Page 1

2017 SLOT GUIDE MARCH/APRIL 2017 VOL. 19, ISSUE 2 GAMINGANDDESTINATIONS.COM

SUBSCRIBE TODAY &

WIN BIG! PAGE 9

PLACES TO PLAY:

SLOT FLOORS OF THE SOUTH PAGE 6

CASINO COURSES:

OUR TOP PICKS PAGE 26

MONEY MAN MANIA... THE $1 MILLION TOURNEVENT OF CHAMPIONS®IS BACK!

PAGE 10

PLUS: TIPS ON BLACKJACK • CRAPS • HORSERACING • VIDEO POKER & MORE! Covering Mississippi, Louisiana, Indiana, Florida, Alabama and the entire South!!


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LETTER

from the Publisher

UP FRONT with G. DOUGLAS

PUBLISHER

Gaming Media Group Inc. PRESIDENT

G. Douglas Dreisbach

will entice casino patrons to play their machines, enjoy the experience, and come back for more. Be sure to check out our run down of the hottest slots you will see in the casinos this year on page 14.

Do you play the slots? If so, you are going to love this issue as it is dedicated to the latest and greatest slot machines, some of our favorite casinos to play them at and the evolution of games dating back to the very first machine, in the late 1800’s. One of the latest crazes right now is the growing popularity of slot tournaments. Similar to a poker tournament, participants of slot tournaments either have a buy-in amount or are ‘invited’ by the casinos, they all sit down at a bank of tournament machines, and frantically hit the buttons throughout various levels of timed play. The top point earners advance after each round until the champion is crowned. The most popular among the tournaments is the TournEvent of Champions featuring a $1 million grand prize. The final event is held in Las Vegas in September and is comprised of the winners of qualifier tournaments from around the country. It is fun. It is hot. And it is most likely coming to a casino near you. Check out the full rundown on page 10. Today, slot players encompass a wide variety of personalities and behaviors and there is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ scenario that appeals to everyone. There are games with great graphics and crisp sound effects, some with celebrity or movie themes and even a few with simple, more traditional game features that players have come to love. Slot manufacturers certainly have their hands full appealing to everyone and are more challenged today than ever to provide games that 2

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

When you need a break from the slots, most casino resorts offer an abundance of amenities for their guests to enjoy. You can relax in the spa or by the pool, enjoy a great dinner at the steakhouse, or maybe check out some of the stores for some casual shopping. One of our favorite casino amenities to enjoy is to tee it up on some of the award winning casino courses. This issue features a list of our Top Casino Golf Courses of 2017 on page 26. The list features premium courses that possess characteristic’s we feel makes them each unique and the cream of the crop. We considered factors such as course condition, difficulty, convenience to the casino and bang for the buck. Do yourself a favor and check them out if you get a chance, and let us know how you liked them! Lastly, we are excited to announce FOUR NEW casino coupon partners for The Comps Club! We want to welcome Scarlet Pearl Casino and Silver Slipper Casino on the Gulf Coast, Cypress Bayou in Louisiana, Sam’s Town Casino and Resorts Casino in Tunica, Mississippi to the program! The value of being a member of The Comps Club is through the roof! If you aren’t a member…Join Today! It is only $29 per year and you will get six-issues of the magazine AND six Casino Coupon Paks emailed straight to your inbox (or mailed to your mailbox if you prefer). Don’t delay, start saving today! Check it out at www.TheCompsClub.com or call us at 502-583-0333.

FOUNDING PUBLISHER

Larry Bisig LAYOUT AND DESIGN

Hill Harcourt CONTRIBUTING AUTHORS

Linda Boyd John Brokopp John Grochowski Phil Hellmuth, Jr. Frank Scoblete Henry Tamburin GAMING AND DESTINATIONS

640 South Fourth Street Louisville, Kentucky 40202 (502) 583-0333 Fax (502) 583-6487 e-mail: editor@gaminganddestinations.com The goal of this publication is to help drive awareness of the ever-growing popularity of the gaming industry and to assist gamers in enjoying their gaming experience to the fullest. Gaming and Destinations is published for those who seek the best in gaming and in life, and is produced bimonthly by Gaming Media Group Inc. of Louisville, Kentucky. Copyright 2017 by Gaming Media Group Inc. All Rights Reserved. This publication is printed by Publisher’s Printing Co., Inc. of Shepherdsville, Kentucky. Postage is paid in Lebanon Junction, Kentucky. Opinions of columnists are those of

If you can’t be good, be lucky!

the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher, nor does Gaming and Destinations assume liability for claims of advertisers. POSTMASTER:

G. Douglas Dreisbach Publisher

Send address changes

to Gaming and Destinations, 640 South Fourth Street, Louisville, Kentucky 40202. Cover photo courtesy of Everi Holdings.


CONTENTS ON THE COVER

TIPS & COLUMNS

10 Money Man Mania:

22 Craps:

$1 Million TournEvent Slot Series Returns

23 Blackjack:

FEATURE ARTICLES

6 Top Slot Floors

Correct Hand Strategy

24 Video Poker:

of the South:

Ruining Your Fun

Find out the best places to play your favorite games.

HIGHLIGHTS & HOTSPOTS

30 Casino Directory:

Our preferred properties and attractions.

31 Reader Review: Hollywood Casino: Tunica Mississippi

Double Bonus Poker

25 Poker:

14 Best Slots of 2017:

32 Sports Wagering:

Check out the latest and greatest games coming out this year.

Playing the Flop with A-K

Future odds on major sporting events

18 Machine Milestones:

Slot machines have evolved considerably over the past decade.

25

26 Top Casino Golf Courses:

Find out what casino courses made the cut for 2017

14 6

10 Find us on Facebook

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

3


FACTS & FUN STUFF

DID YOU KNOW

C. Standalone, Local area, Wide area

D. None of the above.

2

This recipe comes to us from the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino in Biloxi Mississippi. Featured at the hip lounge at the resort, EIGHT75, this creation is the concoction from bartender Todd Cannette. Featuring some heat with the peppers, and sweet from the sour mix and other ingredients, this is a unique twist on the traditional Margarita you’ll definitely want to try on your next visit, or at your home bar!

A. 50 tons

B. 150 tons

C. 10 tons

D. 500 tons

5

YOU ARE MORE LIKELY TO HIT A JACKPOT ON A SLOT MACHINE WHEN… A. It is near a door or end of isle. B. Right after another jackpot hit

WHAT IS THE NAME OF THE LIST OF FORBIDDEN VISITORS AT LAS VEGAS CASINOS CALLED?

C. After someone just left it and didn’t win D. None of the above…the odds are the same for every spin.

DIABLO MARGARITA

B. Penny, Quarter, Dollar

4

A. Small, Big, Large

HOW MUCH DOES THE LARGE BRONZE LION STATUE OUTSIDE THE MGM GRAND IN LAS VEGAS WEIGH?

3

A. Don’t Come Back Inn B. Blackballed List C. Black book

WHY IS ROULETTE KNOWN AS ‘THE DEVIL’S GAME’?

D. Losers and lowlifes

A. The red colors displayed on the felt and the wheel. 5. C

1

WHAT ARE THE THREE TYPES OF PROGRESSIVE JACKPOT SLOT MACHINE GAMES?

B. The numbers added together (1-36) equals 666.

C. The croupier, or dealer, wears red and horns to represent risk.

D. The casinos turn the temperature up to make it feel really hot.

4. A

?

1. C 2. D 3. B

SIPS WITH GAMING & DESTINATIONS

Ingredients: 1.25 oz. Jose Cuervo Gold Tequila Infusion .25 oz. Cointreau 4 oz. Hand Crafted Sour Mix

Number of states slot machines are legal

41

50

Cherry Peppers and Lime Wedge for Garnish Directions: In a cocktail shaker, add ingredients and shake. Strain over ice into your favorite cocktail glass. Garnish with the cherry peppers and lime wedge and enjoy!

85% Number of adults who have gambled at least once in their life.

4

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1,1 49 61

Number of consecutive Masters golf tournaments played by Arnold Palmer from 1955-2004.

Height of the Stratosphere Tower in Las Vegas

Number of Magnolia trees that line Magnolia Lane at Augusta National golf course.


WSOP CIRCUIT EVENT ®

APRIL 12-24

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caesars.com

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SLOT FLOORS SLOT of The South CAS I NO

GUIDE 2017

OU R TOP P ICK S:

W

hat makes a great slot floor? In our opinion, it is a combination of several factors. We like floors that are easy to move around and in between machines. There is nothing worse than relaxing, playing your favorite machine, and people bumping your chair when they walk by. We like casinos that have some background music, but not blaring so loud that you can’t talk to the person next to you. We also feel that the ventilation of the floor is important as cigarette smoke can be quite the annoyance, especially if you aren’t a smoker. We feel that the casinos selected in this year’s Top Slot Floors list meet these standards, and a few more that we feel are important to enhance your slot experience. Enjoy!

NORTH CAROLINA

INDIANA

Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Cherokee, N.C.

