Southern & Midwest Gaming and Destinations - July 2021

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JULY / AUGUST 2021 - VOL. 23 ISSUE 4 GAMINGANDDESTINATIONS.COM $5.00

BLACKJACK: 5 COSTLY PLAYS

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OAKLAWN RACING: CASINO RESORT

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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW:

JEFF FOXWORTHY ...THE KING OF COMEDY

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PLUS: TIPS ON BLACKJACK • CRAPS • VIDEO POKER & MORE! Covering casinos in Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida, Alabama, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, and more!


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LETTER

from the Publisher Gaming Media Group

UP FRONT with G. DOUGLAS “You might be a redneck if…” Chances are good that if you are reading this, you have heard those words uttered on several occasions in your lifetime as it is the phrase that made comedian Jeff Foxworthy a very successful individual. From his Blue-Collar Comedy tour with Ron White, Larry The Cable Guy and Bill Engvall, to his sellout shows he regular has today, Foxworthy is touring again and taking his show to North Star Mohican Casino Resort on August 20th for what is sure to be another sellout. He has made himself a household name over the past two decades and we had the opportunity to catch up with him for an exclusive interview. He has had a very successful career ranging from stand-up comedy to books and board games and there is no sign of him slowing down any time soon. We hope you can make the show at North Star, but if not, we at least hope you will like the interview on page 6. You can also listen to the recorded interview for FREE at GamingandDestinations.com. Also in this issue, we take you to the next level of blackjack strategy by looking at five hands that can lead you to trouble. Gambling expert, John Grochowksi, breaks down these hands and gives you the best ways to play them and keep you out of trouble. Blackjack is an easy game to learn, but there are many caveats and strategic plays that can help lower the house edge and let you win more, and hopefully lose less! Be sure to check out John’s ways to play on page 10 and remember them on your next gambling getaway. We are also excited to highlight Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort located in Hot Springs, Arkansas and all their recent renovations and additions. While the property has always been home to top-rated thoroughbred racing, including the Arkansas Derby, they recently unveiled a massive expansion that includes a lavish hotel, spa, fantastic dining, and of course, a great casino. This addition to the area has been well-overdue and it looks like Oaklawn timed the expansion perfectly. Check out their profile on page 16. Lastly, with the return to normalcy at casinos across the country, we are excited to see live entertainment, dining options and all of the amenities bustling once again. Competition for players will be at an all-time high and the properties will continue to deliver great comp offers, headliner entertainment and big promotions and giveaways to their customers happy and coming back. We will also continue to highlight the casinos that support us on the pages of Southern & Midwest Gaming, on GamingandDestinations.com and on our social media platforms. So, if you are looking for the best places to stay and play, look no further than Southern & Midwest Gaming and Destinations. Be sure to keep spreading the word about Gaming and Destinations to all your gambling buddies. Subscriptions are just $20 for six issues, and we will mail them straight to their mailbox. Subscribe or join our mailing list today at GamingandDestinations.com. Good luck on all of your gambling getaways and always remember, if you can’t be good… be lucky!

Incorporated

PUBLISHER

Gaming Media Group Inc.

Gaming Media Group

PRESIDENT Incorporated

G. Douglas Dreisbach FOUNDING PUBLISHER

Larry Bisig LAYOUT AND DESIGN

Hill Harcourt CONTRIBUTING AUTHORS

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John Grochowski Jim Schmidt

GAMING AND DESTINATIONS

136 St. Matthews Ave. #300 Louisville, KY 40207 (502) 212-5177 e-mail:

editor@gaminganddestinations.com The goal of this publication is to help drive awareness of the ever-growing popularity of the gaming industry and to assist gamers in enjoying their gaming experience to the fullest. Gaming and Destinations is published for those who seek the best in gaming and in life, and is produced bimonthly by Gaming Media Group Inc. of Louisville, Kentucky. Copyright 2019 by Gaming Media Group Inc. All Rights Reserved. This publication is printed by LSC Communications., 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 Gaming and Destinations assume liability for claims of advertisers. POSTMASTER:

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On the cover: Comedian Jeff

Foxworthy is on tour again making

several casinos stops including North Star Mohican Casino Resort on

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August 20. Check out our exclusive interview on page 10.


IN THIS ISSUE ON THE COVER

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Jeff Foxworthy: The King of Comedy

Check out our exclusive interview with one of the biggest comedians of all time about his visit with our friends at North Star Mohican Casino on August 20.

WINNING TIPS AND STRATEGIES

HIGHLIGHTS & HOT SPOTS

10 Blackjack:

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Editor’s Picks:

Get the scoop on what’s happening at our preferred properties around the region.

Five Costly Plays

18 Craps:

Female Crapshooters – Part 1

19 Video Poker:

14 Beau Rivage Resort & Casino:

Stay Well Rooms Revealed

16 Property Profile:

Good Luck Everyone!

Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort

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After a major renovation to the historic racetrack, a lavish resort awaits!

20 Sports Wagering:

Find the future odds-on major sporting events..

