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Casino Royale - January 12

This past weekend, myself, Jason Block, Aaron Huertas and Ben Ziek went to Atlantic City. I did decent in winning $120, but part of the fun was to see the sights, as I haven't been there in a while. One of the said sights is this picture below:

If you take a look at this picture, you'll notice a HUGE picture of a slot machine. This isn't just any old slot machine - this is a Slot Machine of Wheel...of...Fortune! The whole idea is to get 5 Wheel of Fortune Logos, and if you do that, with a maximum bet, you win the jackpot. On a nickel slot machine, a max bet would be around $4.35, however, when we were down there, the Jackpot was over two million dollars, so it's a nice bet to have.

What was amazing to me was not just the huge Wheel of Fortune spectacle. What was amazing was all of the slot machines that had game show representation. You would expect that the current games are in there, like Wheel (yep), Jeopardy! (yep), Deal Or No Deal (new and yep), and The Price is Right (yep, and more than one version), but there are other games as well.

Let's start with this decade. There's no less than 4 versions of Hollywood Squares out there. Regis's Cash Club (aka Millionaire) is there as well. Waiting to hear the beep? Then come play Supermarket Sweep, and hope that what you hear are coins coming out of the machine.

Now if you're like me and grew up in the 80's, then the casinos have some machines for you. Like Whammies? Then go find a Press Your Luck machine, which is not only available in casinos, but is also available in your PC, as they have made the uber-popular slot machine one of the choices in certain PC slot machine games. If word games are more your thing, then come play Pyramid...the $25,000 version of it, not the Donny Osmond version.

The casinos, however, aren't stupid. They know that the older demographic loves the slot machines. Hence, they have rolled out slot machines for people watching 70's television and earlier. There were three games that our group noticed when we were down there that caters to that set. The first game - Match Game, whose caricatures include Gene Rayburn, Charles Nelson Reilly and Brett Somers. Right next to Match Game was You Bet Your Life, while across from it was Password -the Allen Ludden version.

Is there any real strategy to a slot machine? Surprisingly, the answer is yes. For starters, bring enough for 30-40 plays at MAXIMUM level. Why Maximum? Because that's the only way that you can win the big Jackpot, and you don't want to spend all of the time to play, only to hit the Jackpot and only get a fraction of the winnings. One more hint - the slot machines don't pay out all the time. You should stop when you are ahead and know your limits when you play.
You should also think about playing on a machine when you see someone stop because they are out of money (vs. someone who leaves when they cash out).

We all know that gambling is a game (and should only be treated like that for most of the general populace), but if you are a game show fan, there's plenty of gaming to choose from. Of course, it's not a good way to make money, but if you want to have a good time, then go to a nickel slot machine, bring $80 - $100 and come sit down and spend some time with Pat and Vanna or any of the other hosts from now or yesteryear.

But maybe you can cash in with these tips on how to play the pricing games...

Grand Game - Keep one product that you KNOW is under the target price and don't select it until the very end. Why? Because if you are wrong any time before the last time, you'll walk away with some money. If you screw up on the $1,000 level, you win nothing. It's better to screw up at the $100 level and at least win something - plus if you keep one item you know until the end, then it's a cinch to win $10,000.

Grocery Game - There is a pretty easy way to win this game. Find the least expensive item, but do NOT use it yet. Go for a few more expensive items, and when you're 2 or 3 dollars away, then use the cheap item and inch your way there.

Half Off - If you don't know, select the lower priced item. Usually, the spacing of the items are far enough that you could figure it out.

Gordon Pepper wants to remind you that problem gambling is still an issue, and one that needs to be addressed... even though he has no problem with HIS gambling.  E-mail him at


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