2012 Best of Southern Gaming Readers’ Choice Awards!
INDIANA - TUNICA - MISSISSIPPI - LOUISIANA - ALABAMA - BILOXI - FLORIDA Page 16 Volume 14 | Issue 4 | JULY 2012 Subscribe at SouthernGaming.com TODAY! Only $29 per year!
Top 10 Gambling myths unveiled! Page 28 2012 Pigskin Preview: Power Picks of the NFL Page 40
The Aura of the King!
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INSIDE this ISSUE
Elvis Presley: 10 The Aura of a Legend Lives On
2012 Best of Awards: 16 Winners Revealed—
Indiana Awards, page 17 Tunica Awards, page 18 Mid-South Awards, page 20 Gulf Coast Awards, page 22 Florida Awards, page 24
E lv i s P r e s l e y:
The Aura of a Legend 10
Great Gambling Myths: 28 Don’t Take the Bait! Up in Smoke: 34 Top Summer Cigars Pigskin Preview: 40 2012 Power Projections
Tips & Industry Insights
14 Craps: 26 The Basics Video Poker: 38 The Risk Factor: Part 2 What’s it like ... 44 To Be the King of Sports Betting? Casino Knowledge: 46 Questions with John G. Horseracing: 54 The Quest for the Perfect System Poker: 58 Sensational Stuey Blackjack: Playing 16
2 0 12 Be s t o f S o uth e r n Ga m i n g :
Readers’ Choice Awards 16
G r e at G a m b l i n g M y t h s :
Don’t Take the Bait! 28
Hot Spots & Reviews RoundUp: 48 Restaurant BR Prime & Jia
Beau Rivage Casino Resort & Spa, Biloxi, Mississippi
Spotlight: 52 Executive Tom Dingman, General Manager
Indiana Grand Casino, Shelbyville, Indiana
Re s ta u r a n t Re v i e w :
BR Prime & Jia at Beau Rivage 48 Vol um e 14 I ssu e 4
...with G. Douglas
When you visit a casino, what are the determining factors that make it a pleasant or unpleasant experience? Is the outcome solely based on winning or losing money? Or do you take pleasure in the many other plush features properties from Indiana to the Gulf Coast love to brag about? Other than a few small caveats, I have always thought once you are inside a casino, they are all about the same. Whether you are on a riverboat casino in Indiana or on a barge casino in Tunica or on the Gulf Coast, the games are the games. No matter what casino you are in, you don’t want to go over twenty-one in blackjack and the house hold a mere 1.41% advantage on the Pass Line bet in craps. I like to bring this up because there are so many gamblers who rush into the casino, gamble and go home. They don’t take advantage of all the offerings like premium restaurants, bountiful buffets, swank spas, plush pools and some of the best golf courses on the planet! Why would you NOT take advantage of all these offerings? I like to look at the casinos as your own little country club; use them because you are paying the dues! To help exploit some of these great offerings, we began publishing the Best of Southern Gaming Awards in 2003 as a way to let everyone know who had the best of the best. Think about it. If you are going to splurge on a suite, you want to know if it is worth it before you drop a few hundred dollars to do so! And, if you are going to drop some serious coin on an elegant dinner, you want to be sure you are getting the biggest bang for your buck. Or, you might get all of these things comped, fine; you still want to know your play is rewarded on the properties’ best assets! So, we hope you enjoy this year’s awards on page 16. This issue also marks the start of a barrage of analysis, speculation, and hopes and dreams for football fans across the nation. We are talking about getting out of your seat and yelling for some good old hard-hitting, action-packed American football that millions of sports fans have come to love. We love to follow our favorite teams. We love to tailgate before the games. We love to sit around and have drafts for our fantasy football teams. What else would we do on Saturdays and Sundays? Yard work? We have put together some great articles to help make this the best football season yet with a Pigskin Preview on page 42 and an insider’s look at what it is like ... To Be the King of Sports Gambling with Wayne Allyn Root on page 46. We hope they will make it a profitable year for you! Good luck! It wouldn’t be right if I didn’t brag about The Comps Club by Southern Gaming! If you are not a member, you are missing out! We had a member call us after her trip to Biloxi saying how great it was to have the coupons. She went to EVERY casino featured in her Coupon Pak and saved almost $100! You can too! For just $29 per year, you will get six Member Coupon Paks loaded with coupons and special offers to casinos and racetracks throughout the South AND six issues of Southern Gaming and Destinations mailed straight to your door! You can’t beat it! Check out the ad on page 9 for more information. We can’t wait to add you to our member list! Plus...Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Casino & Restaurant now offers a $5 match play table game or slot offer so the club got that much better!
Publisher Bisig Impact Group Chief Executive Officer Larry Bisig President & Creative Director Chip Dumstorf General Manager G. Douglas Dreisbach Brand Marketing Manager/ Sales Executive Ashley Horner Accounting Peggy Harris Contributing Authors Linda Boyd Eric Floyd John Grochowski Phil Hellmuth, Jr. Wayne Allyn Root Rudi Schiffer Frank Scoblete Henry Tamburin Jeremy White Letters to the editor, address changes and other correspondence should be sent to: Southern Gaming and Destinations 640 South Fourth Street Louisville, KY 40202 (502) 583-0333 Fax (502) 583-6487 e-mail: email@example.com The goal of this publication is to help drive awareness of the ever-growing popularity of the gaming industry and to assist the gamer in enjoying their gaming experience to the fullest. Southern Gaming and Destinations is published for those who seek the best in gaming and in life. ON THE COVER: This year marks 35 years since the death of The King of Rock & Roll, Elvis Presley. The legend lives on with Elvis week, an annual week long celebration held in Memphis, Tennessee. Page 10 Southern Gaming and Destinations is produced bimonthly by Bisig Impact Group of Louisville, Kentucky. Copyright 2004 by Bisig Impact Group. All Rights Reserved. This publication is printed by Publisher’s Printing Co., Inc. of Shepherdsville, Kentucky. Postage is paid in Lebanon Junction, Kentucky.
I hope you have an AMAZING summer and remember, if you can’t be good ... be lucky!
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.
G. Douglas Dreisbach General Manager
POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Southern Gaming and Destinations, 640 South Fourth Street, Louisville, Kentucky 40202.
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Margaritaville Biloxi Open for Business! It’s always five o’clock in Margaritaville! The fun-living singersongwriter Jimmy Buffett was on hand in Biloxi, Mississippi, on May 22 for the grand opening of his latest venture, Margaritaville Casino Biloxi. Located on the eastern tip of Biloxi’s Back Bay, this dynamic casino complex features a Margaritaville Restaurant with a five o’clock bar, a buffet featuring Gulf Coast cuisine and a multi-purpose indoor entertainment center, which complements an expansive outdoor entertainment plaza and marina situated at the water’s edge. Visitors can enjoy a variety of local, regional and national music acts. From all points within the massive interior of Margaritaville Biloxi, one can see the 30-foot wall of glass and the arc of the beautiful Biloxi Bay Bridge, which spans Biloxi’s Back Bay.
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Denny Crum Poker Open Heats Up with $150,000 in Guarantees! Again this year, Hall of Fame coach Denny Crum will host his annual poker open at Horseshoe Casino in Southern Indiana from July 27 to August 4. There are a total of seven events with buy-ins ranging from $150 to $675 for the main event on August 4. In addition to the prize money, the top two finishers of each event will win a seat to the final event on August 4 and the winner of the main event will receive a 2013 World Series of Poker Main Event Seat. The event annually draws an array of poker players and benefits The Denny Crum Scholarship Foundation as 10% from each prize pool is donated. For more information call 1-866-676-SHOE or visit HorseshoeIndiana.com.
Bally Technologies Receives First Online Gaming License in the United States Leading slot manufacturer, Bally Technologies (NYSE: BYI), was approved in June by the Nevada Gaming Control Board to be the first United States-based interactive gaming supplier. Nevada is the first state to adopt a statute allowing interactive gaming and the first state to adopt regulations for online gaming of any kind. “We are grateful to the State of Nevada for this opportunity,” said Bally Technologies’ Chief Executive Officer Richard Haddrill. For more information, visit BallyTech.com.
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Vol um e 14 I ssu e 4
Facts and Fun
Did You Know?
1. When and where was Elvis Presley’s last concert? A. June 26, 1977 in Indianapolis, Indiana B. July 4, 1978 in Memphis, Tennessee C. December 12, 1976 in Las Vegas, Nevada D. February 14, 1977 in New York City 2. Where was Elvis Presley born? A. Memphis, Tennessee B. Jackson, Mississippi C. Tupelo, Mississippi D. Nashville, Tennessee
I went to the psychiatrist, and he says, “You’re crazy.” I tell him I want a second opinion. He says, “Okay, you’re ugly, too!”
3. What was Elvis Presley’s entourage called? A. Presley’s Posse B. Memphis Mafia C. The Cool Crew D. Vegas Vixens
– Rodney Dangerfield
G A M E C O U R TES Y O F S U D O K U TO D AY. C O M
So u thern G aming and De s t in a t io n s
Percentage of American adults who have gambled at least once in their lifetime.
Number of albums selling over two million copies each, more than any other artist.
Price Elvis Presley paid for his home Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1957.
Graceland is the second most visited home in the United States, second only to the White House.
2 "Did You Know" Answers: 1.) A–Indianapolis 2.) C–Tupelo 3.) B–Memphis Mafia 4.) D–A cabbage leaf 5.) A–5.26%
Fun with Numbers
5. What is the house advantage on a double zero roulette wheel? A. 5.26% B. 3.46% C. 0% D. 7.81%
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4. What did Babe Ruth put in his baseball hat to keep cool? A. Vaseline B. A cold, wet washcloth C. A bag of ice D. A cabbage leaf
The Sudoku Puzzle Up to the challenge?
Complete the grid so that each column, row and block of nine squares includes numbers 1 through 9 only once. Answers on page 58
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elvis presley The aura of a Legend By Rudi S chiffer
Elvis is not a Christ-like icon, but the fervor of his growing cult of fans emanates from his music that is, after all, fundamental to most religions. Hundreds of books, intellectual discussions, seminars, news stories and academic journals have piled on his enduring image and with myths fueling it all. His Memphis home, Graceland, has become a holy temple, a Mecca for which true followers have to visit. His popularity shows no sign of fading. The hordes of fans will descend on Memphis for Elvis Week, not for just one day, like many stars would be glad to have, but for a whole week of festivities. One of the most popular events is the candlelight vigil at his grave, which has all the overtones of religious worship. The week—Friday, August 10, to Saturday, August 18—is crammed with events, an impossible schedule for even the most fervent fans, but there is something for everybody with over 40 selections to choose from. George Klein, a member of the Memphis Mafia posse that gathered around Elvis like bees to honey, is still a popular personage in Memphis and will be hosting a reunion of the group and others who were close to the King on August 12 at 5 p.m. at Alfred’s on Beale Street. Klein has seen firsthand the birth of the Elvis legend and its amazing growth. In his book, Elvis: My Best Man, he writes with deep love about this long-time friendship that began when they met in the eighth grade at Humes High. GK, as Elvis dubbed him, still keeps the holy flame burning with a show on SiriusXM 19 Elvis Radio, a live show from Graceland and more. 10
Southern G aming an d De s t in a t io n s
Photos courtesy of Graceland/ Elvis . com .
Elvis Presley is still making a lot of noise even after abruptly leaving his adoring fans nearly 35 years ago. What makes his legacy continue to be so strong? Is it his handsome sensual face? Or the way he reached into our hearts and emotions? Or the silky smooth sound of his voice? All of the above seems to be the best answer, as his spirit and images have transcended the notion that he would fade away over time like any other superstar.
E lv i s P r e s l e y h a d 10 7 T o p 4 0 hits, more than any artist in history. “I still have a deep respect for Elvis and what he meant to music around the world,” Klein said. “Some may call it worship. Those new to Elvis just love the sounds of his voice and music, but I feel I have a responsibility to spread the sound where and whenever I can.” There are not many truly dedicated to preserving and enhancing the legacy of Elvis today, but Klein is a real believer. “Elvis is rocking through generation after generation, and who can say when it will fade. I don’t think the fan fervor will ever decline,” he said. “Elvis will always be a pop icon, and Elvis Week only confirms that and further strengthens the ties that bind us to him. He still has a hold on my emotions when I play his songs and there is no doubt the same occurs for my listeners.”
attract unsavory types so be secure at all times. Lock valuables in your car trunk. When you see a man dressed like Elvis, don’t call him an “impersonator.” They prefer the more respectable title of “tribute artist.” There are not a lot of good restaurants in the Graceland area, but downtown is only about 10 minutes away on I-40 West, as is legendary Beale Street, the Cannon Center and FedEx Forum. The candlelight vigil is a main component for the week and it’s a must do a least once. The line will be long at Graceland, so pack a snack and beverage.
E lv i s bo ugh t G r a ce l a n d for $100,000 in 1957. “Elvis was unique and his talent and attraction came naturally. He created magic that still lives on today,” Klein concluded. His popularity didn’t need a postage stamp to prove itself, but when the U.S. Postal Service issued an Elvis stamp in 1993 it became the most widely publicized stamp issued in the history of the Postal Service and is the top selling commemorative stamp of all time. Some 500 million were printed, three times the usual print run for the commemorative group. Yes, he was unique. How did it all begin? He was born in Tupelo, Mississippi, under dire circumstances. His twin brother, Jesse, was stillborn and one can only wonder, what if he had lived? His parents, Vernon and Gladys, moved to Memphis in 1948 and his early musical influences were the pop and country music of the time. Gospel also played a major role in Elvis’ development, as well as the black R&B he absorbed on historic Beale Street as a teenager. But legendary Sun Records, still a popular attraction, was where he really began his career. In 1955 his recording contract was sold to RCA Victor. One year later he was an international sensation. His sound and style were uniquely combined with his diverse musical influences and blurred the social and racial barriers of the time. He ushered in a whole new era of American music and popular culture that carries on today. His talent, good looks, sensuality, charisma and good humor endeared him to millions, as did the humility and human kindness he demonstrated throughout his life. Known worldwide as, Elvis, he is regarded as one of the most important figures of the twentieth century popular culture, when he died at his Memphis home, Graceland, on August 16, 1977, the enduring legacy was born.
Wow...really? Fast facts about The King • Elvis dyed his hair black–his natural hair color was brown. • At the age of 18, he paid $4 to make his first album as a present for his mom. • His favorite aftershave was Brut. • He was a black belt in karate. • He recorded over 600 songs but didn’t write any of them. • The last song he ever sang was Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain while sitting at his piano at Graceland on the night he died. • His last meal was four scoops of ice cream and six chocolate chip cookies. • Over 500,000 Elvis fans visit Graceland each year making it the second most visited house in the United States ... second only to the White House in Washington, D.C. • He sold 118 million albums ... second only to The Beatles.
