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Best of John G. Brokopp

Gaming Guru

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Modern slots require updated game plan

13 February 2008

The slot machines of today are not the ones your mother and father played. They're not even the ones we played 10 years ago. The game has changed so dramatically that new technology has given the gaming industry the ability to manipulate the way we play slots.

Just take a look at the big business of slot play:

The 2000 annual report compiled by the Indiana Gaming Commission documented $20.5 billion coin-in and $1.3 casino win from 16,278 units in place at casinos around the state. In 2007 the number of units had swelled to 18,600 which generated $26.5 billion coin-in and a casino win of $2.2 billion.

The Illinois Gaming Board's 2000 annual report showed $23.5 billion coin-in and a $1.3 billion casino win from 8,882 units. In 2006 the number of machines increased to 9,888, with coin-in amounting to $24.1 billion and casino win totaling $1.7 billion.

Whereas the comparisons reveal increases in the number of machines and increases in coin-in, the most revealing statistic is the disproportionate increase in casino win. Collectively, slot players are betting more and winning less.

The main reason casinos are making more money from slots is because of the proliferation of multi-coin/multi line low denomination games, which pack a higher hold percentage. Penny games returned, but in illusionary form. In many cases it takes dollars per spin to play them.

Abolishing coins and tokens reduced expenses for the casinos. Vouchers can and should be a more efficient currency medium for slot players as well. One way to achieve this objective is to never insert a voucher that is worth more than the amount with which you are comfortable starting a slot session.

If you usually play in increments of $20, make it a point to cash in that $100 voucher and get five twenties for five different slot rounds. Putting $100 in the machine increases the temptation to bet more money and play longer on any one machine than you normally would.

Begin looking at vouchers as a convenient way to preserve profits. Maybe even devise a plan to collect them, such as cashing out when you've doubled your money on any one machine instead of chasing "the big one". Turning $20 into $40, cashing out and moving on to another machine with another twenty is one method of attack.

Also, never "throw away" credits remaining on your voucher. If you are playing, for example, 25 credits per spin and you're down to 10 credits, either put in more money or cash out and move on. You never want to risk losing a bonus round or a hefty line pay.

Always play the maximum lines on a multi-line game, but chose the number of coins per line in accordance with your budget. There's no sense in disqualifying yourself from opportunities to win.

Before you sit down at a machine and play, study the pay table. If you're not comfortable betting max coins when that is the only way to be eligible for the top awards or multi-level progressives, move on to another machine.

Finally, always play the highest denomination your budget will allow. Avoid playing, for example, 20 lines at three credits per line ($1.20) on a two-cent machine if you normally play 25 lines and one credit per line ($1.25) on a nickel machine. The "hold" on the two-centers is normally higher than on the nickel units.

CASINO NEWS: Four Winds Casino Resort in New Buffalo, Michigan is the first property in the region to offer the hot new table game, World Poker Tour 3X Raise Hold'em in which players compete against the dealer rather than one another. The game, which was developed by poker author and pro player David Sklansky, made its debut at the Bellagio in Las Vegas in 2005.

The poker room at Hollywood Casino in Aurora offers Texas Hold 'em No Limit Poker Tournaments featuring over $8,500 in prize money every Wednesday. You receive $2,500 in tournament chips for a $160 entry fee. Registration is taken on the day of the tournament and is limited to 75 participants. For complete details visit www.hollywoodcasinoaurora.com

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