Should You Always Bet Max on the Slot Machines?

Three Casino Slot Machines, Bet Max Slot Machine Button
Slot machines are the most popular game in any casino. Sure, people bet more on the lottery, and the worldwide sports betting market is huge. But slot machines are the game du jour in most casinos, especially in the United States.

Sadly, slot machines games also offer the worst odds in the casino except maybe for keno. The compounding effect of making hundreds of bets per hour at the slots make these games a bigger moneymaker for the casino than keno.

There’s no science to playing slots. You put your money in, spin the reels, and hope for the best. The only decisions you make are which game to play and how much to bet.

This post covers how much you should bet. You’ll often hear so-called gambling experts say you should always place the maximum bet on slot machines.

This isn’t true for most games.

There Are Two Kinds of Max Bets on Slot Games

You’ll only find one “Max Bet” button on a slot machine game, but some games allow you to adjust the number of paylines you bet on. These are older games. They preceded the guaranteed “243 ways to win” games.

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Many of the slot games that use configurable paylines have 20 to 50 paylines. You can turn them all off but one.

The first time I saw one of these games, a friend of mine called them “penny slots.”

The minimum bet was 10 cents per payline and the game had 25 paylines. The minimum bet was, to my way of thinking, $2.50. You could never bet just a penny on that “penny slot” game.

The maximum bet was $1 per payline. This was a sneaky way of getting the players to lay down more money. If you hit “Max Bet” on that machine, it took $25 in credits from your balance.

The More Complicated the Slot Game, the Less Likely You’ll Win

Lady Upset Playing Casino Slots, Red Banned Sign Over Money Spread
If you don’t understand how much you’re betting when you push a button on a slot game, there’s something wrong with the game. Perhaps the gaming industry just went through a phase of bad design.

But just because a slot machine game has multiple paylines, you shouldn’t assume that you’ll lose money if you bet on fewer paylines. Each bet on each payline is a separate bet, so playing all the paylines at once might make you more likely to see a winner. But you’ll also see more losing spins on the other paylines to compensate (in the long run, anyway).

The game is still programmed to spin as if all the paylines are active. I watched in horror, as that $25 bet spun the reels. I got lucky and the machine paid a low prize. I didn’t lose $25.

You can save money on a slot machine like this in two ways.

  1. You can bet on fewer paylines.
  2. You can lower the size of your bet.

My buddy disabled all the paylines and played $1. We saw a big prize combination come up but it didn’t pay anything. It was on a deactivated payline. There was no pattern on the one active payline.

A Few Older Games Increased Your Probability With Your Bet Size

This kind of game worked in the opposite way. You didn’t disable or enable paylines. The game’s help screen said some features were only enabled for the max bet.

We deduced that meant the theoretical return to player was calculated only for the max bet. And if the game wasn’t allowing you to use all the features with lesser bets then it must have had a lower RTP.

I went back to play some blackjack that night but my friend stayed and played that game. He did okay, not great. He said it made a big difference to play the max bet.

A Basic Slot Game Doesn’t Change the Probabilities

View of Slot Machines Inside Casino, Colored Probability Wheel
Whether it’s a 3D video slot with monsters running around the screen or just a classic three-reel game, if the slot game doesn’t disable paylines or require max bets, then the probabilities don’t change.

You can bet the minimum or maximum credits, and it won’t affect the outcome of the game. You simply change the number of guaranteed spins you can play.

If you have $300 and a game has a $1 minimum, you can play that game 300 times. If you make a maximum bet of $5 on every spin, then you can only play the game a maximum of 60 times (if you lose every time).

This makes a difference to some players. Other players say you’re not going to lose 60 times in a row, so why worry about that? Bet the max and get the most from your prize.

Most Progressive Slot Games Only Pay on Max Bets

If you’re playing a progressive slot game, then you need to make a maximum bet. I’ve seen a few games with multiple progressive jackpots where you only needed a max bet for the biggest jackpot.

If you have two versions of the same slot game, one is progressive and the other is not, you might as well play the max bet on the progressive version of the game.

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Don’t ever play anything less. The progressive jackpot is awarded randomly.

Progressive slot games have a mixed reputation. I’ve talked to people who refuse to play them. They’re convinced the payouts are less on progressive games.

And I know people who almost exclusively play progressive slot games. They would rather win a big prize beyond whatever the machine itself pays. They don’t have to win $1 million if they can come away with a few thousand.

I’ve seen it play out both ways. I’ve never been in a casino where someone won more than $10,000.

The Math Says Max Bets Put You Ahead Faster

Guy Doing Math Problem, Casino Slot Machine Reels Faded in Background
Assuming you find a slot machine that pays reasonably well, maybe it’s on a “hot” streak despite its regular RTP, why not play only max bets?

If the maximum payout is 1000x your bet, you’ll make $999 on a $1 bet or $4995 on a $5 bet. That’s a really simple equation, so why doesn’t everyone bet that way?

If you’re down to your last $20, you may decide to “roll it up. ” But what’s the difference between rolling up $20 and rolling up $200?

It comes down to how many spins you can guarantee yourself. This is a psychological game we play with ourselves. The odds of winning on the next spin are the same regardless of how much you bet.

There Is Another Advantage to Not Making Max Bets

If you want to play a lot of different games and you don’t have an unlimited bankroll, then playing minimum bets allows you to spread your time around.

Some players like to test the games when they visit a casino for the first time. They make a decision based on luck.

I remember watching a man approach a slot machine late one night. I was getting ready to leave. He put a dollar in the machine and spun the wheels.

He went down the line of machines until one of them paid. There, he stopped and began playing.

This strategy has no better chance of winning than any other strategy. But if the player feels better playing slots this way, that’s what matters.

Conclusion

Slot game designs have become more polished, but their rules are less confusing. People want to push a button and win some money.

I think caution is only warranted if you’re unfamiliar with the games and you don’t know immediately if they have any special rules. It’s always a good idea to read the pay tables first.

And if you’re a little confused by the game rules, then only play minimum bets until you understand what the game is doing.

There’s no need to rush into max bets if you’re not ready to take that chance.

7 Best Places to Play Blackjack When You Visit the Las Vegas Strip

Las Vegas Strip View at Night, Blackjack Cards and Text
Las Vegas attracted an astounding 42 million visitors in 2018, and when these gamblers got into town, they overwhelmingly hit The Strip.

This iconic stretch of 30 casino properties lining Las Vegas Boulevard – starting with Mandalay Bay on the southern end and stretching 4.6 miles northbound to the Stratosphere tower – has become synonymous with Sin City. In fact, for millions of gamblers worldwide, the idea of playing blackjack games or slots anywhere else in Las Vegas is a nonstarter to say the least.

It wasn’t always this way of course. Up until the 1990s, the beating heart of Las Vegas could be found a few miles north of The Strip in the Downtown district. The historic old gambling halls clustered along Fremont Street were famously frequented by Frank Sinatra and the “Rat Pack” pals, while Elvis Presley’s legendary film “Viva Las Vegas” (1964) featured plenty of scenes filmed on the old Fremont drag.

Eventually though, Las Vegas Boulevard’s seemingly endless space for new construction prompted casino operators to build their modern mega-resorts there. Over the last 30 years or so, glittering monuments to all things gambling like the Bellagio, Caesars Palace, and Wynn emerged from the Mojave Desert sands like flowers after a summer shower.

Las Vegas’ History with Blackjack

The Strip’s appeal for tourists is its ability to combine slots, table games, poker, and all the other casino staples with an endless supply of non-gambling entertainment. From the glory days of “Mr. Las Vegas” himself Wayne Newton – to more recent permanent residencies by luminaries like Celine Dion, Britney Spears, and Aerosmith – visitors to The Strip can have fun for weeks on end without ever stepping foot on the gaming floor.

That’s all well and good of course, but if you found your way here, you’re looking to learn more about the Las Vegas Strip’s blackjack selection.

Old Las Vegas Casinos Photo, Pair of Casino Dice

Unfortunately for blackjack players who enjoy The Strip, corporate casino ownership has muddied the waters, so to speak. Companies like MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment have come to dominate the market – these two industry titans collectively control 17 casinos on The Strip – and consolidation is never good for consumers.

To wit, today’s blackjack scene on The Strip is largely defined by diluted 6 to 5 payouts on blackjack rather than the old standard of 3 to 2. Knowing most casual gamblers and tourists looking for a good time won’t know the difference, the casino operators who lord over The Strip have mostly replaced their 3 to 2 tables with the inferior 6 to 5 setup.

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Changing your payout on a $5 bet from $7.50 (3 to 2) to $6 (6 to 5) might not seem like a big deal at first glance, and that’s where the casinos win without ever dealing a hand.

In reality, this subtle adjustment balloons the house edge incurred by basic strategy players, swelling the house’s advantage from 0.40 percent to over 2 percent (depending on various house rules).

As a result, many advanced blackjack players who have been around the proverbial block have sworn The Strip off altogether. These thinking players have studied the numbers, and they know that many of the best places to play blackjack in Las Vegas can be found in Off-Strip casinos.

That’s a shame though, because The Strip didn’t become an oasis of glitz, glamour, and gambling for no reason. Even if you’ve already experienced the sights and sounds of The Strip for yourself, and your sole focus is finding the best blackjack odds and house advantage, Las Vegas Boulevard still has a few diamonds in the rough waiting to be discovered.

With that in mind, check out the list below for a full rundown of the best places to play blackjack when you’re on The Strip.

1 – Treasure Island

While not as popular as many of The Strip’s more well-known casinos, Treasure Island is home to the very best blackjack game in the area – both in terms of house edge and price point.

