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Best of John G. Brokopp

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Video Poker Game Puts New Spin on Winning

14 April 2010

Video poker players are a dedicated lot who really don't want the manufacturers messing around with their game. With an element of skill as the primary attraction, just give them a good selection of games with solid pay tables and they're content.

Slot players, on the other hand, want to be entertained, not only with the base games but with second screen bonus rounds.

The ideal compromise is combining an established video poker format with a popular element of slot play. International Game Technology (IGT) accomplished just that with Wheel Poker.

Wheel Poker is a union of the best of IGT's slot machine and video poker worlds. The base game came out in Triple Play and Five Play options with seven game families (Bonus Poker, Double Bonus Poker, etc.) from which to choose.

The company has now developed a Wheel Poker game based on Quick Quads, a format in which a sixth credit funds the bonus without taking away from the standard pay table.

After the draw in Quick Quads, if the player's hand is 3-of-a-kind, the two non-matching cards, Ace (1) through 9, are added together. If the sum is equal to the rank of the 3-of-a-kind, the player wins the 4-of-a-kind award. (Only 3-of-a-kind in deuces through tens can be made a 4-of-a-kind using the bonus feature.)

The distinctive component of the game is the top box "wheel," which resembles the wheel-based theme games for which IGT is famous. Players get the opportunity to activate a wheel spin for bonus credits every time they are dealt or draw to any four-of-a-kind. Each spin rewards the player anywhere from 100 to 2000 credits.

The strategy to appeal to hard core video poker devotees and at the same time win over slot players who are attracted by the slot-style bonus wheel was not an overwhelming success.

The sixth coin required for bonus wheel eligibility can be an expensive betting proposition, especially on multi-hand units. Statistically speaking, the frequency of getting 4-of-a-kind is once every 423 hands. The theoretical additional investment to reach the bonus on a Triple Play machine, therefore, is $1,269. It swells to $2,115 on a Five Play machine.

IGT is saying, however, that with Quick Quads Wheel Poker, your chances of getting to spin the wheel for a bonus will happen more than two and a half times more frequently than with original Wheel Poker.

That will be a huge draw.

Wheel Poker turned out to be much more attractive to average gamblers in quarter and fifty-cent denominations. The jury is still out on whether or not avid video poker players will buy the concept and if it will serve as a true crossover vehicle for slot players.

Wheel Poker with Quick Quads will be an enticing game for all players when it starts to show up on casino floors.

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