A month has passed since our reopening on 1st July. In this relatively short period of time we had to make several adjustments. Sometimes we feel just like our security counsel: making decisions, reducing them, adjusting them, etc… Because yes, depending on what is determined at our highest level, we also have to adapt…
The most important new feature is that from now on you will also have to fill in a form with your contact details, i.e. your name and e-mail address or telephone number, as this is requested by law for contact tracing. Regular visitors do not have to do this every time. And don’t worry: 14 days after your last visit, we automatically delete these data.
Like our government, we keep always keep your and our safety in mind. There is another aspect to that we value: fun. After all, you come to us to have fun, and we do everything we can to make sure you do. It’s not for nothing that we are an entertainment centre! Thererfore we’ll be making the following adjustments as of 1 August.
Every day you can continue play on the slots from 10:00 in the morning until 01:00.
Poker cash games start at 17:00 and close at 00:30. This closing time also applies to our PKR 4U tournament which runs from August 1 to August 16. Be sure to check our calendar for more info!
For the other table games, we will make a small adjustment from Monday 3 August: they will be open every day at 11:00 and close at 01:00.
In our Cinna-bar you can stay between 10:00 and 00:30.
Our restaurant VIAGE Grill only opens its doors on Friday and Saturday between 18:00 and 00:30. We take the last orders one hour before closing time. During the other days, we will certainly not leave you hungry. We provide a special menu in the poker room and the Cinna-bar. This small menu offers a balanced choice between fish, meat and vegetarian dishes, both in small and slightly larger portions
For the rest, you know the drill by now, don’t you? Mask – distance – disinfection are the key words of 2020.
The demand was high. So big that we had no choice but to respond: on Saturday, August 1st, we will reopen our poker room. As with all the other parts of our entertainment centre, we had to make a number of adjustments.
Probably you realize it already and we shouldn’t take it up anymore, but still: mouth masks are mandatory at the gaming tables. Always! Keep in mind, however, that you might benefit considerably from this. With only your eyes visible, you no longer have to worry about treacherous tics or something like that. Start practicing at home in front of the mirror to make the look in your eyes unreadable. During the game, you’ll also be able to train unseen on the most advanced poker face ever so you’ll be a boulder against mouth masks being something from the distant past.
Place your hand at your face when you bluff, ignorantly, and thankfully it will be thoroughly disinfected. Because that’s also what we ask of all our players: hands are always disinfected before you come to the table, even if you only stand up for a chat, a smoke break,….
As long as the curfew is in effect, we’ll welcome you at the poker tables every day between 5:00 pm and 00:30 am with 7 players (plus the dealer) instead of 10. We’ll immediately spoil you with the PKR 4U poker tournament that runs until August 16th. With buy-ins ranging from 50€ to 120€ you can choose from different formulas and levels. Take a look at our calendar! Of course you are also welcome to come and play cash every day. After all, this is so much more fun with us than at home at the kitchen table, right?
Poker is and remains a fun game in which skills, guts and a portion of luck go hand in hand. The more worthy the opponents, the more fun you will have. The great Grantland Rice hit the nail on the head with his winged pronunciation:
It’s not whether you won or lost, but how many bad beat stories you were able to tell. — Grantland Rice
Now that we can welcome you back to our tables, we hope to be able to witness many more wonderful stories. See you soon!
For well-known reasons we are unable to hold a big party this year to celebrate Belgium’s 189th anniversary. We return to another historic moment in our history: the Battle of Waterloo. Not because of the battle itself, but because of the site of the Mont-Saint-Jean farm – that’s the name of the battle in France – which was bought by John Martin in 2014 to house a traditional microbrewery. The Duke of Wellington had an English field hospital set up in this protected farm during the Battle of Waterloo.
We serve the Waterloo Récolte from the artisanal beers that are brewed there. This summery yellow Belgian beer is in the spotlight with us today. After all, we don’t want to let the day pass without a hitch. With every Belgian beer we offer you a free portion of grilled Belgian Blanc Blue Belge beef with Ghent mustard sauce. This way you can enjoy the health of our country in your own bubble.
The Waterloo Récolte is a cloudy, unfiltered beer brewed on the basis of barley and malted wheat. It is a beer full of character, thirst-quenching and develops floral aromas that are also malted and smoked. According to the brewers, it is fantastic to taste with poultry and fish dishes. Ideal to combine with a grilled fish or piece of chicken from our restaurant Viage Grill.
Water versus beer
Waterloo Récolte is a 100% artisanal and natural beer that finds its origin in the lap of one of the oldest Belgian breweries, the ‘Brasserie du Marché’ in Eigenbrakel (Waterloo), which even dates back to 1456.
During the battle of Waterloo in 1815 it was safer to drink beer than water, because it was full of bacteria. The local breweries in the area supplied the soldiers with top-fermented beer, such as the beer now known as Waterloo, brewed in honour of the Prince of Waterloo, the official title of the Duke of Wellington. Because Prince William of Orange-Nassau was taken care of in the farm for a shoulder injury, his father, King William I of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, had the ‘Hill with the Lion’ erected there in 1826 as a tribute to his son.