Getting Around Town Thousands of Elvis worshippers descend on Memphis for Elvis Week, which is the bigger of two weeks, the first is in January that celebrates Elvis’ birth. Here are some suggestions to make your trip more enjoyable. You must plan ahead as many events are already sold out. Avoid driving if you can on Elvis Presley Boulevard, which will not only be traffic jammed, but is in strong need of resurfacing and remodeling. It is estimated up to 40,000 visitors can be expected and, as usual, large crowds also
E lv i s pe r f o r m ed o v e r 1,10 0 concerts throughout his career. Vol um e 14 I ssue 4
Elvis Week Schedule August 10‑18, Memphis, Tennessee The schedule of events is challenging, even for the most ardent fan, but the following list outlines the events and more information may be obtained at Elvis.com.
Friday, August 10
Elvis Week will take place August 10-18 in Memphis, Tennessee. For more information on all of the events, prices and tickets, visit Elvis.com or call 1-800-238-2000.
Elvis Night at the Memphis Redbirds at AutoZone Park in downtown Memphis. The first 5,000 fans to enter will receive a commemorative Elvis bobblehead. The Budweiser Clydesdales will be there with live bands, classic cars and more. After the game is a short walk to Beale Street to see the Hard Rock Last Chance Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest, Round 1. For tickets call 901-721-6000 or visit www.memphisredbirds.com.
Saturday, August 11 30th Annual Elvis Presley 5k Run Benefiting United Cerebral Palsy of the Mid-South (Call Kelley Luckett at 901-761-4277) Conversations with Elvis-Elvis & Gospel Elvis Songwriters Showcase at Main Stage EntertainmentPavilion Elvis Week Kick-Off Concert with Andy Childs & Band at the Main Stage
Sunday, August 12 Southern Gospel Celebration at Main Stage Pavilion Conversations on Elvis in the Movies on the Main Stage George Klein’s Elvis Mafia Reunion (At Alfred’s at 197 Beale Street, 1-901-525-3711) Hard Rock Last Chance Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest, Round 2 www.hardrock.com Celebrate the King, Main Stage with special concert Elvis Movie at the Main Stage
Monday, August 13 Elvis Insider’s Conference at Main Stage Graceland Trivia Tour – A visit of Graceland and Automobile Museum Hard Rock Last Chance Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest, Round 3 www.hardrock.com Elvis Week Dance Party at Main Stage
Tuesday, August 14 Fan Club Presidents’ Event at Main Stage Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest Showcase at Main Stage – semifinalists The Memphis Boys Salute legendary house band at American Sound Studio Memphis with a special concert Elvis Movie, Main Stage
Wednesday, August 15 Conversations On Elvis Behind the Camera, Main Stage Elvis Presley’s Aloha From Hawaii Info Session, 40th Anniversary Main Stage Elvis and Friends Concert, Main Stage Candlelight Vigil at Elvis grave site, free admission 8:30 p.m., Gates of Graceland 12
Southern G aming an d De s t in a t io n s
Thursday, August 16 Ultimate Tribute Contest Meet and Greet contestants at Hard Rock Café, Beale Street EP Party Jam Featuring Jamie Aaron Kelley, with Brad Birkendahl, John McClure, Main Stage Pavilion George Klein’s Elvis Memorial Service, U of Memphis Main Theatre On Stage with Terry Mike Jeffrey and Andy Childs, Main Stage Elvis 35th Anniversary Pre-Concert VIP Tickets only, private welcome with Priscilla and Lisa Marie Presley at FedEx Forum Tupelore: “Tupelove” and “Favorite Son” at Memphis Brooks Museum of Art (1934 Poplar Ave.) Call 901-544-6226 Elvis 35th Anniversary Concert 8 p.m. at FedEx Forum starring the real Elvis via video and live music (Ticketmaster.com)
Friday, August 17 Ultimate Elvis Tribute Contest Semifinal Round one at Cannon Center for the Performing Arts, 255 North Main. (Ticketmaster.com) Conversations on Elvis (Main Stage) Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest Semifinal Round Two Cannon Center (Ticketmaster.com) Elvis Luau Dance Party (Main Stage)
Saturday, August 18 Morning Gospel Singin’ With First Assembly of God (Main Stage) Conversations on Elvis in the Studio (Main Stage) Ultimate Elvis Tribute Contest Final Round, Cannon Center (Ticketmaster.com) Elvis Week Farewell Dance Party Featuring Mike Jeffrey and Jamie Aaron Kelley (Main Stage Pavilion) Rudi Schiffer is a contributing writer for Southern Gaming and Destinations and owner/host of the Goodtimes Gambling Network radio show on 1180 AM Memphis. He formerly published Cigars & More, is a past president of the Memphis Puffers Society and co-owns Dos Amigos Cigar Catering in Memphis. He can be reached at goodtimesradio@Comcast.net.
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1ST PLACE Best Theme Best Customer Service 2ND PLACE B est Overall Property Best Casino Employees Best Advertising 3RD PLACE Best Casino Floor Best Buffet Best Amenitites B est Players' Club
Must be 21 or older to gamble. Gambling problem? Call 1-800-552-4700. ©2012, Legends Gaming of Mississippi, LLC. ©2012. Louisiana Riverboat Gaming Partnership, LLC.
COMPULSIVE OR PROBLEM GAMBLING? CALL 1-877-770-STOP (7867)
One of the most frustrating hands in blackjack is a 16 against a dealer’s 10 upcard. How you play this hand depends upon the composition of the cards that make up your 16 and the playing rules. Here are some examples of different hands that total 16, and how you should play them against a dealer’s 10 upcard.
Henry Tamburin is a blackjack and video poker expert. For a free copy of his Casino Gambling Catalog containing books, strategy cards, DVDs, and software for blackjack, video poker, and other casino games, call toll free 1-888-353-3234 (or view the catalog online at www.smartgaming.com). For a free three-month subscription to his monthly Blackjack Insider newsletter, go to www.bjinsider.com/free trial. Tamburin’s websites are www. smartgaming.com and www.bjinsider.com. He is available as a guest speaker at conventions. Contact him at HTamburin@aol.com.
Blackjack: Playing 16
10♣ and 6♥ How you play this hand depends on the rules. If the casino allows you to surrender your hand, you should surrender the 10-6 against a dealer’s 10 over hitting or standing. (The surrender rule means you can forfeit playing your hand and automatically lose half your wager.) You lose 50% of your wager when you surrender; however, you would lose greater than 50%, on average, if you were to hit or stand, which is why surrender is the better play. If the casino rules do not allow surrender, then you should always hit a two-card 16, like 10-6. For skeptics that don’t believe surrender is better than hitting (which in turn is better than standing), look at the data in the following table. It shows the expectation (percentage) of surrendering, standing and hitting a 10-6 against a 10 in a 6-deck game where the dealer stands on soft 17. Action
For example, if you wagered $25 and were dealt a 10-6 against a dealer 10, your expectation is to lose exactly $12.50 if you surrendered (i.e., 50% of your initial wager). If you stood instead, you can expect to lose $13.53 on average ($25 times -54.1%). The amount you will lose on average when you hit is $13.38 ($25 times -53.5%). Therefore, the math says that you will lose money in the long run no matter how you play the hand but you’ll lose less if you surrender (followed by hitting). 4♣ and 8♦ with 4♠ This hard 16 hand consists of three cards (4-8-4). When you hold a multi-card 16, the best strategy is to stand. The reason standing is slightly better than hitting, is because you’ve removed two small cards from the decks (the two 4s in your hand), making it more likely you would break if you hit. The percentages are close between standing and hitting, but the slight edge is in favor of standing. (You can’t surrender this hand because you can only surrender your initial two-card hand. Once you draw a third card, the surrender option is no longer available.)
8♦ and 8♠ This 16 consists of a pair of 8s, which brings into play the option of splitting. Your choice is, therefore, to surrender, hit, stand, or split. First off, you should never surrender a pair of 8s so Henry Tamburin let’s rule out that option. Your best play is to split the 8s. I realize that many players do not like to split 8s against a strong dealer’s upcard like 10. However, the reality of this hand is this: starting with two hands of 8 is better than starting with one hand of 16. You will lose less money in the long run when you split the 8s than if you stood or hit with 16. Yes, sometimes you will split the 8s, draw 10s to each split 8 for two pat 18s, and lose to a dealer 20. (Been there, done that.) However, in the long run, you will lose less money by splitting vs. standing or hitting. A♦ and 5♠ This 16 is a soft 16, consisting of an ace counted as 11. You should never stand on a soft 16 because you can’t bust with a one-card draw. The correct way to play this hand against a dealer’s 10 is to hit. Is there ever any situation where you wouldn’t follow the above basic playing strategy for 16 against a 10? The answer is, yes, when you play in a blackjack tournament. Let me give you two tips on how to play a hard 16 (like 10-6) against a dealer 10 in a blackjack tournament environment. (Remember, in a blackjack tournament, the table winner is the player that has the most chips after the last hand is played.) If you are the table leader, it’s important to avoid being “swung.” This means you lose your hand while the chaser wins his hand, and if he bet enough chips, he could overtake you in chip count. Expert tournament players will often stand on hard 16 against a dealer 10 to minimize a swing from occurring. A second scenario involves doubling down. We are talking about tournament blackjack and there are situations, especially on the last hand, where doubling a hard 16 may be the only way for you to overtake a leader. If you are behind a leader by more than a max bet on the last hand, one way to overtake the leader is to make a max bet and then double down with enough chips so that if you both win the last hand, you will end up with more chips than the leader. (For more information on these tournament strategies, I recommend that you read Kenneth Smith’s books How to Win More Blackjack Tournaments, Vol. I and II. (To read sample chapters, go to www.bjinsider.com.)
For more free blackjack tips, visit southerngaming.com/blackjack
2012 Best of Southern Gaming Awards
< 2012 Best Gaming Market—the Gulf Coast
The 2012 Best of Southern Gaming Readers’ Choice Awards are in! Once again, the gamblers of the South have spoken to proclaim their favorite casinos and racetracks throughout the region. Thank you to all who took the time to vote and congrats to the properties that took home their prestigious awards! On the following pages, you will find the awards for each region from Indiana to the Gulf Coast. We hope you will check them out for yourselves and let us know if you agree with the results! We are also excited to announce the winning voter for the VIP Trip to New Orleans is 16
Southern G aming an d De s t in a t io n s
E. Harrison from Jackson, Tennessee. She is excited to experience the French Quarter in style for her first visit to the city. She will stay at the worldclass Harrah’s Casino Hotel, dine at Besh Steakhouse at the casino, as well as the famous Café Giovanni on Decatur Street in the French Quarter. Southern Gaming and Destinations covers several gaming markets from Indiana to Florida. We certainly have our hands full with all of the new properties, renovations and other industry-related news. One of the categories for the awards is for our readers to vote for their
favorite gaming market. This year, the clear winner was the Gulf Coast, boasting numerous casinos with premier restaurants and amenities. The authentic food, shops and, of course, the beach make this an annual trip for millions of visitors to experience not only great gambling, but all that comes with a premier destination. Congrats to the entire community of Biloxi, Gulfport, Bay St. Louis and other surrounding areas who all pulled together after dire situations with hurricanes and other circumstances beyond their control. So, without further delay, here are your winners!
Indiana There are so many ways to restart your engine in Indiana. Check it out for a day, a weekend or longer. Bringing the family? You’ll love the museums, zoos, state parks and sports. Planning a girlfriend getaway? Check out the unique shopping venues, from popular outlet malls with designer clothing to local artisan and antique shops. Ready for a romantic getaway? See what’s playing at a theater, meander along an Indiana wine trail, hit the links or try your luck at one of Indiana’s great casinos. You can find one here!
Best Overall Casino 1. Horseshoe Southern Indiana Highlights: Cookies at the front desk, super friendly guard and a huge casino. Boasting 503 luxurious rooms and suites, Indiana’s legendary Horseshoe Hotel and Casino was voted by our readers as Indiana’s best overall casino. Indiana Horseshoe is accented with a fitness center, Aroma Café & Bar, and an indoor pool. Outside, the fitness trail features 18 workout stations and a scenic woodland view for exercise and nature enthusiasts alike. Insider Tip: Be sure to check out Jack Binion’s Steak House. It’s a great place for foodies and good for groups. It’s the perfect late-night find, romantic and with a notable wine list. The service is excellent; the steaks, lobster tails and oysters are outstanding. 2. Belterra Casino Resort 3. Indiana Grand Casino
Best Racetrack/ Racino Facility 1. Indiana Grand Casino 2. Hoosier Park Racing & Casino
Best of Awards
Best Rooms 1. Belterra Casino Resort 2. Rising Star Casino Resort 3. Hollywood Casino Lawrenceburg
Best Suites 1. Belterra Casino Resort 2. Rising Star Casino Resort 3. Horseshoe Southern Indiana
Best Casino Floor 1. Indiana Grand Casino 2. Horseshoe Southern Indiana 3. Casino Aztar
Best Poker Room 1. Horseshoe Southern Indiana 2. Hollywood Casino Lawrenceburg 3. Casino Aztar
Best Restaurant 1. Jack Binion’s Steak House, Horseshoe Southern Indiana 2. Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse, Belterra Casino Resort 3. Wellington’s, Rising Star Casino
Best Buffet 1. Paula Dean’s Buffet, Horseshoe Southern Indiana 2. Market Buffet, Indiana Grand Casino 3. Epic Buffet, Hollywood Casino Lawrenceburg
Best Golf Course
Best Entertainment Venue
1. Belterra Casino Resort 2. Rising Star Casino Resort 3. Horseshoe Southern Indiana
1. Belterra Casino Resort 2. Horseshoe Southern Indiana 3. Rising Star Casino Resort
1. Belterra Casino Resort 2. Hollywood Casino Lawrenceburg 3. Rising Star Casino Resort
1. Hollywood Casino Lawrenceburg 2. Casino Aztar 3. Horseshoe Southern Indiana
Best Customer Service
1. Horseshoe Southern Indiana 2. Belterra Casino Resort 3. Hoosier Park Racing & Casino
1. Rising Star Casino Resort 2. Hoosier Park Racing & Casino 3. Indiana Grand Casino
To see a full list of Awards, visit SouthernGaming.com today! Vol um e 14 I ssue 4
You can experience all the heritage and wonder of the Mississippi Delta by visiting Tunica’s premier attractions. The Mississippi Blues Trail draws blues lovers from all over the country, with five markers located in and nearby Tunica. The museums provide hands-on fun for naturalists, historians and explorers of all ages, while an authentic riverboat offers relaxing cruises on the Mississippi. And the Tunica Arena & Exposition Center has emerged as one of the leading spots for agricultural and equestrian events. The excitement is non-stop in Tunica’s world-class casino hotels, with the best gaming, sensational dining and the hottest live entertainment from Atlantic City to Las Vegas. Check it out!
