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Best of John G. Brokopp

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Empress Casino Gives Video Poker the Royal Treatment

5 May 2010

It isn't very often that there is good news to report about video poker at Chicago-area casino destinations in Illinois.

A majority of the time developments focus on bad pay tables, limited machine inventories, and a poor selection of games in popular denominations.

That's what makes the latest news from Empress Casino in Joliet so significant. Not only has the property made it easier for players to find a machine; chances are when they do sit down they'll be facing a pay table much more to their liking.

"We have beefed up everything among our video poker offerings and made a lot of changes to the pay tables," said Toni Johnson, vice-president of casino operations.

"Our philosophy before was that we would have good tables but they would be kind of sporadic throughout the casino, meaning you could find a good pay table but it wouldn't be available on all banks of machines.

"We have introduced many more 9/6 double-double bonus video poker games in both quarter and dollar denominations. Not every machine will have it, but a majority of them will."

Double-Double Bonus Poker with a 9/6 pay table means that nine coins for every one wagered is paid on a full house, and six coins for every one wagered is paid on a flush. With expert play this translates into 98.98 percent payback.

Contrast this with the same game that has an 8/5 pay table and the long term pay back with expert play is reduced to 96.79 percent.

Johnson also revealed that Empress has 18 more video poker units, including 10 available in International Game Technology's new G20 style cabinet. Ten of them were positioned near the entrance to the high limit room while four were placed in the dedicated video poker section.

"Making this new cabinet available to our players is exciting news," John said. "Most people who like to stay with the old cabinet really seem to like the sleek new design. It has been successful in Indiana, so I thought I would try it here. It looks like it is doing really well."

Video poker fans will find the selection of games that Empress has made available on the new machines is out of the ordinary.

"We didn't stick with the standard games on the new models we brought in," Johnson said. "Of course we stayed with Deuces Wild, Triple Double Bonus and Super Double Bonus, but we also went with the Super Bonus Deuces and Double-Double Aces and Faces variations."

Players who prefer lower denomination video poker will find IGT's new Dream Card Spin Poker available in penny denomination at Empress, as well as a pair of penny Hundred Play machines, two five-cent Fifty Play machines, and six five-cent All-Star Poker machines.

The casino also offers Ultimate X Poker (three machines) and Good Times Pay Poker (four machines) in ten-cent denominations.

"I love video poker and am a player myself," Johnson revealed. "If I'm not having a luck playing a traditional game, I'll stray over to some of the other new games and take a little walk on the 'wild side'.

"The new product that IGT has introduced over the last couple of years, including lots of variations to the standard games, has proven very successful."

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