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Best of John G. Brokopp

Gaming Guru

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Word of Warning for Video Poker Players

5 March 2002

There is one very important aspect of video poker that players tend to take for granted: The correct and accurate operation of the "hold" buttons. They are the means by which players hold cards they wish to keep prior to pressing the play button and activating the discard feature. The cards they hold remain on screen and the cards they don't hold disappear and are replaced with new ones to complete the hand.

My good friend Jeff Gillespie, a resident of Las Vegas, reminded me about this potential danger. He is a fan of nickel "Fifty Play" poker at the Gold Coast Casino & Hotel. On occasion he has been dealt some premium hands that have the power to be very profitable when multiplied fifty-fold. But unless you are careful about knowing for sure that you have activated the hold buttons, your good fortune can evaporate into video space.

Video poker machines are just that, machines. The hold buttons can take a beating over a period of time, during which they are pushed thousands of times with varying degrees of pressure. Almost all of the time the casinos keep track of the wear and tear and provide necessary upkeep and maintenance. But when one of them escapes detection, it's the players that lose and not the casinos.

Every "electronic gaming device," slot and video poker machines, carry a disclaimer somewhere on the housing that reads: Machine Malfunction Voids All Plays. That means if for some reason the machine fails to operate properly, in favor of the player or against, the play is void and no payoff is issued.

One of the most frequent disputes heard by the Nevada Gaming Commission involves the hold buttons on video poker machines. Many times people play so fast they don't even check the screen to verify the cards they want to keep have indeed been held by the machine.

My advice is to take your time and always make sure the hold feature is active before you proceed with your play. You wouldn't want to be dealt a Royal Flush, or 4-of-a-kind, make a hasty play, and discover to your horror that you didn't hold one of the cards!

CASINO NEWS: For the sixth year in a row, Horseshoe Casino Hammond was the primary sponsor of the "Toys for Kids" drive during the holiday season in partnership with the Hammond Jaycees. Hundreds of toys, donated by casino guests as well as employees, were collected in a bin in the casino's pavilion. The toys were distributed by members of the Hammond Jaycees at a holiday party held at the Hammond Amerihost Inn the Sunday before Christmas.

"Because the nature of our business is to provide an entertainment venue for those over 21 years of age, we do not participate corporately in events where children are present as we feel it sends the wrong message," said Rick Mazer, senior vice president and general manager of Horseshoe. "The Toys for Kids program is a great way for us to be able to contribute anonymously to the youth in our community."

Good news for all big stakes blackjack players in the Chicago-area. The Horseshoe introduced a 3-spot table in its plush high limit room the morning of Dec. 28. Horseshoe was granted a 90-day exclusive on the 3-spot table in Indiana. What's so great about it? The fewer spots at a blackjack the better for the players. Big gambling, serious players will love it.

Also at the Horseshoe, the fifty-cent "Who Wants to Be a Binionaire" progressive that it unveiled last Oct. 25 hit for the first time on Christmas Eve. The lucky winner took home $92,292. The pot is seeded with $75,000 in start-up money.

Kudos to employees at Harrah's Joliet Casino who pitch in during their lunch breaks to deliver meals to senior citizens as part of the Meals-On-Wheels program administered by the Senior Services Center of Will County

Harrah's employees volunteer for Meals-On-Wheels through HERO's, an abbreviation for Harrah's Employees Reaching Out. HERO's chairperson Phyllis Ramsey says employees typically devote one hour each week delivering meals. Employees commit themselves to the program for one year.

The new luxury hotel at Harrah's East Chicago is the third such development in the Chicago-area riverboat gaming market. Empress Joliet opened the first hotel in 1997. The grand opening of the hotel at Harrah's Joliet was held in November of 2000. There are also casino hotels in Northwest Indiana at the Trump Casino in Gary and The Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City.

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