The beer of the brave
When Anthony Martin, owner of the group John Martin and known for iconic beers such as Guinness, Gordon and Timmermans, was given the chance to brew Waterloo beer back on the battlefield in 2014, he didn’t hesitate for a moment. His ancestor, the famous British master brewer John Martin, spoke the winged words in 1909 when he settled in Belgium: ‘Only connoisseurs know how to appreciate beers like mine’. The original quality artisanal beer from the Waterloo microbrewery thus became a pearl of John Martin’s prestigious Finest Beer Selection. The beer that quenched the thirst of the armed forces at the time and allegedly gave them strength and courage was given the slogan: ‘Waterloo. The beer of the bravery.
Grand Casino Brussels Viage could not exist without our great employees. Our employee is the heart of our venue. Now, at a time when correctness and security are more important than ever, the smooth running of all our services relies more than ever on them. Both your safety and theirs are connected by an invisible thread. That that thread is in good hands with them, that is what they tell you here.
Our tough doorman Hakan spent the lockdown with his family in a very special way. While his wife was teleworking, this perfect househusband turned out to be a multitasker. Besides being the cook of the house he was also the temporary teacher of his kids.
Giving the example
The end of his obligation to stay at home, didn’t come too soon. As a doorman who welcomes guests and provides information, Hakan is always among the people, and that loss began to weigh heavily. After 14 years of service, some customers have become more friends,” he says, “They even share personal things with me.
“And yes, the work has changed,” he continues, “but we’re glad to be back. From one day to the next we have to wear a mask, constantly disinfecting everything, that’s not always easy. We have to set an example to the customers. By the way, they are satisfied, no one refuses to wear a mask. They see that we have invested in their safety.’
This overall satisfaction among our customers is also experienced by Celina, a fixed value at the poker tables, which we now find at the bar. Quite a turnaround. As long as the poker tables remain closed, Celina serves her guests delicious cocktails at the table. Because, no, you can’t go to the bar and order them yourself.
Things are different for the slot machines as well. The slot hosts disinfect the machines after each customer, and more if a customer requests it. Everything is perfectly arranged for the customers, they think. By the way, they are happy to be back. We are surprised to see how well they follow the rules.
In order to arrive at this result, a lot of hard work was done beforehand. Facility Manager Abdel and his team had the task of waking up a building that had been asleep for three months, which was quite a challenge. Everything had to be restarted, from the air conditioning, the kitchen appliances to the sanitary facilities. On top of that there was a series of special safety works such as placing hundreds of plexi walls and replacing some 80 door handles to open them with the elbow. Bear in mind that all this had to be done not only in the public area but also in the offices, then you know that we are talking about a real masterpiece here. We can be very proud of the facility team that they made all this happen,’ beams Abdel. Our technicians really had to divide themselves in order to get everything done. But I’m happy because we received congratulations from the management’.
Happy to play
Philippe, Slots & Reception Manager, joins him in. A quarter of the more than 400 machines showed some kind of defect due to the long standstill. In addition, there was a laundry list of safety measures to be taken for the guests: plexis, gels, cords, stickers,… But the hard work paid off. The customers are very happy to be able to play again,” Philippe observes,’ Half an hour after the opening on the 1st of July, more than 100 people were already present. And by 18:00 more than 500 customers had already registered throughout the day’.
Croupier Guillaume sums it up nicely: ‘It’s good to be back. The contact with colleagues and clients is good’.
July 1st, 2020, a date we were so looking forward to.
At first it seemed so far away. Now… it is really here!
The measures that we must follow for everyone’s safety, sometimes might seem to clash with a feeling of comfort, of pleasure, of simple happiness and the “away-from-the-world feeling” that VIAGE likes to represent. But… to maintain our ‘savoir vivre’, we went through great lengths.
For you, our esteemed visitor, we were happy to draw a flawless course, without too many turns. Still and unfortunately, we have to curtail your freedom a bit. Only one door to the casino will literally open on July 1: that of our main entrance on Boulevard Anspach. This allows us to accurately track the number of visitors at any time. We indicate the walking routes with floor stickers. You will immediately notice that arriving and departing guests cannot cross each other’s paths.
Our restaurant – Viage Grill – is also open from Friday July 3rd. There will be a temporary menu while we prepare a brand new summer menu. Of course you will still be able to enjoy our classic and delicious steakhouse style dishes, prepared on the Australian grill.
The cloakroom will remain closed for security reasons. So think about which jacket or vest you wear for a night out at Viage. Your choice might prevent from having a vest pocket on surplus to store a mask. Don’t worry about that, if necessary, we offer you one.
We disinfect everything except your hands. You can, may and must do this yourself with the abundantly foreseen gels. We have started using plexiglas almost as generously as we do those gels. You will find them at the reception, between the slot machines,… When you are playing at the latter, the slot machines, you can take off your mouth mask – which, of course, you automatically applied when you entered our complex. You are completely in your own private cocoon and our hostesses are ready to disinfect everything immediately after you leave.