Rising Star Casino Resort Rising Sun, Ind. 1-800-472-6311 RisingStarCasino.com Casino square footage: 40,000 Number of slot machines: 952 Why slot players like Rising Star: The slot floor at Rising Star is loved by guests because of the comfortable, well laid-out floor with plenty of elbow room. The property carries a boutique and personal feel that keeps them on our favorites list year after year. The casino is on a four-level paddlewheel riverboat flanked with welcoming Victorian décor that offers both slot enthusiasts and table game players the latest machines in a very comfortable setting 6

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Rising Star Casino Resort Rising Sun, Ind.

1-828-497-7777 Caesars.com/Harrahs-cherokee Casino square footage: 176,000 Number of slot machines: 3,600 Why slot players like Harrah’s Cherokee: You’re in the middle of

the beautiful Smokey Mountains at a luxurious mega resort with every amenity imaginable, what’s not to like? The casino is home to 3,600 slot machines, and the casino floor has a great flow, accent lighting that offers a nice ambiance. Plus, with the Total Rewards Players Club is one of the best in the industry and connects you to Caesars-owned properties world-wide for special offers and comps.

Gold Strike Casino Resort Tunica, Miss.


TUNICA

Paragon Casino Resort Marksville, La.

Gold Strike Casino Resort Tunica, Miss.

(Under two hours northwest of Baton Rouge)

1-800-946-1946 ParagonCasinoResort.com

1-888-245-7829 GoldStrike.com

Casino square footage: 130,520 Number of slot machines:1,460

Casino square footage: 50,000 Number of slot machines: 1,224 Why slot players like Gold Strike: The resort’s 50,000-square-foot casino features contemporary custom-designed flooring, fresh modern wall coverings, air quality enhancements and a completely reconfigured state-of-the-art gaming floor. The casino boasts more of the newest, most popular high-tech games, including more penny machines and illuminated roulette. Gold Strike Casino Resort opened a smoke-free second floor gaming area in March 2014 that has been widely popular among casino guests. It is the only smoke-free gaming area open in the Delta region. At Gold Strike, everything is always first-class service and guests can expect an exceptional experience each time they step into the resort. There is a large smoke-free area on the second floor and several dining options, fine dining and casual, located near the casino floor making that is convenient for the casino patrons.

Hollywood Casino Tunica Tunica, Miss. 1-800-871-0711 HollywoodCasinoTunica.com

Hollywood Casino Tunica – Tunica, Miss.

LOUISIANA Margaritaville Resort Casino Bossier City, La. 1-855-346-2489 MargaritavilleBossierCity.com Casino square footage: 30,000 Number of slot machines: 1,225 Why slot players like Margaritaville: You will feel the energy of this casino as soon as you walk into the lobby. It’s Jimmy Buffet world! The lively and colorful décor is energizing, creating a mark of distinction compared to other area casinos. One of the biggest advantages is the single-level gaming floor that is easy to navigate and doesn’t force our guests to wait for an elevator or climb stairs. The single-level nature of our property also allows us to have a top-of-the-line air filtration system that gives our guests an almost smokefree gaming experience. In addition, the casino floor is always changing, with new machines and layouts keeping it fresh for the players.

Why slot players like Paragon: The Paragon management team does a great job ensuring their guests that they offer the newest themes from all of the leading manufacturers in the industry as well as classic themes that are not found in newer casinos. In addition, there are large progressive jackpots that are both symbol driven and random awards. Plus, there are over 100 video poker games with the best pay tables around and great service that is quick, helpful and friendly.

GULF COAST Beau Rivage Resort & Casino Biloxi, Miss. 1-888-750-7111 BeauRivage.com Casino square footage: 85,000 Number of slot machines: 1,900 (126 in high limit area; 270 in non-smoking area) Why slot players like Beau Rivage: The Beau Rivage casino floor boasts a great selection of games, new themes and an open air environment. New

Casino square footage: 55,000 Number of slot machines: 1,066 Why slot players like Hollywood Casino Tunica: The layout is both visually appealing and comfortable with tall ceilings that keeps the smoke to a minimum. The layout allows you to see across the entire floor and it is easy to navigate with wide walkways. There is a wide variety of machines, from the hottest new games to old school classics so that everyone can find what he/she enjoys.

Beau Rivage Resort & Casino Biloxi, Miss.

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

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CAS I NO

SLOT GUIDE

IP Casino Resort Spa Biloxi, Miss.

enhancements to the slot floor make this a sure stop on everyone’s Gulf Coast list. Plus, with the high limit area that was unveiled last year, and the non-smoking slot area featuring 270 machines, you’ll like what you see here. At Beau Rivage, you will always find great attention to detail wherever you go on the property, and that includes the slot floor. Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort Biloxi, Miss. 1-800-266-5772 ScarletPearlCasino.com Casino square footage: 167,000 Number of slot machines: 1,200 Why slot players like Scarlet Pearl: What’s not to like about a brand new casino? Every game is new, the comps are great, and the contemporary look is clean and crisp. The ceiling is elaborately decorated with a flowing design and the machines are spaced out around the floor with large isle ways flowing throughout. 8

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IP Casino Resort Spa Biloxi, Miss. 1-888-946-2847 IPBiloxi.com Casino square footage: 70,000 Number of slot machines: Over 1,650 Why slot players like IP Casino: Slot players like IP’s overall layout and the different areas of slot space that include the main floor, a non-smoking area, a high limit room, $1-$5 area and a secondfloor gaming area. Each of those areas ties into at least one unique dining outlet. There is a wide variety of game types and denominations, and they are regularly installing new equipment. What the slot director says: “We certainly try to stay competitive in the market with our game selection and comp offerings, as well as remaining focused on providing a clean and safe environment for our guests. But what makes our property truly great is the team members that provide exceptional guest service. Although technical proficiency is certainly a necessity

for good customer service, we feel that providing our team with the opportunity to acknowledge our guests and build relationships with them is the key to our player loyalty.” Silver Slipper Casino Hotel Bay St. Louis, Miss. 1-866-SLIPPER SilverSlipper-MS.com Casino square footage: 30,000 Number of Machines: 955

Why slot players like Silver Slipper: Guests like Silver Slipper because it is very comfortable with low ceilings and low lighting. The casino floor is clean and easily navigated with designated areas of play all on one level. The slot product is well maintained with machines in top working condition. Plus, with their new hotel, guests can enjoy an extended stay and play on the beach in the daytime as the Gulf of Mexico is only footsteps away and guests can choose from three awardwinning restaurants at the property.


Fame Fortune

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TOURNEVENT OF CHAMPIONS 2017 by

T

ournEvent of ChampionsÂŽ, the trail blazing concept that has made it possible for more gaming enthusiasts to experience the thrill of slot tournament excitement than any other competition of its kind, is rolling out its tour buses in search of another $1 million grand prize winner. Its developer, Everi Games Inc., a subsidiary of Everi Holdings Inc., a leading provider of slot content, technology and gaming-related software for the global casino industry, created the vast international casino presence of TournEvent of Champions. 10

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J O H N G . B RO KO PP

Because it isn’t linked to a casino brand, this unique tournament is hosted by properties located in nearly every gaming region in the country. Last year alone, more than 200,000 players competed at 88 destinations across the United States, Canada and Peru for proprietary prizes, as well as a spot in the championship tournament. The ultimate quest for a l l 2017 TournEvent of Champions participants is to earn a trip to the 2017 Championship (The Million Dollar Event) on October 4 at XS Night Club in the Wynn/Encore Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada.

On September 28 of last year, Lisa Knox representing Riverwalk Casino Hotel in Vicksburg, Mississippi, emerged victorious over 142 competitors to claim the 2016 title, a $1 million prize, championship ring and a cruise for two on Norwegian Cruise Line. With well over 50 casinos already signed up to participate in the Midwest and South, and new ones coming on board every day, TournEvent of Champions is certain to appear this year at a casino near you. Tony Phong savat h, Promot ions Specialist with Everi, said that with


the addition this year of the Alberta, Canada region, a third TournEvent of Champions tour bus has been added to a fleet that not only brings a festive presence to every stop, but also the iconic “Money Man®” mascot and MGirls. The competition was f irst held in 2012 as regional events in California and Washington State. The buses have logged well over 160,000 miles since 2013 when the TournEvent of Champions went national. “We are happy to have Alberta, which increases the international flair of the competition,” Phongsavath said. “We’re also hopeful of Ontario, Canada coming back.” The concept was formulated as a marketing strategy revolving around Everi’s’ trademarked TournEvent®, an award winning tournament slot system that gives casino operators the ability to convert a bank of machines into tournament mode at the click of a mouse. Essentially it creates an opportunity for any casino, regardless of size, to host a first class slot tournament environment with a chance for its customer base to compete for a $1 million prize. “We offer every participating casino a complimentary seven-day, double occupancy cruise with Norwegian Cruise Line as part of the prize package for the tournament that they host,” Phongsavath said. Each participating casino has the ability to structure its semi-finals and finals however they choose. Everi’s promotions team provides properties with the general guidelines. An assigned Everi promotions specialist works with each casino to ensure each TournEvent of Championstournament is a success. Properties are free to schedule the events when they choose. Some casinos will host a single event while others stretch out the semi-final tournaments over a G A M I N G A N D D E S T I N AT I O N S . C O M |

11


period of time. Some casinos choose to charge a buy-in for players to participate; some offer the tournaments to their guests for free, while still others are by VIP invitation.

prize money. The 2015 TournEvent of Champions marked the first year with a $1 million prize. Since 2012, over $3.6 million has been distributed to finalists at the championship events.