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16 Find us on Facebook

@SouthernGaming

@MidwestCasinos G A M I N G A N D D E S T I N AT I O N S . C O M |

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CASINO SCENE GAMING AND DESTINATIONS

HOT HAPPENINGS AT OUR PREFERRED CASINOS, RACETRACKS AND MORE. As we put the past behind us and casinos continue to get back to normal, we are excited to continue to publish our top picks for entertainment, promotions and other features from Preferred Properties of Gaming and Destinations. These properties are supporters of G&D and we encourage you to check them out on your next gaming adventure. For more hot happenings and gaming news, visit GamingandDestinations.com. (Biloxi, MS) Beau Rivage Resort & Casino - Live entertainment in EIGHT75 is back at Beau Rivage and the promotions are hot with a BMW giveaway each month this summer. Drawing days for July and August are on July 31 and August 28. Guests can also earn entries now thru Saturday, August 28 to enter for a chance to win $1,000 in FREEPLAY/TABLEPLAY or a BMW. Guests earn one drawing entry for every 100 Slot Points/Table Game equivalent during the promotional promotional period. Also, be sure to check out the recently re-opened TopGolf Swing Suite located on the first floor of the casinos just off the lobby. For more information, visit BeauRivage.com or call 1-888-567-6667. (Tunica, MS) Gold Strike Casino Resort - Gear up for your outdoor adventures with The Great Outdoors $225,000 Giveaway at Gold Strike! Don’t miss your chance to win a share of $225,000 in FREEPLAY® and prizes, including a 2021 GMC Sierra 3500 Denali thru August 28. For every 100 slot points or table games equivalent accumulated from June 1 to August 28, guests receive one virtual drawing entry. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, M life Rewards players earn two virtual drawing entries for every 100 slot points or table games equivalent. Drawings will be held on Saturday, July 31 and Saturday, August 28, when five winners will be drawn each hour from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m., to win $1,000 in FREEPLAY® or TablePlay. On July 31, one lucky guest will be drawn to win a Can-Am Side-by-Side, while one winner drawn at 9 p.m. on August 28 will drive away in a 2021 GMC Sierra 3500 Denali Black Diamond Edition truck. For more information, visit GoldStrike.com or call 1-888-245-7829. (Vicksburg, MS) Ameristar Casino Hotel – The winning continues at Ameristar with the ongoing weekly drawings leading to a $100,000 cash winner that will be drawn on September 4. Claim a free entry daily at a mychoice® kiosk for your chance to win. Earn an entry for every 25 tier points, plus earn 50X entries Tuesday through Thursday during the promotional period. Over 40 winners drawn every weekend for prizes and grand prize entries. Drawings occur 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. every Friday and Saturday, with a $100,000 cash winner guaranteed on September 4! For more information, visit AmeristarVicksburg.com or call 1-601-630-3786. (Philadelphia, MS) Pearl River Resort – The full resort lifestyle is back at Pearl River with their two amazing golf courses at Dancing Rabbit Golf Club, the award-winning Spa and Salon, and delectable dining with an array of options from fine dining to casual to cure any craving. And, be sure to watch and wager on your favorite teams at the Sportsbook at Time Out Lounge located at the Golden Moon Hotel & Casino. For more information, visit PearlRiverResort.com or call 1-866-447-3275.

(Bowler, WI) North Star Mohican Casino Resort – Entertainment and promotions are heating up this summer at North Star with the legendary comedian, Jeff Foxworthy on August 20 followed by Eddie Montgomery September 17 and Michael Bolton November 20. Get your tickets today as they will likely all sell out. Also don’t miss your chance to cash in on some great giveaways in July including a Toyota Highlander Hybrid on July 31 (earn entries every day in July) or your share of $50,000 in the Stars, Stripes and Swipes on Sundays in July. For more information, visit NorthStarCasinoResort.com or call 715-787-3110. (Hot Springs, AR) Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort – Oaklawn continues to shine and reviews are raving about the new hotel and resort offerings. Be sure to book your stay today for a great getaway of gaming, horse racing and all of the resort amenities you would want from luxurious rooms, a sensational spa and fine dining to kick off the evening. For more information, visit Oaklawn.com or call 1-800-625-5296.


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Jeff Foxworthy will perform at North Star Mohican Casino Resort August 20.

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW:

JEFF FOXWORTHY ...THE KING OF COMEDY

Jeff Foxworthy is largest-selling comedy recording artist in history, author of 26 books and a multiple Grammy Award nominee. Widely known for his redneck jokes and light canter among his audiences, his acts explore the humor in everyday family interactions and human nature. He is currently on tour and heading to several casinos along the way, including a stop at North Star Mohican Casino on August 20th. Gaming and Destinations publisher, G. Douglas Dreisbach, caught up with the King of Comedy to find out about what makes him tick, how he comes up with his content and what makes playing casino and resort-style shows different than others. This is an excerpt of the interview edited for space purposes. Listen to the full interview at GamingandDestinations.com. 6

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G. Douglas Dreisbach: Your list of accolades includes Grammy nominations, record sales of your products and books and so much more. Does hearing that long list of accolades ever get old? Jeff Foxworthy: You know, it’s kind of funny. When you’re in the middle of doing all of that, it doesn’t really sink in, because I sit there and go, “26 books is a lot of books,” or “Yeah, that was a lot of records.” But when you look back, you’re like, “Dang, I was busy there for a while.” GDD: Does it ever get hard to come up with new content? And where do you find some of your creative inspiration before you go out and use it? JF: I think I’m one of the lucky comedians, because early in my career, I discovered what worked best for me.

I trusted that if I thought of something, or if my wife says something, or my family does something, I’m going to trust that other people are thinking and saying and doing the same things that we are. So, when I am on-stage and see people laugh and then elbow the person next to them, or point to the person next to them, then I said something that was funny. I did a thing on the last special working with Larry the Cable Guy where we were talking about the fact that we have a generation that doesn’t know how to get dog poop off their shoes. Growing up, we played outside every day, and every day somebody stepped in dog poop. So on the stage I went through what you did. You know, first you scraped it on the edge of the curb. Then you went back and forth in a puddle, and then you did the sweeping motion on the grass. Then you got a little piece of stick, and you sat down


on the curb and picked it out of the treads. As I’m describing this process, I was thinking that there is not one joke in this but people are gut-laughing, because they’re going, ‘Oh, my God, I’ve done that.’” So that’s kind of what I’ve always done. I’ve talked about my life and if you go back and listen to an album or watch a special, it’s kind of a snapshot of whatever was going on in my life that year. GDD: Would you say that most of your content is original from you? And has it always been that way? JF: Yes, almost always. I’ve got a buddy in Nashville that is really funny but doesn’t go on the road. I will think of something and call him and say, “Hey, do you think this has merit to it?” And if he likes it, then I’ll go to a club and start working it out. It is kind of amazing that you never get to the point to where you know if something’s funny or not. I mean, if you and I were going to a club tonight and I had a stack of note cards with ideas on them, and you said, “Pick the four best,” two of them would probably die. I mean, I still don’t have it down. But that’s part of what amazes me. And I just keep coming back to stand-up out of everything I’ve ever done. I love the fact that you can’t figure it out.

