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Best of John G. Brokopp

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Giving the Dice a Roll at Chicago-Area Casinos

5 October 2005

With nine casino destinations from which to choose in the Greater Chicago area gaming market, it's always wise to go "shopping" once in a while to check out the differences in house rules and determine which establishments offer the best deals to match your style of play. Today's survey results cover the game of craps, broken down into the most important categories:

The Field (a one-roll wager that wins if a 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11 or 12 are rolled). Advantage: Illinois. All four casinos on the Illinois side (Harrah's Joliet, Argosy's Empress Joliet, Hollywood Aurora and the Grand Victoria) offer "Triple the 12" in the field. Only the Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City offers it in Northwest Indiana. The perk cuts the house vig on a field bet to 2.70 as opposed to 5.55 when both the 2 and 12 are just double.

Odds (an optional wager you make in addition to your line bet after a point has been established). This is an important component to the game because it's the only wager you can make where the casino does not take an edge. Winning bets are paid off at true mathematical odds. Advantage: Northwest Indiana.

The Horseshoe Casino Hammond, Resorts East Chicago and Majestic Star all offer 100-times odds. Trump and Blue Chip each offer 20-times odds. In Illinois, only the Grand Victoria and Argosy's Empress have 100-times odds. The Hollywood and Harrah's Joliet share the market low of 10-times odds.

High rollers are really the only ones who benefit from 100-times odds, especially in a market such as this where there are high minimum bets. If you find a $5 game and make the minimum pass line bet, 100-times means you can place a max odds bet of $500. At a 20-times table, $100, at a 10-times table, $50.

Buy Bets (paying a commission on a place bet on the 4 or 10 and in return receiving true odds of 2 to 1 instead of 9 to 5 if the number hits). Advantage: Northwest Indiana. Horseshoe and Resorts collect the commission only if the number hits. At all the other properties surveyed, you pay the commission up front.

As for promotions, the Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin, Illinois is in a class by itself with "Craps for Cash". The casino pays a bonus of $4,000 in cash to any shooter who makes all six points (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, and 10) on the same roll.

The real beauty of "Craps for Cash" is that it doesn't cost players a penny extra, such as is the case with Caribbean Stud Poker, for example, where players must play an extra dollar to be eligible for the progressive and bonus jackpots. It's a true, no strings attached bonus. Everyone who picks up the dice and makes a minimum bet on the pass line is eligible.

Granted, making all six points on one roll is mighty tough, but 193 players have pulled it off during the two years the promotion has been running, an average of eight bonus winners per month. The casino has paid out $772,000 in bonus cash.

Make all six points on the same roll at any other casino in the Chicago area and you'll have some nice winnings to show for it. Do it at the Grand Victoria and you'll not only have your winnings, but a $4,000 bonus as well. That's what I call a REAL advantage.

CASINO NEWS: Harrah's/Caesar's Entertainment, Inc. continues to expand the World Series of Poker. The second season of the WSOP Circuit was recently announced. It features an expanded schedule of 12 stops at Harrah's properties nationwide, up from just five circuit events during the inaugural 2004-2005 season. ESPN will provide television coverage of all the events. The closest circuit event for Chicago-area poker players will be held at Caesar's Indiana Oct. 19 through Nov. 2

The Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino in East Peoria, Illinois has just put the finishing touches on a $2.7 million renovation. The eight-month project included doubling the size of the pavilion and making wireless internet access available in all 208 of its hotel rooms. Parent company Boyd Gaming Corp. of Las Vegas, Nevada, also developed an all-new high limit room on the second level of the vessel and a dedicated video poker room on the fourth deck.

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