Every finalist from every participating property will be awarded a four-night stay at a luxury hotel on the famed Las Vegas Strip, up to $800 in travel credits for the winner plus a guest, $500 in food and beverage credits, transportation to and from the airport, and a minimum of $500 in cash winnings in the 2017 championship.

Last year TournEvent of Champions etched its name in the famed Guinness Book of World Records for the world’s largest slot tournament. The mark was established at Muckleshoot Casino in Auburn, Washington when 3,173 players competed making it a world record.

When it expanded nationally in 2013, 88 finalists from 77 casinos competed for a grand prize of $100,000. In 2014, the first year the championship was held at XS Night Club in the Wynn/Encore Resort in Las Vegas, 123 finalists from 100 casinos competed for $250,000 in 12

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

In addition to Lisa Knox, last year’s champion, the champion’s honor roll also includes: Rita Kellerman (2015) representing Ho-Chunk Wisconsin Dells in Baraboo, Wisconsin; Kathryn Mc Dona ld (2 014) represent ing Snoqualmie Casino in Snoqualmie, Washington, and Maria Lindell (2013)

representing Grand Casino Mille Lacs in Mille Lacs, Minnesota. Everi made its presence felt in a big way at last year’s Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas when the third annual TournEvent for Charities celebrity slot tournament was conducted. Twenty-four stars competed for their favorite charities in the event, including Penn & Teller, Carrot Top and Robin Leach. Everi made a total contribution of $40,000 at the event. Be on the lookout for the TournEvent of Championstour bus, The Money Man and a festive slot tournament environment unmatched in the industry at a casino near you this year. The opportunity to win $1 million doesn’t come along ever y day, so check out the 2017 TournEvent of Champions tour stops at www.tourneventofchampions.com.


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HOT SLOT SLOTS CAS I NO

GUIDE 2017

N

of 2017

SLOTS EXPERT JOHN GROCHOWSKI INTRODUCES THE LATEST AND GREATEST GAMES

ever let it be said a pretty game face can’t turn a slot player’s head. We love to check out the latest animation, graphics, sound packages and bonus events.

When bonus symbols land on the first,

Slot manufacturers exist to give us what we want, and they do it by creating hundreds of new games every year.

the credits mount up fast if you’re lucky

Naturally, 2017 will be no exception. New games come to market every month, all vying for that chance to turn our heads and, more important, get us to take a seat and keep us there.

the progressive jackpots. Landing four

fifth and ninth reels, you earn a spin of the bonus wheel onscreen to the right of the main reels. Spins of the wheel can bring bonus credits and additional spins, and enough to get the maximum nine spins. Max bets put you in contention for through nine Riverboat Queen symbols on the reels puts you in jackpot land, with your jackpot tier corresponding to the number of Riverboat Queen symbols.

You’re sure to want to check out these hot new slots for 2017.

DREAMSCAPE, Everi

Symbol Bursts occur randomly to up your

Why you’ll love it: With Mystery Wilds and up to 97 free spins possible, your big win dream can come true.

winnings. For those who bet the max,

Everi is excited to add Dreamscape to its offerings on its new Platinum MXP cabinet with a 40-inch integrated touchscreen, an interactive sound chair with Earthquake Shakers and 6.2 surround sound.

win the top progressive tier.

there are progressive jackpots triggered when six or more jackpot symbols land on the reels. With 13 or more symbols, you

RIVERBOAT QUEEN Everi Why you’ll love it: You’re at the helm for

The game features five video reels with 80 paylines. Scattering five to 10 bonus symbols across the reels triggers free spins. You can relaunch the bonus during free spins, adding a trigger payoff on each relaunch and making possible up to 97

fun and credits with an on-screen bonus

freebies.

dual widescreen touchscreens on 23-

Mystery Symbol Upgrades and Mystery 14

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

wheel, and you’ll enjoy cruising toward a multi-tier progressive jackpot. Riverboat Queen has an unusual nine-reel, 32-payline configuration on Everi’s Core HDX cabinet. The Core HDX features inch monitors and a premium three-way sound system.


of the bonus as you collect credits and get a chance at the progressive jackpots.

MONEY RAIN SUPER SKY WHEEL Incredible Technologies Why you’ll love it: A popular favorite gets a fresh bonus on Incredible’s new cabinet. Incredible Technologies has come a long way in a few short years of creating slot games. Creative and different from the beginning, IT has upped its presence with experience in market needs and game math. IT had its first mega-hit in Money Rain, and now is using the game to introduce its Infinity Super Skybox cabinet. You must not miss it. The recommended configuration is four machines side-byside, each topped by a 55-inch monitor. The four monitors are linked to make an

Recognizing that Sphinx 3D was reaching

imposing 123-inch display when the Sky

out to catch the virtual coins that appeared

Wheel bonus is in play.

to pop out of the screen in big wins, IGT

One feature is the money catch bonus –

FROGGER

you touch the screen to collect currency

Konami

as it flies by.

Why you’ll love it: One of the most

Some of that currency awards spins on a

popular arcade games of all time makes

Super Sky Wheel that stretches across the

its casino debut in retro style.

four overhead monitors. There you can win

A favorite in arcades and home gaming systems for more than 30 years, Frogger has come to slot formats in two themes: Great City Wilds and Woodland Wilds.

progressives or credits. The wheel has a ring within a ring and, on the inner ring, you can win re-spins with up to 20 Sky Wheel spins possible.

Both have four-level progressive jackpots,

You’ll be thrilled that sometimes when it

but what the bonus gamers will look

rains, it pours.

forward to is the Frogger Bonus. With a strong tie to the arcade game, the Frogger bonus will be instant nostalgia for longtime players and fun for everyone. It launches randomly with a mystery trigger,

designed a game that can track hand movement. When launching a free-spin bonus, try moving your hand close to the screen. Lightning-like lines will appear around your hand, and you’ll feel a small tingling. Push your hand in and draw it out, and the energy discharge follows your hand. A quick flick, and the electrical effect disappears and the bonus launches. It’s a very cool effect, enhancing what’s already an amazing experience.

SPHINX 4D

ULTIMATE X BONUS STREAK

International Game Technology

International Game Technology

Why you’ll love it: A dimension of touch

Why you’ll love it: Video poker players get

adds extra feel to the popular Sphinx 3D.

in on bonus fun with multipliers for five hands in a row.

and it takes you to the classic Frogger

How could IGT top Sphinx 3D: With

course, crossing roads and rivers – watch

Sphinx 4D, which adds a dimension of

Bonus Streak builds on the success of

out for cars! You get three lives at the start

touch to the experience.

Ultimate X, the most popular of video G A M I N G A N D D E S T I N AT I O N S . C O M |

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poker bonusing games. It’s available in Triple Play, Five Play and Ten Play formats, each with a 10 credit per hand maximum bet. As in Ultimate X, winning hands bring multipliers for subsequent hands. There are exceptions: The smallest-paying hands, Jacks or Better and two pairs, do not bring multipliers on Bonus Streak. Here’s the new wrinkle players will love. You don’t just get a multiplier for the next hand; you get a streak of multipliers. On non-wild card games, three of a kind, flushes and straights bring multipliers on the next three hands. If it’s a full house or better, you get a five-hand streak. Not only that, the multiplier increases for each hand on the streak. When you have the maximum streak, multipliers are 2x, 3x, 4x, 8x and 12x – that is, payoffs on a winning hand are doubled on the next play, tripled on the one after and so on. If you have a winner during the streak, it increases payoffs for the remainder of the streak to 12x. That’s a bonus video poker

players will want to see again and again.

DRAGON LINK

When you get six or more pearls, you collect credits from each, with a shot at one or more jackpots.

extra wild can appear up top and drop into

The multilevel progressive Dragon Link is on Aristocrat’s premium Arc Single cabinet. It’s Asian-themed with base games that include Autumn Moon, Panda Magic and Golden Century. It’s available as a multi-denominational game, so you can choose 1, 2, 5 or 10 cents, as well as $1 and $2 for the big players.

be in for a wild ride.