You’ll learn about a few other venues where blackjack’s house edge can be reduced to 0.19 percent – one of the lowest rates in all of casino gambling – but only Treasure Island lets you enjoy those odds for just $25 per hand.

That’s the minimum bet limit found on three of the 28 tables at Treasure Island which award 3 to 2 payouts on blackjack. This trio of 3 to 2 tables uses the double-deck system too, so players concerned with the count only have 104 cards to sort through instead of 312 (six-deck shoe) or 416 (eight-deck shoe).

Outside the Treasure Island Casino in Las Vegas

To finish things off, the three best blackjack tables on The Strip require the dealer to stand on soft 17, rather than take a mandatory hit. This rule tweak shaves a full 0.20 percent off any game’s house edge rate, creating the razor-thin 0.19 percent advantage held by Treasure Island on its 3 to 2 double-deck games.

Other venues might be able to match that house edge, but they require minimum wagers of $100 or more, while Treasure Island lets low-rollers live a little thanks to that $25 limit.

And if you want to bet smaller at the standard $5 minimum stakes, Treasure Island has 16 six-deck tables which use the 3 to 2 payout for a house edge of only 0.46 percent.

2 – ARIA Resort & Casino

Sticking with the lowest house edge on The Strip of 0.19 percent, blackjack players with good blackjack bankroll management will enjoy the swanky ARIA Resort & Casino.

Only 10 years old, the ARIA is one of the newest casinos on The Strip and it shows. Everything here is sleek and modern, the service is impeccable, and the amenities are extravagant to say the least.

And of the 18 blackjack tables at the ARIA which offer 3 to 2 payouts, you’ll find three using the same double-deck, dealer stands dynamic described above. Those rules combine to create the elusive 0.19 percent house edge rate, but the minimum bet of $100 represents a 4x premium on the price paid by Treasure Island players.

3 – Bellagio Hotel & Casino (Honorable Mention to Mirage and MGM Grand)

If the ARIA is the epitome of modern luxury, the Bellagio is an homage to the utterly unique beauty of antiquity.

Centered around its Old World Italy theme, the Bellagio is famously home to dancing water fountains outside, and art galleries, designer shopping, and even a one-of-a-kind Dale Chiluly handblown glass exhibit.

Those amenities provide the Bellagio’s backdrop, but 14 blackjack tables – four of which offer 3 to 2 payouts and the same 0.19 percent house edge setup for $100 minimum bets – are this casino’s centerpiece.

And if you’re looking to save a few bucks on the room rate, check out MGM Resorts sister properties Mirage (2) and MGM Grand (3) to find a few of the exact same tables.

4 – Tropicana

Entrance to Tropicana Casino in Las Vegas, Blackjack Table with Cards and Casino Chips
You’ll find dozens of tables on The Strip which use a six-deck shoe, have dealers stand on soft 17, and pay 3 to 2 on blackjacks.

This structure produces a house edge of 0.26 percent, but while everywhere else asks for minimum wagers of $100, the Tropicana halves that limit to $50 on four tables.

The “Trop” also has four double-deck 3 to 2 tables with a 0.35 percent house edge at $25 minimum bets.

5 – Circus Circus Hotel & Resort

This joint has seen better days, but if you can abide the abundance of children running around the periphery, Circus Circus spreads one of the most affordable 3 to 2 blackjack games on The Strip.

Two tables here come in double-deck format with dealer hits on soft 17 to bring the house edge to 0.40 percent, all for the low price of $15 per hand.

6 – Caesars Palace Hotel & Casino

If variety is the name of your game, Caesars Palace has 21 different 3 to 2 blackjack tables on hand.

The most affordable version costs $10 per hand and you’ll face a house edge of 0.54 percent.

On the other end of the spectrum, seven tables with a 0.26 percent house can be found at $100 stakes.

7 – Wynn Las Vegas

Street View of Wynn Las Vegas Casino, Ace of Spades and Jack Card
Closing out the list is the Wynn Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, which houses 19 tables using the 3 to 2 payout system. The lowest house edge here is 0.26 percent on seven $100 tables, while 12 other $50 tables offer 0.40 percent hill to climb.

Conclusion

In exchange for betting a bit higher, blackjack sharps can still enjoy all the amenities and attractions found on The Strip – without sacrificing any equity in terms of the house edge along the way. It’d be great if all blackjack tables on Las Vegas Boulevard offered 3 to 2 payouts and liberal house rules, but alas, that ship has sailed.

The Strip will always be a money pit designed to separate suckers from their dollars and cents, but you don’t have to be one of them. Armed with this list of top-rated places to play blackjack on The Strip, you can have your cake and eat it too.

3 Three Card Poker Rules and Strategies Most Players Don’t Know About

Three-Card-Poker-Table-Cash

I came up through the ranks as a casino player learning the classics, receiving my education in blackjack and video poker through practice, repetition, and patience.

And while I had a few pals to show me the ropes as a rookie, my tutelage was largely spent studying at the school of hard knocks. Rough runs, and truly unbelievable swings in short-term – although those slumps never do fee short, now do they? – helped me to refine my strategic approach until I became capable of beating the house consistently.

Nowadays, I’ve transitioned from student to teacher. Gambling has grown by leaps and bounds since my youth, with millions of people whose parents wouldn’t be caught dead on the casino floor happily enjoying table games, slots, poker, bingo, keno, and more.

With a massive influx of new players taking to the casino – both the brick and mortar and online / mobile variety – the house enjoys more of advantage than ever before. That’s especially true with the advent of newer table games like Three Card Poker, which combines the random results inherent to a game of chance with one pivotal element of skill to create the perfect casino gamble.

If you just got your start playing Three Card Poker, or you’ve never even taken a hand in your life, here’s the game in a nutshell.

Players place an Ante bet to start – along with an optional side bet called the Pair Plus that you’ll learn more about later in the page – before taking three face up cards at random. The dealer also gets three cards dealt face down. After assessing the relative strength of your three-card poker hand – you won’t be taking additional cards through the draw, or doing anything to change your initial holding – the game’s sole decision point asks you to “Play” or “Fold.”

To play means putting up a second wager equal to the first, while folding obviously means forfeiting the hand right then and there.

If you decide to make the Play bet, the dealer then exposes their own hand and you’ll compare them to see which one ranks higher. These are three-card poker hands, mind you, so something like 7-8-9 is good for a straight, and the Q-K-A of the same suit is known as the Mini Royal Flush.

Because the game doesn’t ask very much of its players, Three Card Poker has taken on a reputation as a “carnival game” of sorts among the sharp gambling crowd. Simply put, without crucial decisions to improve your hand, Three Card Poker plays out much more like a game of chance than a skill-based card game.

Nonetheless, you’ll inevitably see the same Three Card Poker regulars stacking up newfound chips, while the same lifelong losers (in the casino setting only of course, I’m sure they’re great people in real life) bleed chips and walk away emptyhanded.

That’s because, despite its deceptively simple appearance, Three Card Poker is actually subject to an essential skill element. If you’re interested in becoming a better Three Card Poker player, read on to discover three rules and strategies about the game that most players don’t know about.

1 – You Only Need to Remember One Rule to Play Three Card Poker Perfectly

If you’ve ever studied blackjack before, those detailed color-coded charts advising you how to make every possible decision perfectly might just give you nightmares.

After all, with 190 unique inflection points to consider – your A-5 against the dealer’s 6, whether to split 9-9, etc. – memorizing and mastering basic strategy for blackjack is quite the mental exercise. Some players might call it a “chore” too, what with all the razor thin margins between the correct play and all the other options that seem to be right.

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Well, if you’re looking to give your brain a break, Three Card Poker basic strategy should be right up your alley.

As it turns out, the static deal – meaning, players can’t change their starting cards – combined with a sole decision point makes Three Card Poker strategy a breeze.

All you need to remember in order to play this game to perfection is one simple cutoff point – Q-4-6.

With any hand ranked at Q-6-4 or higher, you should always make the Play bet and go toe to toe with the dealer. And with any hand ranked Q-6-3 or worse, you should always fold and live to fight another day.

Don’t take my word for it though, just listen to what longtime casino game analyst and mathematician Michael Shackleford has to say on the subject:

“I have no doubt that Q/6/4 is the optimal strategy for three card poker.

Stanley Ko independently came up with the same advice. This strategy is based on a computer program which analyzes all 22,100 possible combinations of the player’s three cards, and for each one the remaining 18,424 possible combinations of the dealer’s three cards.

If you follow the dealer’s strategy, then you will be folding on some hands which have an expected return of more than -1 (the return by folding).”

To save you the advanced math, game theorists have run every conceivable combination of three cards through a supercomputer. By examining every single hand’s unique expected return, and dividing all hands into positive and negative plays, Q-6-4 represents the exact cutoff point where Three Card Poker hands become profitable over the long run.

By using the Q-6-4 strategy, sharp players shave their house edge on the Ante and Plus bets down to 3.37 percent – which is better than close table game cousins Let It Ride (3.51 percent) and Caribbean Stud Poker (5.22 percent)

2 – Hunting for Quality Pair Plus Pay Tables Can Save You Tons in the Long Run

Three-Card-Poker-Poker Table-Chips

The big bugaboo for bad Three Card Poker players is the Pair Plus side bet.

At first glance, paying a few bucks to give yourself a shot at premium payouts climbing to 40 to 1 seems like a steal. And indeed, when you score a topline Pair Plus payout, it can be tough to envision every playing this game without the side bet working.

