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Magazine Review: HighRoller

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HighRoller is a colorful bimonthly, in its second year, designed for those who enjoy gambling and the glitzy world of the modern American casino. Surprisingly, it’s published in Alpharetta, GA, not to my knowledge anywhere near a gambling mecca.

My approach to gambling is a tad too conservative for HighRoller. I journey to Atlantic City a few times a year with a couple of hundred bucks in my pocket and a comped (free) room reservation at the casino’s hotel. My gambling is confined to quarter video slot machines and dinner is usually at the hotel buffet, hopefully with a half-price coupon in my pocket. My expectations of winning are low, especially since they took out my favorite five-deck poker slots last year.

These old machines paid out in real quarters, and virtually all the slot machines in Atlantic City now pay out in paper vouchers, eliminating the need for refilling slot machines with quarters and reducing maintenance costs.

[ADBLOCKHERE]HighRoller, on the other hand, celebrates a lifestyle of playing big-time poker, eating at the casino’s best restaurants and seeing some pricy shows in your spare time. A lot of people do that. If everyone was me, the casinos would be shacks.

The typical article in HighRoller is breezy and short, and pretty much adoring of whatever casino, restaurant, showbiz personality or resort its editors choose to feature. There are a couple of articles on gambling strategies in the recent issue I’ve been looking through. One I found of interest was a dismissive piece on the low-strategy 3-card poker table game that’s become popular in casinos, and it contains just about the only critical words in the issue: “If you are going to play three-card poker, then you might as well play the lotto.”

A lot of the ads in HighRoller are for Internet betting operations, and one of the potentially interesting articles in the issue is about “reduced juice” online sports books that take a smaller commission on bets (the “juice”) than casino books and neighborhood bookies. But the opening paragraph of the (unsigned) article blew me away with some truly stultifying and pretentious prose, stuff that I hadn’t seen since the required reading list at college: “When it comes to business, the Zeitgeist of our epoch has been defined by templates for a postindustrial knowledge economy.”

Tough to digest when you’re just looking for a place to bet on the Pistons. The article goes on to say that the online operations can offer cheaper commissions because they don’t have all that brick-and-mortar overhead, but it does warn bettors that the point spread they are offered online might not be as good as that provided by the traditional sports book.

One of the longer feature articles, obviously written before the Winter Olympics, is a worshipful look at American skier Jeremy Bloom, who bombed. A bad bet by the editors!

About Ed Rust