Sure, casinos won’t tell you when a slot machine will hit, but they do tell you how much they’ve been paying out.
State law requires the payback percentage to be posted on each slot floor and be updated quarterly.
And if you look around the heart of Miami, you’ll see that area is ultra-competitive. From July through December, Magic City Casino, Casino Miami and Hialeah have all paid out more than 93 percent of each slot dollar put in. Those three are the highest of the eight racetrack casinos in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. (The Seminole Tribe of Florida is not required to post its payback percentages.)
The overall average for the eight is about 92 percent.
Now, please note there’s plenty of variance from machine to machine. The $1 and $5 slots, played by high rollers, pay back about 97 percent. The penny slots can pay back as little as 85 percent.
Also note that video poker, electronic table games and local favorite Diamond Lotto return above the state average. Progressive slots, which pull a little piece of each spin to form a big jackpot, average less. The payback percentage stats are also posted on the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering’s web site.
But don’t take the percentages too seriously in choosing where to play. If it’s a casino where you have fun, feel like you’re treated well and has the food and entertainment you like, don’t let a couple of bucks determine your decision.
Gulfstream drops 3-card poker
While three other South Florida racetrack casinos are continuing to offer new poker games the state says are illegal, Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach has complied with the state’s request to put on hold Ultimate Texas Hold ’em, Three-Card Poker, Two-Card Poker and One-Card Poker.
Gulfstream officials, citing a desire to cooperate with the state, covered their one table that offered Three-Card Poker, located in the poker room. (That’s the first floor of the casino.)
The state ruled more than a year ago that the games were classified as poker, so Florida card rooms began offering them, including Magic City Casino, the Isle Casino in Pompano Beach and the Palm Beach Kennel Club. The state then reversed course on Jan. 26.
Valentine’s and promotions
▪ Casino Miami calls Sunday night’s car giveaway “Win a Ford Mustang for your Sweetie.” Hey, it beats pathetically trolling around a mall gift shop at the last minute, and buying some stuffed bear. The grand prize drawing is at midnight on Sunday, with hourly free play drawings from 3-11 p.m. The casino also gives away a Ford Focus at 10 p.m. Monday. Havana native Carlos Manuel performs at 9 p.m. Saturday.
▪ Calder upgrades its buffet on Sunday, with a choice of twin lobster tails or king-cut prime rib, as well as wine or champagne, a sweetheart’s dessert and a long-stemmed rose. Cost is $65 per couple and runs 4-9 p.m. Call 305-625-7227.
▪ The two signature restaurants at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood have upgrades this weekend. Council Oak Steaks & Seafood adds stone crab claws, beef carpaccio, prime rib and a chocolate caviar tart to its nightly menu. Kuro, offering new-style Japanese cuisine, will have seared scallops, stone crab claws, tuna tartare and a new twist on the classic chocolate-covered strawberry.
▪ Hialeah gives away $10,000 each Saturday in February. Players’ club members receive one free entry into the drawing and more with every 25 slot points earned. Hourly $1,000 payouts begin at 2 p.m., with $2,000 at 5 p.m. and again when the promotion concludes at midnight.
▪ The PPC Poker Tour, based in Pompano Beach, stops at the Isle Casino on Monday for a four-day event. Players can enter at 11 a.m., 3 p.m. or 7 p.m. Monday through Wednesday. The finals are at noon Thursday. Players start with 9,000 chips and the top two finishers receive prize packages to the PPC finals in Aruba (worth $5,000). The event guarantees $110,000 in prize money.
▪ Magic City Casino’s poker room offers $1,500 high hands from 10 a.m. to noon on weekdays, $250 every 30 minutes from 1-10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, $400 every 30 minutes from noon to 2 a.m. On weekends, it’s $1,000 from 10 a.m. to noon, $400 every 30 minutes from noon to 4 p.m., $250 every 30 minutes from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and $400 again every 30 minutes from 8 p.m. to midnight.
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