But one look at the table below should show you why the Pair Plus bet is almost always a sucker play:

Three Card Poker Pair Plus Side Bet Pay Tables (No Mini Royal Flush)

HAND #1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7 #8 #9 #10
Straight Flush 40 35 40 35 50 40 40 40 40 42
Three/Kind 30 33 25 25 30 30 25 30 32 38
Straight 6 6 6 6 6 5 5 6 6 6
Flush 4 4 4 4 3 4 4 3 4 4
Pair 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Nothing -1 -1 -1 -1 -1 -1 -1 -1 -1 -1
House Edge 2.32% 2.70% 3.49% 4.58% 5.10% 5.57% 6.75% 7.28% 1.85% 0.00

The game originally used pay table #1, with a 40-30-6-4-1 alignment creating a house edge of 2.32 percent. But these days, the casinos largely use pay table #8, because that slightly adjusted 40-30-6-3-1 structure balloons the house edge to 7.28 percent.

You’ll find the same discrepancy on Pair Plus pay tables that incorporate the Mini Royal Flush:

Three Card Poker Pair Plus Side Bet Pay Tables (With Mini Royal Flush)

Hand #1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6
Mini Royal 50 100 200 50 50 80
Straight Flush 40 50 40 40 40 40
Three/Kind 30 30 30 30 30 25
Straight 6 6 6 5 6 6
Flush 4 3 3 4 3 3
Pair 1 1 1 1 1 1
Nothing -1 -1 -1 -1 -1 -1
House Edge 2.14% 4.20% 4.38% 5.39% 7.10% 7.73%

Whenever you see house edge rates climb over 5.00 percent and approach 10 percent, you should consider the wagers to be nonstarters.

You might hit a few here and there, but when you realize those straight flush payouts only arrive 0.2 percent of the time, the Pair Plus side bet quickly loses its appeal.

3 – Successfully Hole Carding the Dealer Can Actually Produce a Healthy Player Edge

On a final note, the “flow” of live casino gambling is never set in stone, so the best players are always on the lookout for any extra edge they can find.

And at the Three Card Poker table, extra edges arrive whenever the dealer is lazy with their hole cards. A tired or bored dealer will occasionally flash their own cards during the deal. And whenever you can get a glimpse of their cards, even just one or two, this additional information makes your Play / Fold decision much easier.

If you’re able to “hole card” the dealer – this isn’t cheating, by the way, so don’t worry about taking advantage when it happens – the house edge of 3.37 percent becomes a player edge of 3.48 percent.

Conclusion

Three Card Poker strategy might sound simple when you first hear about the Q-6-4 rule, but that’s only the beginning. Understanding how the various Pair Plus and Ante Bonus pay tables really compare, crunching your house edge numbers to determine whether a particular pay table is worth playing, and avoiding the temptation to make sucker side bets are all essential skills. You’ve come this far, which means you’re fully prepared and ready to tackle the Three Card Poker tables by playing the game perfectly on every deal.

3 Best Off-Strip Places to Play Video Poker in Las Vegas

Casino Video Poker Screen, View of City of Las Vegas, Las Vegas Logo
For the life of me, I just don’t understand how so many gamblers can lower themselves to play against inferior video poker pay tables.

And that’s exactly what they’re doing too. That’s because every coin you wager on a game of video poker and every hand you play must contend with the exact probabilities and payouts offered by the machine’s particular pay table.

In other words, even if you play a perfect basic strategy that follows all of the optimal discard / draw decisions to a tee, a bad pay table instantly and irrevocably reduces your overall odds of success.

If you’re just starting out on your personal video poker journey, and don’t know much about how pay tables work, take a moment to acquaint yourself with the basics of the game first. Once you’ve learned the ropes, return here for an advanced course on putting that pay table knowledge to work for you going forward.

In a nutshell, the pay table – or the escalating ladder of payouts awarded for each hand based on their difficulty to make – holds every video poker enthusiast’s destiny in its proverbial hands.

A Look Into Video Poker Pay Tables

When you play on a 9/6 full pay Jacks or Better machine, for example, the 9-coin reward for a full house and 6-coin reward for a flush combine with the other payouts to create a 99.54 percent payback percentage. Switch over to an inferior 9/5 pay table, however, and the exact same Jacks or Better gameplay suddenly offers a much lower 98.45 percent payback rate.

That may not seem like too big of a deal, but consider this… for every $100 you bet over your lifetime as a Jacks or Better player, the full pay game will return $99.54 – sending just $0.46 to the house on average. Meanwhile, those suckers on the 9/5 machines will watch $1.55 of every $100 wagered be scooped up by the house.

And that’s not even the worst of it either. Substandard pay tables commonly offered by modern casinos on their Jacks or Better machines can slice your payback percentage down to double-zero roulette status:

Jacks or Better Pay Table Comparison

TABLE PAYBACK
9/6 99.54 percent
9/5 98.45 percent
8/6 98.39 percent
8/5 97.30 percent
7/5 96.15 percent
6/5 95.00 percent

And this larceny of your bottom line isn’t limited to Jacks or Better by any means. As you can see in the various tables below, all of the popular video poker variants begin with a full pay table up top, followed by a series of progressively worse options:

Deuces Wild Pay Table Comparison

TABLE PAYBACK
25/15/9/5/3/2 100.76 percent
25/15/11/4/4/3 99.96 percent
25/16/10/4/4/3 99.73 percent
25/15/9/4/4/3 98.91 percent
20/12/10/4/4/3 97.58 percent
20/12/9/4/4/3 97.06 percent
25/16/13/4/3/2 96.77 percent
20/10/8/4/4/3 95.96 percent
25/15/10/4/3/2 94.82 percent

Double Bonus Poker Pay Table Comparison

TABLE PAYBACK
10/7 100.17 percent
9/7/5 99.11 percent
9/6/5 97.81 percent
9/6/4 96.38 percent
8/5 94.19 percent
7/5 93.11 percent

Double Double Bonus Poker Pay Table Comparison

TABLE PAYBACK
10/6 100.07 percent
9/6/4 98.98 percent
9/5 97.87 percent
8/5 96.79 percent
7/5 95.71 percent
6/5 94.66 percent

And naturally, the casinos don’t advertise their video poker pay table selection in any noticeable way. In fact, they count on uninformed players – whether they’re simply unaware of the concept, don’t care about long-term probabilities, or too drunk to even notice – to transform video poker from a player-friendly gambler into a money-making powerhouse for the casino house edge.

Consider this for a moment… whenever a 9/6 full pay Jacks or Better player decides to bet anything other than the maximum of 5 coins, their payback rate drops all the way down to 98.30 percent. Failing to bet the max represents the cardinal sin for video poker enthusiasts, as it precludes players from triggering the juiced up Royal Flush jackpot of 4,000 coins.

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But even if you do bet the max to follow proper strategy, bringing your bankroll to a 9/5, 8/6, or 8/5 pay table puts your payback rate right there at 98.30 percent – or even worse.

Unfortunately for the more than 42 million tourists who visited Sin City last year – the bulk of whom stayed on the “fabulous” (read: overhyped) Las Vegas Strip – those modern mega-resort casinos almost exclusively offer inferior pay tables. The owners of the 30 casinos lining Las Vegas Boulevard know that most tourists will never leave the area, confining the sum of their gambling action to The Strip as a captive audience of sorts.

Welcome to Las Vegas Sign, Video Poker Casino Machines
Thus, casinos on The Strip spread non-full pay video poker machines without remorse, relentlessly skinning their unsuspecting players for every nickel and dime they can get.

Meanwhile, when you venture away from The Strip to explore Las Vegas’ competing casino regions, the dark clouds of crappy pay tables suddenly disappear. Video poker players in the know never play on The Strip, choosing instead to put their money behind full pay tables only.

If you want to join them by backing the best video poker games possible, look no further than the list below. Here you’ll find three of the most player-friendly “Off-Strip” video poker providers in all of the city of Las Vegas – complete with a full listing of each venue’s full pay variants, coin denominations, and more.

1 – Boulder Station Hotel Casino on the Boulder Highway

Bar none, without a shadow of a doubt, the best place to grind video poker in Sin City – off the Strip or otherwise – is Boulder Station.

Known as the ultimate “local’s casino,” Boulder Station offers all of the amenities (maybe not nude pool parties or exotic animals, but you get my point) that casinos on The Strip have on hand.

But one thing that this place has that can’t be matched is five different variants offering a positive payback percentage (AKA, a player edge).

Just check out the list below to see how Boulder Station’s unparalleled selection of topline video poker pay tables stacks up:

Boulder Station’s Best Video Poker Options

VARIANT FULL PAYBACK COIN DENOMINATION(S)
Full Pay Deuces Wild 100.76 percent 5¢, 10¢, 25¢
1-Pair Jokers Wild 100.65 percent 5¢, 10¢, 25¢
Double Bonus 100.17 percent 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, 50¢, $1
Loose Deuces Wild 100.15 percent 5¢, 10¢, 25¢
Double Double Bonus 100.07 percent 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, 50¢, $1
Triple Deuces Wild 99.92 percent
Not So Ugly Ducks (Deuces Wild) 99.73 percent 25¢, 50¢, $1
Super Double Bonus 99.69 percent 25¢, 50¢, $1
Jacks or Better 99.54 percent 25¢, 50¢, $1

2 – Fiesta Henderson Hotel and Casino in Henderson

Casino Video Poker Screen, Fiesta Casino Henderson Nevada Marquee
Another branch on the Station Casinos family tree, Fiesta Henderson is one of the first gambling halls you’ll see when driving in through the Hoover Dam / Lake Mead area.

And while many players pass it right up in their quest to reach The Strip, video poker sharps know better.

