chateaugay took well back and held in reserve through the opening six furlongs. He was eased to the extreme outside soon after leaving the backstretch and moved with a rush to wear down Never Bend through the upper stretch and prevailed in a long drive. Never Bend rushed to the lead at once, saved ground under patient handling, drifted out slightly while under pressure in midstretch, and held on stubbornly after giving way to the winner.
KENTUCKY DERBY by
ROG E R ANG E L
IN 1963, WILT CHAMBERLAIN was putting up 67 points against the Lakers, Willie Mays was signing a record-high $100,000 contract with San Francisco, and Chateaugay, a long shot thoroughbred from Lexington, Kentucky, was pulling away from the pack to win Kentucky Derby 89.
The 1963 Kentucky Derby, the first leg of the Triple Crown series, saw 120,000 patrons gather at Churchill Downs for a race that featured three thoroughbred stars. TIME magazine reported jockey Eddie Arcaro as saying, “I can’t remember a Derby creating so much excitement.”
Leading up to the big race, Rex C. Ellsworth’s undefeated Candy Spots had been the most impressive, having won both the Florida Derby and Santa Anita Derby. Similarly, a Greentree Stable colt named No Robbery had won the Wood Memorial Stakes and also came into the Derby undefeated. Then, there was Harry F. Guggenheim’s formidable 1962 U.S. 2-Year-old Champion Colt and 1963 Flamingo Stakes winner, Never Bend. By post time, bettors had made Candy Spots the 3-2 favorite, with No Robbery the second choice with odds of 5-2 and Never Bend the third pick at 3-1. Even though
Candy Spots kept much closer to the pace than before and was forced to check momentarily while racing up on No Heels entering the first turn. He remained slightly wide to the second turn where he commenced to advance along the inside, was checked momentarily nearing the three furlongs marker, and once again when blocked along the inside nearing the quarter pole, but rallied willingly when clear in the stretch and finished strongly along the outside. On My Honor, badly outrun for a mile, came slightly wide in his belated bid and closed some ground. No Robbery prompted the issue from the start, raced slightly wide while going kindly to the final turn where he attempted to get out a bit. Rotz immediately straightened the colt to bring him back towards the inside, and he continued gamely to the upper stretch where he commenced to falter when put to a drive. Bonjour maintained a striking position to the final turn, and tired. Gray Pet was outrun. Investor and Royal Tower were far back throughout.” When all was said and done, Chateaugay was the first to cross the finish line after pulling ahead of Never Bend by 1 and ¼ lengths, and took his place in the winner’s circle draped with roses. For more info on this race and to watch videos of other past races, visit Kentuckyderby.com. SOUTHERNGAMING.COM
BLACKJACK: Winning More By Doubling Down
OU BLI NG DOW N IS A U N IQU E
playing option because it’s the only time in a casino that you can double your original bet when the odds are in your favor. Depending on the rules, doubling down will get you about 1.25% more money in the long run, so it’s a playing option worth learning. With your initial two cards, you have the option to double down, but once you decide to draw a third card, you lose that option. If you decide to double down, initiate the action by placing an equivalent amount of chips next to your original wager (don’t put the chips on top of your initial wager). When you double down, the dealer will give you one, and only one, draw card and that will complete your hand. Meaning, you can’t draw again after you double down. The majority of casinos will allow you to double down on any two initial cards. However, some only allow you to double down when your first two cards total 9, 10, or 11. Most players understand the logic for doubling down on a 9-2, a hand that totals 11. However, doubling an Ace-4 against a 5 isn’t so obvious. The reason why doubling down on 9, 10, or 11 (hard hands) makes sense is because it gives you a higher probability of out-drawing the dealer, since drawing a 10 or picture card will leave you with a powerful hand of 19-21, which will most likely beat the dealer’s hand. The emphasis on doubling down on hands that contain an Ace (i.e. soft hands) is not on outdrawing the dealer, but on getting more money on the table when the dealer is most vulnerable to busting. The latter occurs more often when the dealer’s upcard is a small card. Therefore, when you hold a soft hand and the dealer’s upcard is a 6, for example, you can get more money on the table by doubling when the dealer’s chance of busting is relatively high. Plus you don’t risk busting on your own hand because of the dual role of the Ace – it can count as either an 11 or 1, so no matter what card you draw you are still in the game. For a standard 6-deck game, dealer stands on soft 17 (s17), and doubling after pair splitting allowed (DAS), you should double down the following hands against the indicated dealer’s upcard: 20
H E N RY TA M B U R I N
Hard 11 against 2-10 Hard 10 against 2-9 Hard 9 against 3-6 Soft Ace-2 and Ace-3 against 5 and 6 Soft Ace-4 and Ace-5 against 4-6 Soft Ace-6 and Ace-7 against 3-6 If the dealer hits soft 17 (s17), you need to be a little more aggressive and double down on these additional hands: Hard 11 against Ace Soft Ace-7 against 2 Soft Ace-8 against a 6
In a double-deck game that offers s17 and DAS, the double down strategy is the same as the above 6-deck/s17/DAS game except you should also double these hands: Hard 9 against 2 Hard 9-2 and 8-3 against Ace
The double down basic strategy for a double-deck game with h17 and DAS is the same as the above 6-deck /h17/DAS game except you should also double:
Henry Tamburin is a blackjack and video poker expert. He is the host of smartgaming.com and the editor of the Blackjack Insider newsletter (for a free three-month subscription, visit bjinsider.com/freetrial). For a free copy of his Casino Gambling Catalog, which contains books, strategy cards and software for casino players, call 1.888.353.3234, or visit smartgaming.com.
Hard 9 against 2
You should not double down on any other hand combination. OTHER TIPS TO KEEP IN MIND:
Casinos allow players to double down for less than the amount of the original wager. However, this isn’t a wise play because you will maximize your gains only when you maximize the amount of your double down bet. So don’t be a wimp and double for less. When the strategy says to double down, always do so for the full amount. In the heat of the battle, some players who split pairs forget that most casinos will allow you to double down after you pair split. For example, suppose you are dealt a pair of 8s against a dealer’s 4 upcard, and you split. The dealer gives you a 3 to your first 8, and your hand totals 11. You should double down for the full amount. Likewise, if the dealer gives you a 2 to the other 8 for a 10, you should push out the chips and double again. Being able to double down on one, or more, split hands is a favorable rule for players, with a gain of about 0.14 %. That might not seem like much, but it adds up. So don’t forget this rule, and use it to your benefit!
“DEPENDING ON THE RULES, DOUBLING DOWN WILL GET YOU ABOUT 1.25% MORE MONEY IN THE LONG RUN.”
FOR MORE FREE BLACKJACK TIPS, VISIT SOUTHERNGAMING.COM/ BLACKJACK
There’s a reason
At Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, we strive to bring you the most rocking experience in Biloxi. Slots, table games, special drawings— we’ve got it all. We also offer a wide variety of restaurants for every palate: everything from casual dining at Hard Rock Cafe to fine dining at Ruth’s Chris Steak House. And no Hard Rock Casino would be complete without bringing you the best in music and entertainment. Dance the night away at The Ledge, rock the night away at Road House Live or with all of today’s top performers at Hard Rock Live.
We told you there’s a reason.
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Tasty Eats and Relaxing Retreats
Louisville, Kentucky, home to the famed Kentucky Derby and some of the South’s most acclaimed restaurants.
SWEET Summer GETAWAYS O U R T O P 7 P I C K S F O R S O U T H E R N VA C AT I O N D E S T I N AT I O N S by
FTER THE UNPREDICTABLE
temperatures we’ve experienced across the country this past winter and spring, summer can’t come soon enough. And what better way to enjoy the sunshine and warm weather than with a fun-filled trip down south. We’ve highlighted a few of our favorite hotspots, including incredible locally owned restaurants, unique entertainment, and cool historical attractions to help you make the most of your getaway. Enjoy! LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY
While some may not consider it a southern city, Louisville certainly boasts the charm and hospitality typical of other downsouth destinations. And while it’s widely recognized as the home of the Kentucky 22 |
Derby, it also offers a mix of modern and timeless favorites, from cool bourbon bars and eclectic boutiques, to Louisville Slugger bats and restaurants that have been ser ving the same great plates for years. Louisville is regularly referred to as one of tastiest towns in the South, and for good reason. Between the downtown area, the Highlands, Frankfort Avenue and St. Matthews, there’s a range of fine dining, casual eateries and pub fare. One of the most historic steakhouses in the area is Pat’s Steakhouse, where owner Pat Francis has been serving premium cuts of meat for over fifty years. Other popular places to wine and dine include Porcini Restaurant on Frankfort Avenue, 211 Clover in St. Matthews, Jack Fry’s
Restaurant on Bardstown Road in the Highlands, and Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse in the downtown area. Another up-and-coming spot to check out is the NuLu district, just east of downtown. Here you’ll find a plethora of interesting boutiques and coffee shops like Please & Thank You, as well as bars and restaurants serving everything from steak and seafood to vegetarian specialties and signature cocktails. Try Meat, a bar located in Butchertown area with a seasonal drink menu that includes more than 30 original cocktails. And this past November, Drinks International named it one of “The World’s 50 Best Bars.” Louisville also has several great places to stay, most of which are conveniently
located downtown. The Seelbach Hilton is a premium hotel with a long history of celebrity guests, including Al Capone and The Rolling Stones. Other excellent choices include The Brown Hotel, Galt House Hotel and 21c Museum Hotel, named #1 Hotel in the South by Condé Nast Traveler, and one of The World’s 500 Best Hotels by Travel + Leisure magazine. Want to gamble? Head to Churchill Downs. The world-famous track is open for spring and fall meets, and there’s nothing quite as thrilling as watching live racing under the Twin Spires! For fullfledged gambling, Belterra Casino Resort in Indiana is less than an hour drive from downtown, and Horseshoe Casino is just 25 minutes away. And if you have time, journey to the countryside to tour the horse farms, or check out the bourbon distilleries in Bardstown, KY. Whether you’re looking to cruise the Ohio River on the Belle of Louisville, or make world-famous Louisville Slugger Bats at the downtown museum and factory, Louisville has it all! For more information call 1.888.568.4784 or visit gotolouisville.com JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI
Stroubes in Baton Rouge specializes in upscale southern classics, from savory soups and salads to fresh succulent seafood.
Babalu Tacos & Tapas, which has one of the best outdoor patios in Jackson, as well an awesome happy hour!
hosted many well-known guests including former president Bill Clinton, Yoko Ono and Tony Bennett, to name a few.