Foxworthy is one of the most successful comedian in history.

GDD: You were a founding partner of the Blue Collar Comedy crew that included you and Ron White, Larry the Cable Guy, and Bill Engvall. Tell us about how that came to be.

JF: Well, when the Kings of Comedy tour started up, one of the first stops was Atlanta, where I live. I was reading about it in the paper, and it said that it was a show for the urban, hip audience. I remember calling up Bill Engvall, and I said, “You know, urban and hip leaves a lot of people out. We need to do a show for everybody else.” And he kind of laughed, and he said, “What would you call it?” And I said, “Just GDD: How much of your show is call it the Blue Collar Tour.” So, we set three months aside, me, Bill, Ron, and scripted and how do you adjust the script based on the moods or reactions Larry, and we were going to try this for three months. I think we ended up from the audience? doing the first tour for three years. We just had no idea that it was going to JF: I always know where I want to start blow up like that. But it’s still, to this and where I want to finish. But, as you day, one of the most fun things I’ve get out there, it is like a boxer, like a little ever been part of. dance, and it’s never the same way twice. GDD: Did you find yourself writing But for me, knowing where I want to new content on that tour, bouncing start and knowing where want to end has ideas across the room with you four? always been kind of a security blanket. Sometimes it doesn’t end up that way, JF: Absolutely. Part of the reason it was the four of us was that we all but that’s kind of my plan when I walk kind of started around the same time out there.

and we were buddies back in those early days when nobody was making any money. At first, when we pitched the idea of the four of us doing the show, the promoter wanted to do a big number at the end, something like a silly song or whatever. Being a fan of comedy, I grew up watching the Carol Burnett Show, and my favorite part was when they made each other laugh. I thought, “People never see a comic laugh. If we do our job right, we keep a straight face, and the audience laughs.” So, I said to the promoter, “Instead of doing something big, can we just bring out four stools and tell stories and try to make each other laugh?” And they were like, “Well, we can try it. We’ll see if it works.” There was no way to rehearse it, so that first night of the tour, we were in Omaha, Nebraska, and there were 9,000 people in the audience. I was the fourth one to perform out of the four of us. At the end I said, “Hey, let’s bring the other three guys back and tell a few stories.” We had no idea if it was going to work or not, and we got to the end of it and said good night, and 9,000 people stood up and we got a standing ovation, and we kind of looked at each other and went, “Oh, my God, it worked.” So, that was always, I think, our G A M I N G A N D D E S T I N AT I O N S . C O M |

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favorite part of it every night, was just trying to make each other laugh. GDD: You mentioned Carol Burnett as an early influence and exposing you to comedy. Who were some other early influences you liked? JF: Well, it’s probably politically incorrect, but Bill Cosby was a huge influence, not accounting for what he did in his personal life, but as a stand-up, I liked him. He talked about family stuff. He was funny without being dirty and he was an influence. Bob Newhart was an influence. Later, it was Carlin and Pryor, but that was after I got headphones, so my mom couldn’t hear what I was listening to.

I actually had a real job and worked at IBM for a while. I was the guy that was always in the break room doing impersonations of the boss, and turn around, and the boss is standing in the doorway. A bunch of guys I worked with used to go down to a local comedy club in Atlanta called The Punchline. They kept coming back to work, going, “Foxworthy, you’re funnier than these people. You need to do this.” And they

Jay Leno was fabulous. I mean, I remember being an open-mic-er, and Jay would sit there with me at the Waffle House at one in the morning and tell me what I needed to know.

JF: I do think that you are either born funny, or you’re not. I mean, I think you can get better at it, but you must be born with the talent. I remember as a kid I knew I could make people laugh but I never thought that being a comedian was a career option. I’d save up my allowance, and I’d buy comedy records. I’d memorize them. I’d go to school and do them and always got in trouble. Every report card was, “Jeff talks too much in class,” because I was trying to make people laugh. 8

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You know the crazy thing about it is, I’ve been doing it now for 37 years. I still love it just as much. I am so blessed to have made a fabulous living doing something I would have done for free, and after three and a half plus decades, I still love it. I still enjoy it so much. GDD: Over those years you played many different venues. One of your upcoming stops includes North Star Mohican Casino Resort in Wisconsin on August 20th, as well as several other casino stops. Do you find the mood of the audience changes based on the venue? Is a casino show different than a comedy club or corporate event?

When I got into comedy, Rodney Dangerfield was great about helping younger comics and he helped me a lot and even put me on one of his HBO Young Comedian specials.

GDD: Was there an “aha” moment where you realized you had the knack for entertaining?

dope?” Whatever the dope was. And I’m like, “No, I just really think I could do this. I just have such a passion for it.” And five years later, I was on Johnny Carson, and the same mother said, “You know, you wasted all those years at IBM.” And I’m like, “OK, whatever, Mom.”

entered me in a competition, not like an amateur night, but a competition for working comedians, called the Great Southeastern Laugh-Off. And I’m like, “Oh, dadgum, I’ve got to go write something.” I wrote five minutes about my family, and I went down there and did it, and I won the competition. I just remember I was scared to death, but a minute and a half into it, I’m like, “This is what I want to do. This is it. This is what I was born to do.” I still remember telling my parents I was quitting my job at IBM. My mother’s first question was, “Are you on the

JF: If it’s just a regular concert, then you know people paid to see you. They want to see you. It is the same at a casino, except at a regular concert, you don’t have people sitting out there that may have just lost $10,000. At a corporate event, nobody pays to see you. You are just the entertainment. So, with one of those, I’ll start slower and a little more deliberate, because I’m thinking, “Well, there’s people here that may not even know who I am.” But at the end of it, I always find that if I’m having fun, then usually it ends up that they are having fun too.