Fiesta Henderson’s Best Video Poker Options

VARIANT FULL PAYBACK COIN DENOMINATION(S)
Full Pay Deuces Wild 100.76 percent 5¢, 10¢, 25¢
1-Pair Jokers Wild 100.65 percent 5¢, 10¢, 25¢
Double Bonus 100.17 percent 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, 50¢, $1
Loose Deuces Wild 100.15 percent 5¢, 10¢, 25¢
Double Double Bonus 100.07 percent 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, 50¢, $1
Triple Deuces Wild 99.92 percent 5¢, 10¢, 25¢
Not So Ugly Ducks (Deuces Wild) 99.73 percent 25¢, 50¢, $1
Super Double Bonus 99.69 percent 25¢, 50¢, $1
Jacks or Better 99.54 percent 25¢, 50¢, $1

3 – Red Rock Casino Resort and Spa in Summerlin

If you want to experience all of the glitz and glam of Strip casino, without paying an arm and a leg at every turn, Red Rock Resort in the suburb of Summerlin is the ticket.

This place is straight out of The Strip in terms of modern luxuries like high-end shopping, top-rated restaurants, and in-house entertainment

But unlike those hucksters in the world’s most popular tourist hotspot, Red Rock Casino Resort doesn’t need to spread inferior video poker pay tables.

Red Rock Resort’s Best Video Poker Options

VARIANT FULL PAYBACK COIN DENOMINATION(S)
Full Pay Deuces Wild 100.76 percent 5¢, 10¢, 25¢
Double Bonus 100.17 percent 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, 50¢, $1
Loose Deuces Wild 100.15 percent 5¢, 10¢, 25¢
Super Bonus Deuces Wild 100.13 percent 25¢, 50¢, $1
Double Double Bonus 100.07 percent 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, 50¢, $1
Triple Deuces Wild 99.92 percent
Not So Ugly Ducks (Deuces Wild) 99.73 percent 25¢, 50¢, $1
Super Double Bonus 99.69 percent 25¢, 50¢, $1
Jacks or Better 99.54 percent 25¢, 50¢, $1

Conclusion

Playing video poker well can offer sharp gamblers the thrill of a lifetime. Knowing that every bet you make comes as close to a null house edge as possible – and in the case of full pay Deuces Wild, an actual player edge – makes video poker the preferred vehicle for skill-oriented players who prefer strategy over guess-based gambling.

Nonetheless, when you don’t know where to find the full pay machines, a video poker parlor can become nothing short of a money pit – even for talented basic strategy players. Nobody wants to be the sucker casinos count on to line their pockets, so make sure to check out these trio of Off-Strip casinos to find the best video poker games Las Vegas has to offer.

7 Tips for Finding Great Online Slots

Virtual Casino Slot Reels, Woman on Laptop
You certainly won’t be at a lack for choices when playing online slots. The internet gaming world features thousands of different slots across many casinos.

You may even find this massive variety to be a problem when trying to find great games. You’ll especially have trouble in this department if you’re fairly inexperienced with playing online slot games.

Luckily, you can quickly narrow down your choices by using some simple advice. That said, here are seven tips for picking high-quality online slots to play.

1 – Consider Your Favorite Themes

You likely have a good idea on what type of themes you like in gaming. For example, you may love games based on sports or movies.

You should definitely keep your favorite themes in mind when combing through a casino’s slots. If you could care less for gold mining, for instance, then you can just skip over any games involving this angle.

You’ll find that every type of story is covered through the gaming world to some extent. Adventure, Christmas, Halloween, and treasure hunting are just some of the themes you’ll find.

Of course, I’m not suggesting that you completely discount any game that falls outside of the realm of what you’re looking for. Sometimes, great slots deal with subjects that don’t interest you.

Assuming you play these games, you may grow to enjoy them in spite of the theme. But overall, you want to have a good idea on what stories you care about before looking for new slots.

2 – Check Out the Betting Options

One of the most overlooked aspects of online slots is the betting options. Many players only consider these options after they’ve found a game that covers other criteria they’re interested in.

The first thing to consider in this regard is the minimum bet. Assuming you’re a low roller, you want a slot that allows you to play fairly cheaply.

Most online slots require you to play all of the lines. On a 25-line slot, for example, you might have to wager a minimum of one penny on each line ($0.25 total).

Money Piled Wallpaper, Casino Slot Machine Betting Buttons

Other games can require you to wager between $0.50 and $1 total to play. These slots might be out of your budget, depending on how you’re managing your casino bankroll.

On the other end of the spectrum is the maximum bet. If you’re a high roller, then you’ll want plenty of freedom with the max wager.

You may not be happy with a slot that only allows you to bet up to a max of $5 per spin. But you can find plenty of games that allow for wagers worth hundreds of dollars.

Gameplay options should also factor into your choices. Autoplay, double up, sound effects on/off, and turbo are all some options you should consider when choosing a game.

3 – Decide What Jackpots You Want to Chase

One exciting aspect about online slots is that you can win jackpots worth millions of dollars. These games allow you to dream while spinning the reels.

However, you’ll find that certain slots with smaller jackpots are also really fun to play. These games may not give you a chance at life-changing money, but they’re still worth playing.

i
The key is to know ahead of time the size of payouts you’re interested in going for. You may only be happy with games where you have the opportunity to win six or seven figures.

Some slots have smaller jackpots, but multiple bonus features. These bonuses can lead to huge payouts under the right circumstances.

That said, you also need to consider the bonuses if you’re looking for large prizes. Oftentimes, such slots will advertise that they pay up to X times your stake if they feature a noteworthy top payout.

4 – Understand Volatility

Virtual Slot Reels Showing Triple 7s, Special Bonus Banner
Volatility is a term used to describe how much short-term results can fluctuate. This is yet another overlooked factor with regard to picking slots. It’s extremely important, because it determines how often you’ll get paid.

High-volatility slots usually have a big jackpot and/or several bonuses. However, these games pay out less frequently to make up for the large prizes at the top.

Low-volatility games don’t normally have a big jackpot or multiple bonus features. But they do pay out often.

Some slots actually have volatility ratings, which makes this matter easier. However, the average slot has no such rating.

You instead need to figure out how volatile a game is by looking at the jackpot size, bonuses, and number of small payouts. You may not be able to pinpoint the exact volatility of a slot, but you can at least come close.

5 – Find the RTP

Return to player (RTP) refers to how much a game is programmed to pay back in the long run. The key term here is “long run,” because RTP doesn’t have much of an impact on your short-term winnings.

Therefore, you must consider volatility to figure out how much you’ll be paid in any given session. But RTP is still crucial if you want to play a game that offers higher payout potential.

Payback becomes even more significant if you have a favorite slot and play it often. A favorite slot with high RTP goes perfectly together, because you have a stronger chance of making money over time.

You can easily find payout percentages for online slots. Many internet slots developers run their games at the same RTP regardless of the casino.

All you need to do is run a Google search for a specific slot followed by “RTP.” You should find what you’re looking for within a minute or less.

6 – Consider Your Favorite Developers

Online Slot Game by Rival Gaming, Rival Gaming Logo
Dozens of companies supply slots to online casinos. Each of these providers comes with their own unique design style and flair.

You’re not going to know which developer is your favorite right away. But as time goes on, you may eventually like game designs from one or more providers.

You should definitely choose online casinos that carry at least one or more of your favorite provider’s games.

If you like Rival Gaming slots, for example, then you should look for casinos that have Rival products. Likewise, you may enjoy live dealer games from Evolution Gaming and pick casinos that carry their software.

7 – Play Free Online Slots Before Betting Real Money

One more thing to consider when looking for your future favorite slots is the free mode. Almost every online casino allows you to play for free after registering for an account.

The registration process is simple in almost every case. You just have to enter basic information, such as your name, email address, phone number, username, password, etc.

Once you’ve completed all of the required forms, you need to submit your account for approval.

As long as you’re of age and not in a restricted country/territory, you should be approved instantly.

From here, you can decide which games you want to test out. Online slots are almost always available in free mode.

Some casinos may limit the amount of play funds you receive. Others, however, let you play free slot games as long as you’d like.

In any case, you should definitely take advantage of free games before making a deposit. You’ll not only be able to figure out which slots you like, but also decide if the casino is right for you.

Conclusion

You don’t have to let the massive selection of online slots overwhelm you. Instead, you can quickly find great games by keeping a few points in mind.

The first matter involves deciding exactly what you’re looking for in terms of themes. You should only choose games that offer stories/ characters that you find appealing.

Another important step is to figure out whether a game can be played for cheap or if a couple of spins are pricey. You’ll especially want to pay attention to the minimum bet, because this determines how much you must spend to play.

Jackpot size is another crucial element. Assuming you want to get rich through slots, then you need to play games with six or seven-figure jackpots to realize your dreams.

Of course, jackpot size can also affect a game’s volatility. This brings up another point in that low-volatility slots determine how often you’ll be paid.

You should also think about the RTP of an online slot. The higher the RTP, the better chance you have of making money with a game over time.

You might eventually fall in love with certain slots developers. In this case, you should definitely pick a casino that carries your favorite providers.

Finally, free online slots are an excellent way to find your games of choice. You just need to complete registration in order to start playing for free.

4 Things the Self-Help Industry Can Teach You About Gambling

People Gambling in Casino Slots, Hands Holding Speech Bubbles Self Help
I read a lot of self-help books, and I have for many years. My family makes jokes about it, but they never actually read one to see if it can help them. In my mind, they’re missing the point. If you want to improve in some area, you have to do something to try to change.

I study gambling because I like to gamble, and I spend quite a bit of time writing about it. While most people won’t see an immediate link between the self-help industry and gambling, I’ve learned many similarities over the years.

The self-help industry does help many people, but it also fails to help some others. The entire industry has somewhat of a bad name because it seems like they’re always trying to sell you something you don’t have.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret before I show you some things the self-help industry can teach you about gambling. The secret is that there is no secret.

If you want to make a meaningful change in your life, it’s going to take some work. If you want to improve your gambling results, it’s also going to take some work.

