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HOME > Gaming > Shadow of the panther and vouchers

Shadow of the panther and vouchers

29 June 2014

By John Grochowski

QUESTION: Can you tell me about a slot machine called Shadow of the Panther? I’d never played it before, and I did pretty good. Won about $40, so that’s not too bad for a penny slot. I just wasn’t quite sure how I was doing it. Sometimes I’d get the black panther on the first and second reels, and get a little payback. Sometimes I’d get them and be looking for the pay and wouldn’t get it. Is there a system to it?

ANSWER: Shadow of the Panther is an IGT game that was designed by High 5 Games. It uses split symbols, something that’s become a popular part of the High 5 designers’ toolkit.

If you play again, look closely. On some symbols, there are two panthers in the frame instead of one. The same deal goes for leopards, tigers and other reel symbols.

If symbol with one panther on the first reel lines up with a symbol with two panthers on the second reel, then you have three in a row and will get a small payback. If both symbols have two panthers, then you have four in a row and get a bigger return. However, if both symbols have only one panther in the frame, then you have only two in a row, and that does not bring a payback at all.

By using split symbols, it makes possible big paybacks with 10 symbols on the same payline. When I received this question, I called up an online version of the game at High 5 Casino on Facebook. The pay table shows a six-credit return per credit wagered on a winning payline if you have three black panthers, rising to eight for four panthers, 10 for five and so on, up to 250 for 10 panthers.

Shadow of the Panther also uses stacked symbols, so if you have matching double symbols stacked all the way across, filling the entire screen with 10-symbol pays on a 30-line game, wins can get very large. That leaves a volatile game, where if the double symbols and the matching stacks aren’t coming, it can make for fast losses. It’s a game for gambling, rather than a game for extended time on device.

QUESTION: I have a question for you about the Indian casinos. I go to one in Oklahoma a lot. From what I understand places like this are all Class II slots. Are they always Class II if they don't show a bingo card? Or how else can you tell if it is a Class II or Class III
slot game? What about the video poker games? Are they also Class II?

ANSWER: Oklahoma was once a Class II-only market, but that’s changed. There has been a big move in recent years with the tribes entering compacts with the state of Oklahoma to permit Class III games. All Oklahoma casinos are now permitted to offer both Class II and Class III.

If a machine doesn't have a bingo display, it's not a Class II game. Same for video poker. If it has a bingo display, it's Class II. If it doesn't, it's Class III.

QUESTION: I used to get coupons in the mail for cash. Now they’re for free play. How much difference does that make?

ANSWER: Whether the vouchers are for cash or free play, the purpose is the same. It’s to give you extra incentive to return to the casino and spend more money. Free play is a more efficient way of accomplishing that.

When vouchers were for cash, a small percentage of players would redeem the vouchers and take the cash home without playing. With free play, you have to use it to play. If you have a $20 voucher, you have to make at least $20 in bets before you can cash out anything you’ve won. Research has shown that nearly all customers will keep playing beyond the free play requirements.

I’ll admit to occasionally having redeemed cash vouchers and left without playing. Once, one of my haunts drastically reduced video poker pay tables, and I took my business elsewhere. After about six months, I received four $125 cash vouchers, redeemable on different dates. That turned into $500 that left the casino without any play.

Had they been free play vouchers, I’d have had to make $500 worth of bets. Would I have been disciplined enough to stop after the minimum play and cash out the rest? I think so, but casino operators know the majority keep playing.

This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at fscobe@optonline.net.

John Grochowski
John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field. Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago.

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