GDD: Are you working on any projects you can share with us? JF: A couple years ago I invented a card game called Relative Insanity. I wrote 500 punchlines, and 100 setups about relatives and family. So, the set-up might be something like, “Right before we walked down the aisle, Daddy leaned over to me and whispered _____.” Everyone playing has seven punchlines, and they throw the card they think is going to get the biggest laugh. It ended up being the top-selling game on Amazon! So, when COVID hit, I decided to write four expansion packs for the game that will be out this summer so that will be a lot of fun. I also have a couple TV projects in the works, but everything kind of slammed to a halt during the pandemic so hopefully by the fall, we can start doing at least one of those. GDD: Probably one of your biggest successes is the You Might be a Redneck series. How did that come about? And were you surprised at how well it did? JF: I was shocked! It started because I’ve got this thick Southern accent, and I grew up out in the country, hunting and fishing. So, when I got into comedy, the only advice I got was, “You know, Jeff, you’ve got to take some voice lessons and lose that stupid accent you got.” And I’m like, “Well, where I come from, you have a stupid accent.” So, I was stubborn about the accent. I drove a truck. I wore blue jeans and cowboy boots. I talked like this. It seemed that everywhere I went people said, “Oh, Foxworthy, you’re just an old redneck from Georgia.” As I traveled around the country, I found out that accents and ‘rednecks’ weren’t just a Southern thing, they were a 15-minutes outside of every city thing. So, one night, I was playing in a club in Lavonia, Michigan, and after the show we were sitting around the bar at the club and the guys were kidding with me about being a redneck. Well, the club we were playing in was attached to a bowling alley that had

valet parking, so I said, “Wait a minute. If you don’t think you have rednecks in Michigan, come look out the window. People are valet parking at the bowling alley.” I went back to the hotel that night, never thinking it was going to be a hook or books or whatever, and I wrote ten ways to help people tell if they were a redneck or not. I went back to the club the next night and tried it. Not only were people laughing, but they were pointing at each other too! I thought, “Well, if I can write 10, I can write 50. And if I can write 50, can I write 300 of them?” So, I put it into a book format and got turned down by the first 14 publishers that I sent it to. Then, the fifteenth one I sent it to said to come in and we would talk about it. I went in and he said, “You know, this is kind of funny and I think we might try to publish this. How does $1,500 sound?” At the time, I didn’t know if he was asking me for $1,500, because I didn’t have it, so I asked him and he said, “No, no, no, we’ll pay you.” I’m like, “Well, then, yeah, let’s do it!” I remember saying to him, “How many do you think we might sell?” And he said, “You know, I wouldn’t be surprised if we didn’t sell 5,000 of them.” I think that first book sold four and a half million copies. So, from then on, every time I saw him, I would say, “Hey, I’m glad you don’t know anything more about the book business than I do!” I never saw it coming. He never saw it coming. They were one-liners. They were easy to remember. They were easy to retell, and I think that was what made people gravitate to them. I quickly found out the true ones always got the biggest laughs. So, when people would say, “How do you come up with these?” I’m like, “There’s no research. It’s my family and my friends!”

GDD: If you could go back and give advice to a young Jeff Foxworthy, what would it be? JF: Just be you, and learn to write everything down. Too many times after shows, people will come back to the dressing room, and they’re like, “I’ve done that,” or “I’ve thought that,” or “I’ve said that.” So you have to learn to grab these thoughts. I always have five or six note cards in my back pocket and have learned to write them down because you think you’re going to remember it later, and you never do. So, learn to write everything down, and just be you. Don’t try to be Jerry Seinfeld. Don’t try to be Jim Gaffigan. Just be you and talk about the things that you know about. Quick Hits with Jeff Foxworthy Hobbies: Painting, drawing, looking for arrowheads and hunting and fishing on his farm and spending time with his granddaughter. Pets: A four-month-old Pomsky dog. It’s half husky, half Pomeranian. Sports teams: Atlanta teams. Braves, Falcons, and especially, the Georgia Bulldogs! Musicians/Bands: Grew up listening to Elton John, Springsteen, Billy Joel, etc… Now he listens to everything from the ‘60’s to current. Books/Podcasts/Mini-Series: Watching Queen’s Gambit right now. Reading a John Grisham book now and reads about one book per week. For podcasts, he likes the true crime subjects and Elvis. Place to vacation or visit? Hawaii and Italy. Place you have not visited that you would like to? Galapagos Brand of blue jeans? It has been Levi’s, but lately it has been the Buffalo brand because of the stretchy waistband. G A M I N G A N D D E S T I N AT I O N S . C O M |

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BLACKJACK:

5 COSTLY MISTAKES by

In any learning experience, mistakes go with the territory and the game of blackjack is no exception. Players who are serious about cutting the house edge learn basic strategy to eliminate most mistakes. However, those who are not so dedicated will keep making non-optimal plays and losing money.

JOHN GROCHOWSKI

costliest plays you can make, but the downside of hitting a hard 20 is a lot worse than the cost of the hands below. But no one makes that play so hopefully you won’t either!

Some mistakes crop up repeatedly and to some players, the wrong plays seem so right that they can’t convince themselves to play the basic strategy way.