And while there are several hotels, the Hilton Garden Inn and Marriott are both located downtown and within walking distance of tons of restaurants and nightlife. If you get the urge to g a m b l e , Vi c k s b u r g , M i s s i s s ip p i is just a 45-minute drive. For more information call 1.601.960.1891, or go to VisitJackson.com
Oaklawn Racing & Gaming is also located in Hot Springs, where you can enjoy top-tiered thoroughbred racing, as well as slot-like gaming. And while you’ll find a variety of great restaurants here, we suggest the world-famous, McClard’s Bar-B-Q Restaurant. One of Bill Clinton’s favorite spots, McClard’s has been featured in Southern Living and on the Food Network. One of the most famous deli-style restaurants in town is Café 1217, and The Ohio Club in the historic district takes you back to the days when Al Capone, Lucky Luciano and other famous gangsters frequented the Spa City. Take time to get lost in this incredible southern town! For more information call 1.800.543.2284, or visit HotSprings.org
As the capital of Mississippi and the state’s largest city, Jackson is a great getaway. Discover the charm and warmth of the “City with Soul,” with over two hundred restaurants and nearly fifty hotels to choose from. There are two main entertainment districts in Jackson. Downtown, you’ll HOT SPRINGS, ARKANSAS enjoy trendy restaurants, nightclubs, juke There’s so much to see and do in joints and bars, while Fondren features Hot Springs, so the problem won’t be finding entertainment, more u rba n d in ing it will be finding the “THE LOCAL CUISINE choices and shops, as time to fit everything well as scenes used in RANGES FROM in! The city gets its name the filming of the movie, SATISFYING SOUL from the 47 natural hot The Help. springs that produce FOOD AND CREATIVELY The local cuisine ranges around a million gallons UPDATED CLASSICS, TO from satisfying Soul of 143° water each day. Food and creatively One of the most popular INTERNATIONAL DISHES updated classics, to tourist attractions is WITH SOUTHERN FLAIR.” international dishes with Bathhouse Row, which southern flair. From The includes eight historic Big Apple Inn and Parlor Market, which buildings and two operating bath houses was recently highlighted on the Travel which offer traditional spa services like Channel’s Bizarre Foods, to Hal & Mal’s, massages, baths and skin treatments. Chimneyville Smokehouse and Two Sister’s Kitchen, Jackson’s rich culinary The Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa is the heritage is no secret. Other local favorites area’s most prominent building located include Sal & Mookie’s for pizza and subs, in the heart of downtown. Featuring an Cerami’s Italian Restaurant, Shapley’s array of dining options and known for its Restaurant for a divine steak entree, and Thermal Water Spa, The Arlington has
BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA
From legendary southern cuisine and the LSU Tigers, to its Mardi Gras celebration, music and art, Baton Rouge has countless opportunities to revel in the good times in one of the most historic, vibrant and truly unforgettable cities in the South. One thing’s for sure, Baton Rouge knows food! From boiled and broiled to blackened and fried, there are more than 400 restaurants from which to choose— there is never a shortage of options! One of the hottest new restaurants in the city is Restaurant IPO. Located downtown, SOUTHERNGAMING.COM
you can walk around with a drink as long as it’s in a plastic cup. And, speaking of cocktails, if you’re in the mood for a fantastic Bloody Mary, head to Vic’s on the River, Six Pence Pub or Rocks on the Roof at the Bohemian. Looking for an amazing happy hour? Abe’s on Lincoln, Jen’s and Friends and bar food are all great choices. If you’re craving a hearty steak, try Johnny Harris Restaurant, Garibaldi’s Cafe or Local 11 Ten.
Each year, in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, the fountain in Forsyth Park in Savannah, Georgia is ceremoniously turned green.
with a wide selection of tapas and entrees, it’s a great start to your culinary journey. Are you in the mood for steak or seafood? Then check out Stroubes Seafood & Steak. Stroubes has everything from premium filets to fresh crab and fish – a favorite is the Mahi Mahi with roasted grits and fresh lump crabmeat. And be sure to ask about the signature drinks, they’re a real treat! Other local favorites include Mike Anderson’s Seafood near downtown, Mason’s Grill and The Chimes. Interested in sightseeing? Cool tourist at t rac t ions inc lude Capitol Park Museum, LSU and Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center. Or if you prefer gambling, check out Belle of Baton Rouge Casino & Hotel, Hollywood Casino, or the new L’Auberge Casino Hotel with entertainment venues overlooking the Mississippi River and a 30,000 squarefoot gaming floor. The city always seems to have something going on, but some of the most notable events include Mardi Gras in February, Wearin’ of the Green Parade for St. Patrick’s Day weekend, the Baton Rouge Blues Festival in April, Bayou Country Superfest at LSU Tiger Stadium on Memorial Day weekend, 4th of July Star Spangled Celebration at the USS Kidd, and the Festival of Lights, which takes place near the end of November. If you come in the spring, there are tons of outdoor festivals and entertainment 24 |
options like Live After Five concerts and Sunday in the Park, both held at North Boulevard Town Square. In the fall, get ready for the excitement of LSU football, pub-crawls, and several running events. For more information call 1.800.527.6843, or check out VisitBatonRouge.com. SAVANNAH, GEORGIA
Savannah is a chic, sophisticated city known for its rich history, beautiful architecture and stunning landscape. Visitors can explore the 22 historic squares, accented by oaks draped in Spanish moss and lined with boutiques, galleries and restaurants, to get a true taste of the city’s unique, eccentric elegance – a perfect blend of the old and new. Savannah draws people who crave culture – art, music, food, history and architecture – with attractions like the Owens-Thomas House, Jepson Museum of Art, Forsyth Park, River Street, City Market and Tybee Island. The city’s down-south hospitality and lively personality make visiting a memorable experience. When it comes to restaurants, there are a few must-try places including, a.lure, The 5 Spot, Leoci’s Trattoria for incredible Italian, and Sisters of the New South for some good ‘ole southern Soul Food. Not to mention, Sweet Potatoes and Angel’s BBQ have been featured on Man vs. Food, and Zunzi’s won the Man vs. Food “Best Sandwich in America.” Savannah also has a liberal open container policy in the Historic District, meaning
Though it’s a beautiful city year round, the parks and squares f lourish with a breathtaking show of azalea blossoms in the spring, and there are fun festivals including Savannah Stopover and the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which is the second largest in the world. Fall is also a great time to visit. The weather is nice and the calendar is full with the Savannah Craft Brew Fest, the Greek Festival and the Savannah Film Festival — a star-studded event hosted by Savannah College of Art and Design. Plan your stay at VisitSavannah.com, or call 1.877.SAVANNAH. GULF SHORES, ALABAMA
From championship golf courses and deep-sea fishing charters, to touring Fort Morgan and relaxing on the seemingly endless sandy beaches, there’s never a dull moment in Gulf Shores. With its divine seafood, waterfront activities and charming resorts, there’s something to satisfy everyone. Famous for its succulent shrimp and fried pickles, Bahama Bob’s Beachside Café is a favorite among tourists and locals alike. S & S Seafood Market is another beloved spot, with a variety of fresh seafood available for purchase or to-go meals. For elegant fine dining with gorgeous views overlooking the Bayou, try Nolan’s Steakhouse. Or if you’re in need of a family-friendly atmosphere, check out LuLu’s at Homeport Marina, chef Lucy Buffett’s famously fun beachfront restaurant. Start off with an appetizer of LuLu’s Holy Guacamole, indulge in one of the Crazy Sista specialties, or enjoy a bowl of the Famous Seafood Gumbo. Look ing for a place to let loose? Hammerheads Night Club is the perfect spot for handcrafted cocktails and dancing. Or, head to The Hangout, which has live music and is also the host of Hangout Music Festival, a three-day event that
From the lavish L’Auberge Casino Hotel and the luxurious Belle of Baton Rouge
to the premier Hollywood Casino, the odds are in your favor in the Capital city. And with relaxing spas, famed entertainers, golf courses, and more – we have something for ever yone.
VISIT OUR MOBILE SITE
800 LA ROUGE
With its breathtaking Gulf Coast views, beautiful beaches and easygoing lifestyle, Gulf Shores is the perfect place to get away from it all.
takes place in May. The stages are right on the beach and tons of top artists from multiple genres perform each year, with past headliners like Red Hot Chili Peppers, Paul Simon and The Flaming Lips. Other exciting events include the National Shrimp Festival and The Gulf Coast Hot Air Balloon Festival that welcomes more than 50 hot air balloonists from across the country each June. Since vacationers flock to Gulf Shores year-round, beautiful beachfront rentals are easy to find and there are options to fit every budget. Perdido Beach Resort and Island House Hotel are two gorgeous resorts with top quality accommodations. Whether you’re vacationing with family, escaping with friends on a weekend getaway or just stopping for a few days of rest and relaxation, Gulf Shores is one-of-a-kind. For more information call 251.968.6904, or visit gulfshores.com. MOBILE, ALABAMA
Located on the beautiful beaches of Mobile Bay on the Gulf Coast, Mobile is home to enticing highlights like fabulous seafood, relaxing coastal views and tons 26 |
of enjoyable activities. Whether you’re in Mobile for business or pleasure there’s always plenty to do, taste and see while you’re here. One of Mobile’s newest dining spots is NoJa, where the menu, which changes regularly, features a blend of what chef and owner Chakli Diggs has dubbed “Mediterasian” cuisine. NoJa’s romantic courtyard, dramatic lighting, rustic bricks walls and stylish décor create a hip yet serene ambiance. Other local favorites include Felix’s Fish Camp Grill, Osman’s Restaurant and Wintzell’s Oyster House, which has been serving up some of the Gulf Coast’s most sensational seafood for over 70 years. When it comes to fun, Dauphin Street is Mobile’s main entertainment district. If you’re in the mood for a bar scene and live music, check out Grand Central, Soul K itchen Music Hall or Boo Radley’s for drink specials and “Crawfish Wednesdays.” Or if you’re more interested in enjoying a delicious cocktail or glass of wine, Taste Wine Bar offers a more subdued atmosphere.
Mobile is also home to the beautiful, 65acre Bellingrath Gardens and Home, Mobile Carnival Museum that highlights the history and traditions of Mardi Gras, and the USS Alabama, one of the country’s most decorated battleships. Want to get your gamble on? Wind Creek Hotel and Casino features a 50,000 square foot casino floor, as well as a beautiful 236room hotel and spa. The best times to visit Mobile are in February for the annual Mardi Gras celebration, which has been around for longer than the chaotic Bourbon Street bonanza, or during October for the Mobile Shrimp Festival, which in recent years has hosted headline entertainers like Luke Bryan and Journey. Come stay a while at the AAA Four Diamond Renaissance Mobile Riverview Plaza Hotel, which offers beautiful views of both the city and the coast. Or stay at the historic Battle House Renaissance Hotel & Spa, named one of The World’s 500 Best Hotels by Travel + Leisure magazine. For more information call 1.800.422.6951, or visit cityofmobile.org.
