Gaming News

Atlantic City. Casino-watchers in Atlantic City, NJ, says that in the weeks since the Trump Taj Mahal closed its doors, the seven remaining casinos in that city have not benefited by the drop in competition. As a matter of fact, according to published reports, the numbers dropped by three-and-a-half percent in the month after the closing. The best performer of the seven remaining major casinos was the Tropicana Casino and Resort Atlantic City; it posted a 12.1% increase in year-on-year figures.

England. While many American Bingo halls have either shut down or are decreasing their hours, Bingo is going great guns in England. The BBC is even reporting that not only are the numbers up, but more and more younger people are playing the game. Having younger people attend games is something that many U.S. Bingo halls have longed for. Some halls, though, have been fighting for younger players. At least one hall in Nevada announced youth-oriented games with sessions that include black lights and glow-in-the-dark playing cards.

South America. Several countries in South America are keeping the tradition of mega-casinos alive. A recent survey of gaming in that part of the world shows that at least one Argentine casino boasts 79 major gaming halls, making it the champ in South American gaming. One of those, the Casino de Tigre, has 74 table games and 1,700 slot machines, along with video poker and other gaming protocols. The report says, though, be prepared to pay more for food in South American casinos than you might expect.

Indiana. When a southern Indiana Knights of Columbus Hall’s legal “treasure hunt” jackpot started rising, the anticipation got international attention. For weeks, the hall in Washington, Indiana (a town of 10,000) kept seeing no winner. Week after week, still no winner. The pot kept rising. It was nearly 50 weeks before the treasure hunt jackpot was won. The prize was nearly a million dollars. Thousands of people converged on the city. Local charities benefit from the drawing. And, yes, the city’s motels and restaurants were thrilled with the sudden arrival of people from all over the Midwest.

Hong Kong. Overnight gambling cruises are seeing good numbers in Hong Kong. A new report shows that the cruises are run under extremely tight rules. Hong Kong strictly regulates gambling. The report shows that for decades horse racing has been the big draw in Hong Kong. But, rules have permitted a small number of casino ships in the region. These have operated at least 12 miles off shore, with shuttle service to the ships and on the return to shore. A reporter who recently went on an overnight cruise noted that the jaunts are not filled with criminal elements or “shady women,” as some claim. He said the atmosphere felt more like a “floating, extravagant retirement home.”

Idaho. The latest audit figures in Idaho, compiled by that state’s racing commission, show that at least one horse track in that state may have strayed from the regulatory straight-and-narrow. Les Bois Park, Idaho’s only commercial racing facility, what shut down earlier this year when a bill went through the state legislature banning a level or machines that are cousins of slot machines. There is also confusion in the commission about undistributed funds in the state. More than $72-million earmarked for state schools has yet to be delivered because the commission has lost some ability to disburse funds.


10 Tamburin HeadingBonus Poker

Bonus Poker is a popular video poker game. But not all Bonus Poker games are the same and it’s important that you know which ones are better.
Bonus Poker pays even money for a high pair, and 2 for 1 for two pair, which is similar to the payouts for Jacks or Better. The difference in these two games is the payout for quads. Unlike Jacks-or-Better, where all quads pay the same 25 coins per coin bet, with Bonus Poker you get paid 80 for 1 if you have quad aces, and 40 for 1 for quad 2s though 4s (the quad 5s through Ks pay the same amount as they do in Jacks-or-Better, namely 25 for 1).
Players like to play Bonus Poker because they enjoy getting more bonus payouts, which occurs when they get the quad aces and quad 2s through 4s. This bonus payout will often quickly turn a losing playing session into a break-even or possibly a winning session, which is another reason players like Bonus Poker.
Unfortunately, the extra quad bonuses come at the expense of a lower payout for the full house and flush. With Jacks-or Better, the best payoff for the full house and flush is 9 coins and 6 coins respectively per coin played (known as 9/6 Jacks-or-Better). With Bonus Poker, you get short changed one coin on the full house and another on the flush, meaning the best Bonus Poker games pay 8/5. The expected return (ER) for an 8/5 Bonus Poker game is also slightly lower than 9/6 Jacks-or-Better (99.17% vs. 99.54%).
The following table summarizes the different pay schedules you will find in casinos that offer Bonus Poker. (The 8/5, 7/5, and 6/5 refers to the payout for full house and flush respectively).