To see a full list of Awards, visit SouthernGaming.com today! 18
Southern G aming an d De s t in a t io n s
Best of Awards
Best Overall Casino
1. Gold Strike Casino Resort Highlights: It takes a little more than just making the beds to win “Best Overall Casino” three years in a row. Gold Strike Tunica’s newly renovated rooms and suites are adorned with a dazzling array of luxurious furnishings including flat screen TVs, marble bathrooms and other plush amenities so you can unwind in the height of stylish comfort. It’s still the most elegant hotel in Tunica and the second tallest in Mississippi (33 floors) with great views of the Mississippi River. Insider Tip: Excellent room rates Sunday through Thursday. 2. Harrah’s Tunica 3. Sam’s Town Hotel & Gambling Hall
1. The Buffet, Gold Strike Casino Resort 2. P aula Dean’s Buffet, Harrah’s Tunica 3. The Great Buffet, Sam’s Town Hotel & Gambling Hall
Best Entertainment Venue
1. Horseshoe Tunica 2. Hollywood Casino Tunica 2. Gold Strike Casino Resort
Best Suites 1. Horseshoe Tunica 2. Harrah’s Tunica 3. Hollywood Casino Tunica
Best Casino Floor 1. Hollywood Casino Tunica 2. Harrah’s Tunica 3. Gold Strike Casino Resort
Best Poker Room 1. Horseshoe Tunica 2. Gold Strike Casino Resort 3. Hollywood Casino Tunica
Best Restaurant 1. Fairbanks Steakhouse, Hollywood Casino Tunica 2. Chicago Steakhouse, Gold Strike Casino Resort 3. Don B’s Steakhouse, Fitzgeralds Casino & Hotel Tunica
Best Golf Course 1. Harrah’s Tunica 2. Tunica National Golf and Tennis
Best Amenities 1. Harrah’s Tunica 2. Gold Strike Casino Resort 3. Horseshoe Tunica
Best Entertainment 1. Sam’s Town Hotel & Gambling Hall 2. Horseshoe Tunica 3. Harrah’s Tunica
1. Horseshoe Tunica 2. S am’s Town Hotel & Gambling Hall 3. Harrah’s Tunica
Best Nightlife 1. Gold Strike Casino Resort 2. Fitzgeralds Casino & Hotel Tunica 3. Hollywood Casino Tunica
Best Theme 1. Hollywood Casino Tunica 2. Fitzgeralds Casino & Hotel Tunica 3. Tunica Roadhouse Casino and Hotel
Best Customer Service 1. Gold Strike Casino Resort 2. Hollywood Casino Tunica 3. Sam’s Town Hotel & Gambling Hall
Best Advertising 1. Hollywood Casino Tunica 2. Fitzgeralds Casino & Hotel Tunica 3. Harrah’s Tunica
Immerse yourself in the history, savor the food that has made the south famous and explore the rich music heritage. No matter where your passions lie, you’ll find a way to indulge them in the South. There are so many things to do in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. There’s no denying the good times roll yearround. Here are some of our readers’ favorite places to indulge your fancy as you strike out to explore the South. If you’re thinking about traveling to the South, now is the perfect time to hit the road!
To see a full list of Awards, visit SouthernGaming.com today! 20
Southern G aming an d De s t in a t io n s
Best of Awards
Best Overall Casino
1. Pearl River Resort Highlights: Look no further than Pearl River Resort at Choctaw Mississippi for the ultimate Mississippi casino, hotel and spa resort experience. Pearl River Resort offers everything you need for the perfect getaway! Of all the casinos in the Mid-South, this was our readers’ favorite. Mississippi has a fine hotel featuring Southern hospitality, privacy, luxury, fine dining and exceptional service. There’s a waterpark for the family, a small airport and live entertainment. The best Mexican upscale restaurant is El Portrillo at Silver Star and don’t miss eating at Miko’s with fine dining at its best. The South has a winner! Insider Tip: The Golden Moon is the nicest of the three hotels on this property. 2. Diamond Jacks Casino & Resort 3. Wind Creek Casino & Hotel
1. Fire Steakhouse, Wind Creek Casino & Hotel 2. Phillip M’s, Pearl River Resort 3. Ember Grille and Wine Bar, L’Auberge Casino Resort
Best Racetrack/ Racino Facility
1. Delta Downs Racetrack and Casino 2. Harrah’s Louisiana Downs
Best Golf Course 1. Pearl River Resort 2. L’Auberge Casino Resort
Best Amenities 1. Pearl River Resort 2. Wind Creek Casino & Hotel 3. Diamond Jacks Casino & Resort
Best Entertainment 1. Pearl River Resort 2. Paragon Casino Resort 3. L’Auberge Casino Resort
Best Entertainment Venue 1. Pearl River Resort – The Arena 2. L’Auberge Casino Resort 3. Paragon Casino Resort 1. Diamond Jacks Casino & Resort 2. L’Auberge Casino Resort 3. Paragon Casino Resort
Best Casino Employees
1. Wind Creek Casino & Hotel 2. Paragon Casino Resort 3. Pearl River Resort
1. Paragon Casino Resort 2. Diamond Jacks Casino & Resort 3. Delta Downs Racetrack and Casino
Best Customer Service
1. Wind Creek Casino & Hotel 2. Pearl River Resort 3. Horseshoe Bossier City
1. Diamond Jacks Casino & Resort 2. D elta Downs Racetrack and Casino 3. L’Auberge Casino Resort
Best Casino Floor 1. Pearl River Resort 2. Wind Creek Casino & Hotel 3. Diamond Jacks Casino & Resort
Best of Awards
Best Overall Casino 1. Beau Rivage Resort & Casino Highlights: Getaways should be more than a trip; they should be a state of mind. The Beau Rivage consistently makes our “Best of” list year after year. You need to visit this property and you will understand why. Give yourself the opportunity to immerse in the ultimate relaxation, entertainment and recreational experiences that will transform your visit into a lasting memory. The Beau Rivage rivals some of the Las Vegas hotels. Between the spa, the upscale shopping, the fantastic restaurants and exciting nightlife, even if you’re not a gambler you’ll enjoy “The Beau.” Insider Tip: Get a room on an upper floor with a great view of the beach and Gulf. If you get a room facing southwest, you can see the sunset! 2. Island View Casino Resort 3. Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Visit the Mississippi Gulf Coast, overlooking the sparkling Gulf of Mexico and 62 miles of scenic shoreline, including the world’s longest (26 miles) man-made beach, started by nature and improved by man. Look for the beach vendors where you can jet ski, aqua cycle or even rent a catamaran. Visitors can enjoy the world-class golf courses, artistic and historical museums. After a day of fun, visitors can begin an exciting evening with dinner at a local seafood restaurant before heading off to enjoy 24-hour gaming at one of the coast’s casino resorts. Our readers have done all the hard work for you. The best of the best are listed here!
To see a full list of Awards, visit SouthernGaming.com today! 22
Southern G aming an d De s t in a t io n s
Best New Casino/ Casino Renovation 1. Silver Slipper Casino
Best Rooms 1. Hard Rock Hotel & Casino 2. Beau Rivage Resort & Casino 3. Island View Casino Resort
Best Suites 1. Hard Rock Hotel & Casino 2. Beau Rivage Resort & Casino 3. Island View Casino Resort
Best Casino Floor 1. Hard Rock Hotel & Casino 2. Beau Rivage Resort & Casino 3. Silver Slipper Casino
Best Poker Room 1. Beau Rivage Resort & Casino 2. Hollywood Casino 3. IP Casino Resort Spa
Best Restaurant 1. Jia, Beau Rivage Resort & Casino 2. Thirty-Two, IP Casino Resort Spa 3. Carter Green Steakhouse, Island View Casino Resort
Best Buffet 1. Island View Buffet, Island View Casino Resort 2. J ubilee Buffet, Silver Slipper Casino 3. The Buffet, Beau Rivage Resort & Casino
Best Golf Course 1. Beau Rivage Resort & Casino 2. Hollywood Casino 3. The Grand Bear Golf Course
Best Amenities 1. Beau Rivage Resort & Casino 2. IP Casino Resort Spa 3. Island View Casino Resort
Best Entertainment 1. Hard Rock Hotel & Casino 2. Beau Rivage Resort & Casino 3. IP Casino Resort Spa
Best Entertainment Venue 1. IP Casino Resort Spa 2. Hard Rock Hotel & Casino 3. Beau Rivage Resort & Casino
Best Nightlife 1. Beau Rivage Resort & Casino 2. Hard Rock Hotel & Casino 3. IP Casino Resort Spa
Best Theme 1. Hard Rock Hotel & Casino 2. Hollywood Casino 3. Isle of Capri Casino
Best Casino Employees 1. IP Casino Resort Spa 2. Silver Slipper Casino 3. Island View Casino Resort
Best Customer Service 1. IP Casino Resort Spa 2. Silver Slipper Casino 3. Island View Casino Resort
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.
Voted Best Entertainment, Best Nightlife and Best Theme
7 7 7 B E AC H B LV D. , B I L OX I , M S 39 5 3 0 | 2 2 8 - 3 74 - R O C K | H A R D R O C K B I L OX I . CO M
Best of Awards
Best New Casino/ Casino Renovation 1. Seminole Casino Coconut Creek
Best Racetrack/ Racino Facility 1. Gulfstream Park 2. Calder Race Course 3. Tampa Bay Downs
Best Rooms Play along the boardwalk, beaches and other natural areas in Hollywood. Explore golf, shopping and museums along with the Florida Aquarium, Lowry Park Zoo or Busch Gardens Theme Park in Tampa. Or check out South Beach, trendy nightlife, the Art Deco District Calle Ocho and Little Havana in Miami. Whatever your fancy, there’s always plenty to do in Florida, including the great properties we have listed here for the ultimate in casino gaming entertainment!
Best Overall Casino 1. Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino (Hollywood) Highlights: Very well-run casino. Great nightlife, great atmosphere, great food and great gaming at a great location with easy in and out from Tampa airport. One hour to some of the greatest beaches in the world. One hour to Disney. I’ve never had anything less than an excellent experience here. The entire staff is always willing to accommodate our requests. The rooms are clean and the bed and linens are sheer luxury! Insider Tip: Make sure you get the salad with the cranberries and blue cheese at the HR Café, phenomenal! 2. S eminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino (Tampa) 3. Miccosukee Resort and Gaming To see a full list of Awards, visit SouthernGaming.com today! 24
Southern G aming an d De s t in a t io n s
1. Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino (Hollywood) 2. Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino (Tampa) 3. Miccosukee Resort and Gaming
Best Suites 1. Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino (Hollywood) 2. Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino (Tampa) 3. Miccosukee Resort and Gaming
Best Casino Floor 1. Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino (Hollywood) 2. Gulfstream Park 3. Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino (Tampa)
Best Poker Room 1. Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino (Hollywood) 2. Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino (Tampa) 3. Calder Race Course
Best Restaurant 1. Council Oak, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino (Tampa) 2. Council Oak, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino (Hollywood) 3. Empeeke – Cheke, Miccosukee Resort and Gaming
Best Amenities 1. Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino (Hollywood) 2. Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino (Tampa) 3. Miccosukee Resort and Gaming
Best Entertainment 1. Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino (Tampa) 2. S eminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino (Hollywood) 3. Calder Race Course
Best Entertainment Venue 1. Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino (Tampa) 2. S eminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino (Hollywood) 3. Calder Race Course
Best Nightlife 1. Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino (Hollywood) 2. S eminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino (Tampa) 3. Gulfstream Park
Best Theme 1. Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino (Hollywood) 2. S eminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino (Tampa) 3. Mardi Gras Casino
Best Casino Employees 1. Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino (Hollywood) 2. Miccosukee Resort Gaming 3. Seminole Casino Coconut Creek
Best Customer Service 1. Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino (Tampa) 2. S eminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino (Hollywood) 3. Miccosukee Resort Gaming
And The AwArd Goes To... Southern Gaming & Destinations Magazine readers have awarded us First Place for having the best employees, best casino floor, best restaurant (Fairbanks), best theme and best advertising. Plus, weâ€™ve added all-new high limit slot & table rooms, all-new poker room and more of the hottest penny slots. Just a few of the blockbuster reasons to play at Hollywood Casino.
1-800-871-0711 H hollywoodcasinotunica.com ÂŠ2012 Hollywood Casino Tunica. Must be 21 years or older. Gambling problem? Call 1-888-777-9696.
Craps is the most exciting game in the casino. Sadly, the majority of craps players give the casinos huge edges by their awful betting choices. That doesn’t have to be, because at its purest, craps is a very simple game with a very small house edge on its better bets.
Craps: The Basics
The Dice A die has six sides, with 36 possible combinations of two dice: 6 x 6 = 36 combinations. Each side (or face) of a die will have pips: 1 pip, 2 pips, 3 pips, 4 pips, 5 pips and 6 pips. The lowest number that can be rolled is a 2 (1 pip + 1 pip); the highest number is a 12 (6 pips + 6 pips). If you look at a set of casino dice, you will find that the front and backsides of each add up to 7.
The Personnel Craps tables usually have three dealers and a box person. One dealer, the stickman, stands on the players’ side of the table. He has a long stick and moves the dice to the shooter or brings the dice to the middle of the table between rolls; he also announces the payoffs of the winning bets in the center of the table. Two dealers stand on the opposite side of the table from the stickman; one on the left side of the table; one on the right side. The dealers pay off winning bets and take the losing bets. At the center of the table across from the stickman is the box person who supervises the game.
Frank Scoblete’s newest books are Slots Conquest: How to Beat the Slot Machines! featuring advantage-play slots; Casino Craps: Shoot to Win!, which comes with a DVD showing unedited controlled throws; Cutting Edge Craps: Advanced Strategies for Serious Players! and Beat Blackjack Now! All are available from Amazon.com or at your favorite bookstore, or by mail order by calling 1-800-944-0406. Please call to request a free brochure.
The Table There are different types of craps tables with some minor changes in their layouts and sometimes in the payoffs of their bets.
The left and right sides of the layout offer the same bets. You have the Pass Line (a good bet), which goes in front of all players; above that bet is the Don’t Pass (a good bet). Note the word bar the 12; that means the 12 is a push or tie if it appears for those players betting the Don’t Pass. These players are betting against the shooter, even if they are the shooter! Above the Don’t Pass line is the Field (a bad bet), which combines the numbers 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11 and 12. Above that is the Come bet, which is a good bet. At the top are the Point Numbers, also called Box Numbers—4, 5, 6, 8, 9 and 10. In the upper corners of the layout are the Don’t Come boxes.
The Pass Line is also called rightside. “Don’t” players or wrongside player s are bet ting against the shooter. The shooter now rolls the dice to the back wall composed of foam rubber pyramids. These Frank Scoblete pyramids are used to make the game random, which it is except for Golden Touch’s controlled shooters. This roll is called the Come-Out roll. If the shooter rolls a 7 or 11, the Pass Line bet wins; if he rolls a 2, 3 or 12, the Pass Line bet loses. He has eight ways to win his ComeOut roll; he has four ways to lose. So on this Come-Out roll the rightside players have a two-to-one edge over the casino. This edge reverses itself when the Come-Out is over and the Point Cycle begins. On the Come-Out roll, the Don’t players will lose on the 7 and 11 giving them eight ways to lose; but will win on the 2 and 3, giving them three ways to win; while pushing (tying) on the 12. There are 24 point or box number combinations that can be rolled—the 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, and 10—and if one of these numbers is rolled it becomes the shooter’s Point. The dealer then puts a puck on that number; white side facing up with the “on” word showing. When the Come-Out roll is taking place, the puck will be over on the side of the table on its black/off side. The shooter has to roll the Point number before he rolls a 7 in order to win. If the 7 appears before the Point, all players who bet the Pass Line lose. The dice are passed to the next shooter. When that 7 appears ending a roll, it is called sevening-out.