I personally believe this is a good thing. If work is all it takes to improve my gambling results or another area of my life, then I know I can do it if I’m willing to do the work.

Keep this in mind as you read the four things the self-help industry can teach you about gambling below.

1 – You Need a Plan

One of the themes that run through most self-help products is the idea of a plan. Sometimes, they call it something different, but the bottom line is, you need to have a plan if you want to improve.

As a gambler, if you’re looking to improve your results, you also need a plan. You can’t keep doing things the same way you’re doing them now if you want a different outcome. The plan might include reading a new article about your favorite casino games every week or watching a video about strategy every day.

The way to develop a plan is to determine exactly what you want to accomplish. Once you know what you want to accomplish, make small steps to reach your goal. Then, follow the steps.

Years ago, I decided I wanted to figure out how to be a winning poker player. I wanted to read as much as I could about playing winning poker then practice. It took several years, but I stuck with it. Now, I’m a winning poker player, because I made a plan and followed through.

I made a new plan to learn how to beat blackjack. I followed the same formula and spent a few years studying and practicing. You can do the same thing. But having a plan isn’t quite enough. You need one more thing, which I’ll cover in the next section.

2 – You Need Dedication

Row of Casino Slot Machines, Lets Do This Text on Sticker
In addition to having a good plan, you need to dedicate yourself to following through. It’s easy to make New Year’s resolutions, but most people give up on them sometime in the middle of January. The best plan isn’t going to work unless you follow through by taking consistent action.

This is one area where the self-help industry is lacking. You can find all kinds of books and programs about goals and developing good plans, but it’s hard to find information about how you stay motivated and follow through.

The best way I’ve found to stay motivated is making sure I understand what I really want and focusing on it every day. I was really motivated to learn how to be a winning poker player. It wasn’t because I planned to make a ton of money playing, it was a matter of pride. I knew the game was beatable, and I wanted to prove to myself that I was smart enough to do it.

On the other side of the coin, I weigh a bit too much and have needed to lose weight for several years. I’ve went through times when I lost some weight, but I’ve never backed up the thought of losing weight with enough dedication to work it off and keep it off.

The reason I mention my struggles with weight loss is to point out that, even though this sounds simple, accomplishing anything of value is hard work. As I mentioned earlier, there is no secret. It’s all hard work, and some people do better than others. But when it comes to gambling, the next section is important. You can become a winning gambler if it’s important to you.

3 – You Can Win

Almost every self-help book and course available deals in some way with convincing you that you can improve. The good news is that this is based on facts, but the problem is that most people don’t really improve much. When they don’t improve as much as they want, they often buy another self-help book or program and look for the next big secret.

In gambling, the truth is that you can win. If you want to be a winning gambler, you have to pick a beatable game and find out how to beat it.

You can learn how to win, but you have to work hard at doing it. You can buy a book or watch some videos that teach you how to beat blackjack.

You can study books and videos about poker and learn how to win more than you lose at the tables. You can even learn how to handicap sporting events in a way that lets you win money. But all of these things require a great deal of work and time. Most people simply aren’t willing to put in the effort and time.

4 – Being a Guru Is More Profitable Than Gambling

Virtual Casino Game Wallpaper, Silhouette of Person Sitting, Money Spread
One of the big dirty secrets of the self-help industry is that the top gurus make most of their money from peddling self-help books and programs, not from doing what they teach. The same thing is true in the gambling industry.

In both the self-help industry and the gambling industry, there are a few people who make good money in business of some kind and gambling. But the majority of people who write books and sell improvement programs make more selling their stuff than they do in other businesses or gambling.

Does this mean you should stop gambling?

The fact is, there are ways you can make real money while gambling. Some poker players and sports bettors make great money. Other advantage players make a great deal of money by playing blackjack.

All of the information you need is available; you just have to put in the work. There’s also decent money to be made in writing about gambling and teaching others how to gamble.

Overall, being a gambling guru is still more profitable than gambling on average. Unless you’re one of the top advantage gamblers making hundreds of thousands or more every year, you have a better chance to make more money becoming a gambling guru.

Conclusion

Should you run out and buy a self-help book or gambling course? Only you can decide if that’s the best option for you. But you can develop a plan, dedicate yourself to following through, and figure out a way to be a winning gambler. This is the same formula you find in most self-help books and courses, so you can get started without spending a cent.

4 Jacks or Better Video Poker Rules and Strategies Most Players Don’t Know About

Casino Video Poker Machine Screen, Poker Cards
If you’ve made it through the wilds of the internet to find your way here, you probably know all about basic strategy for Jacks or Better video poker already.

With basic strategy guidelines out of the way, many Jacks or Better players mistakenly believe that their tutelage on video poker’s foundational game has come to an end. While it is true that learning basic strategy is an essential first step in a quality Jacks or Better education, it is just that – a first step.

Once you’ve mastered the ins and outs of playing your five-card draws with optimal precision, you’re definitely in business and there’s no doubt about that.

Nonetheless, the best Jacks or Better players out there – world-renowned professionals like Bob Dancer who consistently beat the house by playing at an expert level – never rest on their laurels.

I don’t believe Jacks or Better enthusiasts should ever limit themselves to the confines of basic strategy. Learn it, by all means, but always follow through by enhancing your basic strategy knowledge with supplementary skills and strategies designed to extract every possible edge from Jacks or Better’s basic rules and gameplay.

To that end, the list below highlights four rules and strategies for Jacks or Better video poker that most players simply don’t know enough about.

1 – Betting the Maximum of 5 Coins Is the Only Way to Score Premium Payouts on a Royal

If you’ve been spending time in video poker parlors or you’ve gambled on online video poker sites, you’ve probably heard regulars admonishing rookies who don’t bet all five coins:

“Hey, whaddya doin’ there guy? You’re only helpin’ the casino out by bettin’ less than the max.”

Unfortunately, while these self-styled mentors are quick to dole advice like that out, they seldom back it up with a real explanation as to exactly why maximum bets are the best play.

I’ve got you covered though, so scan at the standard 9/6 full pay Jacks or Better pay table show below:

Jacks or Better Full Pay Table (by Coins Bets)

HAND 1 COIN 2 COINS 3 COINS 4 COINS 5 COINS
Royal Flush 250 500 750 1000 4000
Straight Flush 50 100 150 200 250
4 of a Kind 25 50 75 100 125
Full House 9 18 27 36 45
Flush 6 12 18 24 30
Straight 4 8 12 16 20
3 of a Kind 3 6 9 12 15
Two Pair 2 4 6 8 10
Jacks or Better 1 2 3 4 5
Payback 98.3% 98.3% 98.3% 98.3% 99.54%

This pay table can be fund flashing in yellow print from hundreds of thousands of Game King machines found in casinos all over the world.

I want you to focus on how the payouts for each hand, except the best hand, escalate according to a steady pattern. No matter the size of your bet, making two pair is always good for a 2 to 1 payout in terms of coins. In other words, bet 1 coin and get 2 back for two pair; bet 2 coins and get 4 back, etc.

This pattern holds up even for a straight flush, which pays out at 50 to 1 for each coin wagered. You can bet 4 coins and get 200 back for a straight flush, or 5 coins for 250 back, but it all boils down to the same 50 to 1 payout.

But get a load of that Royal Flush payout, which starts at 250 to 1 for a 1-coin bet. Royal payouts climb according to the same pattern for 1-4 coins bet, until you hit that 5-coin max bet level. There, landing a Royal Flush is good for a whopping 4,000 to 1 payout.

This “jackpot” element is crucial to Jacks or Better strategy, because as the table’s bottom column clearly shows, even a 9/6 full pay game won’t offer the 99.54 percent payback rate that makes this game so great for players.

Simply put, when you bet anything less than 5 coins per hand, you’re doing the casino a massive favor. Not only does the house’s liability drop severely on Royal Flushes, but every hand you play suddenly changes from 99.54 percent payback to 98.30 percent.

Fortunately, the Game King machine – and the top-rated online casinos offering Jacks or Better – lets players choose their coin denomination. So if betting 5 coins at $1 per is too rich for your blood (and bankroll), just dial it back to the $0.25 coin denomination and max-bet for $1.25 per hand.

2 – Hunting for the 9/6 Full Pay Machines and Never Settling for Less

Casino Video Poker Floor, Full House Poker Cards
That 99.54 percent payback rate is what brings so many sharp gamblers out of the woodwork to play Jacks or Better.

Expressed in terms of house edge, the game only lends the casino a 0.46 percent advantage, putting Jacks or Better on par with blackjack and other popular casino games.

But that’s only when you play against the 9/6 full pay table shown below:

Jacks or Better Full Pay Table

HAND PAYOUT
Royal Flush 800
Straight Flush 50
Four of a Kind 25
Full House 9
Flush 6
Straight 4
Three of a Kind 3
Two Pair 2
Jacks or Better 1
All Other 0

As you might have noticed by now, many video poker games out there today don’t actually offer the 9/6 full pay table.

Instead, the casinos try to get one over on players by offering machines that use one of the inferior pay tables shown below:

Inferior Jacks or Better Pay Tables (by Payback Percentage)

HAND 9/5 8/6 8/5 7/5 6/5
Royal Flush 800 800 800 800 800
Straight Flush 50 50 50 50 50
Four of a Kind 25 25 25 25 25
Full House 9 8 8 7 6
Flush 5 6 5 5 5
Straight 4 4 4 4 4
Three of a Kind 3 3 3 3 3
Two Pair 2 2 2 2 2
Jacks or Better 1 1 1 1 1
Payback Percentage 98.44% 98.39% 97.29% 96.14% 94.99%

These pay tables are, pardon my French, pure B.S. By tweaking just a single payout downward, casinos can turn Jacks or Better into a sucker game on par with slots.