We are also not highlighting the most frequent mistakes. Players often stand on 16 vs. 10 when basic strategy says to hit. But that’s a low-cost mistake on a close-call hand. in fact, for those who reach beyond basic strategy, it is a better play to stand vs. 10 if your 16 is three or more cards and includes a 4 or a 5.

Let’s take a look at six common yet costly plays, with detours to related errors. They may not be the

What you will see in these highlighted hands are plays that are both common and costly -- plays that

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are especially hazardous to player bankrolls. Statistics given are for six-deck games in which the dealer hits soft 17 -- the most common conditions you will find in American casinos today. HARD 11 vs. 10 Basic strategy tells us to double down. Players who opt to hit instead worry the dealer might have a 10 face down, but 10-value cards make up only 30.8 percent of the deck. In standard American games where the dealer checks for blackjack before players make decisions, you already know the dealer doesn’t have an Ace down, so that’s not a concern.


In a six-deck game, if you hit 6-5 against a dealer 10, you will win 56 percent of the time and have an average profit of 11.8 cents per dollar wagered. It doesn’t matter if the dealer hits or stands on soft 17 as it doesn’t come into play if the dealer has 10 up. If you double down, you will lose some extra hands because you can’t draw a second time. If you draw a 2, you are stuck with 13 against a 10. Because of that, you win only 54 percent of the decisions. But your average profit rises to 17.8 cents per $1 of your original wager. Numbers change only slightly on other hard 11s. Average profits when hitting stay at 11.8 cents per $1 wagered on 7-4 and 8-3, then dip to 11.7 with 9-2. If you double down, profits per $1 of your original wager are 17.8 cents with 7-4, 17.7 with 8-3 and 17.4 with

9-2. In every case, you will win more than half of decisions, so you make more money when you double even though you lose a little more often.

Basic strategy is to hit soft 17 against 2 or 7 and up, and to double down against 3 through 6. SOFT 17 vs. 6 By now, much of the playing public has learned not to stand on soft 17 against any dealer up card. Basic strategy is to hit soft 17 against 2 or 7

and up, and to double down against 3 through 6. There are enough holdouts to be noticeable and a persistent corps of players sees 17 as a standing hand without distinguishing between hard and soft hands. The problem with this is that 17 is not a winning hand unless the dealer busts. The best it can do is push a dealer 17 and since you can’t bust soft 17 with a one-card hit, there’s very little downside and some big upsides to seeing more cards. If the dealer has a 6 up, there are big gaps in average outcomes of possible plays. Stand, and you’ll average a tiny loss of half a cent per $1 wagered. Hit, and you turn that into a 12.6-cent profit. Double down, and you raise that profit to 25.2 cents per $1 of your original wager. The worst possible play is to stand. The differences aren’t quite as large,

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but 17 vs. 7 is a bellwether hand, too. Stand, and the average outcome is a 10.4-cent loss per dollar. Hitting turns that into a 5.5-cent profit. Don’t double down. That puts you back on the losing side at nine-tenths of a cent. ACE-7 vs. 9 Players stand on soft 18 a LOT more often than on soft 17. It is better to double down if the dealer has anything from 2 through 6 up, but standing is the basic strategy play if the dealer shows 7 or 8. So this is not quite the same situation as soft 17, where the best time to stand is never. But instead of standing just vs. 7 or 8, a large share of players also stand against 9s, 10 values and Aces. Standing is common in those situations, and I’ve even had dealers chastise me for hitting Ace-7 vs. 10. The better play is to hit soft 17 if the dealer has a 9 or higher. In each case, the dealer has an edge and you reduce losses by hitting. Among those hands, it’s costliest to stand against 9. Your average loss if you stand is 18.3 cents per dollar wagered. If you hit, you trim the average loss to 9.8 cents and sometimes hitting will leave you worse than you started and wind up hitting more than once and busting, while you’ll never bust if you stand. But by hitting, you will improve enough to beat dealer 18s, 19s or 20s often enough to cut your losses. HARD 12 vs. 2 It is understandably difficult to take a hit when one card can bust your hand. But when you hit 12, you will bust only if you draw a 10 value, and they make up less than a third of the deck at 30.8 percent. Meanwhile the dealer will bust when showing a 2 only 35.3 percent of time. Waiting for a dealer bust is a losing proposition. You can’t turn 12 vs. 2 into a 12

| G A M I N G A N D D E S T I N AT I O N S . C O M

profitable hand, but you can cut your losses by hitting. If the dealer has 2 up, average losses with 10-2 are 28.9 cents when standing and 25.2 cents when hitting. With 9-3, it’s 28.6 standing and 25.6 hitting; with 8-4, 28.5 and 25.5; and with 7-5, 28.2 and 25.4. With 6-6, split instead. It’s a closer call, but basic strategy also calls on us to hit hard 12 vs. 3. Average losses with 10-2 are 24.9 cents when standing and 23.2 cents

In a six-deck game, if you hit 6-5 against a dealer 10, you will win 56 percent of the time. when hitting. With 9-3, it’s 24.8 standing and 23.7 hitting; with 8-4, 24.2 and 23.3; and with 7-5, 24.1 and 23.2. With 6-6, split instead. HARD 16 vs. 7 Even players who know they should hit 16 when the dealer shows 7 or higher sometimes pause at this one. They believe it’s a close call. Does the dealer bust often enough with 7 to make waiting it out by standing worthwhile? However, hard 16 vs. a dealer’s 7 is not a close call. Hitting is even more important with 16 vs. 7 than with 16 vs. 10 because dealers do bust when starting with 7 more often than starting with 10. In a sixdeck game in which the dealer hits soft 17, the dealer busts about 26 percent of the time when starting with 7 and 23 percent when starting