At the center of the table sit the very worst ploppy bets known as Crazy Crapper or Proposition Bets. Ignore them.
Craps Crash Course 1. The Come-Out roll: the 7-11 wins for the Pass Line player 2. The 2-3-12 loses for the Pass Line player 3. The Don’t player loses on 7-11 4. The Don’t player wins on 2 and 3 but pushes on 12 5. The Point is established, which is one of these numbers: 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10 6. The Point must be hit again before the 7 to win for the Pass Line bettor and lose for the Don’t Pass bettor 7. If the 7 comes up before the Point, the Pass Line loses, and the Don’t Pass wins, and the dice are passed to the next shooter
How Craps Is Played The game begins with the stickman pushing several dice to the player, who chooses two. The remaining dice will be put into a bowl on the stickman’s side of the table. The shooter must have a bet on the Pass Line or Don’t Pass line.
The house edge on the Pass Line is 1.41 percent. That means for every $10 on the Pass Line, the expectation is a loss of 14 cents. The house wins 251 decisions; the player wins 244 decisions on the Pass Line. The Don’t Pass has a slightly lower house edge of 1.36. Now you know the game of craps!
For more free slots tips, visit southerngaming.com/craps
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great gambling myths Don’t Take the Bait! By John Grochowski
Have you heard the one about the hot craps table where you just couldn’t lose? Or the cold table where you just couldn’t win? What about the one about the roulette dealer who could make the ball land wherever he wanted? Casino lore can be a hit or myth proposition—as in should the blackjack player seated at third base take one for the team, or is that just a myth? Sometimes the things people believe about casinos and casino games myth by a mile.
Let’s tackle a list of 10 casino myths and do a little busting.
Blackjack Myth: Playing Third Base
The third baseman is a team player, and shouldn’t take the dealer’s bust card. Wouldn’t it be nice if we knew whether or not the next card in the deck would make the dealer’s hand go bust? When you’re sitting at third base—the last position at the table to play before the dealer—and you are pondering whether to hit your 12 against a dealer’s deuce, or whether to double down on your
Ace-7 vs. a dealer’s 6, wouldn’t you like to be sure if you’re taking the dealer’s bust card? The problem is, we don’t know what the dealer has face down, and we don’t know what the next card is. The proper basic strategy plays are to hit 12 against 2, and to double down on your soft 18 against a 6. But third basemen sometimes get hassled over such plays by those who seem to think there’s something mystical about the order of the cards. That happened recently to Al, an acquaintance of mine who was baffled by the reaction when he doubled on Ace-7 against a 6. Al recalled, “I’d just doubled down, and a guy at the other end of the table said, ‘You’re not a team player.’ And the woman next to him said, ‘If you’re going to make plays like that, we don’t want to play with you.’ And they picked up their chips and left.” They wanted him to make a bad play, to take one for the team, because they thought he was taking the dealer’s bust card. That’s silly on several levels. When the dealer has a 6 up, there’s no guarantee he or she has a high enough card face down that it can be busted with a one-card draw. And even if the dealer does have a high card face down, there’s no guarantee the next card will be the bust card. A player who takes a hit at third base—or, in Al’s case, doubles down—could just as easily be taking a low card that would make the dealer’s hand. He’ll save the table with that play as often as he hurts it. It’s not often that a fellow player takes notice of a play that saves the table, but it happens. Once, I was at third base and was dealt a hard 12 while the dealer had a 2 face up. Basic strategy players will hit every time that situation occurs, but some players think the third baseman has a duty to the entire table to settle for the 12 and let the dealer take the chance on going bust. But every player’s first duty is to his or her own hand and bankroll, and what was right for my hand was to hit. I drew a 9, making my
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21. Not only that, but the dealer had a 10 face down, and then drew another 10 to bust. The entire table won. The gentleman next to me yelled, “Great stop! What a third baseman!” Then he looked at me and said, “You saved the table with that hit.” He’d noticed that if I’d not taken the hit, the dealer would have drawn the 9, and made a 21 to beat the whole table. Ultimately, the third baseman must make the best play for his own hand. Unless the rest of the table is subsidizing his play, satisfying other players is not his responsibility.
Craps Myth: Hot or Cold?
A hot table is likely to stay hot, a cold table is likely to stay cold. Craps players are always looking for hot tables, and avoiding cold ones. But unless you’re dealing with controlled rollers, a la Frank Scoblete and his Golden Touch Craps team, I’ve never really seen a reason why a hot table should stay hot, or a cold table stay cold. We are dealing with dice, after all, that don’t know what the previous results have been. The way game analysts put it is, “All streaks are historical.” There are hot streaks and cold streaks in every game. But the most we can say about a hot table is that it has been hot, and the most we can say about a cold table is that it has been cold. The streaks can’t tell us what is coming next.
Several years ago, I put it to the test. For nearly a year, every time I was in a casino in the Midwest, South and in Nevada, I stopped by a craps table, waited until I saw two consecutive passes, then tracked the result of the next decision—not as good a sample as a million-hand computer run, but a lot more time-consuming. The result: Pass bettors won 489 wagers and lost 511 on the next sequence after two consecutive wins. That’s close enough to the mathematical expectation of 493 wins and 507 losses that we can say the percentages held up in this trial. I also watched 1,000 trials that started with two don’t passes, then charted the next decision. The dice passed 496 times in those 1,000 trials—just three more passes than the expected average. There were only 28 rolls of 12 on this test, so don’t players won 476 bets and lost 496, slightly below their expectation of 479 wins per 972 trials. Now, a thousand trials each way isn’t enough to satisfy a statistician, but if hot tables stay hot and cold tables stay cold, well, you can’t prove it by me.
Roulette Myth: Ball Placement? Don’t Bet on It!
Video Poker Myth: Same Card Draw
An experienced dealer can make the ball land where he pleases. If a dealer has enough experience and practice, do you think he or she can hit numbers at will? An awful lot of people do. Dealers I know scoff at the notion. With the wheel spinning one way, the ball going in the opposite direction, bouncing on the surface and from fret to fret separating the numbers, there are far too many physical variables for a dealer to control where the ball will land. Dealers not only can’t control where the ball is going, their employers don’t want them to. As long as the results are random, the casino makes its money. With a random wheel, the house has a 5.26 percent house edge on a double-zero game that is unchanging. However, if a dealer could control what numbers were coming up, there’s a chance someone would be in on the secret and take a lot of money from the casino. That’s the last thing the owners want. Random games mean big profits for the operators. Taking the randomness out increases operator risk.
On a one-card draw, you are likely to draw a card of the same denomination. Dave is a friend of mine who is a good, well-read, well-practiced video poker player. After a short, frustrating session in which he lost all the money he cared to risk for one day, he phoned me to rant. “Every time I had a one-card draw, the card I drew was the same value as the card I discarded,” he complained. I suggested there might be a little selective memory at work, and after he let off a little steam, he agreed. Maybe it wasn’t EVERY time. On the average, one of every 15.67 one-card draws in video poker will bring a card of the same value. If it happened EVERY time, it would be a plus when we have four cards to a flush—if we discard a 4, for example, one of the remaining three 4s will complete our flush. That 1 in 3 chance is far better than the 1 in 5.2 chance we really have on a one-card flush draw. On the negative side, if we were guaranteed a same-value card on every one-card draw, we’d never fill out a four-card straight or turn two pair into a full house. Same-card, one-card draws actually would be to your advantage when you have four cards to a flush. Say you have four hearts plus Vol um e 14 I ssue 4
an 8 of clubs. If you’re guaranteed that tossing the 8 of clubs will bring you an 8 of either spades, diamonds or hearts, you have a 1 in 3 chance of making the flush. That’s far better than the 1 in 5.2 chance you really have of making a flush with a one-card draw. But really, the notion of same-card draws is a matter of selective memory. In the short term, if we get two or three same-card draws close together, we start thinking the machine is doing it all the time. But when you keep careful track of results, the effect disappears. That’s what I do. In one session, when it seemed like I was getting a lot of same-card, one-card draws, I started counting results. When the next six one-card draws brought different value cards, I stopped counting. I really knew the answer before I started. Coincidences sometimes seem like patterns, but machines aren’t really programmed to give you the same card when you draw one.
Baccarat Myth: What’s the Count?
Just as in blackjack, counting cards can help you win. Baccarat is a card game decided by the totals of two or more cards, as is blackjack. So maybe, just maybe, counting the cards can give the player an edge, just as blackjack card counters can get a mathematical edge on the house. Right?
Well, yes, but not in any practical way. Favorable situations are really rare. The late Peter Griffin wrote in The Theory of Blackjack that a baccarat player who doesn’t bet unless he has an advantage could squeeze an edge of about 0.7 percent of his maximum bets on banker and player. However, that player might play only about three hands per eight hours. That’s watching, not playing. For bets on ties, it’s theoretically possible to count down to a 24 percent edge with six cards remaining, provided all the cards are dealt out. In the real world, nobody deals out all the cards, and with one-half deck cut out of play, the bettor’s potential edge on the last hand shrinks to just .08 percent. With just a small reservation, we can say the myth of the baccarat card counter is JUST a myth.
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Slot Machine Myth: The Numbers Don’t Lie!
You’re more likely to hit a jackpot in a busy casino. I once read a book in which the author advised slot players to play at peak times in busy casinos because that’s when the most jackpots are hit. And it’s true. More jackpots are hit at peak times in busy casinos than when the casinos aren’t so busy. Why? Because slot machines are played more often at peak times. How does that affect my chances of winning? Not at all. Let’s say I’m in a casino with 1,000 slot machines, each programmed to pay off the top jackpot about once per 20,000 pulls. It’s Saturday night, so every machine is busy, all with steady players spinning the reels at about 500 pulls per hour. In two hours the reels spin a collective one million times, and, if the machines hit right on the average, 50 jackpots are paid. One in every 20 players has a big payday. If I’m not one of them, I’ve at least seen a few jackpots paid. Now let’s say I return early Wednesday morning. Only 100 slot players are in the casino, playing the same 500 pulls per hour as those on the busier night. In two hours, the reels spin only 100,000 times, only 10 percent as much as on the busy night. If the machines hit right on the average, only five jackpots are paid. Fifty jackpots on the busy night. Five on the slow day. But with only 100 players in the casino, those five jackpots mean one in every 20 players has a big payday—the same as on the busy night. My chances of being one of those to hit the jackpot are the same on the calm day as on the busy night. I don’t really care how many jackpots are being hit around me. I care about what’s on my own machine. And the presence of a crowd doesn’t change that one way or the other.
Poker Myth: Change of Scenery
Changing seats can change your luck. There’s nothing any more magical about the order in which the cards come out in poker than there is in blackjack or any other card game. If you’re changing seats because you’ve been getting bad cards and you think moving will bring you better hands, well, good luck to you.
Now, there are perfectly legitimate reasons to change seats. If you’re playing at home and a seat opens that is closer to the refrigerator, by all means, grab it. If you’re next to a smoker and see clearer air across the table, go for it. There are legitimate poker reasons, too. If you see a player at the table whom you think you can take advantage of from a different betting position, that’s a move-worthy reason. If you’re on the other end of the stick, and a player betting before you has you on edge, change seats. But if you think another seat will bring better cards, well there’s as much chance your old seat will get better cards as that your new one will. Past deals have no effect on those in the future.
Another Blackjack Myth: Rain Man Rhapsody?
It’s impossible to count cards in a six-deck game; you’d have to be Rain Man. When I was hosting a radio talk show a few years ago, I had a caller tell me he thought it was impossible to count cards. That showed mostly that he misunderstood what card counters do. Counting cards does not mean memorizing every card in the deck that’s played. It’s keeping track of the balance of high cards vs. low cards remaining to be played. In a balanced count such as the common Hi-Lo, if you see a 10 and a 6 come out, you’ve seen a high card and a low card. They cancel each other out, you add nothing to your count, and you move on. You don’t have to remember the specific cards that have been played. Using a plus-and-minus system, it’s not difficult to count cards, no matter how many decks are in play. Applying the count to your bet size, estimating the number of decks remaining to be played, making the changes to basic strategy dictated by the count, keeping your bets appropriate to the size of your bankroll, coping with the distractions in a casino environment—that can be difficult. Few would-be counters can keep all that under control. But just counting the cards—is that impossible? No.
Money Management Myth: Let’s be Logical
Money management systems can overcome the house’s mathematical edge. A reader once sent me a system that he swore would beat craps. It involved managing his money by increasing and decreasing his bets according to previous results. Nothing as drastic as a double-your-bet Martingale, but still calling for larger bets in losing streaks. He provided a chart that showed a profit over a million trials on the computer. He said his minimum bet was $1, and he tried to keep his maximum to $10,000. Where he planned to find a real casino that would let you spread bets from $1 to $10,000, I don’t know. What he tried to downplay was that he exceeded his $10,000 “limit” four times, and outside those four trials, his system lost money.
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Leaving aside the table minimums and maximums, money management systems fail to beat the casino because the house edge is the same on every roll of the dice, every spin of the roulette wheel. That you’re betting more money on this roll than the last makes no difference to the dice or the wheel. They have no memory and don’t know whether you’ve won or lost. Money management systems can be useful ways to discipline yourself to stay within your bankroll. But to change the edge that is as solid as math can be? That’s just a myth.
