Introduction to Ameristar St. Charles Riverboat
I visited the Ameristar St. Charles Riverboat casino on the eastern border of Missouri near St. Louis. Here I review this casino along with my general understanding riverboat casinos.
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Missouri is one of six U.S. states to legalize riverboat casinos. Iowa led the way in 1989, followed by Illinois and Louisiana in 1991, then Mississippi, Indiana, and Missouri in 1993.
Missouri’s riverboat gaming regulations for these casinos have evolved over time including:
- Eliminating cruising
- Removing closing boarding for two-hour-long gaming sessions
- Removal of the original $500 loss limit on each gaming session
A riverboat casino is usually barge floating over a few inches of muddy water, although a few have the look of a paddlewheel boat.
Ameristar St. Charles in Missouri does not give the appearance of being a boat. Most visitors consider it next to the Missouri River rather than on the river. Patrons walk into the casino with no indication of having boarded a boat. When visiting, there is no movement or rocking.
However, there is a sense of being on a boat based on the shape and size of the casino. The gaming floor is long and narrow, so it’s shaped like a boat.
Furthermore, local slots enthusiasts visiting for years notice that the casino never seems to expand in size like most land-based casinos. Put another way, the boat never seems to get bigger.
Some expansion is possible, such as Ameristar St. Charles adding a second floor with slot machines, half of which is sometimes converted to table games for large poker tournaments.
Many riverboat casino properties are also partially on land. The gaming floor must be a boat over water, but it’s 20-something floor hotel is on shore along with parking structures.
Also, dining options can be just off the casino floor, nearby enough to be convenient while not taking up valuable revenue generating floor space of the casino itself.
Do Riverboats have a Central Computer Server?
Ameristar St. Charles does not have a central computer server to remotely control slot machines. Why? Because it’s a boat, and boats have limited space.
Central servers must be hardwired to each slot machine, which can be hundreds or thousands of cables. Land-based casinos have sufficient space under floors and within walls and ceilings to house such large bundles of cables.
Riverboat casinos don’t have room for these bundles. Remember, the floor isn’t exactly a floor. Under the floor isn’t more floor, but rather a hull with river water on the other side.
Yes, slot machines have players’ card and other interfaces communicate information back and forth as needed, but the information transfer load is minimal and doesn’t require the dedicated and secure hardline connection needed for fast and constant updating of gaming devices.
Riverboat casinos would dearly love to have a central computer server to reduce their slot mechanic workforce, specifically all that payroll and compensation, and gain the ability to closely monitor their daily performance metrics.
As a result, there are consequences for slots enthusiasts trying to use my winning slots strategies at these riverboat casinos without a central computer server.
My Strategies that DON’T Work on Riverboat Casinos
My winning slots strategies 4 and 5, the morning after special events or holidays, depend upon having a central computer server connected to every slot machine in the casino.
Without one, neither of these “morning after” strategies can work. This lack of availability was confirmed time and again over the last year by fans trying both strategies at their local riverboat casinos.
Strategies 7 and 8, returning a week later and only playing during abruptly busy times also depend upon the casino employing a central computer server to immediately access and remotely control the odds of winning on its slot machines.
Fans have also confirmed this at riverboat casinos. However, as a caveat, it’s worth noting that a prominently located slot machine manually set up to have better odds of winning a few times a year would still be a winning seven days later.
Meaning, it would also be a winning machine on every day, all day, in-between for the whole last week. This assumes it’s limited casino marketing budget would last that long, of course.
My Strategies that DO Work on Riverboat Casinos
My winning slots strategies 1, 2, 3, 6, and 9 do not require casinos to have a central computer server. So, these five winning strategies may work if the casino uses the associated business practices these strategies depend upon.
Strategy 1 is my 5-spin method, which takes advantage of a purchased feature some casinos have on all their slot machines. If the casino purchased it from slot manufacturers, then they have it. If not, they don’t have it and the 5-spin method doesn’t work there.
Strategy 2 is for progressive slot machines which are networked together even on riverboat casinos without a central server. If they are not standalone progressive machines as indicated by small progressive jackpots, their network is with slots machines near them. Being physically nearby makes it physically easy to set up their network.
Strategy 3 on earning complimentary rewards works at any casino with a players’ club, which includes with Boyd Gaming’s players’ club program at Ameristar St. Charles.
Strategy 6 is my 5-spin method combined with several micro strategies and a good practice or two. Because the 5-spin method doesn’t require a central server, as previously mentioned, then strategy 6 works at riverboat casinos. However, the effectiveness of each of strategy 6’s add-ons beyond strategy 1 requires further study as time and opportunity permits.
Strategy 9 is one of my latest winning strategies, which I call Location, Location, Location. It doesn’t require a central server to work at casinos that have set themselves up to be taken advantage of by it. And most, if not all, casinos have done so. Ameristar St. Charles certainly has it.
More on the Ameristar St. Charles Riverboat
While I was at Ameristar St. Charles recently being shown around by a local fan that knows that riverboat casino well, I learned quite a few things which you will find useful if you visit this casino yourself some time.
These good and not-so-good things are:
- In a word, their high-limit slots area was “underwhelming”. Here’s why:
- No one was using it at a time when the rest of the casino was busy.
- There were no new machines, no tall machines, and no large video slot machines.
- While there, we identified six areas with slot machines that were in favorable locations.
- As it happens, my fan confirmed that several of them were known winners.
- No favorable areas were found on the second floor.
- As you walk into the main entrance to the casino floor, immediately on your right are three slot machines pointed in the direction of visitors walking down the hall to the entrance. The center of these three slot machines offered us wins including two bonus rounds within 20 bets, which was far better than the slot machines on either side of it.
- The 5-spin method works at Ameristar St. Charles. However,
- Results were sub-optimal as we fell well short of breaking even.
- Our return when choosing end-of-row slot machines to improve returns was better than most other performances at this casino.
My best recommendation for the Ameristar St. Charles riverboat casino is to play highly visible slot machines. This approach will net you the best returns you’re likely to find here. However, the “best” machines are already well-known and taken by locals during peak gaming times.
Alternatively, you can also use my 5-spin method. It does work, even though returns are less than breaking even. Still, as for us during my visit, it will extend your playing time somewhat.
Summary of Ameristar St. Charles Riverboat
I visited the Ameristar St. Charles Riverboat casino on the eastern border of Missouri near St. Louis. This was my review with regards to how to win at slots here.