CRAPS: No It Ain’t So Y WIFE, THE BEAUTIFUL AP, says
that I have a very simple intelligence test. If someone agrees with me, they are smart. If someone disagrees with me, they are stupid. It’s clean, concise and easy to apply. She is correct. I agree with her, therefore she is smart. The following letters are from people who disagree with me. These people may not be stupid in the sense that they deliberately walk across the street when the light is green, but they are stupid in terms of gambling. The spelling and grammar errors are their own mistakes. Dear Frankie Baby, You don’t know me and that is why I am writing you. Can I come over your home for dinner so we can discuss my new book? I have find a new way to beat the casinos at craps and it is so simple even an idiot can learn it. That is why I am contacting you. The two of us can sell this system and make millions, and if not millions, thousands at least. What do you say? The money is waiting for us out there. With your name and my intelligents, we can bring on home baby the money! Luke J. Dear Luke (baby),
Thanks for calling me an idiot. My dinner engagements are booked through my death so I am sorry about that. You’ll have to go it alone when it comes to your book. Good luck. Frankie Baby Dear Mr. Scowlbetti,
I know you are very busy and that is why I am keeping this letter short. The basic position of the game of craps correlates to various situations that iminge on chaos therapy, which is an advanced way of thinking and not what normal people can think about in any way since they have no background in this area as do I. Those of us who have studied craps can see plane and simple that the rotations of the dice do not follows certain physical laws which they would if they were not in chaotic assimulation with each other because of the nature of how an arm releases the dice in a direct movement that has too many valuables evolved in it, 30
as you know. These things change everything in the game as you should know, and I do know. You must understand that the casinos have understood this since the dawn of time probably, and even the cavemen casinos probably had some notion of this chaos even though they didn’t have much in the way of science like we do. I know this might be way out there for slow people, but advanced people like me and some others can see all of this so planely that it is amazing that other people can’t see nothing past their big noses. Because dice used to be made from bones, we assume they are contored but they aren’t as contored because bones are not grown the same. Even when plastic was used all those dots on the dice that combine to make numbers cause the dice to be off center and then the nature of the randomness of the game becomes chaotic because who knows what is coming next. I don’t. Do you? I will bet a million billion dollars that you can’t predick with accuracy every number about to come up in the next twenty throws. Com eon, bet me if you think you could. And that is the key to chaos and why you can’t beat a game that doesn’t know where it is going. I look forward to your answer to my thery.
Frank Scoblete is a bestselling casino gambling writer. His latest books are Slots Conquest: How to Beat the Slot Machines!, Casino Conquest: Beat the Casinos at Their Own Games!, Omaha Hi-Lo and Pai Gow Poker! and Casino Craps: Shoot to Win! Frank also gives private lessons in dice control with his partner Jerry “Stickman.” For books or more info, call 1-800-944-0406.
“I HAVE A VERY SIMPLE INTELLIGENCE TEST. IF SOMEONE AGREES WITH ME, THEY ARE SMART. IF SOMEONE DISAGREES WITH ME, THEY ARE STUPID.”
FOR MORE FREE TIPS, VISIT SOUTHERNGAMING.COM
William C. K. Dear William, What?
Frank Scoblete Dear Fnark,
You are such a lying, chizzling sinner selling ideas that you do with people who are too week in spirit and soul to know that casino gambling is against the laws of our mighty father in heaven who firmly decreed that anyone who gambls will go to hell. You are Satan and will be roasted on the end of days with sinners such as Londsay Lohen and Joe Stalin. You nevr know when your time is coming. Repent now or face the consequences. April D. Thank you for your great letter. I am happy to know you enjoy my work. I have enclosed an autographed picture. May all your casino visits be lucky ones.
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80 0 -WIN-1-WIN MARKSVILLE, LA
CASINO KNOWLEDGE: Q&A with John G.
TELL ME SOMETHING ABOUT Bonus Poker Deluxe, where all four of a kinds pay 400. Do you make any kind of strategy adjustment for that? I know about Double Bonus and the other games where the 800 on four Aces means you break up full houses with Aces up. Are the Deluxe bonuses big enough for any special plays?
Q. What’s your opinion about playing blackjack head-to-head with the dealer? I like it for a number of reasons, but a friend of mine said, “When you find an empty table (where you have a chance of playing head-to-head) remember that the reason it’s empty is that the dealer just wiped out whoever was there previously. Therefore it’s a hot table for the casino and a cold one for the players.” Your thoughts, please?
A. Other than Bonus Poker, Bonus Poker Deluxe is probably the game most like Jacks or Better in terms of strategy. In fact, the website videopokerhelp.com has a page that shows expected return when using strategy for one game or another, and using 9-6 Jacks or Better strategy on 9-6 Bonus Poker Deluxe only drops the average payback from 99.64% to 99.61%.
A. The thing to keep in mind about playing headto-head is that the game moves much faster. At a full seven-player table, you might play only 50 or 60 hands an hour, but with head-to-head it’s more like 200-250. That gives the house edge more chances to work against you.
The bonuses on four of a kind aren’t large enough to force any major strategy adjustment. We don’t break up a full house to keep three Aces, as we do in Double Bonus Poker and other games that return 800 or more for a five-coin bet when the fourth Ace turns up, nor do we break up two pair to keep a pair of Aces by itself, as we do in Double Double Bonus. We don’t have enhanced flush and straight paybacks, as in the best versions of Double Bonus. The one feature of Bonus Poker Deluxe that does cause us to make some adjustments is that two pairs returns only 1-for-1 instead of the 2-for-1 we get in Jacks or Better and Bonus Poker. This affects our strategy on inside straight draws because it limits the value of throwing away an entire hand, as well as the value of keeping fewer high cards. Dealt 2-4-5-6-9 of mixed suits, the best play is to discard the entire hand in Jacks or Better. In Bonus Deluxe, we hold 2-4-5-6. In Jacks or Better, we draw to inside straights only when we have at least three high cards. Dealt 2-8-10-Jack-Queen of mixed suits, we hold Jack-Queen. In Bonus Deluxe, the lower two-pair return lessens the value of that two-card hold just enough that we go for the inside straight draw instead, holding 8-10-Jack-Queen. That’s the kind of minor tinkering we do on Double Bonus, Double Double Bonus and other games with 1-for-1 two-pair pays, in addition to other adjustments needed to keep up with other changes in the pay table. 32
As for the cold table theory... no. It may have been cold, but that’s not predictive of future outcomes. If you arrive mid-shoe, it may well be that the worst is over, that a run of low cards favoring the dealer has chased others away, but a higher concentration of high cards, leading to more blackjacks, remains. That’s not necessarily the case, but it’s just as likely as a continuing cold streak. And if you’re starting with a fresh shuffle, then whatever happened in the recent past has absolutely no bearing on what you see. I wouldn’t be at all wary of walking into a cold table, but I would be wary of the speed of the game. Q. My brother-in-law is a big craps guy and he chooses where to play by how much he can take in odds. If one casino has 3x, 4x, 5x odds and the other has 10x odds, he’ll go for the 10x. I like to play a little, but I usually can’t afford to take full odds. If all I can afford are double or triple odds, is there any advantage for me to play at a 10x odds table? A. If you’re only going to be taking double or triple odds, then the mere existence of 10x odds makes no difference in the house edge against you. You’d be just as well off at a triple odds table most of the time. However, if you’re increasing wagers during a hot streak, the best place to increase them is on the free odds, which give no edge to the house. Keep your pass and come bets at table minimum and up the odds. There is the potential benefit for you to have room for growth in your odds bet, even if you can’t afford max odds at the start of play.
John Grochowski has been covering the casino industry for 17 years in his weekly column distributed to newspapers, websites and magazines. He is also the author of six books, including The Slot Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. You can find him online at CasinoAnswerMan.com
“THE THING TO KEEP IN MIND ABOUT PLAYING HEADTO-HEAD IS THAT THE GAME MOVES MUCH FASTER.”
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T R AV E L S AV V Y
Plan and Play Like a Pro
More Bang For Your Buck 15 T R AV E L T I P S F OR YO U R CA S I NO VACAY by
N TR AV EL , AS W ELL AS IN
gambling, it’s often the little things that count. A little comp savvy and hotel knowledge can enhance your casino trip just as surely as knowing basic strategy can give you a better shot at walking away from the blackjack tables with bankroll intact. I’ve been traveling to casinos for more than 25 years. I’ve been everywhere from Tunica to Windsor, Las Vegas to Atlantic City, and from Shreveport to Minneapolis. Here are a few tips from my checklist that I find add a little extra value to my trips.
Check airlines AND consolidators When I’m planning a trip and shopping 34 |
for airfare, I narrow the field by checking consolidators such as Expedia and Travelocity. They help me zero in on the airlines that have the best rates on the routes I want, at times I can live with. But after that narrowing, I check the same flights on the airline website. This doesn’t work every time, but I’ve sometimes found I can get a cheaper rate by dealing directly with the airline after using the consolidator’s site for guidance.
Choose a casino resort that has the mix of games and amenities that you want I’m concerned mainly with the games, and it doesn’t really matter to me whether the resort has a showroom or a spa. Others are looking for designer restaurants and
plenty of shopping. You’ll be happiest if you check out casino websites before you make a reservation, and find places with accommodations and features that are closest to your desired mix.
Ask if there are mandatory resort fees Whether you’re traveling to casino or noncasino resorts, a major trend over the last decade has been the addition of mandatory resort fees that cover amenities like spas and in-room Internet services. I’ve had a casino operator go so far as to tell me the mandatory fees were popular with guests, though I suspect they’re mainly popular with those who use the amenities and find they do not have to pay per use. If you are not going to use such services, the
addition of a mandatory fee can rankle. Check the casino website to see if there is a mandatory fee, and if you can’t find the answer, phone the resort’s toll-free number and ask.
Watch websites for specials and discounts If you’re a member of a casino player rewards program, chances are you’re already getting offers via direct mail and email. But it pays to check the casino websites, too. Sometimes you’ll ferret out a special web-only deal. It can also pay to use social media – “like” casino companies’ Facebook pages and follow their Twitter feeds. Casinos’ use of social media is still in its infancy, but instant specials on Facebook and Twitter are already being used by some companies and are likely to grow.