A Myth for Any Game
The longer you’ve gone without something happening, the more likely it is to happen. This is one roulette players love. If black numbers have come up six times in a row, then the next one has to be red, doesn’t it? If it’s been 100 spins since the last time the ball landed in 00, isn’t it time to start betting on 00? No. In almost all cases, such results are just coincidences. Of the 38 numbers on a double-zero wheel, 18 are red, 18 are black, and two are green. The chances of the ball landing on a red number are 18 in 38—on every spin of the wheel. The chances of 00 or any other single number turning up are 1 in 38—on every spin of the wheel there is an outside chance that there is something wrong with the wheel, that it’s out of balance or the frets aren’t right, and that’s the reason certain numbers haven’t hit in a while. Such situations are rare, but if there’s a physical reason a number isn’t turning up, then it won’t start hitting now just because it seems to be due. No matter whether you’re playing roulette, craps, slots, video poker, the Big Six wheel or nearly any other game, past results make no difference. And that’s no myth. John Grochowski has been writing about casinos and casino games since 1994. He blogs regularly for the Tunica Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, downtheroad.tunicatravel.com. He is the author of six books on gaming, including “The Slot Machine Answer Book” and “The Video Poker Answer Book.” You can find him online at casinoanswerman. com, and on Facebook and Twitter.
up in smoke Top Summer Cigars By Rudi S chiffer
Cigars are like art; the beauty is in the eye of the smoker. When I proudly tell people that I am 75 years old, they always retort, but you look so much younger. How do you do it? I set them laughing when I respond that my secret is to smoke good cigars slowly, drink fine cognac or Scotch with it, sit at third base on a blackjack table enjoying both, and don’t work out! I may be whistling past the graveyard with this approach to what I have left of my life, but so far I have no symptoms of cancer or emphysema or other toxic invaders. I smoke a stick each morning
cigar with e it r o v a f r Pair you or brandy. n o b r u o b a good 34
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at the round table at my local tobacconist, Tobacco Corner in Memphis, with doctors and lawyers, some truck drivers, and everybody seems to be doing just fine. Maybe because it is the stress relieving cigar smoking that gets us up each morning. Lots of times the free-wheeling discussion at the round table turns to how Uncle Sam and the Big Brother FDA Cigar Cops want to steal our vice. Heck, Viagra is not worth a damn anymore, golf is a hard walk in the heat, so leave me with my favorite vice— cigar smoking. We all like to light a fine, imported, hand-rolled
Cigars are classified by Vitola, a combinati on of shap e and size .
stick for different reasons. Over 45 years of tasting the leaf, I have had a lot of reasons to smoke and every time I light up I say thanks to the hardworking growers and manufacturers who labor to send primo smokes to the United States from Dominica, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and other fields around the world. The native who rolls the stick with a practiced skill—the Torcedor—takes pride in his craft as he marries different leaves into a symphony of delight. So we smoke cigars for the moment, whatever occasion gives us an excuse to light up. My best friends are devotees of the cigar. So, how do you choose a cigar? If you ever read the so-called bible of the industry, Cigar Aficionado, you can get monthly ratings that are very snobby and aimed at the elite who can afford their overpriced cigars. I read it so I can laugh at the descriptions: a leathery taste, with every spice Penzy has to offer, a hint of and overtones of (you name it, they have it). I once saw a stick taste that was “loamy.” I printed a cigar magazine, CIGARS & More, as the boom was sliding down the other side of the mountain and liked to poke fun at the experts. Does it look right? Does it feel right? Does it smoke and finish right? And, of course, what’s the cost. Yes, that bugaboo, price. So I did a poll of my dedicated smoking friends who wrestle with these same issues. And from these experienced, in the trenches, long-time cigar smokers we compiled a list of the Top Ten smokes that are affordable and highly enjoyable. Like I said, taste is in the mouth of the smoker, so this is only a guide to assist you in future. Smoke ’em if you got ’em. You will enjoy them, whatever the reason to smoke them.
Our Top Ten Summer Smokes! CAO LA TRAVIATA FAVORITO (Nicaragua–$6.50) Shape: Torpedo 5.5 x 52 ring, Filler: Nicaraguan/ Dominican Binder: Cameroon, Wrapper: Ecuador Habano Rudi’s Rant: Torpedo shaped cigars have always been my favorites, maybe because I can cut the ring size to my preference. Years ago when I visited CAO in Nashville, I was given this beauty to smoke and it has remained a solid choice over the years even though ownership of the company has changed. I like oily-sheen cigars and the aromatic smoke that it fires. It is well constructed with a good draw and smooth burn down to the last ash. FUENTE FLOR FINA MADURO 8-5-8 (Dominican Republic–$5) Shape: 6 x 47 ring, Filler: Dominica Binder: Dominica, Wrapper: Cameroon Rudi’s Rant: When I first weaned myself from cheap White Owls and Hava-A-Tampa, my first leap into the world of imported, hand-rolled cigars was with A. Fuente 8-5-8 Maduro. One reason
r their flavo f o t s o m ves. Cigars get rapper lea w e th m o r f I bought it was because it was cheap and smoked great. For four generations the Fuente family has built a tradition of only selecting the best vintage tobaccos for a select group of handcrafters. The sticks are then hidden away in a Spanish cedar vault until they are at the peak of their perfection. This baby was born sweet, is mild and flavor balanced. I still smoke them and their medium strength suits my taste just fine. OLIVA SERIE V LIGA (Nicaragua $7.50) Shape: Double Robusto, 5 x 54 ring, Filler: Nicaragua Binder: Nicaragua, Wrapper: Nicaragua Rudi’s Rant: I can’t believe this little beauty does not cost more because you sure get more for your money with this smoke from Tabacalera Oliva S.A. It was a big hit when it was introduced and has remained popular. The double robusto puro is a down-toearth smoke and oily, which I love. It’s smooth, draws well and has a long finish. I’ve heard some cigar lovers say it has coffee bean flavors. Whatever, it is sure worth the price. 5 VEGAS CLASSIC CHURCHILL (Nicaragua $4) Shape: Double Corona, Filler: Cuban seed, Nicaragua, Cuban seed, Dominica Binder: Nicaragua, Wrapper: Sumatra Rudi’s Rant: A friend of mine was bragging about this great cigar he was smoking and how cheap it was. Since low cost and high quality are not usually found in many product descriptions, I had to find out and purchased several different 5 Vegas but honed in on the Classic Churchill. As I checked out the credentials of 5 Vegas, I found out that Cigar Aficionado had it rated as Vol um e 14 I ssue 4
ke GHURKA VINTAGE CHURCHILL (Dominican $5) Shape: Churchill 7 x 48, Filler: Dominican/Honduran Binder: Dominican, Wrapper: Connecticut Rudi’s Rant: A great looking cigar from the start, which makes for a nice mental beginning since you have seven inches of tobacco to smoke. I find it somewhat mild with a bit of sweetness and the flavor seems to become more pronounced about halfway through. I don’t burn up the seven inches, but would if I could. This is one great smoke at a great price.
Oliva is on e of the m ost popular cig ars in the world. the top non-Cuban cigar in a blind test. It turned out to be an exceptional smoke, smooth with a consistent taste. Maybe all the Cuban seed leaves had something to do with that. But what is really astounding is that the double corona I smoked cost only four bucks! LA AURORA SUBLIMES (Dominican $6) Shape: Long Panatela, Filler: Dominican Binder: Dominican, Wrapper: Cameroon Rudi’s Rant: If you like a mild smoke and are tired of Macanudos, try the La Aurora Sublimes for a nice change. In the morning I like a milder smoke to set my day up and get the juices flowing and the Sublimes don’t overwhelm me early in the day. It is a blend of premium leaves wrapped in choice African Cameroon and comes in tubes. It is a thin and mild stick, but a little on the lower end of the medium taste. It burns easily but doesn’t over puff, enjoy it slowly as you sip your Latte. PERDOMO LOT 23 MADURO (Nicaragua $4.75) Shape: Robust 5 x 54 ring, Filler: Nicaragua Binder: Nicaragua, Wrapper: Nicaragua Maduro Rudi’s Rant: Several years ago a cigar rep brought some of these fine, medium to full-bodied smokes to my cigar club in Memphis and I got hooked on them. A well-made cigar with an easy draw it does reveal an array of changing flavors when smoked. The rep said the flavors were peppery, with some sweetness and nutty undertones. I’ll take his word, but to me it was a great rich and flavorful smoke.
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CARLOS TORANO SILVER ROBUSTO 1959 (Honduran $6.75) Shape: Robusto 4 7/8 x 52, Filler: Costa Rica/Honduras/ Mexico Binder: Costa Rica, Wrapper: Nicaraguan Criollo Rudi’s Rant: I like a cigar after dinner on my shady deck with a tumbler full of 12-year-old McCallan scotch. Torano’s Silver fits in this picture nicely. A rich but very smooth cigar, they are box pressed in a spicy Criollo wrapper and are very aromatic. It is a medium to somewhat full-bodied cigar, but not so strong as to overpower my McCallan and it remains consistent throughout. G.A.R. ROBUSTO GRANDE (Honduras $6.20) Shape: Robusto 5 ½ x 52, Filler: Nicaragua Binder: Ecuador Conn. Seed, Wrapper: Corojo Ecuador Rudi’s Rant: Made in Honduras and named after their maker, George A. Rico, you might have to search on the Internet to find some. It will be well worth it. Good construction, and smooth smoking, it has a toasty flavor that lasts to the finish. The stick has a real eclectic range of leaves that give it a unique flavor. It’s off the radar, but worth a try. FLOR de OLIVA GOLD TORO NATURAL (Nicaragua $4.40) Shape: Toro 6 x 50, Filler: Nicaragua Binder: Nicaragua, Wrapper: Connecticut Shade Rudi’s Rant: This is my budget cigar. My go-to stick when my wallet is light. But don’t be misled. The overall quality of these cigars gives an up-market taste at a fraction of the cost. It is mild to medium with good burn and draw. I know they fly off the shelves of my Memphis retailer, Tobacco Corner. This is truly a cigar where you really get a bang for your buck, which leaves a sweet taste in your mouth. Rudi Schiffer is a contributing writer for Southern Gaming and Destinations and owner/host of the Goodtimes Gambling Network radio show on 1180 AM Memphis. He formerly published Cigars & More, is a past president of the Memphis Puffers Society and co-owns Dos Amigos Cigar Catering in Memphis. He can be reached at goodtimesradio@Comcast.net.
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Part 1 of this two-part series (published in Southern Gaming’s May Issue) dealt with reasons to select either a high- or low-risk video poker game. In Part 2 we will focus on determining games with a high risk to your bankroll versus those with a lower risk.
Linda Boyd, a long-time table game player before turning to video poker, writes for Southern Gaming and Destinations as well as other industry media outlets. Her book, The Video Poker Edge, includes removable pay schedules and her strategy cards for the most popular games. Amazon, Square One Publishers and bookstores are sending the second edition with a 2010 publishing date. Kindle edition now available.
Video Poker: The Risk Factor, Part 2
Game Variance: T his number is a measure of the game’s volatility (likelihood that short-term results will differ from the ER, expected r e t ur n) , t h e hig h e r t h e variance the greater the risk to your bankroll. Using Tables: Table 1.1 indicates the variance of several video poker games. It is a good idea to bring this information with you when you go to a casino. It is available in my book, The Video Poker Edge, and elsewhere. Table 1.1: Game Variance Game Name
9/6 Jacks or Better (9/6 JOB)
9/6 Bonus Poker Deluxe (9/6BPDX)
8/5 Bonus Poker (8/5BP)
10/7 Double Bonus Poker (10/7DB)
9/6 Double Double Bonus (9/6 DDB)
Not-So-Ugly-Deuces Wild (NSUD)
Full Pay Loose Deuces (LDW)
Notice that 9/6 JOB has a low variance of 19.51 (99.54% ER) compared to 9/6DDB (98.98% ER) with a variance of 41.98. So if you wanted to play a less volatile game, you’d choose 9/6 JOB over 9/6 DDB. Notice that both choices are good versions of the game and have similar ERs. Be aware that if you don’t know the correct game strategy, it will have a negative impact on the ER and should be considered when choosing a game.
Often players wonder aloud why somebody would choose 9/6 JOB instead of 8/5 DDB since four Aces with a kicker returns 2000 coins on 8/ 5DDB (5-coin bet) compared to 125 coins (5-coin bet) on 9/6 JOB. Linda Boyd (Be aware that games with the same name pay the same for most hands. In non-deuces wild games the differences are usually with the full house and flush.) 8/5DDB, found in most casinos, has an ER of 96.7861% and a variance of 49.98498 compared to 9/6 JOB with an ER of 99.5439 % and a variance of 19.51468. So the reality is 9/6JOB has a significantly lower risk and pays a much better theoretical return than 8/5 DDB. The opposite of what most players think. How about Deuces Wild games? Look for games that pay more for frequent hands, but have fewer big jackpots if you want your bankroll to last. In Table 1.2 you will see a huge difference in the variance of LDW (70.31) and NSUD (25.78). Checking the pay table notice LDW shorts you on both the full house and flush hands but pays a big return on four deuces, an infrequent hand. If you fail to get four deuces receiving less for these two hands will cause you to quickly run through a lot of money. Also, most versions of LDW pay less for some hands on this table, reducing their ER. Table 1.2: Comparing Loose Deuces and Not-So-Ugly-Deuces Winning Hand
LDW, 5 Coin Return
NSUD, 5 Coin Return
What if you prefer Deuces Wild Games? Once more there is a big disparity in both the game’s strategy and the risk to your bankroll. Looking at Table 1.1 you can see LDW is far more volatile than NSUD. In most casinos you won’t find as good a version as the full-pay LDW, but the variance will be similar.
5 of a Kind
4 of a Kind
Estimating Without Tables: Most people don’t walk into a casino with pay table data even though it is allowed. Still, they may want to have an idea as to which game is best to meet their playing goals. High-risk games have big payouts for more winning combinations, but you are shorted coins for more frequent hands at the bottom of the pay schedule. If, for example, you choose DDB instead of JOB you will receive more for special four-of-akind (4OAK) hands, but less for two pair, a frequent hand.
3 of a Kind Ex. Return (ER) Variance
Final Thoughts: By understanding the variance figures you will be able to make a wiser choice and be realistic of expected outcomes. It is easy to make good estimates as to the game’s volatility just by studying the pay schedule on the device.
For more free video poker tips, visit southerngaming.com/video poker
2012 pigskin preview The King of Vegas Sports Gambling Weighs In By Wayne Allyn R oot
The NFL Draft is over and NFL Commissioner Goodall has done his job “hyping” each club on national television. On paper, every NFL team has a fresh start, several shiny new presents and a fighting chance. And you better believe that the Vegas odds makers were covering every aspect with their billion-dollar industry on the line. Not only does every draft pick affect the point spread, but also every perception of a new young star affects the upcoming point spreads for the new season. If the public thinks that RGIII (Robert Griffin III) will help make the Redskins a winner, then the point spread value will be inflated. Take a look at the effect of the Denver Broncos signing Peyton Manning, “America’s Quarterback.” Overnight the Broncos’ odds changed from 75-1 to 10-1. So the Vegas odds makers made a very special note and will work that public perception into their numbers this fall.
to allow for “future” wagering based on whether you want to bet over or under that projected win total. These win totals fluctuate like stocks and commodities on Wall Street. The numbers are constantly adjusting and changing. In each team overview, I have also listed last season’s record for each team, so we don’t forget who was the cream of the crop versus the bottom of the barrel. Good luck and profitable wagering!
Green Bay Packers 2012 NFL Season Win Totals 12, 2011 Record 15-1 GM Ted Thompson used a six-pack of defensive draft choices to fix the league’s lowest-rated defense. When your team sets a franchise record for points scored the same season your team gives up an NFL record for yardage allowed through the air, it’s pretty clear which side of the ball needs work. Thompson dipped his toe into free agency with the signing of defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove and center Jeff Saturday, and then spent nearly the entire draft working on their defense. Thompson’s unusual aggressiveness in trading up a couple times on day two speaks to how badly the Packers felt they needed help on defense.
This two-part series is a collection of notes that needs to be kept and updated by point spread players to avoid the traps of hype and public perception, both of which are usually wrong. Don’t believe me? Ask the buyers of Facebook’s IPO stock.
This article shows the first initial reaction to the free agent signings and drafts for each NFL team. Odds makers set their win totals based on this off season. And I analyze the same factors to beat the odds makers! In this series, you will find projected win totals for some of the top teams as well as some of those that the readers of Southern Gaming and Destinations might have interest in. Use this analysis 40
Southern G aming an d De s t in a t io n s
Photo courtesy of Getty Images.
