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Best of John G. Brokopp

Gaming Guru

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Catching Up With The Mail

9 January 2001

From Eugene K. of Oak Lawn:

"I am ...an avid follower of just about any type of gambling. I am 77 years old and have been gambling since I was a paper boy and pitched pennies on the sidewalk. I have been in casinos in Austria, Portugal, Korea, Aruba, Curacao, St. Martin, St. Kitts, Nassau Grand Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Atlantic City, and Las Vegas (84 times). My wife and I went on a riverboat vacation. We visited every riverboat in Illinois and Iowa. I always went on a daily allowance and never lost more than I could afford......I suggest you put a story in once in a while about something that happened in a casino that was funny or about things that differ from one casino to another not only in different countries but also in the same city."

Sounds like a good idea, Eugene. How about it, readers? Does anybody have an interesting tale to tell about a casino experience? Would you like to share a casino adventure you had in a foreign country or on a cruise ship? If so, send them along to me at the Daily Southtown, 6901 W. 159th Street, Tinley Park, Ill., 60477, e-mail to jgbjet@ameritech.net, or fax to 708-447-7002. If I print your letter I'll send you a selection from my gambling bookshelf!

Via e-mail from J. C.:

"Would you please tell me which of the gambling boats here or in Indiana have the game Pai Gow Poker? I would appreciate it very much."

No riverboat casino destination in Illinois has the game, a variation of poker played at a blackjack-style table. You'll either have to visit the Iowa riverboats in the Quad Cities, or head over to Gary, Indiana to the Trump or the Majestic Star, casinos which share the same pavilion at Buffington Harbor. If anybody would like a basic strategy chart for this game, please drop me a line, using the addresses above, and I'd be happy to send you one!

Via e-mail from John A.:

"I like to visit Harrah's in Joliet for my gaming activity. But the management there seems to think that everyone in the casino, at the grill or buffet, or those in the VIP lounge, like to smell and breathe in all of that stale cigarette smoke. They're wrong. I have talked to other customers visiting, along with employees who work there, and no one seems to like the idea that they allow customers to smoke anywhere they please.

"Don't get me wrong. I like Harrah's Casino and their employees are the best. But I have written a letter, along with completing two surveys sent by an independent firm, and in all three examples I put in the comment section that the smoke on their boats is a little bit too much.

"Their response was to make a small section for non-smoking on the second deck of the Southern Star. Well, I didn't stay there very long because there wasn't a good selection of machines to use and customers would light up a cigarette and the employees would walk past the smokers and do nothing to stop them unless one of us made a specific complaint. Now even that small area is gone and filled with nickel machines."

I feel the same way about the smoke, John, but the Harrah's Joliet location is by no means alone in this regard. Unfortunately, it seems that for a lot of people, gambling and smoking go hand in hand. Riverboat casino destinations in particular are hit hard by this because of the restrictions on space. Since the management of riverboat casinos puts a priority on productivity from every square inch of space on their casino floors, it is not practical for them to designate non-smoking areas within the confines of their properties. Land-based casinos with unlimited space have a much better opportunity to do this as well as install better ventilation or "smoke eating" devices. Here's hoping things will improve when the riverboats are replaced by barges.

No name or address:

"You are so right that (players) clubs exist primarily for the benefit of the casinos and not for the players...My husband and I go once a week or every two weeks (to Harrah's Joliet), depending on how we both do on our visits. He is a "Diamond" player because he plays $5 slots. I was a Diamond player, but I got demoted to "Platinum". We were invited to the New Year's Eve Party every year and last year we didn't get invited. Phone calls, letters to Harrah's, never found out why we didn't get invited. Probably because we didn't have enough points to get invited. Sure slot clubs are good. The more you win, the less rewards you get. The more you lose, the more rewards you get."

There definitely is a "pecking order" in every casino's players club. But it doesn't have to do with what you win or what you lose. It depends on how much and how often you play. Your player status is based on volume of play. But as you found out, casinos expect you to keep up a certain level of play to maintain your player status. There are no lifetime memberships. Let your play drop below the level that is required and you'll find out!

Want to become the player that casinos fear most? My new book, Thrifty Gambling, is now in the bookstores or available by mail. Send your name and address along with check or money order for $13.95 plus $2.00 shipping and handling to John-Jet Publications, P.O. Box 1023, North Riverside, Ill., 60546

John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp
John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp