Majestic Star II bright spot for video poker
BY JOHN GROCHOWSKI casinoanswerman@ casinoanswerman.com January 18, 2012 2:28PM
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Updated: February 21, 2012 8:15AM
The last several years have not been kind to video poker players in the Chicago area, with a decline in pay tables that I lamented a few weeks ago in my best-of-2011 column.
But there is a bright spot, as an alert reader pointed out in an email shortly after that column appeared. Majestic Star II in Gary, has added 16 machines chock-full of single-hand games that return 99 percent or more with expert play. Ten of the machines are for quarter play, three are for dollars and three let you choose quarter, 50-cent or $1 play.
In the video poker room one deck above entrance level, the high-payers are topped with “9-6” signs. The highest paying game, 10-6 Joker’s Wild two pair or better, returns 99.92 percent with a difficult expert strategy. The lowest payer at 98.96 percent is 8-6 Bonus Poker Deluxe with a 50,000-coin reversible royal jackpot.
In between are 16-10 Not So Ugly Deuces Wild, 9-7 Triple Double Bonus Poker, 9-6 Jacks or Better, 8-5 ACE$ Bonus Poker, 8-5 Bonus Poker, 9-7-5 Double Bonus Poker and 9-6 Double Double Bonus Poker.
Comps will be tougher to come by at $100 of wagers per Key Rewards point rather than the $10 per point on other video poker games. Still, return on the best video poker games is greater than the game return plus rewards on other games, and buffet comps remain easily attainable It takes only 10 points to earn a buffet — about an hour of play for a fast player and up to two hours if your pace is leisurely. On lower-paying games, it takes just 80 hands, or about 6 to 12 minutes.
“We feel like we’re giving our players the best of both worlds,” said Scott Hendrickson, Majestic Star’s vice president of slot operations. “They can choose to play the 9-6 games, or they can play for the points.”
For me, the choice is easy. The chance to play video poker games of a quality we don’t see on quarter, or even dollar, single-hand games in the rest of the Chicago area is an attraction I can’t pass up.
John Grochowski is a local freelance writer. Look for him on Facebook (http://tinyurl.com/7lzdt44); Twitter (@GrochowskiJ) and at casinoanswerman.com.