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Deal Me In: This show will 'blue' you away

14 March 2008

Dear Mark: Here in Detroit we have Las Vegas-style casinos so I have never found the need to travel there, at least until now. The company I work for is sending me to work a booth at a tradeshow this spring and I will have at least one evening free to take in a show. After 12 hours working on the floor, what I am looking for is to just sit and be entertained. Any recommendations? Dolores N.

WARNING: Flashing red lights -- A biased opinion is about to come your way -- Flashing red lights.

Dog-tired after standing like a statue for 12 hours, what you need, Dolores, is a breath-taking 90-minute Broadway theoretical journey, one that combines music, comedy and some multimedia. WOW! So even though two of my past recommendations were either Cirque du Soleil or the magic of Lance Burton, I now add to my must see/do list in Las Vegas the Blue Man Group at the Venetian.

I must admit, I knew nothing about Blue Man's unique, unconventional, avant-garde comedy until my son, Nick – speaking of bias – became a Blue Man. Yes, he's one of those drum-beating, Cap'n Crunch-chomping, Blue Men who can catch and pack 30 marshmallows in his mouth and regurgitate the yummy mass into a gestural abstraction valued at $4,000. This, he tells me, is where studying theater at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and the Chicago College of Performing Arts was well worth the cost of the big $$$ tuition. While I, silly me, sort of saw it like playing on a non-paying slot machine, $$$ down the drain.

So, what's the show about? Well, even after seeing it a half-dozen times and am now blood-related to it (currently Nick's doing his Blue Man shtick at the Briar Street Theatre in Chicago), the show is still somewhat hard to describe, but in a way, you may be better off not knowing. So, Delores, I will just wrap it up with this. If you are looking for a part Broadway show, part rock concert, and part performance art, and like to be entertained by things you have never seen before, then this is the show for YOU.

Dear Mark: You mentioned in a recent column regarding Megajackpots that the winner is not paid until the win is authenticated. Can you explain that sequence of events, from when you pull the handle to getting a check in your hand? Brian L.

Yes, Brian, I did state that when those "geeenormous" progressive jackpots on machines like Megabucks, Quartermania, the Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy, The Price is Right, etc., are hit, they are paid by the manufacturer of the slot, who, in the above examples being IGT, would send a representative to authenticate the win, and yet another rep to then pay off the winner.

So let's say you are playing Megabucks in Laughlin, NV and your stars align allowing those winning symbols to line up perfectly on the payline.

Five hundred and fifty miles north in Reno at an undisclosed location known only to Dick Cheney -- actually it's the IGT MegaJackpots operations room -- your jackpot triggers an alarm that a jackpot of size has been recorded on the system. That system will alert staff monitoring mainframes 24/7 which game you were playing on, as well as the location, time and the amount of your win.

Reno will then notify a technician in the area where you are playing so that he or she can inspect your machine and verify that the jackpot is legitimate. The techs do this by comparing various machine readings to the information originally received at IGT's secret bunker.

Once your jackpot is authenticated, a separate jackpot response representative will ask you to present two different forms of identification showing you are who you are, have you sign a bunch of forms like a W-2G (IGT usually doesn't withhold state or federal taxes), and then present you with a check for the first of 25 annual installments if it was on an annuity game, or the full amount if you were playing on an instant winners game.

You then smile for the camera, and off you are on your merry way to start living the champagne wishes and caviar dreams lifestyle, or, blow it all in one year and then get on Oprah and tell us all how you did it.

Gambling Wisdom of the Week:

"Looking for justice in poker is like looking for virtue in a whorehouse." —Peter Alson, Take Me To The River

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Best of Mark Pilarski
Mark Pilarski

As a recognized authority on casino gambling, Mark Pilarski survived 18 years in the casino trenches, working for seven different casinos. Mark now writes a nationally syndicated gambling column, is a university lecturer, author, reviewer and contributing editor for numerous gaming periodicals, and is the creator of the best-selling, award-winning audiocassette series on casino gambling, Hooked on Winning.
Mark Pilarski
As a recognized authority on casino gambling, Mark Pilarski survived 18 years in the casino trenches, working for seven different casinos. Mark now writes a nationally syndicated gambling column, is a university lecturer, author, reviewer and contributing editor for numerous gaming periodicals, and is the creator of the best-selling, award-winning audiocassette series on casino gambling, Hooked on Winning.