Guide for Do-It-Yourself Games

Slots, Video Poker, Video Keno, Race Book, Sports Book

We call these do-it-yourself games because you generally play solo, not directly in opposition to other players or the house.



In existence for more than a century, slot machines (also called "one-armed bandits" because of the single handle used to start the gambling process) are the most prevalent gambling option, and can be found in virtually every casino and gaming parlor. Slots come in various denominations, from one penny to hundred-dollar-bills. The huge selection of types, from mechanical, electro-mechanical, video, and touch screen attest to the slot machine's popularity.

To play a slot machine, simply drop in a coin and pull the handle. If you win, you'll get an immediate payout into a metal pan, usually accompanied by flashing lights and appropriately startling noises.


Video Poker

Unlike regular poker, where you pit your skills against other players, and the house makes its money by "raking" a small amount from each pot, video poker is played alone on a machine that uses a computer to randomly deal you a poker hand. The object, however, is still the same: build the best five-card hand you can. You are initially dealt five cards, and have the option to discard any or all of those cards, and draw replacements.

Many variations of poker exist in video poker, including jacks or better, and various wild-card games.


Video Keno

The primary attraction of video keno is the ability to play many, many more games than you could play in a live keno lounge. The rules are the same, however. A keno card is presented on the touch-screen, marked with a grid of the numbers 1 through 80. Simply place your bet, then pick your numbers by touching the screen (older machines us a marking pen; most newer machines have touch-screens). Once you're satisfied with your selection, just press the start button, and the game is on! . Different machines offer different animations, but you'll see the numbers selected, and if any of your numbers are hit, they'll be marked differently, and a tally of numbers hit (and payout) will be shown. It's possible to win up to $10,000 on a dollar bet.

Denominations of keno machines vary from one penny to 25-dollar tokens in some high-roller lounges.


Sports Book

Sports books in casinos are rooms where bets are taken and odds are displayed on virtually every professional sporting event taking place in the country, and in some casinos, the world. It's possible to bet on football, baseball, boxing, hockey, golf, auto races, etc., all from the comfort of your seat, and with drink service near at hand.

While you're resting comfortably, you can watch any number of sporting events on the video screens on every available wall, or check the odds and points spreads on those games on toteboards that compete with the video screens for your attention.


Race Book

Race books are very similar to sports books (see above), but they concentrate on racing, generally horse, harness and greyhound racing. Along with casinos, many racetracks host race books, which range from small operations similar to OTB (off-track betting) shops to huge rooms that rival sports books in their complexity of video screens and toteboards.


One Last Note: If you have any questions about a particular game, ask a dealer or supervisor for assistance. That's part of their job, and who knows—you might learn something new. It's a truism that "poker lessons are always expensive" but many casinos offer free classes on the various games, so save your money, at least until you've taken advantage of these invaluable free lessons.

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This Page Last Modified 10/19/2021
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Poker was originally played with a deck of 20 cards, comprised of four suits of five cards ten to ace.



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