Penny for Your Slots

How to go crazy at the Rivers Casino without losing your shirt.

Long-time readers will know that I harbor an unabashed appreciation for the Rivers Casino, our fair city’s hub of everlasting nightlife and constant gaming. I’m just as appreciative that there’s a 24-hour hangout with beer and a giant buffet as I am of the actual gambling. In a city that finds pride in going to bed early, it’s nice to have a place that’s welcoming at all hours.

Lately, however, my sojourns to the Rivers have been limited, due to a distinct lack of disposable income. (I bought Christmas presents, took a vacation and got a second dog. All cost more than expected. As does everything.) Fortunately, Rivers has a solution for even the most cash-strapped gamer: the penny slots.

One-cent slot machines are much more than just a way to go to the casino with about six bucks in your pocket, though; they’re also the best way to extend a trip. Sure, if you bet more you can win more, but if you lose — which, statistically, must occur at some point — you’ll be headed home much quicker if you pull the handle on a more pricey machine. If you’re heading to Rivers with friends, cheap little games are the best way to ensure the evening stretches on.

And if you haven’t sat down at a slot machine lately, you’ve got a lot to learn. The bleeping, blinking wheels of fate have come quite a long way from cherries and sevens. Most games have elaborate themes, bonus features, video sequences and all sorts of ways to spruce up the fact that you’re basically pushing a button and being told whether or not you get money. Below, then, a review of ten of Rivers’ penny slots.

Game: “Cleopatra”
Theme: Egyptian history, as understood by someone who has read one children’s book about ancient Egypt, written for pre-kindergartners.
Goal: Cleo herself is wild, the pyramid that makes the funny noise can trigger a ton of free play. I used to play this one all the time.
What This Game Says About You: You own upwards of twenty DVDs with “Mummy” in the title, and firmly believe that the Curse of King Tut is real.
What You’re Drinking: Something from an elaborate, though plastic, goblet.
Result of $1 Played: Lost 96 cents. Though I once turned a $5 into a $20 on Cleo in one pull.

Game: “The Sopranos”
Theme: A retrospective of the beloved TV series. One of many movie or TV tie-in games at Rivers.
Goal: I have no idea. I was told some impressive things, including scenes from the show, would occur if I played the “Soprano Bonus”, but I couldn’t figure out how. Or I just lost.
What This Game Says About You: You’re still mad about how the series ended, and you’d like to be financially compensated for your loss.
What You’re Drinking: Scotch, neat.
Result of $1 Played: Lost the full dollar. What, you expected the mafia to pay out?

Game: “Jumpin’ Jalapenos”
Theme: A treatment of Mexican culture as seen in a Speedy Gonzales cartoon. As such, teeters on the edge of political correctness.
Goal: You’re looking for three Jalapenos anywhere on the field, which will trigger a dozen free spins. And (I apologize in advance for the following) the dudes in sombreros are wild.
What This Game Says About You: You didn’t see the problem with that mayor from Connecticut replying “I might have tacos tonight” when asked what he was doing for the Latino community.
What You’re Drinking: Corona Light, with a lime wedge.
Result of $1 Played: Lost 95 cents.

Game: “Kitty Glitter”
Theme: Pampered cats are the best cats.
Goal: You’re looking for a trio of diamond-filled bowls of cat food. Which ranks low on my list of preferred diamond presentation methods, but whatever.
What This Game Says About You: You are uncomfortable with being away from your cats momentarily, even in the name of gambling.
What You’re Drinking: Dessert wine.
Result of $1 Played: Lost 50 cents. Perhaps this game is a bit looser as an apology for being called “Kitty Glitter.”

Game: “Arctic Fox”
Theme: The wildlife of the far north, I guess? Something about ice and wolves?
Goal: Paradoxically, you’re looking for some kind of sapphire hare, which would seem to be the prey of the titular fox. And if you find it, it initiates the “Wild Fox Bonus.” Somehow, this leads to money.
What This Game Says About You: You have been ice fishing more than once.
What You’re Drinking: Coffee, from a thermos you brought with you.
Result of $1 Played: Lost 62 cents. And it was those last two that really hurt.

Game: “Coyote Moon”
Theme: “The ancient ones will guide you to great adventure,” as the game puts it. Or, you know, maybe winning four bucks.
Goal: You’re trying to line up the weird red cave-drawing guy playing a trumpet.
What This Game Says About You: You really, really, really wish this was an Indian casino.
What You’re Drinking: Whiskey and rainwater.
Result of $1 Played: Won 5 cents. Thanks, ancient ones!

Game: “Southern Belle”
Theme: Romance in the old South. Basically an unlicensed Gone With the Wind game.
Goal: In the least creative effort I’ve experienced today, you’re looking for the squares to say “Bonus” a bunch. Couldn’t we have made that a stately oak tree or something?
What This Game Says About You: You have imitated a Savannah accent in the hopes of fooling people into believing it was genuine.
What You’re Drinking: A mint julep. You are declaring it “inauthentic.”
Result of $1 Played: Lost 55 cents, I do declare.

Game: “Snapdragon”
Theme: Butterflies. Butterflies everywhere.
Goal: Get more butterflies.
What This Game Says About You: There are very few parts of your body you haven’t considered getting a butterfly tattoo.
What You’re Drinking: A flavored vodka with an ironic name.
Result of $1 Played: Won 5 cents.

Game: “Da Vinci Diamonds”
Theme: Surprisingly, nothing related to the Dan Brown books. Just general Renaissance-ish stuff.
Goal: It’s tough to explain, but basically, if there’s a winning spin, the board will shuffle and you’ll get a chance to win again, on the same pull. You’ll know it when you see it. It’s actually a pretty cool feature.
What This Game Says About You: You always wanted to take an art history course, but never got around to it.
What You’re Drinking: Some cocktail with honey liquer in it.
Result of $1 Played: Lost the full dollar. Mona Lisa smirked about it.

Game: “Duck Stamps”
Themes: Hunting, and also stamp collecting. Quaint hobbies?
Goal: You’re after a trio of hunting dogs, which will make the ducks wild. Just like in real life.
What This Game Says About You: You have a bumper sticker that begins with the phrase “I’d rather be…”
What You’re Drinking: Light beer, from a weather-beaten cooler.
Result of $1 Played: In the day’s big victory, won $1.35. Must’ve been all that Duck Hunt I played as a tyke.

Categories: After Dark