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Best of John G. Brokopp

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Slot Players Not Forgotten in Poker Craze

27 September 2006

When a slot manufacturer rolls out a new game for mass sales and distribution, it has already been run through focus groups and test-marketed in selected locations in an effort to eliminate the possibility of the new product being a "bust".

Such was the case with WMS Gaming's World Series of Poker Final Table Bonus, a video poker crossover game which was branded to one of the most popular and high profile live poker tournaments in the world.

The game, at least in its first generation, proved to be less of a customer attraction than was originally anticipated during its 90-day exclusive run at Harrah's Entertainment properties nationwide earlier this year.

Now International Game Technology (IGT) is taking a shot with a new World Poker Tour (WPT) branded video poker game titled World Poker Tour Multi-Strike Super Video Hold'em, a game which combines the elements of IGT's popular Multi-Strike technology and the icons of WPT in a Texas Hold'em format. It is set to begin appearing on casino floors sometime this fall.

Here's how it works: The player is offered a choice of two sets of two cards on the deal. Once a decision is made on which pair to keep, the game draws out five more cards. It is then up to the player to make the best five-card hand out of the seven.

It ties into Multi-Strike in that there are four levels. If you have a win on the first level you move to the second, which is two-times pay on any wins. If you have a win on that level you go to the next level, which is four times pay. And if you have a win on that level you go to the top level, which is eight times pay. The "free ride" feature also applies where randomly the player may be awarded free access to the next level.

"There's a fun interactive feature on the game," said John Daley, IGT's director of video poker and Barcrest USA. "When you get some really nice hands, or when the cards start drawing out and you have the potential for a good hand, a video pops up with WPT co-hosts Mike Sexton and Vince Van Patten doing a little commentary about the hand. Then you press the 'continue' button and it draws out the rest of the hand for you."

The game has some premium hand bonus features. For example, if you start with an ace-king suited or a pair aces or face cards, you automatically are awarded a bad beat bonus if you don't have a winning combination, plus you also move up to the next level.

Sometime next month IGT is also unveiling a new video slot that will give fans of low denomination multi-line/multi-coin games a poker experience without the skill and strategy factors.

The new game is the World Poker Tour video slot that incorporates the icons of the popular Travel Channel show after which it is themed. It was designed with an imaginative blend of the sights, sounds and vernacular from the TV show that is sure to delight fans of this type of slot machine.

For example, one of the features is an "all in" scatter pay. Also, at the conclusion of one of the game's bonus rounds, Courtney Friel, a hostess from the World Poker Tour television show, will appear in an on-screen video to award your bonus credits.

"It's a way to broaden themes that are now very recognizable from the World Poker Tour and expand upon the exposure and popularity poker enjoys on television," explained Ed Rogich, vice president of marketing for IGT.

CASINO NEWS: On a more positive note for WMS Gaming, the Waukegan, Illinois based company appears to have a winner with its new slot line themed after Power Ball, the popular multi-state lottery game.

The game debuted this summer in the Chicago area and has proved to be a giant hit. The highlight is an interactive feature that gives the player an opportunity to win up to nine progressive jackpots on one spin.

The MGM Grand Casino in Detroit, Michigan is experimenting with blackjack tables that allow guests to play two hands at the same spot. At a seven seat game, therefore, 14 hands conceivably could be live on any one deal. Sounds like an ingenious way to speed up the rate at which blackjack players subject their money to the house edge. We'll keep an eye on this one to see how far it goes.

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