There are other sources for discounts The Comps Club by Southern Gaming and Destinations is a great source for coupons to casinos throughout the Southeastern U.S. For just $29, members receive new coupons every two months – a great value for the investment. If you’re looking for Las Vegas coupons, Steve Bourie’s book, the annual American Casino Guide, has an extensive coupon selection with offers for Sin City and other destinations across the country. If your travels are going to take you to Las Vegas, another valuable resource for deals and discounts is the Las Vegas Advisor, a monthly newsletter that has a coupon book for subscribers, as well as frequent online specials. Web searches for casino discounts can come up with a few gems, along with a whole lot of “so what’s.” I find the search entertaining. You might not.
Sign up for rewards cards, and use them whenever you play Casino comps and discounts start with casinos knowing who you are. They want your name in their databases, and they want to know how much you’re playing so they can make appropriate offers to keep you coming back. In this age of consolidation, with large companies such as Caesars, MGM and Boyd owning casinos in multiple jurisdictions, your play at home can even earn you room comps or discounts when you travel. The starting point is getting the card.
Show your rewards card at resort amenities, as well as in the casino It’s not just a matter of getting a discount at the gift shop, in the restaurants or at the spa, though a discount never hurts. Updated technology is enabling casinos to track the total worth of a player. Money spent by the player at the hotel or buffet helps the casino bottom line as surely as money spent on games. In discussions I’ve had in the last two years both with casino operators and with systems manufacturers, rewarding players based on their total value to the property is frontier territory that figures to grow in the next several years.
Ask if you can use rewards points to pay for food charged to your room One of my favorite methods to cut costs has been to charge dining to my room at the beginning of my stay, when I don’t have a lot of rewards points, then use points I’ve accumulated to take care of the tab before I leave. On many stays, I’ve had my room comped in advance, then used points to take care of food after the fact. There’s another potential level to this. I’ve also asked to see a host before checking out to ask if my room charges could be taken care of. There have been times when I’ve had the host comp the food without deducting any points – in days of yore, that meant I could use the points for cash instead, though nowadays free play is more common than cash. Either way, your first stop needs to be the players club booth to find out whether the points can be used for room charges. Just
last year, I got caught in a situation where I’d charged food to my room, then was told I couldn’t use points. It was a learning experience – I should have just used points for individual meals over the course of the trip. Ask about casino policy before starting the room charges.
Time your dining for off hours, especially at buffets Casino buffets are some of the busiest restaurants in the world. Anyone who stays at a casino for more than a couple hours is going to want to eat at some point, and the buffets are the primary way to feed the masses. The combination of typically lower prices than the sit-down restaurants and a variety of food to choose from means buffets are ultra-busy near mealtimes. Some buffets just stay busy no matter what the time. But at many of them, you can beat the crowds by timing your dining for off hours. Instead of lunch at noon, try for 10:30 a.m. before the line starts to build or after it’s diminished. If you lunch early, then 4 p.m. for dinner can mean a much shorter wait than at 5 or 6. An early lunch can bring an added benefit. Oftentimes, breakfast buffets are less costly than lunch buffets. I’ve sometimes paid breakfast prices after 10:30 and then slow-played my eating so that I was getting lunch foods hot and fresh at 11.
Stay hydrated, fed and rested A long time ago, before casinos had spread across the nation, I was talking to a security chief at a Las Vegas casino. He said every day, guests were taken to the infirmary after feeling woozy or even collapsing. The first questions asked to
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it into cash just as fast as he or she can get to a redemption kiosk. Should you lose a slot ticket, tell a casino employee immediately. Another reader told me of having a ticket stolen, and immediately telling security. Because the player had been using her rewards card and could tell exactly where she had been playing, the casino was able to find the number of the bar-coded ticket and immediately invalidate it. The person who took the ticket was unable to cash it, and the casino reimbursed the player for her loss.
Use parking valets. Do your research! With comps clubs, online promos and coupon discounts there are tons of ways to save at the casino.
every ailing customer were, “When’s the last time you ate? When’s the last time you slept? How much have you had to drink?” It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the casino, but you still have to take care of basic needs. Eat real meals. Make some of your drinks bottles of water to make sure you stay hydrated – alcohol is a diuretic and doesn’t help with hydration. For me, I like to keep a clear head while playing and water is my beverage of choice in casinos, but I’m not going to quibble with anyone who wants a couple of beers, a glass of wine or a cocktail. But a little moderation is a good thing, especially when you’re making decisions that have money riding on them.
Protect your valuables I’m an old-school kind of guy, and carrying my wallet in my back pocket still feels natural to me. When I’m in crowds, though— whether in casinos, airports or walking busy city streets, the wallet moves to the front. Women need to be especially conscious of protecting their purses, and that includes keeping track of the purse when sitting at the slots. I once attended a seminar that took me to a surveillance room where we viewed recordings of incidents at the host casino. It just so happened that the night before, one of the women attending the seminar had her purse snatched. Surveillance captured the incident on tape – it was tape at the time, not digital recordings as are common today. The surveillance operators 36 |
sat before a large bank of TV monitors. Some had feeds from individual cameras, especially focused on big money games, while others displayed alternating images from several cameras. It was on the latter type that we were shown the incident. There were six cameras feeding the monitor. It would focus on one area of the slot floor for a couple of seconds, then onto the next, and the next, so that we’d see any one area five times a minute. On one shot, we saw an aisle of slots that included my fellow attendee. Next time that area came up, we saw a man standing, looking from the end of the row. The next time, the same man was on his belly, near where the woman had set her purse at the machine base. Next, he had the purse and was standing. And the next time he was gone. It was too fast for surveillance and security to stop the theft. They did capture a picture of the perpetrator that they were able to distribute to police and other casinos.
Treat bar-coded slot tickets as cash. I once had a reader complain to me that it was too easy to lose a slot ticket – he’d either lost or had one stolen that was worth $100. I told him that he needed to adjust his mindset and treat that $100 ticket just as if it was a $100 bill. With most slot and video poker payoffs being made by tickets these days, those tickets might as well be good old U.S. currency. Someone who finds or swipes a slot ticket can turn
To me, valets are one of the biggest bargains casino resorts offer. Many have no charge for the valets, and others have either reduced charges or comps depending on your Players Club level. Tip the valet a couple bucks, and you have someone to park the car while you walk directly into the casino, and someone to deliver the car back to you when you’re done. If you’re a slot player, the games don’t take much in the way of preparation. You put your money in, push the button and away you go. However, if you’re playing strategy games, such as blackjack and video poker, where you play does matter. Different casinos in different jurisdictions offer different takes on the games. If you’re used to playing Double Double Bonus Poker close to home but you’re traveling to an area that has great Deuces Wild, you’re going to want to brush up on your Deuces strategy. One way to check out which video poker games are available is to visit the video poker website, vpfree2.com. There’s no fee, and if you click on “casinos,” you’ll find reasonably updated lists of the best games at casinos across the country. Find the games that you’re likely to play and look up strategies. Or better yet, practice on the computer for the specific games you’ll be playing. Above all, relax and have fun! VISIT SOUTHERNGAMING.COM FOR MORE INFORMATION ON JOINING THE COMPS CLUB BY SOUTHERN GAMING.
BLACKJACK: When to Play With Fewer Decks by
I understand why you warn blackjack players not to play when blackjacks pay 6-5 instead of 3-2. You don’t want to settle for less than the usual payoff. But what about a singledeck game? I ‘ d always heard single-deck was the best game. If blackjacks pay 6-5 but you’re playing with one deck, isn’t that a good tradeoff for players? A. No, it’s not a good tradeoff. You lose far more with 6-5 blackjack pays than you gain by playing with fewer decks. Let’s take an ordinary set of rules. The dealer hits soft 17 (sadly, this is ordinary nowadays), players may split pairs up to three times for a total of four hands, players may double down on any first two cards and may double after splitting pairs. Aces can be split only once, and players get only one more card on each Ace. Blackjacks pay 3-2. With six decks, the house edge against a basic strategy player is 0.59%. Put those same rules on a single-deck game, and it’s nearly an even game, with a house edge of 0.008%. Even in days of yore when blackjack games gave players a better deal than today’s games, this one would have been a rarity. What happens if you make one adjustment to the single-deck
game, and have blackjacks pay 6-5? The house edge soars to 1.40%. Look at that house edge. It’s not just higher than that of the six-deck game; it’s more than double, a house edge 2.37 times as high as that of the six-deck game with the higher blackjack payoff. I don’t know about you, but I want no part of that game. If all other rules are equal, you’re better off with fewer decks. The main reason is that blackjacks occur more frequently with fewer decks. Let’s say the first card we’re dealt is an Ace. In a single deck game, 16 of the other 51 cards are 10 values. That means 31.37% of the remaining cards will complete the blackjack. If six decks are in play, removing an Ace means 96 of the remaining 311 cards are 10-values. That’s 30.87%, meaning we have a lesser chance of completing our blackjack in a six-deck game than in a single-deck game. Fewer decks also help in double down situations. Start with 6-5, and 32% of the other cards are 10s in single-deck blackjack, and 30.97% in six-deck games. But if all other rules are not equal, you have to weigh the effects of the changes. And for players, the 6-5 blackjack rule is a weighty disadvantage indeed.
