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Best of John Grochowski

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Hot Hot Hot Is Hot, Hot, Hot

21 February 2002

It had been a while since I'd last played Hot Hot Hot--a video slot from Bally Gaming. So I really didn't quite remember the intricacies of the game.

The tropical seaside reel symbols looked familiar, and I knew I had my choice of three buttons, each corresponding to a diver standing above the reels, to start play.

When a wild symbol turned up on the reels, the rest started to come back to me. My diver plunged down the reel to an oyster-and-pearl symbol, grabbed the pearl and revealed a bonus award. Later, two wilds showed up, and all three divers took the plunge, giving me three bonuses.

After a while, three "Hot"" symbols landed on the screen, and I advanced to the second-screen diver bonus.

Just like the last time I played. Only this wasn't on a casino slot machine. It was on my home computer, using Masque Publishing's new "Slots II" software.

At $24.99, this is a real find for slot players. Choose among 50 games, including both video bonus slots and more traditional reel-spinning games from Bally Gaming. In addition to Hot Hot Hot, video bonus games include 99 Bottles of Beer and The Platypus Game, while reel-spinning games include favorites such as Blazing 7s and Betty Boop's Big Hit.

Graphics are first rate. You'll feel like you're playing the real thing, except that all jackpots--and all losses--are imaginary. And if the real thing isn't good enough for you, you can set the games for extra high payouts instead of true payouts. Nothing like a few thousand credits on the meter to get a slot player going.

Slots II follows up the success of Masque's "Slots" software, also $24.99. It features IGT games such as Double Diamond, Wild Cherry and Red White and Blue.

Slots II is available from Amazon.com.

NEW GUIDE OUT: I often meet with other gaming writers on trips to Las Vegas, but rarely get a chance to see them on my home turf. But Steve Bourie, who annually publishes the American Casino Guide, is on a mission. He not only lists every casino in the United States in his guide, but is trying to visit them.

That quest brought him to Illinois, Indiana and Iowa recently. After a false start that was entirely my fault, I caught up with him at Grand Victoria in Elgin, where we played a little video poker together, sampled the buffet and talked over the 2002 Guide.

The guide is a massive undertaking at more than 400 pages. Listings for each casino include phone numbers, descriptions of amenities, hotel room rates, games offered, availability of fun books and special features. That's all kinds of useful information, and it's just the start. The guide has evolved over the years from a mere listing to articles on games and strategy tips. I have a couple of articles in the book, and Henry Tamburin, Anthony Curtis, Jean Scott, Dan Paymar, Arnold Snyder and others join Bourie in making this a gaming guide well worth the $14.95 cover price.

In the back of the book are dozens of coupons for casinos across the United States, in the Caribbean and on the Internet. The only Chicago area casino with a coupon in the book is Majestic Star, with an offer of $10 in casino tokens for new slot club members. Players who travel will find other worthwhile offers.

I asked Bourie, who is based in Florida, what most surprised him about his tour of Midwestern casinos.

"What really was a surprise was the size of the casinos in southern Indiana. There are some huge places there, that don't really seem like they fit in with their surroundings," he said. "In Illinois, it seems like they do a better job of blending in with their communities."

The 2002 American Casino Guide is available from Amazon.com.

INTO THE BARGAIN BIN: Huntington Press in Las Vegas, publisher of gambling books such as Jean Scott's The Frugal Gambler and Max Rubin's Comp City, annually puts out a catalog called Great Stuff 4 Gamblers.

The great stuff--books, software, strategy cards_now also is available online at www.greatstuff4gamblers.com. If you visit the site, be sure to follow the link to the bargain bin, where you'll find some interesting products at rock bottom prices.

Among the offerings in the bargain bin is my 1996 book, Gaming: Cruising the Casinos, a collection of columns from this series. The remaining copies of the print run are on sale for $3 each.

Huntington Press publisher Anthony Curtis says that each day the bargain bin will have a special, something you wouldn't expect. One day last month, the 2001-2002 Bear Stearns North American Gaming Almanac, which lists at $225, was on sale for $35. That's a market report that appeals mostly to investors and casino industry professionals rather than players, but players get their chance too. One day last week, Peter Griffin's classic The Theory of Blackjack was marked down from $11.95 to $4. Keep an eye out, and you're sure to come away with something good.

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:

The Craps Answer Book

> 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