Since 1969, restaurant, hotel, travel & other witty reviews by a handpicked, worldwide team of discerning professionals—and your views, too.

SLOT MACHINES
The biggest change in Las Vegas casinos over the last decade has been the massive shift in popularity from the traditional table games—blackjack, craps and roulette—to slot machines and video poker, which are everywhere.
While most of the slots still display the traditional three reels of cherries, melons, bells and 7s, advanced computer technology now also provides multireel action and branded games—Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy! Monopoly, Let’s Make a Deal, Elvis and Three Stooges—with entertaining bonus wheels, music and video screens.

Slot machines also now can be linked electronically to a wider network, in order to pay "progressive jackpots" comparable to state lottery jackpots. The more people who play, the larger the payout. In November 1998, the 700-machine Megabucks network paid a record jackpot of more than $27.5 million. Of course, word travels fast when that much action is on the line, and it isn’t easy to find a seat at a Megabucks machine.

Hint: Ask the slots supervisors which of the machines offer the highest percentage payouts and what it takes to win the biggest prizes. To take advantage of the best odds, video poker—“the crack cocaine of gambling”—must be played with an eye toward hitting the most difficult hand, using the maximum amount of coins at all times. Machines truly do run hot and cold, so develop a strategy as to when to give up on a particular game and move to another one.
By the way, more than half of all new slot machines now come minus the familiar handle of the one-armed bandit. In addition to the vast array of slots, it’s also possible to play electronic versions of traditional table games with multiple players and virtual dealers.

The world's largest regular slot machine (certified by The Guinness Book of World Records) is located in the Four Queens Hotel in downtown Las Vegas. It's about the size of a small motor home, and six people can play it simultaneously.

 Learn more games with our Gaming Guide.


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