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VIDEO POKER: The New Normal Part II F YOU REFER TO PART I OF THIS two-
part series (The New Normal Part I, March 2013), you’ll find the pay schedules and games you are most likely to see on the gaming floor. In Part II, we will discuss the latest types of promotional events and tips to maximize your contest equity. Suggestions that were helpful in the past have changed with the shift of events that are popular today. As I said in Part I, that’s another good reason for attending gaming trade shows, especially international ones like the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) held annually in Las Vegas. VIDEO POKER PROMO TRENDS
I’ve written about this topic before, but the rules have since changed. To have the best shot at winning it’s important to understand the most current requirements in the majority of casinos. You may wonder why these new directions apply to so many casinos. If I were to summarize the reason in a single word, it would be: consultants. There’s a relatively small pool of these casino advisers and they all seem to swim in the same direction. MULTIPLE WINNERS
In the past, casinos liked to emblazon outside lights with news of their big giveaways. It was an efficient way to get large numbers through the front door, much like past ads for the dollar buffet and Vegas World. (The buffet was for cast-iron stomachs and Bob Stupak’s Vegas World was another too-good-to-be-true comeon.) However, times have changed and players realize they have a better chance of meeting Elvis in the elevator than winning the pink Cadillac. Nowadays, promos include several smaller, but desirable prizes, but there’s still a long-shot chance of winning. WEIGHTED NUMBER OF ENTRIES
You earn virtual entry tickets based on the amount of coin-in. Meaning, the more money you run through a device, or play at the tables, the more tickets you receive. Check and make sure video poker is included, since some fullpay games are excluded from comps, points and promos. (If you’re not sure, ask at the slot club desk.) LIMITED TIME
Most casinos only give you a short time – two 38
L I N DA B OY D
or three minutes at most – to claim your prize. Anytime you’re playing for a promo, locate the drawing area and make sure you’re playing nearby. ATTENDANCE REQUIREMENT
Most promos require you to be present to win, so be sure to swipe your player’s card at a kiosk as soon as you arrive at the casino. Similarly, once you have registered, you should stay for the entire drawing. It’s frustrating to learn your name was called after you left. REPEAT WINNERS
Even though you may be tempted to assume the contest is rigged because the same people keep winning, this isn’t actually the case. The high rollers have significantly more equity because they have earned many more entries than the casual players. STRICT ADHERENCE TO RULES
Sometimes there’s a big crowd near the prize claim area, making it difficult to get through. This is especially true for the bigger, grand prizes – such as a car. Before the drawings begin, you should ask a staff member if contacting them during the allotted time frame would also allow you to claim your prize. If not, make sure you to find a spot in the crowd that allows you quick access. FINAL THOUGHTS
You’ll still find some good video poker plays (like 9/6 JOB with an ER of 99.54%, or 8/5 Bonus Poker with an ER of 99.16%), but not as many as in the past. However, you can expect casinos to continue to entice players into their house for a reason well stated by gaming honcho Gary Loveman (Harrah’s Entertainment) at a G2E conference a few years ago. To paraphrase Loveman, the objective of casino management teams is to find creative ways to attract players on a reduced budget. Promotional events that offer frequent players a reasonable expectation of winning fits the bill. You can be sure that this “new normal” will continue to evolve as casinos test other methods to see if they produce equally effective results. One good way to increase your gambling odds is to make sure you are up-todate on the “next best thing,” so you can make informed decisions on where and how to play.
Linda Boyd, a long-time table game player and knowledgeable video poker player, writes for Southern Gaming, Midwest Gaming and Travel and Arizona Player. Look for her article in the 2012 and 2013 Editions of American Casino Guide (ACG). Her book, The Video Poker Edge, includes free removable pay schedules and her free strategy cards for the most popular games. The Second edition, published in 2010, can be found on Amazon.com and at various bookstores. Kindle edition is now available.
“ANYTIME YOU’RE PLAYING FOR A PROMO, LOCATE THE DRAWING AREA AND MAKE SURE YOU’RE PLAYING NEARBY.”
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C R U I S I N G T H E C O U N T RY
One Casino at a Time
RVing lets travelers enjoy the great outdoors and natural wildlife
Life on the Road 1 2 GR E AT T I P S F ROM A CA S I NO CA M P I NG PRO by
Y WIFE CHRIS and I started
taking casino vacations about 20 years ago, when we lived in Ohio and my in-laws were living on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. On our first trip we were very low rollers, saving up nickels in a coffee can to play slots. We tagged along with my in-laws to some of their favorite casinos. Do you remember the old Copa in Gulfport? It was actually a small converted cruise ship. Or, how about the old Treasure Bay in Biloxi? That pirate ship was quite the landmark! Anyway, we soon progressed to quarter play and learned about basic video poker strategy so we could get the best available payback in the casino. As our play increased, we started getting offer letters for casino promotions and we 40 |
MAC MCCELL AN
learned more about the comp system. We were really enjoying ourselves, but could only visit casinos two or three times a year. Fast-forward 10 years to 2004. We sold our house in Tampa and started traveling the country in our motorhome – known as “going fulltime” among those in the RV culture. Since we enjoy casinos and gambling, we naturally ended up spending a lot of those days and nights at casinos. Soon after, we discovered most casinos don’t care if you arrive by car, bus, plane, or recreational vehicle, they just love having customers. And some of them love RVers so much that they’ve made it possible for us to stay longer and hang out. TYPES OF CASINO CAMPING
T he mo s t ba sic for m is “c a si no
parking,” otherwise known as “blacktop boondocking” or “dry camping.” Many casinos have huge parking lots that are rarely ever full, so oftentimes they will let RV travelers and 18-wheelers park on one side and spend a night, or two… or 38. They know RVers are good for their business – we’re low maintenance because we don’t take up space in the hotel and we still bring in revenue by gambling and eating in the restaurants. I’m sure you’re thinking, Wait, did he really say 38 days? And yes, in 2007 we stayed that long in one casino’s parking lot in northern Nevada. We really enjoyed our time there. We played every day and got to know the staff – everyone from the coffee shop waitresses to the chief of security. And the casino management was even nice enough to make accommodations for us when the
parking lot was needed for a major event, allowing us to relocate to the other side of the property. That being said, every casino has different rules and it’s up to RV travelers to learn and follow them so we can all continue to enjoy RV stays in the future; we can’t abuse the privilege. Besides parking lots, some casinos have accommodations designed specifically for RV travelers – like parks, campgrounds and resorts. But keep in mind, these areas will vary depending on the casino, so if you are looking for more than just your basic plot of land, you’ll want to keep an eye out for three things: facilities, amenities and location. Facilities: Do they have all the utilities you will need to hook up to? It’s convenient to have water and electricity right at your campsite. Some resorts even offer cable TV. Besides hookups, you may want a central bathhouse, especially if you’re traveling with a group of people. A laundry room also comes in handy, as it’s nice to be able to wash a load of clothes without having to drive to town. Amenities: Here’s where casino RV resorts shine. Most casinos have outstanding amenities for their hotel guests, and these are usually available for RVers as well. Free amenities usually include a pool (possibly indoor and/or heated) and a fitness center. Others you may find with varying fees, including day spas, bowling allies, arcades, movie theatres, marinas, childcare centers, and golf courses. I’ve stayed in casino RV parks, with $25 nightly fees, that featured better amenities than even the most expensive non-casino, luxury “motor coach resort.” Location: Remember the old real estate cliché: “the three most important things are location, location and location.” And even though you’re not buying a house, you are renting a small piece of real estate for your vacation. The closer you get to a popular destination – amusement park, lake shore or beach – the higher price you will pay for hotel accommodations. We’ve found that casino RV parks can be excellent values in these cases, costing less and providing more than other RV parks in the area. CONSIDER THE OPTIONS
We’ve visited tons of casinos throughout our travels, including a wide variety of RV
VIsit casinocamper.com for helpful tips and a list of RV-friendly casinos.
parking and camping accommodations – from the most basic available, to areas with picturesque views and a full range of hookups. Here are a range of our experiences from southern Mississippi: Simple and Free: The IP Casino in Biloxi allows RVers and 18-wheelers to park overnight in the large gravel parking lot on the south side of Bayview Avenue. RV Park: Silver Slipper Casino in Bay St. Louis has full hookups at each site and a breathtaking view of the Gulf of Mexico. RV Resort: Hollywood Casino in Bay St. Louis has full hookups and it’s right next to The Bridges golf course. TRAVEL BUDGET
People ask us all the time, “You spend a lot of time in casinos, doesn’t that get expensive?” We visit casinos about 120150 days each year. We usually stick to video poker and we look for 99%+ pay tables, promotions, comps including free meals and camping, cash back, and so on. There are many times when we come out ahead at the end of the year, but if not, that’s okay too. Gambling is our main hobby and any losses are budgeted for. WHAT’S YOUR GAME PLAN?
Years ago, I had a t-shirt from the Beau Rivage in Biloxi, Mississippi that read “Gamble, Eat, Sleep, Repeat.” For us, gambling is certainly a part of most visits. We look for favorable conditions like good video poker paybacks, but our casino travel plans are influenced by other factors as well.
Promotions are a major reason we visit a casino, especially when we’re in Las Vegas. This includes things like point multipliers, free or discounted dining, and giveaways. When we decide to make a longer trip we might be trying to take advantage of a special incentive or gift, like a designer handbag, gift card, headliner show tickets, or extra free play. We’ve talked to other gamblers who rarely seek out promotions but for us, it’s part of the fun! We aren’t as high rolling as they come, so we have to “play the game” with promos to stretch our entertainment budget. It’s always interesting to mingle with other people staying in RV parks, learning about their travels. I’ve talked with many of our fellow campers over the years, and at first I thought most would be gamblers like us, but I learned that even though quite a few of them are, many others are not. Naturally we’ve met couples like us who both like to play, are fulltime RV travelers and are retired, being our age, or older. They choose casinos with RV parks because they travel with their home on wheels and they don’t need or want a hotel room. On the other hand, we’ve also met couples and families in casino RV parks that are staying there exclusively to use the RV park. Traveling by RV gives the nongaming family members more options for entertainment and vacation fun. One couple we talked to included a golfer (him) and a gambler (her), and they had taken dozens of RV vacations to casinos with golf courses. Families often tell me that traveling in an RV gives them more room SOUTHERNGAMING.COM
CA SI NO RV PA R K I NG E T IQU E T TE HOW TO BE THE BEST DRY CAMPING CASINO GUEST:
CALL AHEAD If you’re concerned about whether or not overnight RV parking is allowed, call the casino and ask to talk with security. There are times when information found online or in travel books is incorrect.
MAINTAIN YOUR VEHICLE If your RV is leaking, take care of it before entering onto a casino’s property. Leaking oil or transmission fluid is a sure way to get kicked out.
GRAB A GOOD SPOT There are usually signs indicating where to park, or you will see other RVs congregated in one area. If not, park in a more distant area of the parking lot. Paragon Casino Resort’s RV Park offers 185 pads, a spacious guest lodge and free shuttle service to the casino.
SAFETY FIRST Check things out when you arrive. Look around and make sure you feel safe and secure.
to bring toys and sports equipment, like bikes, fishing poles and golf clubs. “The kids get to enjoy the vacation as much as we do,” said one woman, “It’s completely different from taking them to a casino hotel.” Larger families say it’s less expensive because they can avoid restaurants for most meals and don’t have to book two hotel rooms. Think you would enjoy casino camping? Check out more info on CasinoCamper.com. Have fun and hopefully I’ll see you out on the road!
CHECK IN Sometimes security will meet you as you park to ensure you are aware of the parking rules. If they don’t, it’s a good idea to check in with them. Some casinos require you to fill out a form or join a players club. Sometimes you’ll be given a list of rules. With other locations, there’s no formal process.