Aristocrat Technologies Why you’ll love it: You can win multiple

PHOENIX PRINCESS

progressives on a single spin. Can it get

Konami

better than that? Dragon Link builds on Aristocrat’s popular Lightning Link progressives, and that’s a great base. For 2016, Lightning Link was named the leading slot in North America in the annual Eilers Fantini

survey, ending a five-year run at the top for IGT’s Wheel of Fortune. As in Lightning Link, you’re looking for pearls onscreen for bonus credits and possible progressive jackpots, and it’s possible to win multiple progressives in a single bonus spin. 16

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Why you’ll love it: Extra wilds in the top box and drop to the main screen to make some regal payoffs. A five-reel video slot, Phoenix Princess is available to casinos in 20-, 30- and 40line versions. Each have Action Stacked Symbols on all reels and, when the stacks match, you’re credit meter will soar. During regular play, wild symbols can appear on the second through fifth reels, while in free-spin mode the wilds appear on the second, third or fourth reels. However, it’s during the free spins that

random positions on the man screen. With up to 20 possible free spins, you can


SEINFELD

There are bonuses featuring Jerry, Elaine,

Scientific Games

George and Kramer, of course. But

Why you’ll love it: Jerry and the gang are

such in the Festivus Bonus. You use a

secondary characters also are featured,

all here with classic moments from the

motion sensor to grab the Festivus pole

TV legend.

while Jerry Stiller as Frank Costanza

Seinfeld is on Scientific Games’ Gamescape cabinet with five video screens. At eye level, there’s a triptych, with a main screen

announces, “A new holiday is born: Festivus for the rest of us.” When you have the pole, it launches the Festivus free spins.

straight ahead and smaller panels angling

Then there’s the Soup Nazi, a fun bonus

out on either side. And there’s big bonus

event featuring custom content actor Larry

and video clip fun in the top box screens.

Thomas recorded in a green-screen shoot

The main screen has four sets of video

at Scientific Games’ Chicago facilities.

reels. You can play one, if you like, and still

In the Soup Nazi bonus, cartons of soup

be eligible for all the character bonuses. Or

roll by on a conveyor. Some reveal bonus

you can bet bigger and play all four.

credits; others contain a character’s face. If you get a character, it’s worth a trip to a bonus wheel that’s superimposed on the Soup Nazi. Some wheel segments are open so you can see Thomas beneath. Other spaces award credits, but if the wheel lands on an open space and the Soup Nazi’s face shows, it’s “No soup for you!” and the round ends.

THE SIMPSONS Scientific Games Why you’ll love it: “The Simpsons” animators lent a hand in a revamped game that has TV-level fun. Highly anticipated as one of the Hot Slots of 2016, The Simpsons was held back a year to become one of the hottest of 2017.

“The Simpsons” voice actors Hank Azaria

Why?

and Dan Castellaneta.

“The Simpsons” license holders saw and

The result is gorgeous. You’ll want to

liked the game, but thought they could

stop by the game just to see the animated

improve on animation and scripts to make it stand out more. They then worked with Scientific Games to create custom content with animators

introductory dream sequence with a tuxedoed Homer wafting from craps table to roulette to the doughnut buffet.

from the series, with one of their writers doing scripts and voiceover sessions with G A M I N G A N D D E S T I N AT I O N S . C O M |

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SLOT MACHINE MILESTONES: THEN AND NOW by

A

brave new world is ahead as casinos start to bring skill-based slot machines to their floors.

Casino operators and slot manufacturers have faced brave new worlds before, going from coin tubes to coin hoppers to ticket pays, from mechanical reels to video, and with the introduction of bonus events. With skill-based slots, game-makers are looking forward attempting to give the Millennial generation games they love, without leaving core play from Baby Boomers and Generation X behind. In most states implantation is waiting for regulators to set standards, although GameCo’s skill-based Danger Area debuted in New Jersey last year. That’s a normal, well-trodden path. Innovations don’t go directly from lab to casino floor. Regulators must give their stamp of approval to protect players, casinos and state interests alike. As we gear up for the latest brave new world, let’s look at some of the innovations of the past – milestones that have brought us to the point that skill-based slots are viable options.

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J O H N G . B RO KO PP

THE LIBERTY BELL Any look at slot innovations has to start with the Liberty Bell, the first three-reel slot machine. There were coin-operated gaming devices before San Francisco mechanic Charles Fey invented the Liberty Bell in 1895, but none as influential. Earlier slots featured vertical color wheels, and players could bet on what color would land at the indicator. Fey gave us three spinning reels, symbols, a payline, a coin slot and a handle to start the reels in motion. That set the trend for games in use well over a century later. MONEY HONEY AND THE COIN HOPPER Bally Gaming’s Money Honey, released in 1964, was both the first slot machine to use a coin hopper and the f irst electromechanical slot – mechanical reels, but electric motor-driven. It was the first slot that needed to be plugged into an electric outlet, and started a new era that lit up the slot floor. Bally engineers Frank Nicolaus and Bud Breitenstein invented the motor-driven hopper in 1963, revolutionizing slot

play. It enabled slots to circulate coins for payouts from a large pool, a big step forward from the size-challenged coin tubes in earlier games. On Money Honey, the hopper enabled payouts of up to 500 coins at a time. Nicolaus and Breitenstein’s brainchild enabled game-makers to design games with larger, more frequent payoffs, jump-starting slot machines toward their position as the most popular games in today’s casinos. VIDEO POKER Video slots have been important parts of casino floors for two decades now, and have been the most popular casino games for nearly 15 years. But there was a time when players avoided video slots like the plague. The lines started softening with the invention of video poker. Generally regarded as a separate entity from slots, video poker was the first game that showed large numbers of players would wager on video. In the mid-1970s Bally engineer William Redd invented video poker, but Bally didn’t want it. Redd kept the patent as he partnered with Fortune Coin to form


Sircoma to sell video poker machines. When Redd took the company public, it was christened International Game Technology. Video poker was a phenomenon in its own right. When Jacks or Better was first introduced, people lined up for their chance to play. The success of video poker was the foundation on which IGT built its empire as the world’s largest slot-maker. THE VIRTUAL REEL One limitation of three-reel slot machines is that the reels have to fit in the machine casing. That limits the number of symbols and stops a reel can contain, making it difficult to drive the odds high enough for games to offer really big jackpots. Inge Telnaes solved the problem in 1984 by devising a method for mapping symbols and spaces from a physical reel onto a virtual reel. Combined with a random number generator, it meant game designers could make the reel behave as if it had any number of symbols and spaces. A reel with one jackpot symbol and two triple bars, for example, could be mapped so the triple bars came up 10 times as often as the jackpot symbol, while still leaving a random game. More stops mean more f lexibility for game designers to give us games with high volatility, low volatility, big jackpots, frequent jackpots and everything in between. IGT was quick to take advantage, as were other manufacturers who licensed the technology from IGT. Today all games with mechanical reels use a combination of a virtual reel and a random number generator.

IGT’s GameKing can thank the Game Maker for blazing the trail. WHEEL OF GOLD AND BONUS WHEELS Playing slots used to be strictly a matter of watching the reels spin and waiting to see if the symbols lined up to give you a winner. Anticipation was strictly a matter of focusing on the reel combinations. There were no bonus events to look forward to and to savor when they arrived. The big change began in 1995 when Anchor Gaming introduced Wheel of Gold. The original wheel was affixed on a tower atop Bally slant-top slot machines, and was a sensation. When the tone sounded signaling an upcoming spin, everyone in the vicinity stopped to watch where the wheel would stop and what the player would win. IGT knew a good thing when it saw one. A license was quickly arranged with Anchor, designers went to work, another license with a TV game show was arranged and – voila! – Wheel of Fortune was born. IGT later acquired Anchor, and Wheel of Fortune, their greatest creation, has become one of the most popular, longest-lasting and most influential products in gaming history. Today, nearly every major slot-maker uses wheel spins on some games.

REEL ‘EM IN AND MULTI-LINE VIDEO SLOTS Multi-line video slots weren’t born in the U.S. The Pacific Rim was the proving ground for what has become the hottest gaming trend of the last 20 years, with Australian manufacturer Aristocrat Technologies being a pioneer. However, when WMS Gaming adopted the format and introduced Reel ’Em In in 1997, it set the slot industry, well, reeling. There were just five paylines – three across the five video lines, a “v” and a chevron. When three matching fishing lure symbols appeared on screen, the video reels faded and were replaced by a scene of fishermen on a lake. Players touched the screen to choose an angler to reel in a fish for bonus credits. It all seems simple today, but it sparked the revolution that has led to video slots dominating modern casino floors. From that f ive-line, second screen beginning, we’ve seen the format grow to 9, 15, 20 even 100 lines, 243-waysto-win games such as Aristocrat’s Reel Power slots, multi-tiered jackpots, mystery bonuses and community style play. Today some video slots use pick ‘em bonuses, some use free spins, some use other creative, interactive ways to keep us interested, and multi-line video slots with bonuses dominate casino floors.