Many of the over/under predicted win totals below (set by Vegas odds makers) take into account the division they play in and the strength of their schedule. For more details check into my website WinningEDGE.com, where I will be updating each team’s ratings after training camps, final rosters are set, and then looking in detail at the final starting 22 players of each team headed into September, along with crucial special teams ratings. By September 1, we will be ready for POINT SPREAD WINNERS!
T h e Packe r s a n d Gi a n t s will both battle for a top spot in the NFC.
New York Giants 2012 NFL Season Win Totals 9.5, 2011 Record 9-7 The defending champs needed a running back and got one, just probably not the one they wanted. The world champs, led by perennially underrated general manager Jerry Reese, have had a great off season. From trading for linebacker Keith Rivers to signing defensive tackle Shaun Rogers on the eve of the draft, the Giants have not made a big splash, but have rather done their usual stellar job of allowing less-than-key components of the roster to walk (think Mario Manningham and Brandon Jacobs) and filling those holes with young talent.
New England Patriots 2012 NFL Season Win Totals 12, 2011 record 13-3
Photo courtesy of the San F ranciso F orty Niners .
The Patriots drafted defense in the first six rounds. Smart move. The Patriots got more explosive on the outside with their free-agent acquisition of wide receiver Brandon Lloyd and spent the draft getting better on defense. Adding Chandler Jones and Dont’a Hightower, along with defensive end Jake Bequette, should help upgrade a Patriots defense that gave up way too many yards last year. As long as they have Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, they remain Super Bowl contenders.
The San Fr ancisco 4 9ers return 11 starters on defense under coach Jim Harbough.
San Francisco 49ers
a bit different this off season, as the team hired a new offensive coordinator in the volatile Todd Haley to replace “retired” Bruce Arians. The Steelers also bid adieu to a trio of veteran mainstays in Hines Ward, James Farrior and Aaron Smith. Throw in another excellent draft orchestrated by general manager Kevin Colbert, and the Steelers should be right in the thick of the playoff race this December.
Denver Broncos 2012 NFL Season Win Totals 9.5, 2011 Record 8-8 They drafted only one additional weapon for Peyton Manning, running back Ronnie Hillman. Will Brock Osweiler pan out as “the project quarterback”? This team has been saddled with some extremely big expectations by signing Manning, and while the league’s only four-time MVP could very well end up taking the Broncos to a Super Bowl, the Broncos will be tested right out of the gate, facing the Steelers on Sunday Night Football in front of the entire country. It will be interesting to watch how this team responds to the pressures that landing Manning has brought it.
Atlanta Falcons 2012 NFL Season Win Totals 9, 2011 Record 10-6 Draft class featured no first-round pick, a second-round guard, a third-round tackle and no drama. The Falcons went through some coaching upheaval on both sides of the ball this spring, hiring new offensive and defensive coordinators. On defense, Mike Nolan figures to be an upgrade over the departed Brian VanGorder. On offense, Mike Mularkey left to become head coach of the Jaguars, who turned around and sent Dirk Koetter to run the Falcons offense. Head coach Mike Smith has won a bunch of games during his time in Atlanta, but he has yet to win a playoff game. Can Smith get this team over the hump and deep into the playoffs? Or is he some kind of second coming of Dennis Green or Mike Sherman—coaches who could win plenty of regular season games, but whose teams folded when the spotlight was on them?
New Orleans Saints 2012 NFL Season Win Totals 10, 2011 Record 13-3
Randy Moss reported to camp and said the 49ers are ahead of schedule. This team has the “we have unfinished business” vibe to it. Returning all 11 starters to a defense that dominated nearly every week, head coach Jim Harbaugh has added some weapons to the offensive side of the ball in hopes of scoring a few more points a game. While Randy Moss, Brandon Jacobs and Mario Manningham grabbed headlines, the thinking here is that former Oregon running back LaMichael James, who the Niners grabbed in the second round of the draft, will turn out to be a key component of the 49ers’ offensive improvement.
The NFL’s delay in announcing bounty punishment for Saints players is punishment in itself. The best thing this team did this off season was hire defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, who will be a vast improvement over the departed Gregg Williams. While the Saints have been grabbing headlines for all the wrong reasons, from “Bounty Gate” and Mickey Loomis’ alleged wiretapping of opposing teams to the continued standoff in contract negotiations with their franchise quarterback. It can’t be denied that this is still an extremely talented offense. While Sean Payton’s suspension has the potential to hang like a dark cloud over this team all season, the Saints will still win their fair share if they can maintain composure in the face of distractions.
2012 NFL Season Win Totals 10, 2011 Record 12-4
2012 NFL Season Win Totals 8.5, 2011 Record 8-8
The Steelers might have extended QB Ben Roethlisberger’s career a few more years by upgrading their offensive line. Things were
The Cowboys made a huge move by jumping up to get LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne—the best defensive player in
2012 NFL Season Win Totals 10, 2011 Record 13-3
Vol um e 14 I ssue 4
the entire draft. But after that, they didn’t get much. If Morris Claiborne is as good as the Cowboys think he is, he will form an extremely tough cornerback duo with free-agent acquisition Brandon Carr. Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan’s group should be much more effective when sending pressure than they were last year. Head coach Jason Garrett needs to make the playoffs and probably win a game or two when he gets there, or you can bet Jerry Jones will be looking for his seventh head coach since parting ways with Johnson. And if Romo doesn’t win deep into the Playoffs, expect Jones to be searching for a new quarterback too. A team with Don Meredith, Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman in their “Ring of Honor” cannot accept anything less than championship football.
their team, landing receiver Vincent Jackson, guard Carl Nicks and cornerback Eric Wright. Throw in the drafting of Alabama safety Mark Barron and running back Doug Martin, and the Bucs at least upgraded talent to take the field in September. The big question for the Buccaneers, however, remains quarterback Josh Freeman. Freeman looked to be a bright young star on the rise his first two seasons, only to crash back down to earth in 2011.
Indianapolis Colts 2012 NFL Season Win Totals 5.5, 2011 Record 2-14 They surrounded Andrew Luck with weapons, but the Colts are really thin at cornerback, and the transition to a 3-4 will require a lot more talent on defense. Landing Andrew Luck is obviously a nice start for the Colts, and it’s clear that the team plans on building up its offense around its franchise quarterback. One of the bigger surprises of the off season was the return of wide receiver Reggie Wayne to the Colts.
Tennessee Titans Photo courtesy of G etty I mages .
2012 NFL Season Win Totals 7, 2011 Record 9-7
D o m ata P eko (9 4) w i l l be the anchor of the 2012 Bengals defense.
Cincinnati Bengals 2012 NFL Season Win Totals 7.5, 2011 Record 9-7 A good draft should keep the young Bengals competitive. Mike Brown’s two big hits in last year’s draft, quarterback Andy Dalton and receiver A.J. Green, seem destined to be a lethal duo for the next decade. Now, the Bengals have the look of an ascending team that should build on last year’s success and has a serious chance of challenging the Ravens for the division crown.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2012 NFL Season Win Totals 6, 2011 Record 4-12 The Bucs used four of their first five draft choices to address a defense that ranked last in yards allowed per play. New head coach Greg Schiano hasn’t wasted any time putting his stamp on his new team. Reports from the team’s first organized activity, prior to the draft, had Schiano yelling at his squad for how they began a certain drill, which drew more than a few raised eyebrows. This certainly isn’t the player-friendly atmosphere fostered by Raheem Morris. As all bad teams do, the Bucs had to go out and overpay in free agency just to raise the talent level of
They added a receiver and a tight end that can expand the passing offense, but they didn’t do much to address interior line questions, or the pass rush. This team needs to find out sooner rather than later if quarterback Jake Locker is the longterm answer. The other pressing issue for the Titans is getting a more productive season out of running back Chris Johnson. After an extremely disappointing season coming on the heels of signing a huge contract extension, Johnson will be scrutinized heavily all year and needs to provide the spark on offense that the Titans had come to expect during his first three years in the league. Getting past the Texans and winning the division could be a tall order.
Miami Dolphins 2012 NFL Season Win Totals 7.5, 2011 Record 6-10 The Dolphins are excited about QB Ryan Tannehill. But he won’t help the team this year. The Dolphins wasted little time putting their first choice in the 2012 draft to work, sending out a voice mail to season ticket holders from new quarterback Ryan Tannehill, exclaiming how excited he is to be the Dolphins’ new quarterback. New head coach Joe Philbin has talent to work with on the offensive side of the ball, especially at running back, with veteran holdover Reggie Bush, and fourth-round pick Lamar Miller. The question will be how long it takes to get Tannehill up to speed and if he is able to transition to the pro game. Part two of this series covers the rest of the teams in our 2012 Pigskin Preview and can be found at: www.southerngaming.com/2012PigskinPreview.
Wayne Allyn Root has been America’s leading sports handicapper and oddsmaker for 27 years. Over 3 million American sports bettors (and counting) have called for his advice— the most clients in the history of the industry. The media calls him “The King of Las Vegas Sports Gambling” and “America’s Oddsmaker.” He is the only sports handicapper in history to be honored with his own star on the Las Vegas Walk of Stars. CNBC has profiled his life. He is the best-selling author of seven books, including The King of Vegas’ Guide to Gambling. Wayne’s advice is available at www.WinningEDGE.com
Southern G aming an d De s t in a t io n s
JW: Why did you get so interested in
Interview by Jeremy White
handicapping football? Did you play?
Jeremy White: What is one of the most important things you do that helps you to pick winners?
What’s It Like ... To Be The King of Vegas Sports Betting?
Wayne Allyn Root: The number one foundation for what I do is make calls to find out where the money is going and what people are thinking. I like to hear where the smart money is going and I like to pick with them. I also spend time finding out the public perception. I have 20 people on my list that I call. These are average gamblers who are not good. I pay them to call me with their picks, and with them I like to go the other way!
WAR: In baseball I’ve picked 12 of my last 14 in my top picks. I was 6-0 last week. But there’s just no money in it this time of year.
JW: What metrics do you consider when thinking about a football team?
people to take those calls now than it was 25 years ago?
WAR: It’s really how you
WAR: I’ve always found it
start and how you finish that matters.
pretty easy. I’ve always paid money for people to give me their pool info. I started that from the beginning. Of course it’s much more scientific than it was 25 years ago. But all you need to get started is an office pool with 20 people in it.
JW: How often does the public get it right?
JW: You talk about exercise being vital to your success. Why? WAR: I work out three
Way n e A l ly n R oo t: The King of Sports Betting
really big games, when it’s lopsided, the public is almost never right. When the public is 90 percent on one side, it’s uncanny how often they are wrong. I’d say on all games overall the public loses 55-57 percent of the time.
JW: What should aspiring Wayne Allyn Root is a professional sports handicapper based in Las Vegas, Nevada. His website, WinningEdge.com, claims that Root has served more than 3 million bettors over a 26-year period. So, what’s it like to be a sports prognosticator? We turned to the man himself to find out.
JW: What about baseball?
JW: Is it easier to get
WAR : I would s ay on
WAR: I did play, and I was a good player. I understand football and I love football. I have never lost my love for football. I’m very passionate about it. But in this business, if you don’t like football you’re in big trouble, because it’s the only thing that matters. Seventy percent of all bets are on football. There’s more opportunity to make money in basketball because of how many games there are, but football is what people care about.
WAR: You have to grind it out. Bet opposite the public and bet on the underdogs. I’ve had bad months and bad streaks. This is not magic. Benjamin Graham was the best there ever was at picking stocks. He pioneered value investing, which basically means that when everyone is on a stock, sell it, because it has nowhere to go but down. When it’s low, it has nowhere to go but up. Do opposite of the public. For most people, their gut instincts are wrong.
hours a day. It allows me to be in the proper frame of mind. It gives me the mindset and the energy it takes to be a winner.
JW: What does it take to be a successful bettor?
WAR: Being comfortable with risk. I’m not a high roller. But you have to be a risk taker. If you’re not comfortable with taking risks, then you have no chance.
JW: So, you’re into politics. When will we see the day when Americans can bet on sports from their homes without going through offshore companies?
WAR: Soon, depending on where you live. You’ll see that on a state-by-state basis before you’ll see it on a federal basis. I think you’ll see it with poker in a lot of states soon, too. Maybe even this year.
JW: Let’s pick a political race. Who’s going to win the Presidential election in November?
WAR: Romney will win in a landslide.
For more free sports betting tips, visit southerngaming.com/sportsbetting
Where Luck Comes Your Way Shreveport-Bossier, Louisiana
Test your luck in Shreveport-Bossier: Louisianaâ€™s Other Side. From hot gaming action at our five Vegas-style casinos and racetrack to upscale shopping and savory cuisine, we serve up everything with a generous helping of Southern hospitality. Book your hotel today. Follow us on:
Q. On video slots with bonus rounds, how much of your return comes from the regular game and how much comes from the bonus rounds? It seems like I do OK as long as I get the bonuses pretty often, but on a dry spell on the bonuses, the reels can’t keep me going.
Casino Questions: With John G.
A. That differs from game
to game and manufacturer to manufacturer. Some games have bonus events that occur more frequently than others. Some have bonus events that pay more than others. And some just have more bonus events than others. Long stretches without going to the bonus round are part of normal probability—they happen. A game programmed so that a bonus event occurs an average of once per 60 plays can have the bonus pop up twice in a row, and it also can go 100 or more spins without one. Believe me, I know, I count such things! The last time I played WMS Gaming’s Jackpot Party, I went 148 spins without a bonus, and then I got two in a row, and another five spins later. When you hit a dry spell, all you can do is play within your bankroll and get out if the price is getting too steep. That’s the same advice I give for any casino game. Play for entertainment, and set limits on just how much you’re willing to invest.
Q. I know the house has the advantage in blackjack because the player can go bust and lose even before the dealer plays his hand. I know the house has the edge in roulette because of the zeroes. Why does the house have the edge in slot machines?
Syndicated gaming columnist 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 also find him online at CasinoAnswerMan.com.
A. The house gets its edge in any casino game from
paying less than the true odds of winning the bet. In roulette, the presence of a single zero means you have a 1 in 37 chance of any given number turning up, and on a double-zero wheel it’s 1 in 38, but the payoffs are structured so that it would be an even game if there was a 1 in 36 chance of the ball landing on each number. There are more possibilities on slot machines, but the principal is the same. No matter what the odds of various winning combinations landing on the paylines, payoffs could be set up to yield an even game. Instead, the winners pay less than those amounts, and we get games that return anywhere from the mid-80 percents on some penny games up the high-90 percents on some high-end games.
Q. I have a video poker question about strategy in Deuces Wild. If I’m dealt four parts of a flush and
four parts of a straight in the same hand, is it always better to go for the flush? With 4 of clubs, along with 5, 6, 7 and 10 of hearts, should I automatically hold the four hearts, or go with 4-5-6-7?