GET THE 411 ON JACKS Sometimes it’s ok to use jacks to get level, but you should verify this with security. If they allow it, be sure to put boards down so you don’t leave marks on the asphalt. Trailer and 5th wheel owners – there are some places that have rules against dropping the rig and driving off.
VERIFY EXTENDED STAY RULES Some casinos have specific time limitations such as one night, three days, etc. Others have no set policy. If you plan to stay more than one night, make sure this is allowed.
LOCATE THE HANG OUT With an RV, it’s great to set up your own awning, table and chairs, and grill for barbecuing. Some casinos have an actual dry camping field or lot for everyone to “make camp.” But in most cases you’re staying in a regular parking lot, so you don’t want to look like you’re establishing residence.
Sudoku answers from page 8
CLEAN UP Every time we go outside our RV, we pick up any trash we see (cigarette butts, cups, etc.), even if it’s not “our trash.”
BE THOUGHTFUL Be considerate of your neighbors, in terms of noise. Generators, TVs, and/or stereo volume can be disturbing to others.
I don’t really need to go into detail here, do I?
EXPLORE THE CASINO
If you don’t gamble, that’s fine. Many casinos have great restaurants and buffets. Some also have fun activities, like arcades, bowling allies or movie theatres. Many higher-end locations have spas, hair salons and retail shops.
PICK UP AFTER PETS
SCAN FOR VIDEO
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•Gaming and Greyhound Racing, West Memphis
•Gaming and Racing, Hot Springs
•Spa, Hot Springs
•The Ridges at Village Creek, Wynne
In Arkansas, you can escape the everyday to enjoy exciting gaming and racing in two legendary locations. From the spa city of Hot Springs to the historic river town of West Memphis with scenic beauty, vibrant cities and charming retreats everywhere in between. Plan your escape today. It’s easy. Just call for a FREE Vacation Planning Kit. Visit Arkansas.com or call 1-800-NATURAL.
GETTING FIT: Custom Clubs Measure Up
HE MAJORITY OF GOLFERS WHO buy new equipment do so without being custom fit. But, golfing with clubs that do not fit properly is like playing pool with a warped cue stick. Sure you can still enjoy the game and get the ball in the hole, and the better players may even be able to adapt their mechanics to fit the crooked stick, but any golf professional will tell you it’s much easier to play the game, and play it well, when your clubs are fit to you and not the other way around. I would like to first address the belief that custom fitting is expensive. Here at Hunting Creek Country Club, as well as several other clubs and retail facilities, we waive the fitting fee if the clubs are purchased through us. We feel it is important to be custom fit and we do not want cost to be the determining factor. A basic fitting process encompasses the following: club length, shaft make and f lex, club head selection, lie/loft angle, grip size/style, and set make-up. CLUB LENGTH
Your height and arm length determine the proper club length. It’s important that your clubs allow you to set up properly, without having to reach or be crowded. SHAFT MAKE AND FLEX
There are hundreds of shaft choices to choose from, each with their own advantages. Whether you play with steel or graphite, Senior f lex or X-Stiff, it’s important to find the shaft that fits your swing. The shaft you choose will affect launch angle, spin rate and club head speed. CLUB HEAD SELECTION
The name on the back of your irons is not nearly as important as the type of club head you play with. I always tell students that golf club companies are like car manufacturers. Within each make you can find similar models; the main differences are simply cosmetic. There are a few different club head styles to choose from, including super game improvement (large cavity for maximum forgiveness), game improvement (cavity back iron), and players (small cavity back or blade, providing maximum workability and little forgiveness). A common misconception is that playing with blades will make you a better golfer. 44
COLBY WOLIT Z
I feel the opposite, as playing with irons that do not fit your game will lead to higher scores. In fact, the advancements made to cavity back irons are so great that many tour players have moved on from their blades and are now playing with more forgiving irons. LIE/LOFT ANGLE
Lofts and lies, if set correctly, form a reliable progression, creating consistent distance gaps between clubs and producing the same shot direction on all normal swings. Lie angle is important because it affects how your club head interacts with the turf and the starting line of each shot.
Colby Wolitz is a certified teaching professional and is currently the assistant pro at Hunting Creek Country Club in Louisville, Kentucky.
GRIP SIZE & STYLE
When it comes to the grip, choose one that feels the most comfortable in your hands. Keep in mind that the larger the grip you play with, the more difficult it is to release the club head. SET MAKE-UP
Now you need to decide which clubs you are going to carry in your bag. If you are simply getting fit for a driver, this step is easy. If you are being fit for irons, ask yourself (or your fitter) the following before purchasing: • What do I want my longest iron to be? • Which hybrids do I want to carry? • How far does my shortest hybrid go? • How far does my longest wedge go? • What do I want my shortest iron to be? • What is the most effective way to fill every yardage gap in my bag with the 14 clubs allowed by USGA Rules? Below I have listed my set make-up. Notice that I carry 4 wedges. I feel that if I am going to have a gap (which is about 20 yards from 4 iron to 3 hybrid), I would much rather it be in my longer clubs than my scoring clubs. I do not need to “dial in” a 200 yard shot as much as I do a 90 yard shot.
“GOLFING WITH CLUBS THAT DO NOT FIT YOU PROPERLY IS LIKE PLAYING POOL WITH A WARPED CUE STICK.”
Driver: TaylorMade R11s 9° Fairway: TaylorMade RBZ 14.5° Hibrid: TaylorMade Rescue 20° Irons: TaylorMade CB/MB 4-PW Wedges: TaylorMade ATV- 51°, 55° & 59° Putter: TaylorMade Start off the 2013 golf season in style with a set of custom fit clubs and a few lessons from your local PGA Professional!
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A Look at Southern Mississippi Cuisine
Cool Coastal Living
E X P LO R I N G T H E TA S T Y A N D E C L E C T I C O C E A N S P R I N G S OA S I S by
B E T H D ’A D D O N O
espite the fact that Ocean Springs is just two miles east of Biloxi, it’s worlds away from the glitz and hustle of Mississippi’s gaming epicenter. A sleepy Gulf Coast burg stretched over a scant 12 square miles, Ocean Springs is known for its artsy vibe – a tradition of creativity fostered by the late Peter Anderson, who along with his brothers Walter and Mac, founded Shearwater Pottery in 1928. Their art has inspired a business community that now includes more than 150 locally owned shops like the Walter Anderson Museum of Art, and the Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center. Established in 1699 by French explorer, Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville, Ocean Springs celebrates its heritage with an annual festival on the last weekend of April. The festival features a reenactment of the landing, a music-filled block party, art fair and parade through town. The town has been a resort for decades. In fact, it was Elvis’ go-to spot for getting away from it all – the King and his girlfriend du jour frequented what is now the 18-hole Gulf Hills Golf Club, established in 1927 as a golfing resort and country club. Like so many Gulf Coast communities, this town of 18,000 residents was greatly affected by Hurricane Katrina’s 25-foot storm surge, which destroyed the bridge connecting the town to Biloxi, as well as many homes in low lying areas. Nearly eight 46 |
years after the storm, thanks to the characteristic pluck that has typified the post-storm rebuilding along the Gulf Coast, Ocean Springs is more than ready for its close up.
G O OD E AT S
The tastiest barometer for Ocean Spring’s economic wellbeing is t he presence of more than 100 restaurants, many independently owned and within a stroll of the main drag. Spend a day or a weekend in Ocean Springs and your appetite for art, small town charm and creative cuisine will be more than satisfied. BAYVIEW GOURMET
Bayviewgourmet.com Tracy Stanley opened Bayview Gourmet 16 years ago and there’s still a line out the door for brunch on most Sunday mornings at 1010 Robinson Avenue. Open for breakfast and lunch, Tuesday through Saturday, Bayview Gourmet dishes out some of the best breakfast fare I’ve had in recent memory. Let’s talk about the more than 20 unique variations of the Benedict, served on Holland rusk – a crispy cousin to the English muffin. And they serve delicious Gulf seafood like grouper, crabmeat and shrimp with all kinds of eggs, wheat wraps, quiche, salads and sandwiches. There’s a patio for sunny side dining, a bar for eye-opening cocktails, and fresh baked goods that may call for a discreet unbuttoning.
Above: A delicious meal of grilled chicken and vegetables piled high atop a platter of seasoned long grain rice. Left: Sunset over Biloxi’s coast
Sam Sabagh is a prime example of an Ocean Springs resident who rose above the Katrina disaster. Opening Phoenicia Gourmet Restaurant at 1223 Government Street in 1999, Sabagh was forced to close his doors for six months after the storm. Finding his silver lining in this tough situation, Sabagh saw this temporary setback as an opportunity to expand, adding event space and new dining areas to his Middle Eastern eatery. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Monday through Saturday, and lunch and dinner on Sunday, Phoenicia specializes in traditional Lebanese and Greek dishes like hummus, fried kibbe, stuffed grape leaves and flavorful sharwarmas, along with steaks and fresh greens, including a simply dressed Greek salad, bright with lemon and fresh oregano. The restaurant may have a few guests too satisfied to leave – staff report furniture moving, water running and all kinds of shenanigans going on, with no reasonable explanation as to how.
for CREPES. after falling in love with an all-crepes restaurant in Florida. She adored the combination of light, fluffy French pancakes and savory sweet ingredients. Having frequented Ocean Springs to visit her mother, Turner imagined abandoning the corporate grind to pursue something more creative, more connected to people – and this coastal community was the perfect place to do so. CREPES. is her first restaurant and she’s been involved in every detail, from its Art Deco styling and raspberry walls, to creating an Old Hollywood ambiance for diners with retro movies and vintage glamour shots. Turner designed the menu too, an enticing collection of crepes stuffed with grilled chicken, goat cheese and spinach, sautéed mushrooms and feta topped with tzatziki sauce, and the highly popular Montpellier, with beef tenderloin, gruyere cheese, asparagus tips, caramelized onions and topped with herbed debris gravy. And for dessert, the Charlemagne with goat cheese and honey, or decadent Marceau with dark chocolate, raspberry sauce and real whipped cream, seriously hit the spot.
MAISANO’S BY THE GLASS WINE BAR & BISTRO
PHOENICIA GOURMET RESTAURANT
Crepesperiod.com At 1019 Government Street, the newly opened CREPES. is a completely new dining concept for Ocean Springs. Robyn Turner, a Biloxi resident and pharmacist by trade, came up with the idea
Maisanosfinewine.com Don’t let the strip shopping center location fool you. Located at 1634 Bienville Boulevard, Maisano’s By the Glass Wine Bar & Bistro is a swanky wine lounge, offering 40 top-shelf choices by SOUTHERNGAMING.COM
Left: Maisano’s By the Glass Wine Bar & Bistro Right: A tempting plate of appetizers from CJ’s Seafood House, where they serve everything from fresh oysters and fish, to seafood gumbo and shrimp spaghetti.
