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Best of John Grochowski

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Wheel of Fortune Super Spin

10 April 2007

Community gaming is one of the hot trends in slot machines today, and one of the hottest games around is Wheel of Fortune Super Spin.

But hot as the game is, I never expected to see it at the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, nor at any other casino boat where the gaming is still spread over several levels, leaving players to go up and down stairs in search of their favorite games.

Nonetheless, on a visit to Horseshoe, there it was, bigger than life and twice as bright.

Wheel of Fortune Super Spin puts seats and screens for nine players around a huge central wheel. If more than one player qualifies for a spin of the big wheel at about the same time, each can wait for his or her own spin, or they can play together on the same spin of the wheel. Each position has its own arrow pointing to a slice of the wheel's pie, so different players will have different results on the same spin.

The whole package is eye-catching to say the least. When I saw it in action, not only were players filling all the seats at the wheel, neighbors and passers-by were stopping to watch the action. Players were having fun together --- the whole object of community gaming at the slots.

Super Spin is enormous. It dominates the lower level at Horseshoe. And it's something I'd expect Horseshoe to run with next summer, when its new boat opens, a facility that will put 100,000 square feet of gaming along with other amenities on a single level.

My visit was on a Saturday evening, and I was broadcasting my WCKG-FM Casino Answer Man show live from the Horseshoe, so I got to ask Penny Parayo, the vice president of slot operations about it on the air. She said it was a hard decision at first to devote so much space to Super Spin, but the more Horseshoe execs thought about it, the more they wanted to bring the best new games to their customers.

Joe Branchik, Horseshoe's vice president of marketing, and communications manager Shelby Curry also joined me on the air. Curry explained about a big new promotion Horseshoe is running that further ties into the Wheel. Through April 30, Total Rewards players club members can swipe their cards through readers at the kiosk at the front of the main Total Rewards center for a chance to win a three-day, two-night trip for two to Hollywood, where they'll have a chance to become a contestant on the TV game show "Wheel of Fortune."

Wheel of Fortune Super Spin, manufactured by IGT, is cutting edge for community gaming, along with WMS Gaming's Monopoly Big Event and A.C. Coin's Super Slotto. All are games that try to make playing the slots a more social event, accentuating the fun of winning together. No doubt the popularity of Super Spin will encourage Horseshoe to try even more when its big new facility opens next year.

** ** **

Along with speaking to the Horseshoe representatives to see what's new in Hammond, I took my usual mix of calls from listeners. Here are a few things that were on their minds:

Q. Is it to the player's advantage to play two hands at once at blackjack? If I spread my bets across two bets at a low-limit table instead of making one larger bet at a $25 table, will it hurt my comps?

A. The house edge is exactly the same when you make two bets at once as if you're just betting on one spot. The player who wagers $20 a hand on one spot in the long run will come out about the same as a player who wagers $10 a hand on two spots. What spreading across two hands does is to decrease volatility a bit --- your bankroll swings, positive and negative, won't be as large if you spread the same total action on two hands instead of betting it all on one.

As for the comps question, if the pit is alert, your comp rating should be the same if you spread your action across two hands instead of making one larger bet. However, I've seen some high-end casinos that won't rate a table player who wagers less than $25 a hand. If that's the case, then your comp account may be better off if you stick to one hand instead of playing two hands, less than $25 each, that add up to $25 or more.

Q. Why are some craps tables bouncier than others?

A. That's one of the tools casinos use to insure that rolls are random. I know some craps shooters who refuse to play on tables that are too bouncy. They take their action elsewhere. It's up to you to play where you're comfortable.

Q. Do I get better payoffs on dollar slots or nickel slots?

A. Generally the higher the coin denomination, the higher the payback percentage. Quarters return a higher percentage of wagers to players than nickel games do, dollars return more than quarters, and so on. Remember, though, that those increased returns also mean increase risk. Don't wager more than your bankroll can handle.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Beat the Odds" tips Saturdays at 6:20 a.m., 2:50 p.m. and 7:41 p.m. and Sundays at 8:20 a.m., 2:50 p.m. and 10:42 p.m. on WBBM-AM, News Radio 780 in Chicago, streaming online at www.wbbm780.com, and to his casino talk show from 7 to 8 p.m. Saturday on WCKG-FM (105.9), streaming at http://1059freefm.com.

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