Here’s how Bob Dancer, known in the gambling world as the “King of Video Poker,” described the creeping shift away from 9/6 full pay machines:

“The machines at Station have been getting a lot tighter. Most players think there will be no 100 percent games by the end of the year at Station Casinos.

They have 100 percent machines, but they have more at the middle of the spectrum and a whole lot near the bottom. Station appears to be catering to the less-knowledgeable player.

But no one should play at a machine that pays less than 99 percent. There are too many 99 percent machines around town.”

3 – Knowing the Odds Against Making Every Possible Paying Hand

Two Video Poker Machines in Casino, Money Stack
Everyone knows a full house beats a flush or a straight in poker, so naturally, it pays out more than those hands in Jacks or Better.

But did you know it’s actually slightly more difficult to make a flush or a straight in Jacks or Better than it is a full house?

Well, that’s a fact, as the table below shows off quite clearly:

Probabilities and Odds Against for Paying Hands in Jacks or Better

HAND PROBABILITY ODDS
Royal Flush 0.003% 1 in 40,391
Straight Flush 0.012% 1 in 9,148
Four of a Kind 0.236% 1 in 423
Full House 1.151% 1 in 87
Flush 1.119% 1 in 91
Straight 1.104% 1 in 89
Three of a Kind 7.439% 1 in 13
Two Pair 12.921% 1 in 7.7
Jacks or Better 21.370% 1 in 4.7
Nothing 54.647% 1 in 1.8
Total 100.000%  

As you can see, the odds against making a full house, flush, and straight are almost identical. Knowing this, when you have starting hands that allow for multiple draws to these hands, always opt for the full house and it’s juiced up payout.

4 – Playing Faster to Make Long Odds More Attainable

In that table above, you can see that landing a Royal in Jacks or Better is a huge longshot at 1 in 40,391 odds against.

Playing through more than 40,000 hands to realize those odds may seem like an impossible task, but it doesn’t have to be.

Just ask “Dr. Antonius,” a video poker speed-runner who holds the world record for fastest Jacks or Better session ever recorded. You can watch the good doctor do his thing down below:

But here’s the scoop. Using perfect basic strategy, Dr. Antonius completed 2,262 hands in a single hour. Thus, it would only take him 17 hours or so of grinding to reach the 40,391-hand threshold.

Obviously, you don’t have to play at world-record pace to improve your odds of a Royal. But playing faster is the best way to churn out enough hands to realize those longshot odds.

Conclusion

Jacks or Better basic strategy is like a key that opens a treasure chest stuffed with gold and jewels. In theory, when wielded in the right hands, using the hard and fast rules for discard / draw decisions can turn Jacks or Better into one of the best games in the house. But that advantage remains entirely theoretical when players don’t know about the other rules and strategies found above.

The folks who don’t bet all 5 coins per hand, sit down at inferior non-full pay tables, or play too quickly or slowly for their personal bankroll requirements instantly sacrifice all of the extra equity basic strategy provides. Knowing this, you should never put a penny in a Jacks or Better machine until you’ve checked all four rules and strategies found here off your to-do list.

The 4 Best Poker Rooms in Las Vegas for Omaha Poker Players

Omaha Poker Logo with Poker Cards, Las Vegas Strip at Night
As one generation of poker players gives way to the next, the game seems to move in cyclical fashion, as new variants are embraced over others.

The original poker road warriors like Doyle Brunson and the late Chip Reese made their rounds playing the classic game of Seven-Card Stud back in the 1970s.

The wheel keeps on turning, however, and during the last few years, a younger crop of poker enthusiasts expanded on the variant of Texas holdem. By adding two more hole cards to the equation, giving players four hole cards to work with during the hand, the exhilarating variant known as Omaha was born.

Omaha poker has been around just as long as Seven-Card Stud and Texas holdem, but up until the last decade, it largely played third fiddle to poker’s most popular games.

But after the online “wizards” cracked the code behind optimal Texas holdem theory, they needed a new nut to crack. Thus, the four-card game of Omaha became the wizards’ latest challenge.

These days, Texas holdem tables still make up the majority of the average Las Vegas poker room’s action, but Omaha games are hot their heels.

How to Play Omaha Poker

In its standard format, Omaha poker is played using a pot-limit betting structure that straddles the line between limit and no limit wagering.

That is to say, at a Pot Limit Omaha table, the maximum bet a player can make at any one time is exactly equal to the size of the current pot. This might seem like a restriction that would put no limit Texas holdem fans off of Omaha. But in reality, it only takes a few bets, raises, and re-raises to get entire chip stacks all in.

Aside from that caveat, Omaha is best thought of as simply Texas holdem played with two more hole cards in a player’s starting hand.

After the small and big blinds put up their forced bets, the dealer doles out four cards face down to every player. From there, the game plays out identically to Texas holdem, with players placing preflop bets before taking the flop, or three community cards.

With the flop dealt out, players can use any two of the four hole cards to create their best possible five-card poker hand.

For example, if you held the Ah-As-Kd-2c, you’d be starting the hand with pocket aces, which is the strongest starting hand in Texas holdem. But on a flop of K-5-2, you’d now be using your king and 2 to form two pair.

Players can use any two hole cards from their hand in conjunction with the board. If the turn card came with an ace, you’d now use your pocket aces to form three of a kind. And had the turn brought a 5 instead of an ace, counterfeiting your kings and deuces two pair, you’d now use your pocket aces to form two pair (aces and 5s).

Four Poker Cards, Casino Chips and Coins

Holding four hole cards also makes Pot Limit Omaha (PLO) much more complex in terms of counting outs on drawing hands. Most drawing hands like the straight and flush draws offer eight and nine outs, respectively, in Texas holdem, “wrap” draws in Omaha games can create up to 20 outs.

Let’s say you have a starting hand like J-10-7-6 and the flop brings the 9-8-2 onboard. In this case, you’re essentially playing two open-ended straight draws at the same time.

Your J-10 combines with the 9-8 to give you seven outs to the 7 (3) and Q (4). And with 6-7 combined with 8-9, you can hit any 5 (4) or 10 (3) for seven more outs. Add in the six remaining jacks (3) and 10s (3), and you have the most powerful wrap draw in Omaha.

You’ll face betting rounds preflop, on the flop, on the turn, and on the river, just like in Texas holdem. By the showdown, whomever tables the highest-ranking five-card poker hand takes the pot.

Additionally, players can adjust Omaha gameplay to form other variants a la Seven-Card Stud Hi-Lo Eight or Better. In the game of Omaha Hi-Lo Eight or Better, players can also shoot for the lowest qualifying hand (any five cards ranked at 8 or worse) to claim half of the pot. Of course, the goal for an Omaha Hi-Lo Eight or Better is typically to “scoop” the pot, or hold the best possible high AND low hands at showdown.

Why the New Crop of Poker Fans Love the Great Game of Omaha

Pot Limit Omaha poker has taken on a new reputation as “The Great Game” thanks to pro player and podcaster extraordinaire Joey Ingram.

Better known as “Chicago Joey” to his peers, Ingram has been evangelizing about The Great Game of Pot Limit Omaha for the last five years or so, motivating his social media followers to give it a try during their next trip to the casino.

To hear Ingram tell the tale, Pot Limit Omaha specifically challenges Texas holdem for poker supremacy for two simple reasons—complexity and action.

As the Texas holdem tables become increasingly dominated by game theory optimal (GTO) strategies, and online “solvers” that instantly tell you the best play given the circumstances, thinking players are seeking out new challenges.

And as the wrap draw example from earlier makes clear, anytime two or more players bring four hole cards apiece to a five-card community board, it can be incredibly tough to narrow down your opponent’s ranges.

Omaha games tend to produce more action than Texas holdem. In the old two-card game, you’ll miss the flop roughly two-thirds of the time. Throw in dozens of starting hands that aren’t even worth playing, and Texas holdem tables can often go entire orbits without a meaningful pot developing.

In an Omaha game, on the other hand, those extra hole cards make connecting with the board much more likely. And because nobody can shove all-in preflop to end the proceedings right then and there, you’ll be playing many more multi-way pots that inevitably produce raising wars and “cooler” situations.

With that in mind, the list below highlights the four best poker rooms in Sin City for Omaha players.

1 – Aria Resort and Casino

Aria Las Vegas Poker Room, Aria Las Vegas Casino Logo
Known for offering some of the swankiest digs and best customer service of any poker room on the Strip, the Aria Resort and Casino has become the place to play for pros and “recs” alike.

You’ll find 24 tables in the Aria’s top-notch poker room, including a roped off private area where high-rolling pros like Antonio Esfandiari, Jean Robert-Bellande, and Dan Cates regularly hold court in ultra-high-stakes mixed games.

As for the Omaha selection, other casinos nearby might have more tables running than the Aria, but this place takes top spot on my list because its perfect for folks who are trying the game for the first time.

The standard Pot Limit Omaha high-hand game at the Aria uses $1/$2 blinds, so you won’t face any bankroll-related barriers to entry. With a minimum buy-in of $200 and a maximum of $500, everybody starts on a level playing field, which is great for Omaha rookies testing the waters.

The house rake here is 10% of the pot, up to $5, but that is offset by a generous $2 per hour comp rate.

If you like to play a little higher, check out the $2/$5 Pot Limit Omaha high-hand table that runs occasionally on busier evenings. This game uses a $400 to $1,500 buy-in limit spread, a rake capped at $5 per hand, and $2 per hour in comp rewards.

All things considered, Omaha enthusiasts just learning the ropes should call the Aria home on their next trip to the City of Las Vegas.