A. It is exactly as likely
that you’ll complete a straight as a flush with a one-card draw in that situation. If you hold 4-5-6-7, your straight can be completed by any of the four 3s, four 8s or four wild 2s in the remaining deck—a total of 12 cards. Hold the four hearts, and you complete a flush with any of the nine remaining hearts, including the 2, or any of the other three 2s—also 12 cards. Since the odds of drawing a winner are the same with either choice, the decision comes down to the pay table. All Deuces Wild games that I’ve seen pay 2-for-1 on a straight. Flush payoffs vary—some versions pay 3-for-1 on flushes, others pay 2-for-1. If flushes pay 3-for-1, then the decision is a no-brainer. A one-card draw for a flush brings a greater potential return than a one-card draw for a straight. If both flushes and straights pay 2-for-1, the expected value for either draw is the same.
Q. Playing Three Card Poker for the first time, I had something very strange happen. I had a flush, and the dealer had a straight. I got paid on the Pair Plus, but then the dealer took away my ante and bet. I asked what was going on, and he said straights beat flushes in that game. None of the other players seemed to think anything was wrong, so I guess it was just a surprise to me. Do you think there was anything fishy? A. In five-card poker games, straights occur more often than flushes. The probabilities are different with three-card hands, with flushes occurring more often than straights. Because of the relative frequency of the hands, flushes outrank straights in five-card games, but straights outrank flushes in three-card games. Since you were playing the Pair Plus option, where you’re paid on any pair or better regardless of whether you beat the dealer, you might have noticed the pay table. In the most common version, straights pay 6-1 and flushes 3-1. Straights pay more because they’re the less common hand and outrank flushes. That’s a roundabout way of saying the dealer got it right. His straight beat your flush.
For more free gambling tips visit southerngaming.com
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restaurant roundup BR Prime Steakhouse and Jia hit the spot! By G . Douglas Dreisbach
When the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino opened in 1999, it was the largest casino in the United States outside of Nevada. It boasted the best of everything from gambling to amenities and everything in between, including dining! On a recent visit to the property, we once again experienced a culinary journey of excellence with two of the property’s premium restaurants, BR Prime and Jia. BR Prime, located in the Beau’s “Restaurant Row” along the back of the casino floor, is anything but your typical steakhouse. Whether you are there with a group, on a date or by yourself, the dining room and bar area offer inviting and relaxing atmospheres
BR Prime t. cocktail lis te a r o b la e Boasts an 48
Southern G aming an d De s t in a t io n s
with ample lighting, exquisite ambiance and a staff who is not only knowledgeable about the menu and wine offerings, but also the property, area attractions and other helpful table talk during their presentation. Guests are greeted at the entrance with towering twin wine cellars flanking each side of the long mahogany bar that separates the dining room from the bar area. The menu is comprised of starters (chilled and warm), steaks and chops, seafood (warm and chilled) and an array of sides, sauces and vegetables. The dessert menu is presented separately, but is equally as inviting as the main menu offerings.
Jia The contem porary din ing room.
Among the starter offerings, you can’t go wrong with the Tartare Steak “21 Club” ($19), a delicious combination of raw egg and raw meat and tastes a lot better than it sounds! You might remember Gordon Gecko ordering it in the movie Wall Street! Other popular starters are the Beefsteak Tomato & Red Onion ($13) served with crumbled blue cheese and a delicious light sauce, the Ricotta Ravioli ($18) stuffed with Swiss Chard, Ricotta and aged Parmigiano and the Parpadelle, Broken Arrow Wild Boar Ragu ($18) that is served with a Ragu, currants and a hint of orange. Needless to say, the starters are certainly a precursor to the rest of the meal and leave guests wondering what to expect next. So, on to the main course with the offerings of your typical chophouse, and then some! Anchored by the Chateaubriand ($100) and the one-pound South African Lobster Tails ($115) steak and seafood lovers are both certainly in for a treat. Options range from a 28 oz. Bone-in Tomahawk Ribeye ($92) and the Blackmore Australian Wagyu (MP) to the Dome Smoked Salmon ($32) and the Grand Seafood Platter served with Maine Lobster, shrimp, oysters, King Crab legs and crab cocktail. On this occasion, the perfectly cooked medium rare steak was accompanied with sautéed crab meat ($13) and a wild mushroom medley ($11) topped with the freshly made Béarnaise Sauce ($4). In addition to the main course, the sides of Lobster Mashed ($14), Creamed Spinach ($11) and Jumbo Asparagus with Hollandaise ($11) were a perfect match. The meal and the overall experience were impeccable. We never felt rushed during the meal and the presentation with each element was spot on. After a short reprieve from the main course, we adjourned to the bar where Ronnie and Glen, two smiling bartenders who have each been with the Beau Rivage for over a decade, greeted us. After some small talk and recommendations for fresh Beignets
BR Prime ye Aged Ribe y r D In e 32 oz . Bon
in nearby Gulfport, the after-dinner cocktail of choice was one of my favorite premium Kentucky Bourbons, Basil Hayden ($9) served on the rocks. Soon to follow was a dessert menu and we were at it again with the decisions of a palate-pleasing finish to a perfect dining experience. With help from our new bartender friends, we decided on the Tarte Tatin served warm with a homemade apple flavored ice cream and the Crème Brulee with a perfectly crisped top layer covering the delicious surprise inside. As if we weren’t already completely overwhelmed by the offering of the restaurant, it turned out that not only were Ronnie and Glen experienced bar tenders, but they also bragged about their Sazarac cocktail making skills. Ronnie hails from New Orleans and is pretty good when it comes to making the official cocktail of New Orleans. He wasn’t lying, and I will have to say that my first Sazarac was truly a good one. Overall, we highly recommend this restaurant as a sure stop on your next coastal visit if not for the food, at least for the company at the bar. And tell Ronnie and Glen we said hello! The next stop, on a different night I might add, was the neighboring restaurant at the Beau Rivage, Jia. Cleverly described as “Asian without Borders,” Chef T.J. Antell has masterfully recreated some of the most traditional offerings from the cuisines of Japan, Thailand, China, Korea and Vietnam and combined them to make a unique collage boasting his trademarked food art. On this particular evening, we were fortunate that Chef Antell was on hand to not only make his recommendations, but also prepare some of his favorite dishes to present to the table. You can tell he takes great pride in what he has put together at Jia from an excellent support staff to the décor and room layout. As a nice welcome, we were presented with warm saki to complement the array of flavors we about to enjoy. First, we had three sushi rolls unique to the restaurant, the Bubble Gum Roll (Tempura
Jia Citrus Sea red Sea S callops
Vol um e 14 I ssue 4
shrimp, cream cheese, poached shrimp and eel sauce), Jia Roll (Lobster tempura, poached shrimp, Eel sauce and Tobiko) and the Mississippi Roll (Crunchy roll topped with spicy Tuna, Tempura, Masago and scallions). Each had its own unique flavor and was collectively enjoyed by us all. Next, we were presented with Fried Chicken Oysters served with sweet and sour sauce. These small bite sized morsels were amazing! The tender chicken inside the paper thin outer crust seemed to melt away right after you ate it and served as a perfect pre-cursor to what came next, the Imperial Shrimp with citrus Aioli. The evening continued as we felt like we were on a tour of Asia rather than in a megacasino in Biloxi, Mississippi, as we were presented with Salt & Pepper Maine Lobster and King Crab Legs with black sesame pepper that were already cracked and effortlessly pulled away from the shell. There was a pleasant blend of the salt and pepper with a hint of jalapeno spice and sweetness. The creativity of the dish blended nicely with the starter rolls, chicken oysters and shrimp, yet it wasn’t over powering as to control the entire meal. With a display like we experienced at Jia, it is hard to add a grand finale, but leave it to Chef T.J.! Appropriately displayed after the table was cleared, he rolled out a cart equipped with the necessary tools to make homemade ice cream tableside! That’s right, liquid nitrogen and all. We were delighted to enjoy ice cream in the freshest form possible. In addition, it was lightly garnished with pop-rock candy creating little pops with every bite. The restaurant also recently announced that beginning this summer on Fridays and Saturdays, they will transform into a stylish, trendy nightclub after the restaurant closes.
BR Prime rac Glen Saza d n a ie n n o The R
Southern G aming an d De s t in a t io n s
In addition to Beau Rivage’s fine dining restaurants, be sure to check out their casual spots like The Buffet, Terrace Café and the Roasted Bean where you can enjoy premium coffee and fresh Beignets. This first-class property has several other top amenities including an award winning championship golf course designed by Tom Fazio, a resort style pool with cabanas, café and full bar as well as a full-service spa with saunas, steam rooms and all of the other of features of top spas. With every visit to the casino markets, I always like to visit a few local restaurants and attractions. Biloxi is no exception and, as with every visit, I stopped in to visit my friends at the Half Shell Oyster House. They have locations in Gulfport and in Biloxi and both are an oyster lover’s dream. I also got the chance to visit the famous Mary Mahoney’s Old French House Restaurant, where not only did I have the opportunity to meet restaurant manager Bob Mahoney (Mary’s son) and his daughter Caty, but also enjoyed a cup of the best seafood gumbo ever! Even if it is just for a drink at the bar and a cup of gumbo, do yourself a favor and stop in and say hello, you can thank me later!
Your Guide to Going Coastal! Beau Rivage Resort & Casino: 1-888-750-7111 BeauRivage.com Half Shell Oyster House: 1-228-867-7001 HalfShellOysterHouse.com Mary Mahoney’s Old French House Restaurant: 1-228-374-0163 MaryMahoneys.com
Jia Good Time s with Hot Hibachi
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indiana grand casino New Name. Same Game. The dish with Tom Dingman
When Indiana Downs first opened their doors, gamblers who lived in or near Indianapolis instantly had an outlet for live and simulcast wagering on exciting thoroughbred action. Then the expansion of casino gaming, and a name change to Indiana Live! Casino kicked it up to another level offering video poker, slots, blackjack, Texas Hold ’Em, as well as an array of culinary options including fine dining. Guests were happy. Comps were flowing. The casino was crowded. So, when the property recently changed their name to Indiana Grand Casino, their loyal customers knew their beloved stomping ground was intact and would continue to serve as their go-to gambling destination. Indiana Grand Casino is the closest casino to Indianapolis, located just 20 minutes southeast of downtown. The casino is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year boasting a buzzing, stateof-the-art casino and a license for fun! We recently caught up with Tom Dingman, the casino’s general manager and gaming industry veteran, to discuss the name change and what patrons can look forward to.
Southern Gaming: How long have you been in the gambling business? Tom Dingman: I started in 1978 in Las Vegas at the Holiday Casino, which was across from Caesars Palace. I was hired as an assistant controller, which is where I learned a lot about the business. Then, the property was sold to Harrah’s and I worked for them for 25 years in their finance department, and then got into management opening five of their properties including the Vicksburg, Mississippi, New Orleans, New Zealand and San Diego properties. I was born in Gary, Indiana, and in 2008, I made my first venture back to Indiana with an opportunity to work at the request of the Indiana Gaming Commission. In January, the opportunity became available to work with the Indiana Grand Casino property. 52
Southern G aming an d De s t in a t io n s
T o m Di n g m a n i s t h e General Manager at Indiana Grand Casino. SG: Did you treat the recent property name change similar to the opening or launch of a new property? TD: Interestingly, we actually could have done that. We could have made a big hoopla out of it and made it a big media event and a big customer event, but frankly we would have been overstating what was really happening because it was really just a name change. We consciously decided to make sure that we remind ourselves, our customers, and our employees what it is, which is just a name change. So, rather than make a big hoopla out of it, we chose to keep it low key and get it done. We did it quite fast. The team here just pulled it off. If you can imagine the thousands of things you’ve got to do from changing your voicemail message to putting up a huge, huge sign. There were just thousands of things to do. What the team got done in less than 90 days was spectacular.
I n di a n a G r a n d C a s i n o o f f e r s t h e s a m e premium gaming experience with the new name! SG: Other than the name change, will there be other property changes?
SG: In closing, is there anything you would like to add for the readers of Southern Gaming?
TD: Nothing else will change. None of the player tiers changed. We have been determined to communicate with our customers through this process and let them know the same. We have even invited all our customers to turn their old player cards in and they can get a new one, and if they don’t want to they don’t have to. We know some people who gamble are superstitious and some want to play with their old card, and that is perfectly fine with us. It works just likes the new one will work, none of the technology changed. We are being very careful to try not to change any of those things. Although some things do change as you evolve as a property, none will have to do with the name change.
TD: I think we have covered just about everything. I want to reiterate that this is really a quality facility. Everything from the quality of air to some things that the day-to-day customer would never even notice is superior. Marty Pitts, our facilities manager, told me recently that we change our air three times an hour, so every 20 minutes there is new air coming into the building. Today, with the issue of smoking/non-smoking, that is a part of the quality experience that makes us stand out. We also have covered parking that really makes for easy in and easy out.
SG: Do you foresee any property enhancements coming in the next six to 12 months that players can get excited about? TD: There are a lot of things we would like to do, but what we have to do first is wait until the capital to initiate the projects is there first. I look around and think it would be nice to have a hotel here, more structured parking and maybe even some meeting and convention space. I think all of those things should be on the table and will come in due time.
SG: In a sentence or two, give us your description of the property and what you try to accomplish for your customers. TD: If our mission statement is anything, it is first and foremost, exceeding our customers’ expectations where those opportunities exist, because it really is all about the experience.
I also don’t think we talked about the high quality of food here. Our buffet is unique in terms of the cooking stations and how the food is cooked fresh right there. It is not the classic buffet where they bring out the big, hot pans that have been sitting in the back for three hours. Our steakhouse has an unsurpassed reputation for the quality of steaks that we serve. Day to day, I feel a great energy in this property. Whether it is New Year’s Eve or a normal night, you can walk in and the music is right, the energy is right and you can feel the play of the slot machines going on, and sometimes that is lost at other casinos.
For more information on Indiana Grand Casino, visit IndianaGrand.com or call 1-877-386-4463.
Vol um e 14 I ssue 4
Since the dawn of time horseplayers everywhere have sought to discover just one thing—an infallible system for picking winners. The mere mention of the word “system” will instantly open thoroughbred racing’s version of Pandora’s Box, yet while all rational punters will proclaim that no fool-proof equation for beating the races exists, that doesn’t mean there aren’t useful parts to the many fabricated handicapping schemes floating around in literature and cyberspace. This basically means that those wishing to invest in horseflesh must investigate various experimental systems as they appear, and then mentally pocket the useful aspects that might be applied somewhere down the road.
Eric Vaughn Floyd is a turf writer for various gaming publications, and a Triple Crown pari-mutuel consultant for several nationwide media outlets. Excerpts from his gambling memoir, My First Decade Playing the Game, can be read at LuLu.com.
