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Best of John Grochowski

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Hanging with The Hangover slot

5 July 2011

I've never seen The Hangover. You might think anything with an iconic "Vegas, baby!" trek would be automatic for me, but life fills up, and this is one movie I missed.

The Hangover slot machine is another matter. I make it my business to check out as many new casino games as I can. I'd seen The Hangover in demo mode at Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas last fall. And now I found myself spending a day in Hammond, Ind., where the Horseshoe Casino is one of the Caesars Entertainment properties that has rolled out the game.

Caesars has an exclusivity period on the game manufactured by International Game Technology, so you'll see it first at properties including the Caesars, Horseshoe, Harrah's, Bally, Imperial Palace and Rio brands.

I have no doubt fans of the movie will have a great time at the slot version, with its scenes from the film on the video screen, and its incorporation into reel symbols and game play of movie-related images such as a chicken, tiger, bloody tooth, hospital bracelet and "Welcome to Vegas" sign.

But for me, the big test was whether I'd have fun at the game despite not having seen the film.

I wasn't at all sure if I'd get a chance to try it out. When my wife Marcy and I walked into Horseshoe just after 10 a.m. on a Thursday, the bank of machines was jam-packed. Not only was every machine in use, but others were standing, watching, and waiting for a seat.

Afterward, I found myself walking toward The Hangover just as a woman got up to leave. I slid into the seat, put $40 into the bill validator and set the reels spinning. There are four sets of video reels on the screen, almost like playing four video slots at once. I wanted all four screens active, so I wagered 200 pennies per spin.

There's a four-way progressive jackpot, with the levels named after the film's main characters — Doug, Stu, Phil and Alan. There also are bonus events named after each of the four, with a chance to win your way to a progressive. I went to bonus events four times within 15 minutes, a nice hit frequency that held my interest.

There are on-the-reels extras, too. My best win outside the bonus events came when animation of some guy in his underwear came swinging across the upper-left set of reels, smashing six of the chickens, diamond rings, tigers and such while turning them into wild symbols. The new combinations formed by all those wilds brought me a little over 1,000 credits.

A thousand credits sounds like a lot — and it is cool to watch the numbers mount on the credit meter — buy with a 200-credit wager, it's really only enough to keep you going for another five plays. To come out ahead on a video slot, you need the bonus events to come often and pay big. It's during the bonus rounds, when we're racking up money without making extra wagers, that we have a chance to make a big move.

Fortunately for me, the bonus events did come often in my 15 minutes on The Hangover. One of them even paid big. And that was enough for me to leave with a few extra bucks.

Each bonus starts with a pick-a-picture game. You choose squares, and a photograph is revealed. When you collect enough matching photos, you win the corresponding award. Twice, I matched dollar signs and won 400 credits — enough to pay for two spins. But once, I got a Stun Fun Bonus, where I was instructed to hold a button onscreen to fire a stun gun as bonus credits mounted.

I won 1,150 credits there, but the fun was just starting. A couple of minutes later, playing the match game in the Stu's Game bonus, I advanced to the Villa Bonus. There, I was to touch an icon in a Villa room. I touched a sword, and revealed a 160-credit award and advanced to the next room. There, a touch of a TV revealed a baby, which meant my bonus credits would be doubled. Three more rooms brought more credits and one more baby, taking it up to a three-times multiplier.

Finally, in Room No. 6, I found a tiger. That ended my round. And when I looked up, my bonus total was nearly 4,500 credits. I'd been behind a by a couple of hundred credits, but now there were $83 on my screen: a $43 profit that defrayed the day's other activities.

No doubt someone who had seem the movie would have gotten some extra laughs out of the experience. But was it fun for this "Hangover" novice? Heck, yeah.

Recent Articles
Best of John Grochowski
John Grochowski

John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

> More Books By John Grochowski

John Grochowski
John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

> More Books By John Grochowski