THE BALLY GAME MAKER A couple of years before video slots hit the big time, Bally started attracting players to its Game Maker, the first multi-game machine. Installing multiple games on the same machine and allowing players to choose by touching an icon is common today, but the innovation came when Bally introduced the Game Maker in 1994. It included slot, video poker and video blackjack games on the same unit. Poker and blackjack had carved out followings on a video format, but the Game Maker was the first machine where video slot games really worked. The success of multi-game machines such as G A M I N G A N D D E S T I N AT I O N S . C O M |

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PONG AND SKILL-BASED BONUS EVENTS Fully skill-based games are just beginning their casino life, but slots with skill-based bonus events have had small niches. Even before legalization of fully skill-based games, Nevada allowed up to eight percent of a game’s overall payback to come from skill. The first to make a small splash was Pong, based on the early arcade game hit. Bally first showed the game in 2004. The bonus event was a game of Pong against the machine – you used the game control to move a line back and forth to deflect an on-screen ball in a game that resembled Ping-Pong. Players who didn’t trust their skill could have the random number generator play out the game. Pong and its follow-up game, Breakout, had their followings, but they weren’t big enough hits to encourage Bally to make more. It shelved skill-based bonuses until demand caught up to game-making capability. Instead, Bally focused on perceived skill games such as Skee Ball. There was real skill in touching a ball onscreen, dragging and letting it go 20

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toward the holes marked with score numbers to earn virtual tickets. But the most tickets didn’t necessarily bring the most credits. After earning virtual arcade tickets, you’d go to a prize room, where a random number generator determined the credit awards hidden by the prizes. Other manufacturers also have had skillbased bonus events. Spielo International, which since has merged into GTECH and then IGT, had Zuma, based on PopCap Games online hit. IGT has its Reel Edge series with games including Blood Life, Tulley’s Treasure Hunt and Centipede. Perhaps the most widespread was Tulley’s Treasure Hunt, in which players used a joystick to guide a sea turtle through ocean caves to collect bonuses. The IGT games gave players an option to choose a free spin bonus instead of testing their skill, but the skill-based options have helped set up the next step into a brave new world. When you get a chance to play Danger Area and other new games in the pipeline, testing your skill will be the point of the games.


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

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PLAYER STRATEGY by

FRANK SCOBLETE

CRAPS: Ruining Your Fun

O

kay, this column might ruin your fun if you are a craps player. That is correct. As a busy-bodied gambling writer, I want everyone to see craps the way I see it because, well, I am right.

Frank Scoblete’s latest books are I Am a Card Counter: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Blackjack, I Am a Dice Controller: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Craps! and Confessions of a Wayward Catholic! All are available from Amazon. com, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, and at bookstores. Visit Frank’s new website at www.frankscoblete.com.

“DO NOT LET THE OTHER PLAYERS INFLUENCE YOU; ENJOY THE GAME BUT DO NOT GET CAUGHT UP IN THE RIOT THAT IS CRAPS.”

First, as craps players know and, as many novices hovering near the table can readily see, craps has such a variety of bets it can give a new player a headache. Watching players throwing out their chips and calling out weird names – “I’ll take a C and E.” or “Give me a Yo for five dollars!” or “All the hard ways, my man!” – will make many a wishful thinking would-be player scoot right back over to the slots. (“That craps game is crazy!”) But I am here to tell you that the bets being called above and a host of other bets are a waste of time and money. Their house edges are so high that winning even over a short period of time becomes rather difficult. The two factors that work together to make a game dangerous are the house edge and the speed of the game. So why do so many craps players make such awful bets? They love the action. They love how their adrenaline flows as the game progresses and the higher payouts of most of the awful bets (called “Crazy Crapper” bets by my late mentor the Captain) makes them forget the cost they’ll pay for making such bets. As the game progresses, their discipline largely disappears and those Crazy Crapper bets suddenly don’t seem so bad. (“Timmy, put your head into the lion’s mouth; he won’t hurt you.”) In craps you have some excellent wagers such as the Pass and Come bets, each coming in with a house edge of 1.41 percent. That translates to losing $1.41 for each $100 wagered. The player wins 244 decisions; the casino wins 251 decisions. That seven-decision gap creates the house edge. Still you can see that the Pass and Come bets are excellent when compared to others. They are about as close to 50/50 as you can get. Rather than go through all the bets at craps, suffice it to say house edges range from a rotten four percent up to a murderous 16.67 percent and up to 25 percent on jackpot bets such as the Fire bet. I would speculate adrenaline must be part of madness because making such bets is insane. If you are the type of casino player who enjoys

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frequently going to casinos, be it weekly or monthly, then consider revamping your playing style. If you love to throw the money out there wishing and hoping for a big kill, keep this in mind: The big kill in craps, over a period of time, is usually on the player’s side of the contest. So here are my observations garnered from more than 26 years of play, often 130 days a year. • Do not let the other players influence you; enjoy the game but do not get caught up in the riot that is craps. • It doesn’t matter if some player wins on the Crazy Crapper bets. He will hit that iceberg soon enough and his expectation is to sink. • Only make the best bets – Pass Line and Come with odds (as much in odds as you can afford). • Do not make any Crazy Crapper bets. • Do not bet more than three numbers. In fact I recommend you only bet one number. Every number you bet is a separate game against the house. Bet one number it is one game; two numbers are two games and so on. Why bet more decisions against the house edge? • Bet the lowest that still gives you a thrill. If $10 makes your heart beat fast and the joy of anticipation grows within you but $5 bores you, then bet $10. There is no need to bet $15. • Do not bet to impress people. Players, no matter how much they wager, do not impress the dealers, the floor people and the pit bosses. They know the players will ultimately be losers. These rules will go a long way toward giving you a shot at winning any given session. Something very close to a coin flip, such as the Pass Line and Come bets, are far better than wagers with high house edges – that’s a truth that can’t be disputed.


BLACKJACK: How would you play these hands?

by

H E N R Y TA M B U R I N

of doubling a soft 18 is this: We have a chance to double our bet when the dealer has a 42 percent chance of busting with a 6 upcard. Furthermore, we can’t bust when we draw one card because if the count of the hand exceeds 21, we then count the ace as one. Therefore, we have no risk of busting with a one-card draw and a good chance the dealer will bust, which makes doubling soft 18 against a dealer 6 a more profitable play than standing. Now let’s look at the following two hands. How would you play each of them assuming the dealer is showing a 4 upcard.

Even though all three hands have a count of 18, they are not necessarily played the same way against the dealer’s 6 upcard. Often the playing strategy depends on the makeup of the cards in your hand. For example, look at the first hand (our baseline hand). You are dealt a two-card hard 18, and the playing strategy is straightforward; you stand when the dealer shows a 6 upcard. I would venture a guess and say that nearly 100% of players would play this hand correctly. The second hand is also a hard 18, but it consists of a pair of 9s. I’ve seen many players stand on this hand, figuring a count of 18 is good enough. Standing might be OK for 10-8 against a 6, but when you have a pair of 9s the correct play is to split. The reason you split is you will win more money starting with two hands of nine against a dealer’s 6 upcard than you will with one hand of 18. The third hand is also an 18, but it contains an ace counted as 11; therefore, the hand is a soft 18. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen players stand on this hand against a dealer’s 6 (presumably because they think an 18 is a good hand against a weak dealer’s 6). Yes, when you stand you’ll win money in the long run; however, you will win even more money if you double down (about 12 percent more in six-deck game with dealer standing on soft 17). Actually, we aren’t trying to better the count of our hand when we double a soft 18. In fact, many times we’ll end up with a count less than 18 after the draw of one card. However, the point

Both hands have a starting total of 12; however, each hand is played differently against a dealer’s 4 upcard. The first hand is a hard 12 consisting of 8-4. Against a dealer’s 4 upcard, the correct play is to stand. The second had is also a hard 12, but the hand contains a 10-value card. By having one 10-value card in your hand, you slightly lower your chances of busting with a hit, just enough to make hitting 10-2 a better play than standing when the dealer’s upcard is a 4. (This effect decreases as the number of decks increases; therefore, for six or fewer decks, you should hit a 10-2 against a dealer’s 4 upcard, but in an eight-deck game, you should stand.)

Henry Tamburin, Ph.D. is the author of the Ultimate Blackjack Strategy Guide (http://www.888casino. com/blog/blackjackstrategy-guide/), editor of the Blackjack Insider e-Newsletter (www.bjinsider. com), lead instructor for the Golden Touch Blackjack course and host of smartgaming.com. For a free three-month subscription to his blackjack newsletter, go to www.bjinsider.com/ freetrial. To receive his free Casino Gambling Catalog, call 1-888-353-3234 or visit www.smartgaming.com.

“THE DEALER HAS A 42% CHANCE OF BUSTING WITH A 6 UPCARD.”

Both hands consists of a pair of 6s. You should never stand or hit against a dealer’s 4. Your best play is to split the 6s because you’ll either lose less money or win more in the long run (depending on the rules) starting with two hands of six against a dealer’s 4 upcard, rather than playing one hand starting with a 12. These are just some examples of when not only the count of the hand is important, but also the makeup of the cards that determines the best playing strategy. Until next month, play smart. G A M I N G A N D D E S T I N AT I O N S . C O M |

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by

LI N DA B OY D

VIDEO POKER: Multi-Hand Video Poker

Y Linda Boyd, a long-time table game player before turning to video poker, writes for Gaming and Destination and several other national gaming outlets and has published the leading Video Poker book, “The Video Poker Edge”. The book includes free removable pay schedules and her free strategy cards for the most popular games and can be found on Amazon and in most bookstores.

“GO FOR THE ROYAL INSTEAD OF HOLDING FOR THE SURE-THING WIN.”