with 10. However, when you hit 16 and get a draw that doesn’t bust you, you’re more likely to have a total that beats the dealer when the dealer starts with 7 than with 10. The most frequent finishing total for a dealer who starts with 7 is 17 at 36.9% of all hands. Only 13.9% are 20 or 21. If the dealer starts with 10, the most frequent finish is 20 at 36.8%, and 20 and 21 account for 40.6% of all hands. Assume you start with 10-6. If the dealer has 7 and you hit, your average loss per dollar wagered is 40.9 cents. If you stand, the average loss is 47.6 cents. If the dealer has 10, your average losses are 53.5 cents if you hit and 54.1 cents if you stand. That makes 16 vs. 10 a far closer call than 16 vs. 7. 8-8 vs. 10 Say you’re dealt 8-8 against a 10 and you split. You draw a 10 on each so you sit with two 18s. The dealer turns up a 10 to give him 20, and takes your money twice. We’ve all been there, right? The double-loss nightmare sticks with us, but overall, we’re dealt good enough hands on our split 8s to cut losses. We lose less money by making the second bet than we would if we just played the 16. Average losses per $1 of the original wager are 53.7 cents if you stand, 53.5 cents if you hit and 47.6 cents if you split. No matter what, 8-8 vs. 10 is a bad situation, and the best you can make of it is to trim your losses. But we have to take what we can get, and the best play here is to split. We hope this article helped clarify some valuable plays and costly mistakes. Good luck with all of your playing decisions.


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BEAU RIVAGE INTRODUCES STAY WELL ROOMS Health and wellness features help guests maintain healthylifestyles on the road.

Beau Rivage, in partnership with wellness real estate and technology company Delos, recently debuted its Stay Well rooms and welcome lounge. Integrating Delos’ scientifically validated in-room features and programming designed to enhance physical, mental and social well-being, Stay Well rooms help minimize the impact travel has on the human body and optimize the guest experience. “Beau Rivage is proud to introduce the Stay Well concept, fulfilling the requests of numerous guests as well as the desires of the rapidly growing health and wellness travel market,” said MGM Southeast President & COO Travis Lunn. “MGM Resorts was the initial adopter of the Stay Well concept in Las Vegas, and now our guests in Coastal Mississippi can enjoy all we have to offer without sacrificing their commitment to healthy living.” Delos Founder and CEO Paul Scialla, said, “It is more important than ever to prioritize the health and well-being of people. We know our buildings are a critical tool in this strategy, and MGM Resorts has demonstrated remarkable 14

| G A M I N G A N D D E S T I N AT I O N S . C O M

leadership by working with Delos to provide evidence-based health and wellness features for its guests.” Located on the hotel’s 18th and 19th floors, each of the 147 Stay Well rooms are designed to create a holistic guest experience and feature: Air Purification: Removes pollen, mold spores, odors and other pollutants from the air Aromatherapy: Optional use of scent creates a relaxing, mood-enhancing environment Cleaning Protocol: Use of state-ofthe-art UVC wand cleaning tool, which help neutralize bacteria, viruses and other microbes Cleveland Clinic Wellness: Complimentary access to online Cleveland Clinic Wellness programs Dawn Simulation: Gently awakens guests with gradually increasing levels of light and sound

Deepak Chopra Welcome and Guided Meditation: Deepak Chopra, a world-renowned integrative medicine and wellness pioneer, provides narrated meditation and a welcome message, lending wisdom and insight to the Stay Well experience Night Lighting: Subtle lighting provides illumination for safe nighttime navigation while minimizing sleep disruption Stay Well Mattress: Natural memory foam derived from plant extracts provides support and optimal comfort Stay Well Shower Infuser: Reduces chlorine, helping skin and hair stay soft and smooth Water Purification: Filtration system provides higher quality water Stay Well rooms are available at prevailing rates plus $25/night upgrade and can be reserved at beaurivage.com or by calling 888.567.6667. The Stay Well experience can continue even after guests check out with retail amenities available for purchase in Essentials or by visiting staywellshop.com.


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PROPERTY SPOTLIGHT:

OAKLAWN RACING CASINO RESORT (HOT SPRINGS, ARK ANSAS)

Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort in Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas is the #1 attraction in the state and has been one of the top Thoroughbred racing tracks in the country since 1904. The property is now home to a Vegasstyle casino and resort, including a luxurious hotel, spa, and event center that has guests raving about ‘The New Oaklawn.’ “We have taken luxury to a whole new level in Arkansas,” Oaklawn President Louis Cella said. “It will enhance the entertainment experience at Oaklawn, in Hot Springs, and throughout Arkansas, which will further elevate our status as a leading tourism and recreation destination.” The Hotel at Oaklawn features eight stories with 198 rooms and suites. Each room offers luxurious amenities with great views of the surrounding Hot Springs area or trackside rooms that offer guests the option to watch the top-quality Thoroughbred racing from the comfort of their rooms. Having a hotel also allows Oaklawn to expand their offerings for luxury and pampering. The world-class Astral Spa has unique offerings such as a 16

| G A M I N G A N D D E S T I N AT I O N S . C O M

needle shower, representative of the iconic Bathhouse Row at Hot Springs National Park, an infrared sauna, and a Himalayan Salt wall, seen nowhere else in Arkansas.

horse racing alone continues to attract tourists to our state during the live season, which is December through May, the resort and expanded casino will draw visitors throughout the year.”

Outside, guests can enjoy a swimming pool with food and drink service poolside or ordered to their private cabana. There is also an outdoor event lawn area perfect for weddings or events.

Oaklawn offers more than 1,500 slot machines and over 30 table games, along with a luxurious High Limit area with more than 80 slot machines, highlimit blackjack tables, and a private outdoor patio. The casino also features a sports betting area.

