A (Very) Happy Hour For Gamblers

I’ve devoted a couple of columns already to the good video-poker pay tables at Bar 702, the former Sand Dollar Lounge (3355 Spring Mountain Rd.), and figured I’d said everything that needed to be said. But they just keep doing good things over there. The latest is a happy hour for gamblers.

This happy hour isn’t about cheap drinks. And there’s no kitchen at 702, so it’s not about half-price appetizers, either. Nope, this is a happy hour built specifically for gamblers. It runs three times a day, every day—from 3 to 4 a.m., 9 to 10 a.m., and 5 to 6 p.m.

If you play video poker, you’ve probably seen the big wheel that spins when someone hits a four-of-a-kind in the designated “card of the day.” If the card is 5 and you hit four fives, for example, you hear “Spinning Wheel” by Blood Sweat & Tears and get a shot at an instant $10 to $1,000 bonus. Bars that are more aggressive have two or three cards of the day, and some have taken the idea further, designating five cards or more, all the way up to letting you spin on any four-of-a-kind.

It’s rare to find a place that spins on all, but they show up from time to time. When it’s spin-on-anything, you can be fairly certain that you’re dealing with bottom-of-the-barrel pay tables, because a bar typically won’t give up the juicy add-on unless it has the margin to fade it. As good as these deals look, you’re usually playing only at a break-even level (not that drinking for free is bad).

Not so at 702. During these happy hours, you spin on all four-of-a-kinds, but you’re also playing some of the best schedules in town. Now you’re getting high-returning games and a wheel spin for any quad. But that’s still not all: You also spin on any four-to-the-royal, which is almost as valuable as spinning on all quads. I’ve seen promotions offering each, but I’ve never seen both working at the same time. Happy hour, indeed!

Put it all together and you’re looking at theoretical returns (the expected result with perfect play) that bump up against 105 percent. Most players won’t have the knowledge to play at that level, but these are no-brainer bonuses that don’t require special skills in order to benefit. Note that you have to be logged into the system and playing full-coin to be eligible, and the returns quoted apply only for quarter play, as the value of the spins is diminished as you play higher denominations. But the bottom line is that this is the best low-stakes video poker play in town, regardless of what game you play or your video poker aptitude. It’s also fun and social, with the spins coming fast and furious when the bar is full and everyone is rooting for every spin.


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