24

ears ago you could only play one hand per game on a typical video poker machine. Nowadays, however, you can be dealt up to one hundred hands within the same game. This means players can increase their wager by a hundred times or $500 per game on a dollar machine, instead of just $5. In this column, I highlight a few tips for success on a few different types of multi-hand video poker games that should make a difference in the way you play and your final results. When it comes to the probability or number of hands played on a machine, you may think the casino or manufacturer determines the number of hands you can play to receive the maximum expected return on multi-hand devices. In reality Action Gaming founder Ernest Moody, who owns the rights to multi-hand video poker, sets the guidelines. So, the following strategies are based on those guidelines. 3/5/10 Play: In order to receive the full 800-1 payout on a royal flush you must play max coins. If it is a five play game, for example, your wager would be twenty-five coins instead of five coins. If you choose to play twenty coins on a ten coin multi-hand machine, then you will be forced to play just two coins per hand. In other words, you will not have the option of playing just two hands of five coins and you will only get 250 for 1 if you have a royal flush.

The cards you choose to hold for the main hand will be the same for every hand you are playing within the game. Each hand, however, uses a separate deck for the draw portion of the game. 50/100 Play: There are not as many 50/100 play machines, but they are a much more flexible option if you can be lucky enough to find them. This is due to the fact that you can play any number of hands, from one to fifty or to one hundred depending on the device. Either way you will receive full payment for a royal flush, even though you may choose to play less than the max number of hands. Using the same information as the ten play example, above, let’s assume you play ten coins in a fifty play device. You could select to play two games with max bet in each and receive the 800 to 1 return on the royal flush.

Just like the 3/5/10 play machines you select the cards you wish to hold from the main hand and those are the holds for all hands you are playing. | G A M I N G A N D D E S T I N AT I O N S . C O M

Games: To get started, you will select a game from the menu on the display screen before play. Some or all of the eight basic games in my book, The Video Poker Edge, will be among the choices. Formats: You may choose a multi-hand machine and a basic game, like 9/6 JOB, in a variety of formats. Examples are Multi-Strike, Quick Quads, Dream Card and many others you might come across. Although these formats award extra credits for certain hands, you will have to play more coins to be eligible for the bonus. For example, say you select a ten play JOB game with the Quick Quads (QQ ) format. You would have to play sixty coins each hand to be eligible for full expected return (ER) for the game as well as the QQ bonus. (six coins instead of five for QQ times ten hands for the full royal return.) Tips for Multi-Hands: Location of Buttons/Meters: The meters on themachines indicate the amount you won, number of credits and number of coins bet and allow you to keep track of your session. Make sure you know where they are before you begin playing, otherwise you can make a costly mistake by betting too many or too few coins or games. Buttons are used to change games, set the speed, see the pay schedules, bet all hands and deal or draw. Coins Bet: Always play enough coins to get the highest return for the game. This means max on the 3/5/10 play machines and make sure you set the meter on the 50/100 play machines for the number of hands you want to play. If you don’t you may end up playing two coins in ten games instead of five coins in two games. Budget Considerations: It is in your best interest to consider the cost of each hand and determine if it is within your budget before you start. You may want to change the denomination once you realize the number of coins needed to maximize your expected return. Check the Pay Schedules: The payout may vary depending on the denomination you select. Make sure you push the “see pays” button before selecting the denomination. It may be 9/6 JOB for quarters, but only 8/5 JOB for nickels.


PLAYER STRATEGY

POKER: Playing the Flop with A-K

I

In this column we tackle the old problem in Limit Hold ‘em of how to play A-K after a bad flop. Since you will be putting in a lot of bets before the flop with a hand like A-K, you can usually play this hand pretty aggressively after the flop as well (because you have already built a pretty large pot, one that is worth going after). Even though we are talking about beginner’s strategy here, it is important to touch briefly on the historical significance of A-K in no-limit Hold ’em tournaments. The classic hand to come up between two players in big no-limit Hold ‘em tournament is A-K versus Q-Q. Many times one of these tournaments is decided because a great player has hit or missed his A-K versus a Q-Q for a mountain of chips. At the 2001 World Series of Poker, I had Q-Q early in one of the events and I was “all-in” against my opponent’s A-K. I put my last $2,000 in before the flop and my opponent called me. If I had lost this coin flip (actually Q-Q is about a 13-10 favorite), I would have been eliminated and would not have gone on to win the event and $305,000 for first place. This is a fairly common occurrence late in these events. It makes sense, considering that the hands J-J, Q-Q , K-K, A-A and A-K are the top five hands in Hold ‘em. The trick is to “finish the job” and go on to win the event if you are lucky enough to win a big coin flip like this! Following are some flop scenarios that might come up: THE SITUATION 1. You have A-K in the small blind in a $2-$4 game at your house. (Someone may win or lose up to $200, but usually $50-$100 is an expected win-loss at this limit.) 2. A jackal (plays loose and wild) named Joe makes it $4 to go in the third position. 3. An elephant (fairly loose and always calls bets) named Earl calls the $4 on the button. 4. You re-raise, making it $6 to go from the small blind. 5. The big-blind lion (fairly tight player not afraid to go out on a limb with a bluff…good player) named Leo calls the $6 bet. 6. Joe the jackal and Earl the elephant also call the $6 bet.

by

PHIL HELLMUTH JR.

THE FLOP INCLUDES AN ACE OR A KING (FOR EXAMPLE, A-9-4, K-10-7) You bet, raise and re-raise quite a bit because you have hit “top pair” with a “top kicker.” In every case where an ace or a king hits the flop, you will have top pair with top kicker (A-A-K or A-K-K) and this is a very strong hand in Hold ‘em! But let’s suppose the flop is A-9-4 and someone is holding A-9. Your A-K would be losing on this flop because A-9 now has two pair, Aces and nines. Still, for every time someone who plays a weak A-9 against your powerful A-K and beats you, you’ll beat them more than two other times given the A-K is more than a 2.5-to-1 favorite heads-up against A-9. The point I am trying to make here is that A-K becomes very powerful when you catch an ace or king on the flop, and you should put in a lot of betting and raising on the flop when this is the case. Fortunes have been won and lost with A-K! THE FLOP DOES NOT INCLUDE AND ACE OR A KING (FOR EXAMPLE, J-5-2) You bet out $2. Leo the lion raises, making it $4 to go; and Earl the elephant calls the bet. In this case you figure one of your opponents has you beat, but you call the $2 anyway, on the chance that an ace, king, queen or 10 will hit the board on fourth street. If an ace or king hits, then you should bet out $4 on fourth street, but if a queen or 10 hits call a $4 bet (check and then call the $4 if your opponents bet) because you have picked up a straight draw. Since you know you will call $4 when a queen or 10 hits, you may choose to bet out $4 attempting to win the pot right there (but right now we are talking about play on the flop). So, the play on the flop here is fairly simple, you bet out $2 and call the raise of $2. THE FLOP IS Q-10-2

Phil Hellmuth Jr. is a 13time World Series of Poker Champion, leading all other poker players in the world. He is the author of two New York Times best sellers, and his latest book, “Deal Me In” is also widely popular. Visit PhilHellmuth.com to check out his latest blog, clothing line and exclusive poker tips and stories. This tip column is an excerpt from his Best Selling book “Phil Hellmuth’s Texas Hold’em” found on Amazon and in bookstores around the world.

“FORTUNES HAVE BEEN WON AND LOST WITH A-K! ”

You bet out $2, the lion raises it to $4, and then the elephant re-raises it to $6 to go. In this case you need a jack for a straight or an ace or king for a pair. You have to call the $6. You have to figure that at least one of your opponents has you beaten, even though one may be playing a hand like K-J, an open-ended straight draw. (You may even consider raising it to $8, but that’s for a more advanced lesson!) The point here is that if the flop gives you a straight draw, then you need to play your A-K. Three available aces, three available kings and four of whatever completes your straight draw (in this case four jacks) giving you too many “outs” to fold right away. I hope you can use this beginner’s strategy to help improve your game.

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

25


Sequoyah National Golf Club at Harrah’s Cherokee (Cherokee, NC)

BI R DI E S & BL AC K J AC K : T OP S OU T H ER N CA S I NO C O U R SE S

C

asinos are known for providing the best for their guests. If you want decadent dining, you’ll find it at a casino. If you want to relax in a world-class spa, you’ll find it at a casino. If you want to catch a concert, you can do it at a casino. There isn’t much you can’t do when you visit your favorite property, and that includes golf. In addition to all of the other amenities, casinos boast some of the best golf courses in the country that rival the elite private courses that are harder to gain access to play. We are excited to once again feature some of our favorite courses that we love to play. These courses aren’t all the most expensive, although some can make you cringe at the green fee, and a few may not have the manicured fairways resembling

26

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

Augusta National, although they are very

well maintained. However, what you will

FALLEN OAK AT BEAU RIVAGE CASINO RESORT (GULF COAST)

find is a fair assessment of courses that

1-877-805-4657 FallenOak.com

getaway. Also, new this year we are excited

Par: 72 Length: 7487

are priced right, convenient to the hotel to feature real reviews from real players from our friends at Golfadvisor.com, the

number one golf review resource on the planet. Be sure to check them out before you book your next golf trip! Enjoy

Slope/Rating: 142/76.5 Greens: TifEagle Fairways: Bermuda Architect: Tom Fazio (2006) Cost to Play: $200 (Exclusive to guests of Beau Rivage and members) Southern Gaming Says: This Tom Faziodesigned course is the gem of Mississippi and regularly ranks nationally as a top course to play, and once you play it, you