“Throughout the facility, you will see great attention to detail,” Cella said. “You will also notice reflections of our local culture such as historic Oaklawn and Hot Springs memorabilia and locally sourced gemstones that will be used in spa treatments.” The expansion also includes a 15,000-square-foot event center that can seat over 1,400 people for concerts and up to 1,000 for banquets. The multipurpose venue also features several meeting rooms. “For more than a century, Oaklawn has been a major economic driver for Arkansas,” Cella stated. “While

If you are looking for a wide variety of food options and tasty cocktails, Oaklawn has you covered with several venues including The Bugler, a fine dining restaurant overlooking the legendary racetrack and infield, The First Turn Bar (also overlooking the track), and a Food Court featuring more casual options – Big Al’s Diner, Deli, and Percs. The Track Kitchen and Silks Bar & Grill are also guest favorites. For more information and reservations, visit Oaklawn.com or call 1-800-OAKLAWN.


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PLAYER STRATEGY

CRAPS: Female Crapshooters - Part One In post war America in the 1950s, men were the crapshooters. You rarely saw a woman at a craps table – at least one who was not accompanied by a man; probably she was not his wife or his beloved girlfriend. The same was true right up until the 1980s. Women just didn’t take to craps. They dominated the slot machine world. Indeed, their husbands and boyfriends would usher them off to the land of bells and whistles so that the men could play the man’s game. Most men learned to play craps in the military. It was a city game but the country boys took to it with delight. With the soaring attendance in Las Vegas, craps became the number one game until the mid-1960s when blackjack jumped ahead of it. It is now 2021. Has anything changed? Kind of; sort of; well, maybe; somewhat. Check out the craps tables in the casinos across the country and you can still see clearly that the game is heavily dominated by men; most of whom have never spent time in a war. Their game was probably learned inside the casinos’ walls. Yet, you will on occasion see females playing the game. They are the trailblazers. In the 1980s I wrote an article where I described how the men, mostly World War II and the Korean War vets, looked upon the precious few women who dared to come to the world of men. But in those days, the way some of these men talked was frowned upon by some of the newspapers and magazines to which I sent this article. Long story short; my article was rejected by all of them. I am now resurrecting some of the men’s “insights” so we can see how these fellas actually felt about women who dared stand at the tables with them. The reading public has become far more mature than it was so very long ago. Joey D. from Brooklyn [WWII army vet]: “I do not want a woman at the tables with me. I won’t allow my wife to come near the craps tables. Craps is meant for men. It requires knowledge of the bets and how they are paid off. I think it is too complicated by the woman sex. Your head has to be into the game. I don’t think their heads are capable of understanding the game. “They belong at the slot machines. That is their place when they are in the casino. Craps ain’t for them.”

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by

JFRANK SCOBLETE

Paulie M. from New Jersey [Korean War vet]: “I am not a man who hates women. I have three daughters and a beautiful wife. But I have told all of them that when they are in the casino to not play craps. Craps players look at the game as their domain – meaning a man’s domain. It is men only! “Do you see women at the craps tables? No, you don’t. They know they don’t belong there and we men know they don’t belong there. That’s the way it is and that is the way it will always be. Some things change in this world and some things don’t. Craps will stay the same at least for my lifetime. I am sure of that.” David P. from Long Island, New York [WWII vet]: “I like a good cigar. When there are only men at the table I can take out my stogie and light up. Remember when stogies were bad cigars? Yeah. Well, not anymore. “I have never had a man tell me to put out my cigar. Never. But twice I had ladies at the table with me and the nerve of them! They told me to put out the cigar. I gave them a look that said, ‘Go jump in the ocean.’ And then they told the box man who told me we couldn’t smoke cigars at the table. You have to be kidding me? “Craps is a man’s game and we men, most of us, like to smoke. Ladies, go away. You only cause problems at the game. You are slow to take the dice. You do the little girl routine so we feel sorry for you. All of this is a royal waste of everyone’s time. “Learn your lesson. Okay? Craps belongs to men.” Marty V. from Pennsylvania [Korean War vet]: “I played in the streets as a kid and I played in the army. I love the game. I’d bank the game in the army and that made me some cash. The casino game is fun too.

Frank Scoblete’s web site is www.frankscoblete.com. His books are available at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, Kindle, e-books and at bookstores.

“I AM NOW RESURRECTING SOME OF THE MEN’S “INSIGHTS” SO WE CAN SEE HOW THESE FELLAS ACTUALLY FELT ABOUT WOMEN WHO DARED STAND AT THE TABLES WITH THEM.”

“I go to Vegas three times a year and all I want to do is play the game I love. Women at the tables? Nah, you don’t see many of them. Maybe here and there and they don’t stay long. Craps is the only game in the casino that is all men all the time. “And that’s the way it should be.” There you have it. Voices from another generation. All the best in and out of the casinos!

FOR MORE FREE TIPS, VISIT GAMINGANDDESTINATIONS.COM


PLAYER STRATEGY by

LI N DA B OY D

VIDEO POKER: “Good Luck Everyone” Years ago, my sister Eileen and I took my mom to a Vegas casino where she purchased and quickly lost a $10 roll of quarters. That was her first, last and only venture into a gilded gambling hall, but not the last we heard of it. Every time she played her beloved bingo and the caller said “Good Luck Everyone” she responded with “How can everyone have good luck? My daughters took me to a Vegas casino and I lost my shirt!”

Linda Boyd, a long-time table game player before turning to video poker, writes for “Southern & Midwest Gaming and Destinations”, “Arizona Player” and you can see her videos on YouTube find her book, “The Video Poker Edge” on Amazon and other book outlets.

“IF YOU USE FIVE ROYAL CYCLES, THAT WOULD BE AROUND 200,000 HANDS.”