2 – Bellagio Hotel and Casino

For players who have moved past the rookie stage and view themselves as Omaha veterans, the Bellagio Hotel and Casino is your ticket on the Strip.

What the Aria is today, the Bellagio has been for decades. Combining decadent décor, world-class service from dealers and other staff, and a high-stakes area known as “Bobby’s Room,” the Bellagio poker room is widely viewed as the best in town.

Among the 37 tables onsite, you’ll find a $2/$5 game of Pot Limit Omaha high-hand that uses a $200 to $1,000 buy-in spread. And just like the Aria, the rake at Bellagio’s $2/$5 Pot Limit Omaha high-hand game is capped at $5, with players receiving $2 in comps every hour.

The real draw for hardcore Omaha fans visiting the Bellagio, however, is the room’s big games.

I’m talking big too, as in a $20/$40 Limit Omaha Hi-Lo Eight or Better game where some of Las Vegas’ most talented pros convene nightly. You’ll find a $200 minimum buy-in here, with no maximum, and a $6 rake with $2 in hourly comps.

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Remember, this is a pure limit table, so the betting always goes $20 on the early streets and $40 on the latter.

If the sound of big bet Omaha Hi-Lo Eight or Better at Bellagio is to your liking, you’re in luck. Along with the $20/$40 tables, you can up the ante to $30/$60 and even $40/$80.

Predictably, the minimum buy-in point rises to $500 and $800, respectively, so be prepared to bring a few bullets from your bankroll when playing big bet Omaha here.

3 – The Orleans Hotel and Casino

The Orleans Casino in Las Vegas, Hand Holding Poker Cards
Circling back to the low- and medium-stakes tables for Omaha players still learning the ropes, venturing away from Las Vegas Boulevard westbound on Tropicana Avenue brings you to the Orleans Hotel and Casino.

A member of the Boyd Gaming casino family, the Orleans is your classic local’s joint, providing all of the gaming and amenities of a resort on the Strip for half the price. The 35-table Orleans poker room is also legendary among old-school grinders, as the place has been running regular tournament series for several decades and counting.

Omaha players visiting the Orleans will find a few $4/$8 Limit Omaha high-hand tables running around the clock.

These fun-filled games use a $40 minimum buy-in, no maximum, and a 10% rake up to $4. Fortunately, the Orleans’ commitment to value has led to a “no flop, no drop” policy, so the extra $1 in rake collected from each hand to fund the bad beat jackpot pool is only deducted when players take a flop.

The Orleans also spreads a regular $4/$8 Limit Omaha Hi-Lo Eight or Better game which uses the exact same buy-in and rake structure. Both games offer players $1.25 per hour in comps too, so be sure to bring your B-Connected player’s club card to the table.

If the Limit Omaha Hi-Lo Eight or Better games are up your alley, look for $8/$16 and $15/$30 tables as well. These bigger games use an $80 and $150 minimum buy-in, respectively, with no maximum, and the rake/comp rewards are the same as the smaller games.

4 – Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel and Casino

Last, but certainly not least, the Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel and Casino offers the lowest-stakes Omaha action anywhere in town.

The most popular Omaha game at the Flamingo’s 11-table poker room is an $1/$1 PLO affair. Expect a buy-in spread of $200 minimum and $500 maximum, along with a 10% rake up to $5, and $1 per hour in comp rewards.

You’ll also find a fun $3/$6 Limit Omaha Hi-Lo Eight or Better table running semi-regularly. The minimum buy-in here is only $30, with no maximum, along with the same rake/comp system described above.

The Flamingo poker room is known for catering to private games too, so if you and a few Omaha-crazed pals want to set up your own personal table, feel free to ask (and tip) a member of the floor staff.

Conclusion

Poker’s evolution is fascinating to behold, as players pick and choose between the dozens of different variants to find the latest and greatest game of choice. I’m partial to Seven-Card Stud myself, and I can certainly see how Texas holdem turned into a household name during the boom.

But I’ve increasingly become enamored with Pot Limit Omaha. Whether you prefer the big bet PLO tables, or the more leisurely split-pot gameplay of Limit Omaha Hi-Lo Eight or Better, use this guide to get yourself into the best Omaha games Las Vegas has to offer.

What Happened to Poker’s Alex Dreyfus?

Alex Dreyfus, Poker Cards Spread, Casino Chips, Pile of Money
The poker world is filled with many prominent pros who gain fame and fortune. Those who play a major role behind the scenes, on the other hand, are less visible.

But somehow, Alexandre (Alex) Dreyfus managed to become one of poker’s biggest names despite not being a player. He was by far one of the game’s most-discussed figures in the mid-2010s.

Strangely enough, though, Dreyfus has basically disappeared from the poker radar just a few years later. Who is Dreyfus and how did he drop out of poker conversations so quickly?

I’m going to discuss more on his background, why he eventually left the game, and what he’s up to today.

Who Is Alex Dreyfus?

Alex Dreyfus began his career as a digital entrepreneur. He witnessed the poker boom play out and saw the game’s immense potential.

The Frenchman moved to Malta and set up an online poker gaming platform. It went by the name of Chilipoker and quickly became a success and earned millions of dollars in revenue.

Dreyfus could’ve rested on his laurels and continued operating the successful Chilipoker. However, he had higher ambitions and began reaching fingers into many aspects of the industry.

He started the European Poker Awards, American Poker Awards, Global Poker Index (GPI), and Global Poker League (GPL).

Dreyfus also purchased the highly popular website The Hendon Mob, which records players’ live tournament cashes.

Dreyfus still owns the GPI and The Hendon Mob. However, he’s largely abandoned the other projects that he launched.

Dreyfus’ Mission to Change Poker

Woman on Computer Playing Online Poker Game, Copy of Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act
The poker boom is largely believed to have ended when the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) took effect in 2006. This law made it much tougher for online poker sites to accept deposits and make payouts to US players.

Nevertheless, some sites continued thriving in the face of the UIGEA. But in 2011, Black Friday dealt another huge blow to the industry.

The poker world spent the next several years wishing for a return to its glory days, which never came. Rather than waiting, Dreyfus thought of a new solution to “sportify” poker.

He didn’t necessarily see poker as a sport in the same vein as football, basketball, or hockey. However, he believed that it could be promoted as a sport.

His vision was similar to NASCAR, which puts emphasis on the drivers, sponsors, points, and rankings. Dreyfus wanted to create a model where fans got to see pros more often, rather than random players winning tournaments.

These ideas all went into creating the GPL. Thanks to a $4.9 million investment from various Chinese venture capitalists, Dreyfus was able to bring his dream to fruition.

He created a league full of teams along with the controversial “Cube,” a $100,000 glass structure that would host the GPL’s marquee events.

As for the teams, they included rosters of drafted players. A few dozen pros liked the idea and participated in the inaugural season upon being drafted.

The Struggles of the Global Poker League

The GPL concept sounded good in theory. However, it didn’t play out quite as planned.

Rather than a live poker league that featured teams from different cities battling live, just like normal sports leagues, it entailed a bunch of online competitions.

The GPL managed to span 180 matches in its first season. However, even those who love poker had difficulty watching these online affairs play out.

Besides the dry format, another problem is that Dreyfus mainly marketed the GPL to an American audience. He was likely banking on online poker regulation spreading throughout America.

But internet poker regulation has moved at a slow crawl. Most states don’t see it as a lucrative venture, given that the ring-fenced player pools produce little revenue.

Dreyfus went back to the drawing board and developed another idea. He wanted to give fans the opportunity to be stakeholders in teams for Season 2.

This concept didn’t work out either. Legal concerns eventually convinced Dreyfus to scrap the stakeholder plan.

The GPL still exists in some format in India. PokerStars decided to sponsor the venture as a marketing tool. However, the league is a far cry from the grand ambitions that Dreyfus had.

Drama With German Poker Pros

Poker Pro Fedor Holz and Hendrik Latz, Hand Holding Out Money Bills
Dreyfus’ reputation was dragged through the mud in late 2016. German poker pros Fedor “CrownUpGuy” Holz and Hendrik “ValueH” Latz posted a story on TwoPlusTwo regarding a cash swap gone wrong.

The tale began when Dreyfus approached the poker players in Las Vegas during the 2016 WSOP. He asked Latz and Holz to loan him $20,000 and $10,000, respectively, as a favor.

Dreyfus then promised to transfer an equivalent value of euros to both players later that day. Such cash swaps are common in the poker community when players travel between continents.

Latz and Holz didn’t really need to worry about the money, so they forgot about it. However, Latz eventually realized five weeks later that he hadn’t received his $20k.

Holz didn’t even remember the missing $10k until Dreyfus emailed an apology. The latter noted that the GPL was having financial difficulties and asked if he could wait until the next month to repay both players.

He offered an additional 5% interest on top of what he owed. However, the poker pros still felt that they should make others aware of the incident.

The deals were meant to be trades, rather than short-term loans. They wanted to warn others in the poker community on dealing with Dreyfus.

To be fair, he did pay back the money and apologized multiple times afterward. But his behavior certainly wasn’t befitting of a trusted poker entrepreneur.

Move to the Cryptocurrency World

Dreyfus was eventually able to work out a deal with PokerStars involving the GPL. As mentioned before, Stars is now using the league as a marketing/entertainment tool in India.

However, his poker reputation was definitely damaged from the league’s underwhelming performance as well as his dealings with Holz and Latz.

Instead of opting in for creating something like an Bitcoin online casino, Dreyfus switched gears and transitioned into the cryptocurrency industry in a different manner. He revived his Chili brand under “chiliZ,” which is a sports and esports blockchain project.