Fallen Oak at Beau Rivage Casino Resort (Gulf Coast)

are sure to agree. The course is located off property, but the drive is worth it as the


grounds are immaculate and the clubhouse is expansive overlooking the eighteenth hole making for a great place to relax after a round. Fallen Oak is also a regular stop on the PGA Champions Tour with the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic held March 27 – April 2. Review by joe3jax on GolfAdvisor.com: “The only way to play Fallen Oak is to stay at the Beau Rivage Hotel Casino. So, if you are on a budget, then this may not best option given the $200+tax green fee, in addition to your room. But, what you get is a golf experience, not a round of golf. The course is located about 20 minutes from the casino, so you will need a car/ taxi/shuttle. Once on the grounds, you are treated to a first class experience from the moment you arrive. The locker room attendant insists on cleaning your shoes prior to the round, made a name plate for me on the locker, and when I got done he even cleaned my shoe bag! Practice facility is nice, complete with short game area. So you can take your time to warm up. The course is typical Fazio, room off the tee, lots of doglegs and large greens. From the Tips I found the course forgiving with room for misses. Choosing the correct tees will be important, as the course can be long in spots, and asks a few questions about your iron game. I would recommend

SEQUOYAH NATIONAL

THE LINKS AT RISING

GOLF CLUB AT HARRAH’S

STAR CASINO & RESORT

CHEROKEE (CHEROKEE, NC)

(RISING SUN, IN)

1-828-497-3000 Sequoyahnational.com

1-800-472-6311 RisingStarCasino.com/Golf

Par: 72 Yards: 6602

Slope/Rating: 139/71.3

Greens: Bent Fairways: Bluegrass

Architect: Robert Trent Jones, Jr. & Notah Begay III (2009) Cost to Play: $55-$85

Southern Gaming Says: This gem is located in the heart of the Smokey Mountains and provides some of the most picturesque scenery you’ll find anywhere. As part of the Harrah’s Cherokee resort, and owned by the Eastern Band of Cherokee, you’ll find this Robert Trent Jones layout to be some of his finest work offering spectacular views of the mountains while playing immaculate a conditioned course. Now under new management, the course received great reviews throughout 2016, so if you haven’t played it in a while, you owe it to yourself to try it again! Review by bjconover on GolfAdvisor. com: A smaller group from a larger golf trip we were on played this course for an extra 18 on a Saturday. We called the morning of and they were able to find two tee times back to back. It was an absolutely great course and in incredible shape. Beautiful views, great layout and we couldn’t have asked for a better time. It was the ultimate risk-reward course with a few drivable par 4s and, unlike the mountain course we had played earlier in the day, if you missed the fairway, you weren’t OB. A definite must play.

Slope/Rating: 125/70.3

Greens: Bent Fairways: Bent Architect: Tim Liddy (2000)

Cost to Play: $55-$62

Southern Gaming Says: This may be the hidden gem of Indiana! Conveniently located just across the parking lot

from the casino and hotel, there are no excuses to be late for your tee time! A

true links style course that offers shots

for most clubs in your bag, this will test your skills from start to finish and is always in great shape.

Review by kcmh on GolfAdvisor.com: Played 18 in 3.5 hours. The course was

in great shape, no burned out areas and they had really good sand in the bunkers.

The greens rolled good and were kind of fast, nothing overwhelming though. It’s a Tim Liddy design so it’s a baby Pete Dye

course. Looks like one also. The tees and fairways were all cut to the correct height as one should expect on a course and the

tee boxes were nice and soft, and the rough

was lush. I would highly recommend this course for the $30-$50 dollar range. Anything less than that is a steal.

GRAND BEAR AT HARRAH’S 1-228-539-7806 GolfGrandBear.com

first time. Conditions were excellent, but

Par: 72 Yards: 7204

with so few rounds you would expect

Slope/Rating: 143/75.5

nothing less. The greens rolled at a good

Greens: TifEagleBermuda

pace for August, and were consistent.

Fairways: Bermuda

Overall, if you are willing to pay for a golf the Gulf Coast.

Par: 71 Yards: 6406

GULF COAST

moving one tee box up when playing for

experience, this is the best option along

4.1/5 GA Rating

The Links at Rising Star Casino & Resort (Rising SUN, IN)

Architect: Jack Nicklaus (1999) Cost to Play: $99 - $109 G A M I N G A N D D E S T I N AT I O N S . C O M |

27


Southern Gaming Says: If the name has ‘Bear’ in it, you know it has the stamp of approval from Jack Nicklaus. Grand Bear a short drive from the casino property located on the Gulf Coast, but certainly worth it. You will have a blast navigating your play around the natural wetlands and towering pines of DeSoto National Forest. Rev iew by BrandonTuckerGA on GolfAdvisor.com: I forgot about the long, winding road that takes you deep into the woods before arriving at the gates of Grand Bear Golf Club, but this is one of the best destination courses on Mississippi’s Gulf Coast. You don’t have

TAMAHKA TRAILS GOLF CLUB AT PARAGON CASINO RESORT (MARKSVILLE, LA) 1-800-946-1946 ParagonCasinoResort.com Par: 71 Yards: 7019 Slope/Rating: 133/74.4

Architect: Steve Smyers (2000) Cost to Play: $55-$65

Southern Gaming Says: Serving

as part of the Audobon Golf Trail, Tamahka Trails is always offering

guests a great round of golf in superb playing conditions. Hosting three

U.S. qualifiers, advanced players can get all they want from the back tees, and higher handicaps can still enjoy the round with the further forward

ones. There are numerous and massive

bunkers throughout the course making

to be a guest of the hotel to play here, and

your tee to green strategy important.

with green fees topping out at just over

Rev iew by Cosmosignman on

$100, it is a great value. Grand Bear does offer great amenities and a secluded, quiet round of golf designed by a top architect and a great option when you’re ready for a break from the casinos or the beach. The staff and neat lodge-looking clubhouse will def initely make you feel like a high-roller.

GolfAdvisor.com: This was such a Hidden Gem! You can tell this course was built with great care and a lot of money. It has a

great design and it has seen its share of golf and it shows, but there is a new director of golf and he’s doing an awesome job. We

played 4 rounds and had a spectacular time. The staff could not have been any

friendlier. We will be back over and

over again.

Tamahka Trails Golf Club at Paragon Casino Resort (Marksville, LA)

28

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

TOM FAZIO COURSE AT BELTERRA CASINO RESORT (VEVAY, IN) 1-800-427-7783 BelterraCasino.com Par: 71 Yards: 6910 Slope/Rating: 136/73.3 Greens: Bent Fairways: Bent Architect: Tom Fazio (2001) Cost to Play: $95-$110 (Senior weekday $55)

Tom Fazio Course at Belterra Casino Resort (Vevay, IN)

Southern Gaming Says: Whatever you have come to expect from a Tom Faziodesigned course, you will find at the course at Belterra Casino. In 2001, Fazio took flat farmland and turned it into a golf masterpiece. He created almost one hundred feet of elevation change by using dirt from manmade lakes, and soot from the Ohio River, and then planted over a hundred species of trees and plants around the course. Today, the trees have filled the layout and offers a fantastic round for all skill levels to enjoy.


Rev iew by u0 0 0 0 0 4 4 60268 on GolfAdvisor.com: My wife and I are average golfers so after reading about how difficult this course was, I was a little worried about losing a dozen golf balls. But all that worry was for nothing! This is a fantastic course that caters to all skill levels. The holes are laid out in a way that forces you to play smart. Each shot needs to be planned out and executed with

precision and bunkers on many fairways will capture long drives that would be a reward on other courses. The pace of play was excellent and only took 4 1/2 hours to play 18 holes. I would recommend this course and will definitely return to play it again. The greens fees include cart with a cooler with ice and cold waters, GPS, range balls and a cold towel after your round.

Southern Gaming Reader’s Discount

The Links at Rising Star Casino

35% Off Golf! Receive 35% off regular rate Monday - Thursday, before 3:00 pm ___________________ Receive 25% off regular rate Friday-Sunday & Holidays

*Offer includes cart rental fee. Not valid with any other offers. **Offer expires 10/31/17 

Use CODE: SHGOLF Blackout dates may apply. Rising Star REWARDS card required. Membership is FREE & must be 21. Call for Special Golf rates. 812-438-5148 For help with a gambling problem, call 800-994-8448.

THE COUNTRY CLUB OF THE GOLDEN NUGGET (LAKE CHARLES, LA) 1-337-508-4653 GoldenNugget.com/lakecharles Par: 72 Yards: 7000 Slope/Rating: 130/73.4 Greens: MiniVerde Fairways: Celebration Bermuda Cost to Play: $129 Southern Gaming Says: Located next to the casino hotel, The Country Club offers great golf and more. The course is regularly regarded as the top course in Lake Charles, is always in immaculate condition and provide great scenery for a relaxing round. The expansive club house also has a full locker room and a fine dining restaurant, The Chart House, allowing guests to really experience a country club experience. Review by john8757058 on GolfAdvisor. com: I played the course twice while I was there. The course was in great condition except for 1 hole that was cart path only because of standing water. It was a bit pricey without having the GPS feature on the carts, but otherwise it was a really nice course. There is a lot of water but not really in play unless you really get off line, and the greens are PGA quality.

