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Best of John G. Brokopp

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Harrah's Party Pit Great But Not For Everybody

3 November 2004

Harrah's East Chicago is putting the finishing touches on a multi-million dollar renovation of its casino in preparation for a gala grand re-opening later this month of a property that has been transformed into one of the most vibrant and exciting gaming environments in the Chicago area.

Among the many developments on the spacious vessel is a "Party Pit", a concept that has been used at Harrah's property on the Las Vegas Strip and was also experimented with aboard the old Northern Star riverboat casino at Harrah's Joliet a number of years ago.

The Party Pit is a new table games section on the second level. It's a high-energy alternative to traditional table gaming that is obviously designed to appeal to a younger crowd and those guests who wish to make a party experience out of their gambling outings rather than a studious, more serious approach.

The dealers are casually dressed, energetic, and are encouraged to interact on a social level with players. The atmosphere surrounding the Party Pit is festive yet somewhat loud and boisterous, featuring pop tunes blasting over a speaker system and music videos on screens surrounding the dedicated section.

The noise and party-goer activities can be somewhat disconcerting to nearby slot players, and will most certainly not appeal to serious players. Fortunately, Harrah's East Chicago has another table games area on the third level of the vessel which has also been refurbished and offers players a more sedate, dignified experience.

If you want to party while you gamble and are not distracted by arm waving dealers swaying to the music and players who are encouraged to be uninhibited, Harrah's East Chicago's Party Pit is for you.

CASINO NEWS: The popular Binionaire slot machine progressives at Jack Binion's Horseshoe Casino in Hammond continue to pop for jackpots with unusual frequency. During May the three-coin dollar bank of machines was on fire, crowning a quartet of six-figure winners from Illinois for an aggregate payout of $611,163.

The three-coin fifty cent bank took over the jackpot spotlight during June when, during a two-week period, the progressive was awarded four times for a total payout of $313,176.

The jackpot parade kicked off on June 10 when a resident of Berwyn, Ill., lined up the top award symbols and received a check for $86,933. Eight days later, on June 18, Tommie Rochelle of Chicago had been playing for only half an hour when the big payoff came and he went home $75,643 richer.

Another Chicago resident, Amana Walker, walked away a "Binionaire" on June 22 when she hit the jackpot for $75,426.

"I had a funny feeling in my stomach earlier in the day when I was eating lunch, like something good was going to happen," Walker told casino officials. She decided to give her lucky premonition an opportunity to come true when she stopped by the Horseshoe after a morning of shopping.

Just two days later the bells and whistles went off again, this time to the tune of $75,174 triggered by a lucky resident of Whiting, Indiana.

The fifty-cent Binionaire machines are located on the Gold level of the vessel. Every time the jackpot is hit, the progressive pot is reseeded with $75,000, higher than any half-buck in-house progressive in the Midwest. The maximum three-coin play ($1.50) is required to be eligible for the jackpot.

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