FOR MORE FREE TIPS, VISIT GAMINGANDDESTINATIONS.COM

Lady Luck: My friend Ralph, an avid craps player, liked to say, “Lady Luck comes to visit, never to stay.” So true. I can honestly say I’ve had dealt RF’s (odds of being dealt a royal flush are1 in 650,000) and have had several royals in a day (the odds of a RF in 9/6 Jacks or Better are 1 in 40,391) but prior to the deal the odds remain a constant. (Note that being dealt a RF is a constant, 1 in 650,000, while getting a RF as a final hand varies depending on the VP game along with the game’s correct strategy.) The bottom line is that there’s no way of knowing whether you’re “walking around lucky” so relying on intuition, hunches or ‘luck’ is a waste of time. Short Term: I use this to refer to a playing session and that varies between players. Some players erroneously use hunches and superstitions to deviate from computer-perfect play because they notice their short-term results are different from long term expectations. This is a potentially costly mistake and should be avoided. Long Run: A large number of hands that must be played in order for the actual results of a game to closely resemble the ER (expected return). Some use several royal cycles which is the approximate number of hands to get a RF, around 40,000. So, if you use five royal cycles, for example, that would be around 200,000 hands. The more royal cycles, assuming accurate play, the greater the probability that actual results will resemble statistical expectations. This means that, although you can play incorrectly and win, the odds are against you if you do so. House or Player Advantage: You may think that the casino always has the advantage and, mostly, they do. However, given that progressive games have a higher ER as the progressive meters grow along with the increased ER on multiple points days you can have either even odds or an advantage over the House.

Volatility: The likelihood that, while playing the game, the session results will vary from the expected return. In high volatility games, both video poker and traditional slots, there is an increased likelihood that short term results will vary from long-term expectations. In lower volatility games the shortterm results have a greater likelihood of resembling long-term expectations. Variance: A measure of the game’s volatility and assigns a number to the likelihood that short-term results will differ from long-term expectations. Game Expectations: Table 1.1 shows two games with similar theoretical expectations but session results may widely vary. Table 1.1: 9/6 JOB Versus 9/6 DDB Game Name

9/6 Jacks or Better (9/6 JOB)

Expected Return 99.5439% Variance

19.51468

Game Name

9/6 Double Double Bonus (DDB)

Expected Return 99.4061% Variance

51.93752

*Note that a 9/6 label here indicates the payout for a full house is nine times your wager and for a flush it’s six times your wager. All other hands with the same game name pay the same. Analyzing Table 1.1: Notice that the theoretical returns for both games are similar and, in fact, 9/6JOB has a slightly higher ER. However, there is a big difference in the variance of the two games, with 9/6 DDB having over double the variance of 9/6 JOB. This means the risk in 9/6 DDB is much higher and the short-term results are more likely to vary from long-term expectations. So, by choosing 9/6DDB you are relying more on Lady Luck in the short-term and realize that failure to get infrequent hands like 4 of-a-kinds and royals will adversely impact your return. Final Thoughts: My mom was absolutely right when, following the “Good Luck Everybody” statement, she shook her head in disbelief. If you choose a game with a high variance, say 9/6DDB be prepared for a high-speed roller coaster ride. Guess that’s why even bad versions of the game, like 8/5 DDB, are still popular on the gaming floor. G A M I N G A N D D E S T I N AT I O N S . C O M |

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FUTURE ODDS Check out the latest odds for major sporting events. For the latest up-to-the-minute odds, visit GamingandDestinations.com MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL WORLD SERIES OCTOBER 26, 2021

NFL – SUPER BOWL LVI - FEBRUARY 13, 2022 SOFI STADIUM – INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA

Team

July

May

Team

July

May

Los Angeles Dodgers

3/1

3/1

Kansas City Chiefs

5/1

6/1

Chicago White Sox

6/1

11/1

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

6/1

10/1

San Diego Padres

7/1

8/1

Buffalo Bills

12/1

12/1

New York Mets

9/1

10/1

Los Angeles Rams

13/1

12/1

New York Yankees

11/1

6/1

San Francisco 49ers

14/1

14/1

Tampa Bay Rays

15/1

25/1

Baltimore Ravens

14/1

12/1

Houston Astros

16/1

16/1

Green Bay Packers

16/1

9/1

Atlanta Braves

20/1

12/1

Cleveland Browns

16/1

25/1

Oakland Athletics

20/1

25/1

Indianapolis Colts

25/1

20/1

Boston Red Sox

20/1

30/1

Seattle Seahawks

25/1

22/1

San Francisco Giants

20/1

N/A

Denver Broncos

25/1

N/A

*All others are higher than 20/1 **Odds courtesy of VegasInsider.com

*All others are higher than 25/1 **Odds courtesy of VegasInsider.com

NASCAR CUP SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP - NOVEMBER 7, 2021 PHOENIX SPEEDWAY – PHOENIX, ARIZONA

NCAA COLLEGE FOOTBALL NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP JANUARY 10, 2022 – LUCAS OIL STADIUM INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA

Driver July May Kyle Larson

5/2

8/1

Kyle Busch

8/1

9/1

Chase Elliott

8/1

5/1

Denny Hamlin

8/1

7/1

Martin Truex Jr.

9/1

7/1

Joey Logano

9/1

7/1

Brad Keselowski

11/1

9/1

Kevin Harvick

13/1

9/1

Alex Bowman

13/1

30/1

William Byron

14/1

14/1

Ryan Blaneyl

16/1

9/1

Christopher Bell

25/1

16/1

*All others are higher than 25/1 **Odds courtesy of VegasInsider.com 20

| G A M I N G A N D D E S T I N AT I O N S . C O M

Team July Alabama 5/2 Clemson 7/2 Ohio State

5/1

Oklahoma 7/1 Georgia 8/1 Texas A&M

25/1

Wisconsin 35/1 LSU 35/1 Florida 40/1 Notre Dame

40/1

Miami-Florida 40/1 Penn State

40/1

Iowa State

40/1

*All others are higher than 40/1 **Odds courtesy of VegasInsider.com



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