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Video and Live Poker Making News at Harrah's East Chicago

17 November 2004

Poker players, both devotees of the video version as well as live rooms, are the recipients of good news from Harrah's East Chicago Casino & Hotel.

Video poker continues to be upgraded at the property as the Chicago-area gaming market as a whole slowly but surely improves this popular gambling product. Management recently converted its popular Multi-Strike games from twenty-five cent minimums to nickel games, making it more attractive to average players.

Additionally, in one of two dedicated video poker areas on the vessel, a Deuces Wild progressive along the back wall has been replaced with a bank of Double-Double Bonus machines featuring 9/6 pay tables and a 99 percent payback using optimum playing strategy.

Nickel Multi-Strike games have been available at the Majestic Star Casino in Gary for some time, including "slant-top" (inset table models) in the casino's spiffy Mike & Don's Sports Bar on the third level of the vessel. There are also nickel Triple Play, Five Play and Ten Play machines available at the Majestic Star.

Harrah's East Chicago's sister property in Joliet, Illinois, has also been increasing its video poker inventory steadily this year, while Argosy's Empress Casino & Hotel in Joliet retains its video poker friendly gaming floor.

Now if only the Hollywood Casino in Aurora, the Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin, and Jack Binion's Horseshoe Casino in Hammond would increase their video poker offerings and beef up the pay tables, fans of the game in the Chicago area will be happy campers.

Meanwhile, Harrah's East Chicago is spicing things up in its dedicated live poker room, which along with Trump in Gary, Indiana, and the Hollywood, are the only such venues in this market, although Argosy's Joliet is tentatively scheduled to open a live poker room next Monday (Oct. 11). More details about that in next week's column.

Harrah's is giving players an opportunity to win seats in the 2005 World Series of Poker with its new No Limit Texas Hold 'em satellite and super satellite tournaments. The promotions are pending Indiana Gaming Commission approval and are subject to promotion rules and regulations.

The satellite tournaments are scheduled for every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in October. Each table will offer 10 players the chance to advance to one of the six super satellite tournaments. The cost to enter the satellite tournaments will be $30.00 plus a $10.00 entry fee. Super satellite seats may also be purchased on event day during registration time for $330.

The six super satellite tournaments are scheduled for Nov. 7, Dec. 12, Jan. 16, Feb. 20, March 27 and May 1. Each tournament will consist of 60 players. The grand prize winner of each tournament will win $3,000 along with a seat in the 2005 World Series of Poker. Second through fifth place finishers will divide the remaining cash pool.

For complete information, contact the poker room at Harrah's East Chicago directly by phoning 219-378-3558.

CASINO NEWS: Congratulations to the Grand Victoria on its 10th Anniversary. The Elgin casino, on October 6, 1994, was the last of the 10 Illinois casino properties to open its doors. It quickly became the most successful riverboat casino property in Illinois and remains so to this day. It was the first Illinois casino to offer a free admission policy. Ironically, today it is the only property in the Chicago-area in Illinois with free admission all the time. All of the others have reinstituted admission fees in the wake of the 2003 casino tax hike.

Coinciding with the anniversary is the fact that Grand Victoria's gaming floor is expected to be 100 percent TITO (ticket-in/ticket-out) enabled by sometime next month. Whereas the nickel games on the lower non-smoking level of the vessel are equipped to take currency or ticket vouchers exclusively, the rest of the casino's slot machines will afford the players the choice to use either cash and tokens, or tickets.

"We realize that there is still a segment of our players who prefer to use coin in slot gaming," a property spokesperson said. "Thus, as long as the manufacturer provides for it, the rest of our games will be both coin and TITO enabled."

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