Horseracing: The Quest of the Perfect System
The most powerful weapon any horseplayer has in regards to attacking the mutuel pools is information. This sounds ridiculously elementary, but have you ever stopped to think that 99% of the people wagering their hard earned money on a horserace are using the exact same resources? If we want to take this a step further than let’s refer back to the ancient gaming axiom that states, “Favorites win approximately 33% of the time.” It doesn’t take an atomic physicist to realize that betting the favorite every race is a sure road to bankruptcy, and furthermore we can deduce from this statistic that the multitudes of handicappers scouring America (and there are some darn good ones) are failing miserably over the long haul. I will tip my hat to any soul out there attempting to make a living playing the ponies, but the fact is that even most “experts” are using an inefficient handicapping method. This is because horseplayers do not wage war against the house, they are actually dueling each other. Unless you are interpreting the resources available to the public in some type of divergent fashion OR have access to inside information, your goose is cooked. One way to invade the game is to contact some trainers on your local circuit, and then express interest in purchasing a low level racer. Most horsemen on the backside will usually take time to discuss the potency of their barn. From here, build relationships and keep an eye on which conditioners seem competent. Obviously the tactic listed above will require some due diligence on your part. As luck would have it, I actually have one tucked away in my back pocket that just might allow you to order up from the dollar menu next time out, but it’s offered with the following disclaimer authored by one William J. Floyd; “There ain’t no free lunch kid!”
Points Based Betting System Based on the following guidelines, each horse will be awarded a various amount of points. The horse with the highest point total merits a win bet only if said beast Eric Floyd accumulates at least 3 more points than the horse with the second highest total. 1. Add the best two Beyer Speed Figures from each horse’s last four races. The horse with the highest numerical total receives 4 points. The horse with the second highest total receives 2 points. 2. Combine the lengths that each horse was beaten by in their last two starts. If a horse won their last race, then that start isn’t assigned any value. The horse with the lowest number earns 3 points. The horse with the second lowest number earns 2 points. If two or more horses won their last two starts, omit this entire step. 3. Any horse trained by a conditioner that retains an overall winning percentage of at least 10% receives 2 points. 4. Any horse ridden by a jockey that retains an overall winning percentage of at least 10% receives 1 point. 5. Deduct 1 point for each horse breaking from post 7 or higher in a race that is over seven furlongs. 6. If the race is shorter than a mile award 2 points to any horse that was never more than three lengths back at any call in each of their last two starts. 7. Award 1 point to any horse switching from turf to dirt. 8. Any horse using Lasix or blinkers for the first time receives 1 point. 9. Deduct 1 point from any horse making their first start after a layoff of at least 30 days. 10. Deduct 1 point from any horse making their first start over the strip. Many variations of the methodology listed above exist in either dated manuscripts or modern databases, but be sure to continually tinker with the point values and laws themselves in order to reap your full reward. As mentioned before, there is no mathematical equation that will ever precisely predict just how a horserace will unravel, for nothing is finite when doing business with creatures comprised of flesh and blood. Unlike most gamblers who deal with innate objects like cards and dice, the handicapper is faced with solving the thoroughbred racehorse—nature’s most beautiful and mysterious creature.
For more free horseracing tips, visit southerngaming.com/horseracing
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Southern Gaming’s Preferred Hot Spots
Southern Gaming and Destinations Magazine strives to recommend quality establishments located throughout the region to our readers. On this map, you will find an array of our preferred casinos, racetracks, racinos, hotels and restaurants we feel will deliver a quality experience and encourage you to consider them when you travel. WANT COMPS? If you are a qualified casino player, let us know! We will be happy to connect you with some of our preferred casino properties around the world! For more information, please e-mail email@example.com or call 1-877-582-9478.
1 Gulf Coast Beau Rivage Resort & Casino (Biloxi)
Lassing Pointe Golf Course (Boone County)
Shula’s Steak House (Tampa)
Nevel Meade Golf Course (Louisville)
Fallen Oak Golf Course (Biloxi)
Half Shell Oyster House (Gulfport & Biloxi)
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino (Biloxi)
Mardi Gras Casino & Racing (Hallandale)
Pat’s Steak House (Louisville)
Seminole’s (Coconut Creek, Hollywood & Tampa)
Island View Casino Resort (Gulfport)
Watermark Grille (Naples)
IP Casino Resort Spa
Margaritaville Casino & Restaurant (Biloxi)
5 Georgia The Horseradish Grille (Atlanta)
Mary Mahoney’s French House Restaurant (Biloxi)
New York Prime Steakhouse (Atlanta)
Silver Slipper Casino (Bay St. Louis) 1-866-775-4773
The Shed BBQ (Ocean Springs)
Soho Restaurant (Atlanta) 1-770-801-0069
6 Indiana Belterra Casino Resort (Vevay)
Casino Aztar (Evansville)
Riverside Casino (Wetumpka)
The Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail • Oxmoor Valley Golf Course (Birmingham) • Hampton Cove Golf Course (Huntsville) • Magnolia Grove Golf Course (Mobile) • Capitol Hill Golf Course (Montgomery) Wind Creek Casino & Hotel (Atmore)
The Faded Rose Restaurant (Little Rock) 1-501-663-9734
Hot Springs Visitors Bureau 1-888-SPA-CITY
Loca Luna Restaurant (Little Rock) 1-501-663-4666
Oaklawn Park Racing & Gaming (Hot Springs) 1-800-OAKLAWN
Southland Park Gaming & Racing (West Memphis) 1-800-467-6182
4 Florida Daytona Beach Kennel Club & Poker Room 1-386-252-6484
Southern G aming an d De s t in a t io n s
Seelbach Hotel (Louisville) 1-502-585-3200
8 Louisiana Café Giovanni (New Orleans) 1-504-529-2154
Delta Downs Racetrack & Casino (Vinton) 1-800-589-7441
Fair Grounds Race Course (New Orleans) 1-504-944-5515
L’Auberge Du Lac Hotel & Casino (Lake Charles) 1-866-580-7444
Paragon Casino Resort (Marksville) Shreveport/ Bossier Visitor’s Bureau
9 Mississippi (Tunica)
Caesars Palace 1-800-HARRAHS
Ferraro’s Italian Restaurant 1-702-364-5300
Horseshoe Casino Southern Indiana
Gold Strike Casino Resort
Golden Gate Hotel & Casino
Indiana Grand Casino (Shelbyville)
Porcini Italian Restaurant (Louisville)
Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism
Hoosier Park Racing & Casino (Anderson)
Oriental Wok (Fort Mitchell)
Rising Star Casino Resort 1-800-472-6311
Miccosukee Resort & Gaming (Miami)
Derby Lane Race Track (St. Petersburg)
21C Museum Hotel (Louisville) 877-217-6400
Brown Hotel (Louisville) 1-502-583-1234
Churchill Downs (Louisville) 1-800-283-3729
Equus Restaurant (Louisville)
Sam’s Town Hotel & Gambling Hall 1-800-456-0711
Hollywood Casino Tunica 1-800-871-0711
10 Mississippi Boka Homa Casino (Sandersville) 1-866-447-3275
Harlow's Casino Resort & Hotel (Greenville)
Galt House Hotel & Suites (Louisville)
Pearl River Resort (Philadelphia)
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
11 Missouri Ameristar Casino St. Charles 1-800-325-7777
Lumière Place Casino & Hotels 1-314-881-7777
River City Casino
1-800-426-1906 Hard Rock Hotel & Casino 1-800-473-7625 MGM Grand 1-877-880-0880 Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino 1-877-632-7800 Mirage Las Vegas 1-800-627-6667 Palms Hotel 1-866-942-7777 Paris Las Vegas 1-877-796-2096 The Venetian 1-877-283-6423 Wynn Las Vegas 1-888-320-WYNN Wild Wild West Hotel & Casino 1-800-6-STATIONS
13 Nevada (Laughlin) Aquarius Casino Resort 1-888-662-5824
Golden Nugget Laughlin
Aria Resort and Casino
Harrah’s Laughlin Casino and Hotel
12 Nevada (Las Vegas) 1-866-359-7757
For comps and information on these facilities, visit www.SouthernGaming.com!
14 Nevada (Reno)
Half Shell Restaurant (Memphis)
Atlantis Casino Resort
Circus Circus Reno Hotel & Casino 1-800-648-5010
Eldorado Hotel & Casino 1-800-879-8879
Hyatt Regency Resort Spa & Casino (Lake Tahoe) 1-800-233-1234 Peppermill Resort Spa Casino 1-866-821-9996
15 Ohio Blue Ash Golf Course (Cincinnati) 1-513-745-8577
Elks Run Golf Course (Cincinnati) 1-513-735-6600
Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse (Cincinnati) 1-513-784-1200
Montgomery Inn Boathouse (Cincinnati) 1-513-791-3482
16 South Carolina Aunt Chilada’s Easy Street Café (Hilton Head)
Rendezvous Barbecue (Memphis)
CQ’s Restaurant (Hilton Head)
Golden Bear at Indigo Run (Hilton Head)
Harbour Town Golf Course (Hilton Head) 1-843-363-4485
Hilton Head National (Hilton Head)
Tsunami Restaurant (Memphis) Vanderbilt Legends Club (Brentwood) 1-615-790-1300
18 West Virginia Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races
Salty Dog Café (Hilton Head)
The Greenbrier (White Sulphur Springs)
Mardi Gras Casino & Resort
Cherokee Valley Golf Course (Memphis)
Mountaineer Casino Racetrack and Resort
Folk’s Folly (Memphis) 1-901-762-8200
Wheeling Island Hotel, Casino & Racetrack
Gaylord Springs Golf Links (Nashville)
Atlantis, Paradise Island
Check out SouthernGaming.com today! Get the best gaming tips, reviews, gaming news, sports scores and odds, and more! Don’t delay...you are just a click away!
Vol um e 14 I ssue 4
Back in 1992, at the World Series of Poker (WSOP), World Champions Mansour Matloubi and Stu Ungar faced off in a series of $50,000 buy-in heads-up “freeze-outs” (one-on-one matches that ended when one player won $50,000). Mansour told me he was at the top of his game at this point in his poker career, having just won the WSOP in 1990. The game they were playing that day was no-limit Hold ’Em, and the blinds were $200-$400 when the following hand came up.
Phil Hellmuth, Jr. is a 12-time World Series Poker Champion, leading all poker players in the world. He has two New York Times best-seller books, Play Poker Like the Pros and Bad Beats and Lucky Draws. Both books can be found at Amazon.com. Phil’s books, blog, tips and more can be found at PhilHellmuth. com. This column is an excerpt from Bad Beats and Lucky Draws that consists of an array of Phil’s favorite stories from the felt.
Poker: Sensational Stuey
Stuey at the other table and said, “How did you like the way I played that hand?” Stuey, who again was busy playing $600$1,200 at the table next door, said, “I would have knocked four draws ago with five [points].” Chip then said, “Thanks,” and rolled his eyes back in his head.
Phil Hellmuth, Jr.
Photo courtesy of W SO P
Of course, Chip knew that Stuey was right. In fact, he was so good at gin that for many years he couldn’t even get Stuey opened for $1,600 in the small blind, and Mansour a game from anyone, anywhere. But Chip didn’t roll his called with 4-5 off suit. After a flop of 3-3-7 rainbow (no eyes back in his head because Stuey was right. Rather, suits), Stuey bet $6,000—he had started the hand with he rolled his eyes back because he couldn’t believe that $60,000 to Mansour’s $40,000—and Mansour called the Stuey was watching his every $6,000 bet. On fourth street, move while simultaneously a king came off, and both playing high-stakes poker! players checked. On the river, a queen came off, to make In the 1980s, Stuey was a board of 3-3-7-K-Q, and considered the best in the Mansour, smelling weakness world at gin, the best noin Stuey, bet his last $32,000 limit Hold ’Em player ever (by or so. Stuey “looked right then he had won two World through” Mansour, and within Championships, with one ten seconds he said, “You more to come), and one of the have 4-5 or 5-6. I’m gonna best backgammon players in call you with this.” Stuey S t u U n ge r (C e n t e r) the world, as well. To be at the then flipped up 10-9, and top in any one of those games poses with poker legend called the $32,000 bet with is quite a feat, but to be at or Doyle Brunson (L) and gaming icon merely a high ten! Wow, what near the top in all three at Jack Binion (R). an unbelievable call! Stuey once is truly unbelievable. couldn’t have beat even a jack-high bluff with his hand, There are many other wonderful stories about Stu and never mind any pair. In fact, Stuey could have beaten the incredible abilities he possessed. only 4-5, 4-6, or 5-6 in this scenario. Be sure to check out Bad Beats and Lucky Draws written Give Mansour some credit. He did read Stuey right by Phil Hellmuth. It can be found at Amazon.com or and made a great bluff. But Stuey deserves even more PhilHellmuth.com. credit! He not only read Mansour right, he then made an amazing call. After Stuey called, Mansour looked up at the ceiling and thought, “I feel like a bulldozer just ran over me. I still love Stuey, but what the heck is going on!” From page 8 Mansour tells me now, “When a guy makes a call like 6 9 5 7 3 2 1 4 8 that against you, you just give up. It’s like he’s taken all 4 7 8 1 9 5 2 3 6 the wind out of your sails. I decided I couldn’t play him 1 3 2 4 6 8 7 5 9 any more heads-up no-limit Hold ’Em, at least on that 8 4 3 5 2 9 6 1 7 day, if not forever.” Indeed, it proved to be the last hand that Mansour ever played with Stuey heads-up (Stuey 2 5 6 3 7 1 8 9 4 died in the late 1990s). 9 1 7 6 8 4 5 2 3
Another day at the WSOP in 1992, Stuey was playing in a five-handed $600-$1,200 game with Mansour on table 59, while Bobby Baldwin and Chip Reese were playing gin at table 60. All of a sudden, Chip turned to
For more free poker tips, visit southerngaming.com/poker
Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Casino & Restaurant Biloxi is the destination place on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. You know you have arrived from the moment that you walk through the doors. From dancing Biloxi Beauties and Stilt Walkers to the friendliest dealers on the Coast, we have everything you need to enjoy a relaxed and fun atmosphere with a one-of-a-kind gaming experience. Slot player? Our slots are the loosest in town with holds down to mid-1990’s levels. That gives you more money and more time to play. Table games player? We have designed the rules to give you the edge. We stand on soft 17. No one else does that in town! Comps? You don’t have to wait in long lines at a player’s club booth. Our customer service reps come to you. We have an army of reps that are ready to assist you with all of your needs. Our reps can write you a comp… on the spot. You need a card? They can do that too. Hungry? We gotcha covered there too. We have lots of choices at great low prices… all the time! Promotions? Our Live Your Dream promotions have never been done before. What are some of these incredible dreams? Here’s a hint…how about you and some friends spending a day on a golf course with the “King of Golf” or enjoying a NASCAR event like no one ever has? Or how about being on the field at Super Bowl XLVII to celebrate with the winning team? In addition to these big dreams, we’ll have more great prizes to offer you…like excellent Super Bowl tickets, prime seats at Jimmy Buffett concerts in Biloxi and around the country. And of course there’s the usual stuff: VIP themed parties, free concert tickets, exciting special events, and many more ways to Live Your Dream at Margaritaville Biloxi! Come in and give us a try. You may not believe it at first but once you see it for yourself, you’ll see that what we say is true…you can play longer, win great prizes and enjoy great service.
Fun & Easy. Play longEr. 160 5th Street, Biloxi, MS 39530 • phone 228.267.7777 • toll free 855.667.6777 • www.margaritavillebiloxi.com
Our readers voted and the results are in! This issue highlights the best of everything that is gambling in the South! Find out the best rest...