Top-10 gaming resolutions for 2012

30 December 2011

Most New Year's resolutions are the same. I want to lose weight. I want to spend more time with my family. I want to learn a new language. By the time March roles around, you've put on 10 pounds, your parents don't recognize you and the only Spanish words you've learned are "siesta" and "cerveza."

As someone who works in the gambling industry, my New Year's resolutions are slightly different. Each year brings more and more casino games and gaming developments. So that led me to compile a top-10 list of casino games and developments I resolve to try in 2012.

10. Bingo at Foxwoods

This, admittedly, isn’t a new gaming development. In fact, Foxwoods Resort Casino & MGM Grand at Foxwoods was originally founded as a bingo hall back in 1986. The Connecticut behemoth that we know today has changed substantially since then, but it still offers a high-stakes bingo room. I wouldn’t mind joining the grandmothers for a couple of hours and try my hand at it.

9. Horse racing

I’ve always envied the sportsbook regulars who spend their entire day watching horse races. The races could be going on in California, Kentucky or New York. It doesn’t matter. These guys always have action on something. I couldn’t do an entire day at the track. But I’d love to sit down at a sportsbook wearing one of these and cheer on some thoroughbreds.

8. Ghostbusters slot

One of the hottest new slot machines at the Global Gaming Expo in October was International Game Technology’s “Ghostbusters” game. In fact, it was so hot that Dan Ackroyd made an appearance at G2E to debut the game (although to be honest, as long as the check clears, I’m sure Dan Ackroyd would appear at anything). The problem with these new video slot machines is that they always seem to be occupied. That will certainly be the case with my next game…

7. The Dark Knight slot

The most anticipated movie in 2012 is undoubtedly “The Dark Knight Rises.” This film is, of course, the sequel to “The Dark Knight,” one of the most popular movies of all time. The slot machine based on the movie was also developed by IGT. What better way to celebrate the release of the sequel than by playing this slot?

6. Spanish 21

There are plenty of blackjack variants at the casino. One of the most popular is Spanish 21. The object of the game is still to beat the dealer. The main difference between Spanish 21 and regular blackjack is that there are no 10s. Face cards are still worth 10. The game offers bonuses on a number of hands too, including “five-card 21, six-card 21, seven-or-more–card 21, three-card hand of 6-7-8 in mixed suits, three-card hand of 6-7-8 in same suit, three-card 6-7-8 in spades, a 7-7-7 hand in mixed suits, a 7-7-7 hand of same suit, and a 7-7-7 hand in spades” (HT to John G. Brokopp). You also get paid off at 3/2 if you and the dealer both get blackjack. As long as I have my basic strategy guide memorized (or next to me), this is a game definitely worth checking out.

5. Sic bo

Sic bo is one of three Asian-themed casino games I want to check out, and it’s the one that is the easiest to pick up. It’s a game of chance that uses three dice. The great part of this game is the number of betting options. You can bet on the outcome of a single die. You can bet on whether the total of the dice will be high or low. You can bet on whether the total of the dice will be odd or even. It’s a lot like roulette, except with dice instead of a wheel. All-in-all, there are around 50 different bets you can make on this game.

4. Baccarat

Baccarat is the oldest game that is still played in modern casinos and is also a favorite of James Bond. The objective of the game is to predict which of the two hands (banker or player) will be closer to having a value of 9. A player can also bet on a tie. The cool thing about this game is that not only are you able to touch your cards, you are also able to deal the cards. Practicing the game online at William Hill Casino will get me comfortable for when I try out the real thing.

3. Pai Gow

Fans of the Casino City Gang know that my colleagues Vin Narayanan and Aaron Todd love themselves some Pai Gow. Sadly, I’ve never taken the leap and sat down at a table. That will change this year. Pai Gow is a low-volatility game that is great when it’s played with friends. And, like Baccarat, you can handle the cards.

2. Three-card poker in AC

Three-card poker is a simple casino game that I’ve actually played. But I’ve never played it in Atlantic City. So why is this resolution #2 on my list? I can think of about a million reasons why.

1. Venetian live-betting

I had the opportunity to check out the brand-new $30 million sportsbook at The Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino when I was in Las Vegas during the WSOP November Nine. I have to tell you, it's every bit as advertised. Huge HD TVs. Comfortable seats. Individual betting terminals. There wasn't much action going on, except for Joe Paterno's resignation, so I didn't get a chance to place a bet. Fortunately, Vin Narayanan spent an entire day at the new sportsbook and gave it rave reviews. The next time I’m out in Sin City, I will be at The Venetian.

Related Links
Global Gaming Expo (G2E) 2011
Foxwoods Resort Casino Details
IGT - International Game Technology
The Venetian Las Vegas Details