Esports Tournament Arena, Chiliz Logo

ChiliZ is patterned after Spanish football’s “socios,” which describes how thousands of Barcelona and Real Madrid fans have a voice in how their favorite teams are run. Sports and video gaming fans will get an opportunity to do the same with their favored teams through chiliZ.

Here’s an example on what they can vote on with esports:

  • Skins used in matches
  • Which pros will start matches
  • Which pros will be on the bench

Like many cryptocurrency projects, this one is tokenized. The chiliZ token (CHZ) will allow users to perform a variety of functions within the project’s blockchain.

Those who have the most tokens will have the biggest say in how teams are run. The pros, meanwhile, benefit by drawing funding through tokens that they might not otherwise be able to attain.

The general public is often hesitant about cryptocurrencies. After all, the majority of these projects are either scams, bad ideas, or efforts to draw funding on previously failed concepts.

It’s difficult to say where Dreyfus’ project lies. This blockchain could very well go the same way as the GPL.

But he at least has a good vision and is looking to fill a real void in sports and gaming. ChiliZ has also netted some high-profile partnerships, such as the Roma football club, Paris Saint-Germain football club, and OG esports squad.

Conclusion

Alex Dreyfus is one of the most dynamic entrepreneurs to have entered the poker world. After originally starting with an online poker room, he expanded his empire to include award shows, a player rankings system, and the largest poker tournament database.

But what Dreyfus is best known for is starting the Global Poker League. The GPI represented an ambitious attempt to start a pro-centric poker league that fans could enjoy.

However, the GPI is just a fraction of what it was intended to be. The format wasn’t quite what many expected, and the online-match format just wasn’t very appealing to the average poker fan.

Aside from the GPI not taking off as expected, Dreyfus also had a cash-swap controversy. He borrowed a collective $30k from two poker pros and failed to pay them back in a timely manner.

Dreyfus began slowly fading away from the poker world after these incidents. He’s now focusing on a cryptocurrency project called chiliZ.

Once again, the Frenchman is aiming for big things with this platform. He hopes to tokenize the sports and esports worlds while giving fans a bigger say in their favorite teams.

Can chiliZ be the ultimate success that will come to characterize Dreyfus? Or will it go the way of the GPL? The next few years should answer this question and define the rest of Dreyfus’ professional career.

The 7 Best Adventure-Themed Slot Machines Online

Slot Machine Reels, Adventure Slots Text Above Gold Ribbon
Slot gaming has come a long way since the old one-armed bandit days. Modern slot machine games are designed to be visually pleasing or stimulating. In recent years, many games have added high-quality audio features, too.

Games based on TV shows or celebrity entertainers use popular songs and sound effects to create a life-like experience. One of the most entertaining slot machine games I’ve seen in recent years is the Britney Spears game.

If you’re a fan of her music, you’ll want to check out the kiosk-like game when you visit a casino that offers it. Of course, it’s not a full concert experience by any stretch of the imagination. But you’re combining two forms of entertainment into one.

What Makes a Good Adventure-Themed Slot Game?

Adventure-themed slots offer similar blending of visual and audio effects. I’ve found adventure-themed games fall into two groups.

First, there is the older style five-reel video slot. The tiles may come to life occasionally, but the bonus games are barely worth playing for. When these games first appeared, they were a nice alternative to the “classic” video slots.

Second, there are more active games. I consider a game more active if it does interesting things either during normal play or in the bonus features.

Online Adventure Slots Have Caught up With the Physical Games

If you’ve played in a land-based casino, you’ve probably found some great adventure games like Jurassic Park, Aliens, a few quest games I’ve played, and others. Online slot games have to compete with that total adventure experience at some level.

In recent years, IGT and Aristocrat have brought some of their classic games online. It’s easier to find free versions of their older, less interesting games.

Some online 3D slot games have characters who move around the screen while you’re spinning reels. They make the game far more entertaining. The better 3D games’ characters unleash special features.

If there’s continuity of any kind in the game, then it plays more like a real adventure. I chose the following games for this article because I was able to play them, they offered at least some adventure-like options, and they had some animation.

7 – The Epic Journey by Quickspin

The Epic Journey by Quickspin, Gold Coins
This game offers a lot of promise. It just doesn’t quite live up to that promise.

The game board consists of three palettes using stacked reels. I don’t like stacked reel games because they rarely line up very well. What makes The Epic Journey’s stacked reels acceptable are the liberal wild symbols and the volcano bonus.

If one or more volcano tiles appear at the same time, at least one of them is likely to blow up, spitting lava balls across the screen. Wherever lava hits a tile, that tile turns into a wild. You could score a big win!

If three earthships appear, you trigger a full bonus game. You pick a game at random, which could result in free spins, the Mushroom Forest pick game, a three-spin fossil hunt, or a big cash prize.

The game is inspired by Jules Verne adventures and steampunk movies. The music is right out of the classic steampunk/Vernian repertoire.

6 – A Switch in Time by Rival Powered

This is a time travel adventure game. I’ve read good things about it but couldn’t get the bonus game to trigger. Rival Powered games use artwork inspired by graphic novels and anime or manga.

They also have nice soundtracks. The electronic theme for A Switch in Time is cool and layered. The bottom track plays continuously but when you spin the reels they add their own track.

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The wild symbol has a 2x multiplier in normal play and a 3x multiplier in free spins games. The wild also expands during the free spins game.

Free spins games are triggered by three or more lady symbols. You can win up to 78 free spins, which is definitely always a good thing no matter the amount you have in your casino gaming bankroll. The time travel bonus is triggered by three time machine symbols.

The background screen activates when you hit a clock prize. The clock at the top of the screen activates when the stopwatch pays a prize.

5 – The Elf Wars by RealTime Gaming

Elf Wars Slots Game by RealTime Gaming
This is a borderline “adventure” but the premise of the game is that Rudolph has run amok and is destroying Santa’s workshop. The elf workers are in a panic and hiding. What makes this game special is the guaranteed feature.

The basic game uses a simple Christmas card art motif. There are two wilds are Rudolph and Santa. Rudolph may expand.

When the bonus game is triggered, you’re taken to Santa’s workshop. There, you must rescue as many of Santa’s elves as you can. It’s a pick game, and the more elves you find, the more free spins you get in the next phase.

The free spins games vary. You may be awarded prize multipliers and extra wilds. If this sounds like just another slot game, it is. But the guaranteed feature heightens the interest factor.

As you spin the reels, your chances of winning a bonus round increase. A widget in the upper right corner counts down the spins until you’re guaranteed a bonus game.

If you become impatient, for a little extra money, you can spin a wheel for a chance to trigger the bonus game. Wait until your chances are above 50% before trying.

4 – Gonzo’s Quest by NetEnt

This is one of those games using tumbling blocks in place of spinning reels. Gonzo is a 3D character who stands beside the game board. He occasionally moves and makes noise. He may consult the map he stole to help you find the treasure of El Dorado.

When the tumbling blocks form a prize-winning pattern, they explode. New blocks fall into place and a multiplier is added to the game. The maximum is a 5x multiplier.

The bonus game is triggered when three free fall symbols line up in the first three reels. A wild symbol may substitute for one of the free fall symbols.

Gonzo then leads you through the jungle to the lost temple. There, a free spins game begins. The prizes include more free spins and Gonzo becomes more excited as the prizes stack up.

3 – Jack and the Beanstalk by NetEnt

Slot Game Jack and the Beanstalk, Different Coins as Wallpaper
While not the most exciting game one can play, the 3D graphics include occasional glimpses of Jack or bids flying across the screen.

The free spins feature is triggered by sliding wild symbol. It moves left at the start of each free spin. When the symbol slides off the game board, the free spins are done. More than one wild symbol may appear and the free spins can go on for a while.

The scatter symbol is a treasure chest. It triggers a bonus game where Jack comes out of his house and climbs up the beanstalk. The game awards 10 free spins.

The bonus game accumulates golden keys. After the third key appears, a stacked wild is added to the game. Two more stacked wilds appear after six and nine keys are found. The thid wild symbol is an expanding golden harp.

It is possible, though unlikely, for five golden harps to appear during the bonus game.

2 – Greedy Goblins by Betsoft

This is another 3D slot game. The goblin stands to the side of the board while the reels spin. He is more active and interesting than Gonzo.

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An expanding wild symbol triggers free spins. Extra goblins may come out and steal coins from the board during the free spins.

When two Book of Secrets scatters appear, the bonus game begins. Two goblins sneak into the elf’s workshop and steal ideas until “Collect” appears. Although this is a basic pick game, the prizes and animations can be interesting.

1 – Mr. Vegas by Betsoft

Las Vegas Strip at Night, Mobile Phone Displaying Mr. Vegas Slot Game
If visiting a casino counts as an adventure, this is the adventure slot to end all adventure slots. If you haven’t played Mr. Vegas yet, find it and play it.

Mr. Vegas is the stereotypical sleek operator. The theme song sounds like a class Las Vegas-style song done in the style of Sinatra and the Rat Pack. I would bet some people play the intro over just to hear the song again.

The game uses animated tiles, but what makes it special is that every bonus game is based on a real casino activity that you’d see at the most popular Las Vegas casinos. You might throw some dice, bet on roulette, or pull the arm on a slot machine.

The basic game is boring, but the bonus games are well worth the wait if you haven’t played them before. Mr. Vegas is more like a virtual casino experience than the rest of the online casino.

Conclusion

I played a lot of games looking for good adventure-themed slots. Unfortunately, some of the developers take themselves out of the running, either by only offering free versions of older games (like Aristocrat and IGT) or by blocking US players (like Microgaming).

In years past, I’ve played games that should be on this list. But since I can’t play them anymore, I can’t recommend them. All things considered, true adventure-themed games are still hard to find. Maybe developers will bring out new adventures that everyone can play.