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Best of John G. Brokopp

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Video Poker Fans Will Love New Hollywood

26 August 2002

The brand new bright and airy Las Vegas-style atmosphere at the Hollywood Casino in Aurora isn't all that's making news in the Chicago-area gaming market. An upgraded and expanded video poker product that's been introduced there is certain to put smiles on the faces of devotees of the game.

As previously pointed out in this column, video poker machines are less profitable than their reel and video slot game counterparts. The limited floor space at casino destinations in the Chicago area, combined with the state mandated limit of 1,200 gaming positions per casino, does not make for a video poker paradise at any gambling property in Illinois.

With that in mind, a tip of the gaming hat to the owners of Hollywood Casino Aurora for including more and better video poker options in their multi-million dollar expansion project that has truly resulted in one of the best casino experiences you'll encounter this side of Las Vegas.

During a recent visit to check out the new single-level dockside facility, I was impressed with the increased presence of video poker, including progressive banks, stand-alone machines, multi-hand options, and multi-denomination games. It's a big improvement over the old Hollywood.

My observations were confirmed by Jim LaPorte, Hollywood's Director of Slot Operations, who revealed that, overall, 27 more video poker machines were added to the "electronic gaming device" mix when the new casino celebrated its grand opening a few weeks ago.

"Highlights of the new video poker options at the Hollywood are two multi-game progressives," LaPorte said. "One is a 12-machine quarter bank and the other is a 12-machine dollar bank. Players at both progressives have a choice of five different games to play, each of which has its own progressive jackpot.

"A critique of our old video poker offerings indicated that players prefer a choice when it comes to progressives. If they're playing a particular poker game and want to jump to another one, they like the fact they're not going to lose their opportunity to play for a progressive jackpot."

LaPorte noted that many of Hollywood's new video poker machines are multi-denominational, which gives players the touch-screen option of selecting 25-cents, 50-cents, one-dollar, two-dollar, and five-dollar versions of the game they are playing. Included in the new mix are some of the relatively new "double pay" machines.

Of course, the primary concern of experienced video poker players revolves around the pay tables of the machines. Weak pay tables can compromise the advantage of playing the game as well as neutralize the skill to derive optimum return. Hollywood pay table watchers will be pleasantly surprised.

"We have 9/6 games (nine coins for one returned on full houses, six coins for one returned on flushes) available in all denominations," LaPorte said. "Optimum playing strategy can make these games one hundred percent return over the long run.

"We at the Hollywood know that avid, serious video poker players look for the best pay tables. To stay on the competitive edge in this market and respond to the requests of our players, we put a priority on offering the best video poker that we possibly could."

When you visit the new Hollywood, take time to walk around the casino floor. Take inventory of the video poker machines and check out the pay tables. Be aware that pay tables can vary in the multi-denominational games. Smart players always know what they're playing and what they're playing for before they put their money at risk.

The new Hollywood Casino's circular floor plan, which wraps around the upgraded and remodeled serving station Epic Buffet, is an architectural marvel. A very appealing playing experience has been created from floor to ceiling.

A serving cart that provides players with on-the-spot complimentary soda and water is a great beverage perk (don't forget to tip the cocktail waitress!) and the cashier lines reserved exclusively for token counting is a tremendous convenience and time-saver. You'll love it.

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