MOSAIC TAPAS BAR
“PHOENICIA SPECIALIZES IN TRADITIONAL LEBANESE AND GREEK DISHES LIKE HUMMUS, FRIED KIBBE, STUFFED GRAPE LEAVES AND FLAVORFUL SHARWARMAS.” the glass, a rotating selection chosen by owner and sommelier, Jonathan Maisano. Kept fresh by an Italian argon-gas fueled preservation system, the list is an interesting mix of boutique and unusual sips. Order a 1-ounce half glass taste or a 2.5 ounce full pour, depending on your mood. Maisano’s is the only restaurant on the coast to win the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence consistently since 2010. Sip on a glass of Austrian Gruner while munching on chef Frank Maisano’s Duck and Wild Mushroom Pita, Sliced Filet of Ribeye and Black & Blue Citrus Salad, or enjoy the Cast Iron Red Snapper, topped with a grilled-lemon wine sauce. Maisano also owns the wine store a few doors away, in case you want to take home a bottle… or a case. CJ’S SEAFOOD HOUSE
Mosaictapasrestaurant.com Arturo Barajas has come a long way since working at TGIFridays. The Mexico City native started small and now owns three restaurants including, Mosaic Tapas Bar at 1010 Government Street, Señor Lopez Mexican Burrito Cafe and The Beer House, all located in downtown Ocean Springs. Besides being a cool hookah lounge and music venue, Mosaic is a global tapas bar, with a menu of savory favorites like Seared Tuna with green onion aioli, Falafel on pita, Fish Tacos, and Serrano Asparagus wrapped in prosciutto ham. Mosaic is just one of many hot spots that brings Ocean Springs to life after dark. The entertainment is an eclectic mix; on any given night, you’re likely to catch anyone from a flamenco guitarist or belly dancer, to a local, up-andcoming alternative rock band.
G O OD SL E E P S THE EAVES
Theeaves.org THE INN AT OCEAN SPRINGS
Oceanspringsinn.com HOME2 SUITES BY HILTON
Found at 10122 Central Avenue, in the same shopping center as Maisano’s, CJ’s Seafood House is a family-owned, no frills, fresh seafood house with 11 icy cold brews on draft and an enticing menu of just-caught Gulf seafood. Owners Cliff and Jane Lancon, along with their family run the place with the kind of pride you simply can’t get in a chain restaurant setting. Try from-scratch specialties like thick, authentic Seafood Gumbo, a variety of freshly shucked gulf oyster dishes, or any of the fried or grilled seafood platters. Not a fan of fish? The homemade gravy on the Roasted Beef Po-Boy will have you swooning and completely satisfied. Family friendly and a great value, CJ’s is a winning combination.
There are a few small bed and breakfasts to choose from when you visit Ocean Springs, including The Eaves and The Inn at Ocean Springs. Or if you want the best of both worlds, including easy access to the beach, Keesler Air Force Base, shopping and casinos, book a stay at the brand new Home2 Suites by Hilton in D’Iberville. This new pet-friendly stay option is well suited for those looking to do business or a weekend beach getaway. Each suite features a large, multi-function space with moving parts, allowing you to customize your expansive kitchen, living and work space any way you like. The all-suite hotel also offers a slew of extras, from free Internet and hot breakfast, to laundry facilities, a saline swimming pool and fitness center. For more info about what to see, taste and do in Ocean Springs, visit OceanSpringsChamber.com or call 228.875.4424
GET LUCKY IN LOUISVILLE,
Thursday, May 2, 2013 The Olmsted at Masonic Homes
Tickets: $200 ($100 thru April 29) Buy-ins: $500 + $50 (w. $200 re-buys for first hour of play) 6:00 pm – 1:00 am
Player Registration – 6:00 pm / Shuffle Up & Deal – 7:00 pm
This event proudly benefits: Blessings in a Backpack and the Louisville Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure
To purchase buy-ins and tickets, visit DerbyPokerChampionship.com or call 1-877-872-4366 x103 A Southern Gaming Magazine Event
P L AY I N G T H E F I E L D
Are you America’s Best Slot Player?
Slots are the perfect solution for casino-goers who prefer to pass on poker.
TOURNEVENT of CHAMPIONS
T H E N AT ION ’ S MO S T E XC I T I NG SL O T S AV V Y SHOW D OW N ON MARCH 2, Eagle Mountain Casino in Porterville, California kicked off Multimedia Games’ 2013 TournEvent of Champions – a national high-energy slot tournament that will travel to more than 60 casinos across 20 states from March until August in search of America’s best slot player. The first slot tournament of its kind, each stop on the tour will generate tons of excitement, as players from across the country will be vying for a chance to compete for the $100,000 grand prize in the title finale in Las Vegas. Taking cues from today’s most popular devices, Multimedia Games is winning fans among casinos and players alike for its innovative slot technology. The slots combine touchscreen play and player-facing cameras for unparalleled competition. And with touchscreen 50 |
bonuses, the leader can change at any moment, turning this slot experience from a solely individual experience into a thrilling, social spectacle. Spectators and players love the energy the TournEvent team brings to the casinos with its largerthan-life mascot, The Money Man and his entourage of M Girls. Multimedia Games isn’t only giving players a new way to experience slots; the company is also changing the way casinos effectively operate tournament play. Making the switch from individual to tournament play more efficient than ever, Multimedia Games’ revolutionary tournament system allows operators to switch quickly and seamlessly from in-revenue gaming to out-of-revenue tournaments with only the click of a mouse.
“PLAYERS FROM ACROSS THE COUNTRY WILL BE VYING FOR A CHANCE TO COMPETE FOR THE $100,000 GRAND PRIZE IN THE TITLE FINALE IN LAS VEGAS.” Once each TournEvent challenge begins, fast fingers and fast thinking are key. Winners from each qualifying event receive a complimentary five-night trip to Las Vegas (including airfare and accommodations for the participant and a guest) to play in the championship round at Lagasse’s Stadium at The Palazzo in September. One of the approximately 75 finalists will ultimately win the $100,000 grand prize, bragging rights for their home casino, and the title of Nation’s Best Slot Tournament Player. An additional $150,000 (in total) will be awarded to other placing participants. Multimedia Games is the first interactive gaming developer to produce a slot tournament of this magnitude. On the heels of a successful statewide tournament in California last year, TournEvent of Champions was named “Best Slot Theme” by Southern California Gaming Guide in its 2012 Readers’ Choice Awards and was awarded third place for “Best Consumer Service Technology” at Global Gaming Business’ Annual Gaming & Technology Awards in 2012.
T OP T OU R N E Y T I P S 1. Get there early to pick the right machine for you 2. Speed is everything! Keep those reels spinning 3. Always play max bet 4. Skip through the machine counting up your wins. It takes up extra time you don’t have 5. Stay in the zone. Worry about what you’re doing, not the guy next to you 6. Don't stop. Those reels should spin until time is up or you are out of credits
Want to compete in a TournEvent qualifying event or want more information? Visit tournevent.com or check out the tournament pages on Facebook and Twitter.
Tour Dates Locations
4/20 4/21 4/22 4/24 4/27 4/27-28 4/28 5/4 5/5 5/10 5/11 5/12-13 5/15 5/17 5/18-19 5/19 5/25 6/2 6/9 6/12 6/15 6/19 6/29 6/29 6/30 7/12-13 7/12-13 7/13 7/14 7/19-20 7/20 7/22-23 7/25 7/26-27 7/26 7/27 7/29 8/3 8/5 8/10 8/11 8/12-13 8/15 8/17-18 8/30-31
7 Cedars Casino, Sequim WA Lucky Eagle Casino & Hotel, Rochester WA Emerald Queen I-5, Fife WA Emerald Queen Fife, Fife WA Quechan Casino Resort, Winter CA Angel of the Winds Casino, Arlington WA Clearwater Casino Resort, Suquamish WA Snoqualmie Casino, Snoqualmie WA Quil Ceda Creek Resort, Tulalip WA Muckleshoot Casino, Auburn WA Mill Bay Casino, Manson WA Swinomish Casino & Lodge, Anacortes WA Silver Reef Hotel Casino Spa, Ferndale WA Okanogan Bingo Casino, Okanogan WA Clearwater River Casino & Hotel, Lewiston ID Tulalip Resort Casino, Tulalip WA Prairie Band Casino & Resort, Mayetta KS Choctaw Grant, Grant OK Choctaw Pocola, Pocola OK Newcastle Casino, Newcastle OK Riverwind Casino, Norman OK Remington Park Racing & Casino, Oklahoma City OK Paragon Casino Resort, Marksville LA Boomtown Casino Biloxi, Biloxi MS Jena Choctaw Pines Casino, Alexandria LA Augua Calinete Casino Resort Spa, Rancho Mirage CA L’Auberge Casino Baton Rouge, Baton Rouge LA Palace Casino Resort, Biloxi MS Hollywood Casino Tunica, Tunica MS Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel, Niagara Falls NY Hoosier Park Racing & Casino, Anderson IN Prairie Meadows Racetrack Casino Hotel, Altoona IA Treasure Island Resort & Casino, Welch MN Spa Resort, Palm Springs CA Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison, Madison WI Majestic Star Casino & Hotel, Gary IN French Lick Resort & Casino, French Lick IN Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel, Williamsburg MI Little Six Casino, Prior Lake MN 4 Bears Casino & Lodge, Fort Berthold ND Spirit Lake Casino & Resort, St. Michael ND Barona Resort & Casino, Lakeside CA Santa Ana Star Casino, Bernalillo NM Desert Diamond Casinos & Entertainment, Tucson AZ BJ’s Bingo, Fife WA
AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT What is your bankroll and money management system?
I only bet heavy on the Triple Crown Series and Breeders’ Cup; so otherwise I’m pretty much a “low-roller.” My average bankroll for a regular session is $100. I go home when I tap out or double up. Otherwise I play until the card expires. If my initial stake dissolves, I will under no circumstances visit the ATM. To me, chasing gambling losses is the unpardonable sin.
Hitting the Track with Eric Floyd What was your first gambling experience?
My first brush with gambling occurred in middle school where I regularly pitched quarters against my classmates during lunch. I had to serve a few detentions but typically won $5-10 per week. When did you realize you had a passion for the “Sport of Kings?”
The first horse race I ever bet on was the 1997 Kentucky Derby. I wagered $50 on Silver Charm to win (which he did) and have been a die-hard handicapper ever since.