Hand 8/5 7/5 6/5
Royal Flush 800 800 800
Straight Flush 50 50 50
4-of-Kind with Aces 80 80 80
4-of-Kind with 2s, 3s, 4s 40 40 40
4-of-Kind with 5s through Ks 25 25 25
Full House 8 7 6
Flush 5 5 5
Straight 4 4 4
3-of-Kind 3 3 3
Two Pair 2 2 2
Jacks-or-Better 1 1 1
ER 99.17% 98.01% 96.87%
Notice that you get more bang for your buck if you play only an 8/5 Bonus Poker machine rather than the short pay 7/5 and 6/5 versions.
Here’s another tip. Some casinos offer 8/5 Bonus Poker but two pair only pays even money instead of 2 for 1 (ouch!). This is a real rip-off so be sure you check the entire pay schedule to be certain it matches the above pay schedule before you insert your cash and start playing.
IGT has a bonus game on their video poker machines that they call “Bonus Poker” even though all quads are paid the same amount (the best pay schedules pay 35 or 30 coins per coin played for quads) with the full house and flush paying 8/5. The EV for the 35/8/5 game is a respectable 99.66% (which is slightly higher than the above 80/40/25/8/5 Bonus Poker game). The EV for the 30/8/5 game is only 98.48%; therefore, check the payouts for the quads on any IGT Bonus Poker game before you play.

Henry Tamburin is a blackjack and video poker expert. He is the author of Ultimate Blackjack Strategy Guide (, editor of the Blackjack Insider e-Newsletter (, lead instructor for the Golden Touch Blackjack course, and host of For a free three-month subscription to his blackjack newsletter, go to To receive his free Casino Gambling Catalog, call 1-888-353-3234 or visit

Henry Tamburin is the editor of Blackjack Insider Newsletter (, Lead Instructor for the Golden Touch Blackjack Course (, and host of For a FREE three-month subscription to his blackjack newsletter, go to To receive his FREE Casino Gambling Catalog, call 1-888-353-3234 or visit


Luck Lotto News  All the wrong numbers lead to big win

All or Nothing First
A father and son from Halstad, Minnesota, both won the $100,000 top prize in the state’s All or Nothing drawing. Pedro Ruiz, Jr. was on his way to dinner when his father, Pedro Ruiz, Sr., called asking him to purchase All or Nothing tickets for the weekend drawings. Ruiz bought his father’s ticket in Gary and later decided to buy his own ticket in Mahnomen. Ruiz, Jr. played the opposite numbers that were on his father’s ticket. To win the $100,000 top prize a ticket must either match all of the 12 winning numbers or none of the winning numbers. A few hours after the drawing, the family discovered that Ruiz, Sr. was a $100,000 winner because his ticket did not match any of the winning numbers. Later that night, Ruiz, Jr. realized his ticket matched all of the winning numbers. The Minnesota State Lottery says this is the first time that tickets matching all of the winning numbers and none of the winning numbers were sold for the same drawing.

Accidental Tickets Wins Big
A New Jersey man has won a multi-state Cash4Life prize worth $1 million because of a lottery ticket that was sold to him accidentally. 70-year-old Dante Castillo won $1,000 a week for life, but claimed the $1 million cash option. Castillo generally picks his own numbers, but a store clerk accidentally sold him one Quick Pick ticket—which turned out to be the winner. Castillo told lottery officials he knew he won after checking the ticket, but returned to the store to double check. The odds of buying a second-prize ticket with a $2 ticket are 7,282,016 to 1, according to lottery officials. The winning numbers were 17, 23, 30, 49 and 55, and Cash Ball was 1.

Co-workers Score with Powerball
Twenty Tennessee co-workers were the winners of a $421 million Powerball jackpot. The employees of the North American Stamping Group in Portland, Tennessee, play the lottery twice a week, buying at least sixty tickets and usually rolling any winnings into the next drawing. Each of the “Tennessee 20” took home about $12.7 million. One of the group said that the company’s president asked if all 20 would be quitting immediately. While some of the employees are indeed taking early retirement, all promised their boss they would stay on long enough to train replacements.

Girls Gives Prize to Charity
Phoebe Brown, 7, is a second grade student attending Sycamore Hills Elementary School in Independence, Missouri. One day while shopping with her mother, she came across a lottery ticket on the floor inside a store. Phoebe often picks up discarded lottery tickets, and this time it was a good thing she did. The ticket was a $100 winner. Rather than spend the money on herself, however, Phoebe decided to help others. Her school was collecting canned goods for the less fortunate, so the Browns bought $100 worth of groceries to add to the donations.