The Country Club of The Golden Nugget (Lake Charles, LA)

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

29


SOU THERN

CASINO DIRECTORY

Below is a list of our preferred properties of the South showcasing some of the great things that each property has.

WEBSITE

PHONE NUMBER

*CC PARTNER

TABLES

MACHINES

BELTERRA CASINO RESORT

belterracasino.com

812-427-7777

55

1,473

RISING STAR CASINO RESORT

risingstarcasino.com

800-472-6311

29

1,000

TROPICANA EVANSVILLE

tropevansville.com

812-433-4000

40

905

FITZ CASINO & HOTEL

fitzgeraldstunica.com

662-363-5825

24

1,268

GOLD STRIKE CASINO RESORT

goldstrike.com

662-357-1111

53

1,400

HOLLYWOOD CASINO TUNICA

hollywoodcasinotunica.com

662-357-7700

28

1,079

RESORT’S CASINO

ResortsTunica.com

1-866-706-7070

13

1,052

41

1,563

34

1,275

54

1,200

57

1,800

INDIANA

TUNICA

MID-SOUTH: INCLUDES LOUISIANA, MISSISSIPPI AND ALABAMA AMERISTAR CASINO VICKSBURG

ameristar.com/vicksburg

601-638-1000

CYPRESS BAYOU CASINO HOTEL

cypressbayou.com

337-923-7284

MARGARITAVILLE RESORT CASINO

margaritavillebossiercity.com

318-698-7177

PARAGON CASINO RESORT

paragoncasinoresort.com

318-253-1946

SILVERSTAR HOTEL & CASINO

pearlriverresort.com

866-447-3276

40

1,200

GOLDEN MOON HOTEL & CASINO

pearlriverresort.com

866-447-3277

39

1,150

WIND CREEK ATMORE

WindCreekAtmore.com

866-946-3360

N/A

1,600+

WIND CREEK MONTGOMERY

WindCreekMontgomery.com

866-946-3360

N/A

2,200+

WIND CREEK WETUMPKA

WindCreekWetumpka.com

866-946-3360

N/A

2,500+

BEAU RIVAGE RESORT & CASINO

beaurivage.com

228-386-7111

96

2,100

IP CASINO RESORT & SPA

ipbiloxi.com

228-436-3000

60

1,900

SCARLET PEARL CASINO RESORT

scarletpearlcasino.com

888-266-5772

45

1,350

SILVER SLIPPER CASINO HOTEL

silverslipper-ms.com

228-469-2777

25

965

CALDER CASINO & RACE COURSE

caldercasino.com

305-625-1311

RACING

1,200

SEMINOLE HARD ROCK & CASINO TAMPA

seminolehardrocktampa.com

813-627-7625

171

5,000

SEMINOLE HARD ROCK & CASINO HOLLY.

seminolehardrockhollywood.com

866-502-7529

130

2,200

Caesars.com/harrahs-cherokee

828-497-7777

120

3,600

• •

PEARL RIVER RESORT

GULF COAST

FLORIDA

NORTH CAROLINA HARRAH’S CASINO CHEROKEE 30

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


READER REVIEW * CC Partner means the property provides coupons and special offers to members of The Comps Club. For more information, visit Thecompsclub.com

# OF ROOMS

ENT. VENUE

GOLF

SPA

POOL

608

OUTDOOR

294

INDOOR

349

INDOOR

506 1,131

494

201

INDOOR

INDOOR

INDOOR

OUTDOOR INDOOR

150

102

395

531

OUTDOOR

OUTDOOR

BOTH WATER PARK

500

OUTDOOR

571

BOTH

236

OUTDOOR

123

OUTDOOR

283

1,740

OUTDOOR

1,088

OUTDOOR

OUTDOOR

300

OUTDOOR

129

250

OUTDOOR

481

OUTDOOR

Reader Rating: 96%

Hollywood Casino Tunica Tunica, Mississippi HollywoodCasinoTunica.com – 1-800-871-0711

Hollywood Casino in Tunica, Mississippi has to be one of the most unique casinos in the South. The recently renovated rooms are spacious and up-to-date, Fairbanks Steakhouse is a regular favorite in Southern Gaming’s Readers’ Choice Awards and the overall selection of slots and table games is great. The casino has high ceilings and an open floor plan making it easy to get around. Check out their web-site for weekly promotions as there is always something going on. Check-in: 95% Staff: 100% Price: 100%

Cleanliness: Casino: Amenities:

95% 99% 85%

Will you return? YES Reader Comments: We always love Hollywood because it is different than other casinos. The movie props around the casino are fun to see and it is easy to get around the different slot areas. We didn’t go to the steakhouse but heard from several people that it is fantastic. The buffet offered a good variety of items for a good price, the serving and seating areas were clean and our server was great. On the night we were there it was loud from a band in the bar area but we tuned it out and still had a great time! We can’t wait to go back! Review by: Ashley W. from Birmingham, Alabama Date of Visit: 1/2017

1,108

IN & OUT

Want to review a casino? Let us know about your recent casino visits at GamingandDestinations.com G A M I N G A N D D E S T I N AT I O N S . C O M |

31


FUTURE ODDS FIND YOUR EDGE … PLACE YOUR BET!

Check out the latest odds for major sporting events. For the latest up-to-the-minute odds, visit GamingandDestinations.com

NCAA MEN’S TOURNAMENT - APRIL 3, 2017

KENTUCKY DERBY – MAY 6, 2017

UNIVERSITY OF PHOENIX STADIUM – GLENDALE, AZ

CHURCHILL DOWNS RACETRACK – LOUISVILLE, KY

Team January February Gonzaga 25/1 8/1 Duke 4/1 9/1 Kansas 8/1 9/1 North Carolina 7/1 10/1 Villanova 12/1 10/1 UCLA 10/1 11/1 Kentucky 8/1 12/1 Oregon N/A 15/1 Louisville 33/1 16/1 *All others higher than 16/1

THE MASTERS - APRIL 6-9, 2017 AUGUSTA NATIONAL GOLF CLUB - AUGUSTA, GA

Player Jordan Spieth Jason Day Rory McIlroy Dustin Johnson Hideki Matsuyama Bubba Watson Adam Scott Justin Rose Henrik Stenson Justin Thomas Phil Mickelson Rickie Fowler Patrick Reed *All others higher than 30/1.

January 8/1 8/1 8/1 10/1 30/1 15/1 20/1 25/1 25/1 N/A 30/1 25/1 30/1

February 8/1 17/2 17/2 11/1 12/1 20/1 20/1 21/1 23/1 25/1 28/1 30/1 30/1

2017 NBA CHAMPIONSHIP – JUNE 15, 2017 Team November January Golden State 2/3 5/7 Cleveland 13/4 3/1 San Antonio 11/1 10/1 Boston 25/1 50/1 Houston N/A 50/1 LA Clippers 35/1 12/1 Utah N/A 80/1 Washington N/A N/A Toronto 75/1 50/1 *All others are 100/1 or higher.

February 1/2 12/5 10/1 25/1 30/1 50/1 50/1 60/1 65/1

Horse January (February - Pool 2) Classic Empire 6/1 5/1 Mastery 9/1 9/1 10/1 9/1 Mc Craken American Anthem N/A 15/1 Mo Town 20/1 15/1 Gormley N/A 19/1 Practical Joke 30/1 20/1 Baltimore Runner N/A 22/1 Gunnevera N/A 24-1 Uncontested 15/1 25/1 Irish War Cry 15/1 26/1 Lookin At Lee N/A 30/1 El Areeb N/A 32/1 Fact Finding N/A 39/1 Mutuel field/All Others 5/2 *All others higher than 40/1. **Odds courtesy of Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 2

2017 MLB WORLD SERIES – NOVEMBER 15, 2017 Team Chicago Cubs Boston Red Sox Cleveland Indians Los Angeles Dodgers Washington Nationals Houston Astros San Francisco Giants New York Mets New York Yankees Toronto Blue Jays Texas Rangers St. Louis Cardinals Seattle Mariners Detroit Tigers

January 7/2 10/1 10/1 12/1 12/1 15/1 18/1 15/1 N/A N/A 20/1 N/A N/A N/A

*All others are higher than 30/1. *Odds courtesy of Vegasinsider.com

February 11/4 11/2 6/1 10/1 11/1 12/1 14/1 15/1 20/1 20/1 25/1 25/1 30/1 30/1

For the latest sports odds, updated every 5 minutes, visit GamingandDestinations.com 32

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


The New Way TO WIN Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort is the newest and most exciting destination on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. With over 1,200 of the best slot machines, 38 table games and 75 video poker games, we bet you’re going to love it here!

Your home away from home Located on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. 888-752-9772

|

ScarletPearlCasino.com

|

9 3 8 0 C e n t ra l Ave n u e , D ’ I b e r v i l l e , M S 3 9 5 4 0

|

Southern Gaming and Destinations - 2017 Casino Slot and Golf Guide  

We're excited to unveil the hottest slots of the year, and the best casinos to play them. Also, don't miss our Top Casino Golf Courses that...

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