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Best of John G. Brokopp

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Video Slot Bonus Rounds Raise Reader Question

17 February 2010

As popular as they are among casino-goers worldwide, slot machines are the least understood of all modes of gambling.

That is a curious fact given the billions of dollars that are collectively wagered on them every year, perhaps best explained by the tens of millions of dollars in revenue they generate for casino owners.

Casinos aren't going to give out any more information than they have to, which leaves it up to players who wish to be informed to do their own research.

Here's a question from a reader that address the popular second screen bonus round component of video slots:

Is the outcome of the bonus round set as soon as you hit the play button? With a game like Jackpot Party, has it already been determined that no matter what presents you select you are only going to get a predetermined amount of wins? Does it really matter which presents you pick? Is there any random thing happening on a bonus round?

Unlike the base game in which the configuration of the grid of symbols is determined the instant you initiate a play, the touch screen decisions that players make during bonus rounds really do have an impact on the outcome.

The Jackpot Party multi-tier progressive from WMS Gaming is a perfect example. The main attraction is the bonus game, which players can enter at any time during the course of play when the Jackpot Party symbol appears on the fifth reel.

It initiates an entertaining, interactive feature in which the player makes selections among 30 presents on a 6 X 5 screen grid to win credits and hopefully a "star" symbol, which advances the player to the next progressive tier level.

The intriguing aspect is that players are in control of their own destiny. Winning and losing is most definitely based on what "present" symbols are selected.

When credit values and star symbols are revealed the game continues, but as soon a "collect" icon is revealed, the game ends.

It is important to note that the number of available star symbols (which elevate the player to the next level) on each grid increases as the player increases the amount of the bet. Any player who enters the bonus round with a max bet is guaranteed to get past the first round.

Betting max coins not only gives you a better chance at reaching the higher progressive tiers, the incremental amounts that are hidden behind the presents are also higher in value than they would have been had you made a smaller bet.

When Jackpot Party multi-tier progressive first started appearing in casinos in the Chicago area, Rob Bone, vice-president of marketing for WMS told me: "Giving players a sense of control, and allowing them to determine what progressive they qualify for is a huge attribute of the game".

"It is based purely upon what symbols and what presents the player picks to determine what progressive award they achieve," he added.

The same principle holds true for the bonus components of other games in which there is decision making. What you pick does make a difference because the outcome is not predetermined.

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