How do you stay on top of trends and strategies to inform your audience of winning techniques?
The best resource a horseplayer can utilize is another horseplayer. I pick the brains of individuals that also have a passion for the “Sport of Kings” and always attempt to retain a teachable spirit. What are the top 2-3 factors to look at when handicapping a race when you only have a couple of minutes to get your bet down?
I’m definitely a speed figure guy, but at the end of the day “class” wins races. So I suppose these two aspects primarily decide
which pony bears my betting dollar.
Do you have to be a statistic guru to master horseracing?
No. In fact, I know a few punters that go strictly on looks alone. It’s actually my honest opinion (and many will scoff at this) that a pari-mutuel war is best waged with intuition, not the racing form. What is the number one mistake you see made by recreational horseplayers?
They bet way too many exotics – exactas, trifectas, pick sixes etc. What is the easiest way to increase your win percentage in horseracing?
It sounds counter intuitive but simply bet on fewer races per session. Only invest in those contests where your confidence level is high, even if it means passing on several races. W h a t s t e p s c an a r e c r e a t i o nal horseplayer take to move up to the next level?
Thoroughbred handicapping is a skill that must be honed like any other, so success and practice go hand in hand. Also, though it is impossible, ignore ALL popular opinion concerning the outcome of a race. Betting your own convictions leaves no room for regret.
Sarasota, FL AGE:
38 INTERESTS OTHER THAN GAMBLING:
God, playing music FAVORITE SPORTS TEAMS:
Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Pirates, Los Angeles Lakers FAVORITE PLACE TO VISIT:
Las Vegas, any part of the Caribbean ON THE BUCKET LIST:
Own the 12th Triple Crown Champion and live to celebrate my 100th birthday FAVORITE BOOK EVER:
The Bible FAVORITE BAND/MUSIC:
Anything jazz and blues related HOW DO YOU RELAX?
By spending time with my wife, Linda, and writing
“THE FIRST HORSE RACE I EVER BET ON WAS THE 1997 KENTUCKY DERBY. I WAGERED $50 ON SILVER CHARM TO WIN (WHICH HE DID) AND HAVE BEEN A DIE-HARD HANDICAPPER EVER SINCE.”
SCENES of the SOUTH
Let the good times roll! Check out these photos from Coast Night Club at Beau Rivage Resort & Casino, one of the hottest party spots in southern Mississippi.
WANT TO SUBMIT AN EVENT? EMAIL EDITOR@SOUTHERNGAMING.COM
SEE AND BE SEEN Biloxi, Mississippi
Biloxi offers one of the most lively entertainment scenes in Mississippi - both day and night. One of the best places to party down is at Coast Night Club, located in the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino. Get ready to dance the night away with cool cocktails, awesome live music and Ladies’ Nights every Wednesday and Thursday. There’s never a dull moment when you party at Coast!
SOUTH E R N GAM I NG.COM
SOU THERN GAMING’S
PREFERRED HOT SPOTS Whether you’re a frequent jet-setter or simply a casual traveler, Southern Gaming and Destinations strives to recommend highquality establishments to our readers. We feel this array of our preferred casinos, racetracks, racinos, hotels and restaurants will deliver the best in accommodations, entertainment and gaming. We encourage you to consider any of these incredible properties when planning your next getaway.
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1 GULF COAST BEAU RIVAGE RESORT & CASINO (BILOXI) 1-888-750-7111 FALLEN OAK GOLF COURSE (BILOXI) 1-877-805-4657 HALF SHELL OYSTER HOUSE (GULFPORT & BILOXI) 1-228-867-7001 HARD ROCK HOTEL & CASINO (BILOXI) 1-877-877-6256 IP CASINO RESORT SPA 1-888-946-2847 MARGARITAVILLE CASINO & RESTAURANT (BILOXI) 1-855-667-6777 MARY MAHONEY’S FRENCH HOUSE RESTAURANT (BILOXI) 1-228-374-0163 SILVER SLIPPER CASINO (BAY ST. LOUIS) 1-866-775-4773 THE SHED BBQ (OCEAN SPRINGS) 1-228-875-9590
2 ALABAMA BAHAMA BOB’S BEACHSIDE CAFE (GULF SHORES) 1-251-948-2100 FELIX’S FISH CAMP GRILL (MOBILE) 1-251-626-6710 THE TRELLIS ROOM RESTAURANT (MOBILE)
WIND CREEK CASINO & HOTEL (ATMORE)
3 ARKANSAS ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT 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
FEATURED DESTINATION HARD ROCK CASINO & HOTEL
Hard Rock Casino & Hotel in Biloxi, Mississippi continues to impress us with its all-star concert line-ups and energetic vibe felt throughout the property. Whether you are looking for a pristine pool and relaxing spa or succulent steaks and seafood, Hard Rock has it. The property will soon feature a second hotel tower overlooking the Gulf so get ready for even more Rockin’! For more information, visit HardRockBiloxi.com 1-877-877-6256. 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 SHULA’S STEAK HOUSE (TAMPA) 1-813-286-4366 MARDI GRAS CASINO & RACING (HALLANDALE) 1-877-55-SLOTS WATERMARK GRILLE (NAPLES) 1-239-596-1400
ECLIPSE DI LUNA (ATLANTA) 1-678-205-5862
21C MUSEUM HOTEL (LOUISVILLE) 1-877-217-6400
GARIBALDI CAFE (SAVANNAH) 1-912-232-7118
BROWN HOTEL (LOUISVILLE) 1-502-583-1234
HAL’S THE STEAKHOUSE (ATLANTA) 1-404-261-0025
CHURCHILL DOWNS (LOUISVILLE) 1-800-283-3729
ROCKS ON THE ROOF @ THE BOHEMIAN HOTEL
EQUUS RESTAURANT (LOUISVILLE) 1-502-897-9721
6 INDIANA BELTERRA CASINO RESORT (VEVAY) 1-888-BELTERRA CASINO AZTAR (EVANSVILLE) 1-800-342-5386 HOOSIER PARK RACING & CASINO (ANDERSON) 1-800-526-7223 HORSESHOE CASINO SOUTHERN INDIANA 1-866-676-SHOE INDIANA GRAND CASINO (SHELBYVILLE) 1-877-386-4463
GALT HOUSE HOTEL & SUITES (LOUISVILLE) 1-800-THE-GALT GOLF COURSES OF KENTON COUNTY 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
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POKER: Playing Suited Connectors
he problem with playing suited connectors is that they don’t win the pot very often. For example, you might play 8♦-7♦ or 9♠-10♠ and hit a hand that will get you into a lot of trouble. You might make top pair or second pair or even a flush and lose a big pot. So the best way to play these types of hands is very carefully. If you’re an advanced player, you understand that it’s very difficult to fold the 7♦-8♦ when the flop comes down 2-6-7. If you’re trying to play suited connectors, you have to learn how to fold them at the right time. This takes finesse, skill and above all, reading ability.
If I am able to take the pot away, by forcing everyone to fold, then I’ll just place my winning hand facedown. But it I get caught bluffing, then I’m more than happy to show the whole table my hand and say “six high.” When the other players realize that I raised with 5♦-6♦ before the flop, then I can expect to receive a lot of extra action for a while and wait for the players to give me their chips. They’ll still be thinking that I have nothing (six high!), but I’ll be showing them some real hands for a while. This pattern tends to keep many players off balance, and eventually they may decide they don’t want to mess with me.
T H R E E LI M I T H O LD ’ E M S I T UAT I O N S APPROPRIATE FOR PL AYING SUITED CONNECTORS
CALLING WITH SUITED CONNECTORS
Situation 1: One situation conducive to playing these hands is when someone has raised, and two or three other players have already called in front of me. Here, I’m investing two bets with at least three other opponents. In this situation, I like to have at least 5-6 suited or higher. I don’t see much value in 2-3, 3-4, or 4-5 suited: the pairs, straights and flushes these hands might make are all too low. As an example, if I’m playing a hand like 3-4 suited, I’m hoping to make a straight. It’s not that I object to making a flush, but it would make the worst possible flush and I could easily lose to a higher flush. So I’d rather make a straight because unless I hit the hand perfectly with A-2-5, my straight is probably going to be on the low side of what’s available. Situation 2: The second favorable situation arises when I have suited connectors in the blinds because I get in for a discount. In other words, instead of calling two bets in the big amounts, I would call just one bet since I was the one to post the first bet in the blind. Situation 3: The third situation involves messing with other players’ heads in order to seem like a more unpredictable player. In this situation, I’ll make it three bets over the top of someone who I assume is raising the pot with a weak hand in front of me. I may three-bet (re-raise) a jackal when I’m on the button with 5♦-6♦ in order to try to steal the pot from him.
The idea behind calling two bets with suited connectors is to try to win a big pot. So, I’m looking for a lot of opponents when I consider calling two bets with this hand. It doesn’t make sense to me to call two bets with 8♥-9♥ when no one else has called before the flop. In other words, I’m looking for good pot odds for this type of drawing hand. An occasional big pot pays for a lot of failed attempts. Suppose someone raises before the flop in the early position, and now two other people call the raise in front of me. I’m on the button with 4♦-5♦. I simply fold this hand, because 4-5 is below the suited connector line that I like to maintain. In this same situation, if I have 7-8 suited, then I’ll go ahead and call the raise, trying to get lucky on the flop later. Suppose that a mouse in early position makes it two bets to go, and now two other players call the two bets in front of me. I’m on the bottom with 9♣-10♣. In this case, although two other players have already called the raise, I’ll probably fold my hand because the original raiser is a mouse. And when a mouse raises in early position, I’m always looking for an excuse to fold as soon as possible. Of course, if the original raiser isn’t a mouse, I will call with my 9♣-10♣. My rule for playing suited connectors is this: If two other people have called two bets (a raise), then I’ll call it with my hand (assuming that it’s above the 4-5 line).
PHIL HELLMUTH, JR.
Phil Hellmuth, Jr is an 13 time World Series of Poker Champion, leading all other poker players in the world. He is the author of two New York Times bestsellers and his latest book, Deal Me In, is also widely popular. Visit philhellmuth.com to check out his clothing line, blog and exclusive gaming tips. Hellmuth will host his annual Derby Poker Championship with poker pro, Robert Williamson III and Hall of Fame basketball coach, Denny Crum on May 2 in Louisville, Kentucky. For more info visit DerbyPokerChampionship.com.
“IF YOU’RE TRYING TO PLAY SUITED CONNECTORS, YOU HAVE TO LEARN HOW TO FOLD THEM AT THE RIGHT TIME.”
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