At the gaming tables, of which only the poker tables remain closed for now, it is more difficult to work around the 1,5 meter rule. This is why generously treating your hands to disinfecting hand gel is essential when arriving at and leaving a table, as well as wearing a mask.
Just like before you can enjoy yourself with us from noon until early morning. Only our restaurant and bars will close at 1 am, due to the curfew for the catering industry. Grand Casino Brussels VIAGE is looking forward to offering you once more unforgettable nights full of games and fun. We hope you are looking forward just as much!
More info? Here is a link to all measures taken.
Whoever walks into a casino for the first time – including ours – immediately notices the ubiquitous slot machines. Compared to the gaming tables, they are easy access. You press a button, and hopla, fate is either good or not so good for you. Also, you just play on your own, at your own pace and at your own chosen stake.
Still, it can’t hurt to start digging into the world of these glitter machines before you start playing. First of all you distinguish two types: the reel slot machines and the video machines.
Apples and pears
The reel slot machines, known more commonly as ‘one armed bandits’, work mechanically. By pushing the start button, actual mechanical reels are set into motion, determining your winnings.
Fruit machines, can have different themes. What once started with fruit such as apples, pears and cherries evolved into just about every possible theme: from diamonds and jewellery to cartoon series, movie characters and rock bands.
Often there’s also a bar, bell, joker or 7 symbol on top of your win line to grab extra prizes. This is a horizontal or diagonal combination of symbols. The more paylines there are, the greater your chances of winning. The winnings depend on the symbols that fall, each of which has a different value. In slot machines, there is a maximum of five because you play with three reels and three rows. When you get enough credits in the underplay, they go to the win bank. From there you can take them to the topgame where more winlines and bigger prizes await you.
Go play your video game
“Go play your video game” sings Lana Del Rey in her hit “Video Games”. That’s exactly what you can do at VIAGE when you want to bet on a lot of winlines. Slot machines start with three paylines but with the video slots there are also a few dozen of them. The more paylines you bet on, the more likely it is that your prize will be ‘rolled out’. Still, for novice players too many winning lines can seem overwhelming. That’s why you should always choose a machine with the number of lines that suits you. If you have a little more experience, you can always ‘upgrade’ to a slot with more paylines. On these machines you first choose your number of paylines and then the number of credits you want to bet.
So video machines have a higher winning chance than slot machines, they bring fun animations in between and often have a bonus game. On these slots you’ll also find game symbols that can take the value of another symbol to make it easier to get a winning combination. There are also scatter symbols that can provide free spins. And last but not least, many slot machines offer bonus games that can earn you even more points
Whether you like to keep it traditional or prefer to play with lots of sound and colors. Slots are fun, exciting and entertaining. And when fate decides to be on your side, and you go home with an extra penny, or more… Shared happiness is double happiness so don’t forget the staff in that case!
The exciting world full of lights and sound started in America. Let’s digg deeper in the invention of slot machines. We have them in many different types and design, but what’s the story behind those machines. The first slot machines had little in common with the slots you find in casinos today. However, the idea behind it remains the same: the player has to make a winning combination of the symbols in the machine in order to get paid.
Playing poker is fun, but , it was probably thought, that dealing he cards manually could be done better. And so in 1880 there came slot machines, based on poker, in which you had to throw coins. The machine had 5 rows with 50 cards. The player had to throw in a coin, pull the lever and wait for the cards to appear. They were very popular in the bars in New York.
Mechanic Charles Fey is seen as the real inventor of the slot machines. Born in Germany, he moved via London to San Francisco where he invented his first slot machine in 1894: a one-armed bandit. A second one followed a year later. These machines contained 3 rotating elements and were operated by means of a lever. In a short period of time these machines became very popular and that was the reason for Charles Fey to keep developing them all his life. Four years after his first machine followed the first one with an automatic payout system: the famous ‘Liberty Bell’. All future slots were based on this machine with 3 spinning reels and 5 symbols. When the player had 3 ‘Liberty Bells’, he would get the biggest reward, the jackpot.
In 1912, the ‘Fruit Machines’ made their appearance with, yes, fruit as both an image and a reward. Whoever won got a packet of chewing gum in the taste of his symbols. This was a way to prevent the machines from falling under the anti-gaming laws that applied in many American states. The years 1919 to 1930 are known as the ‘Golden Age of Slots’. Despite many laws and other ways of trying to ban slot machines, the slot machines ‘survived’ this and they were changed and improved even more. The first electromechanical slot machine was developed in 1964 and was called Money Honey.
Nowadays players have an infinite variety of slot machines to choose from. They differ in the number of winning combinations, bonuses and symbols. Most machines have a theme but some still use the classic symbols. Both the machines with reels and regular images are doing well as the video machines where fun animations and a bonus game are possible.
Slots are by far the most popular game in any casino, including ours. At VIAGE you will find no less than 404 slot machines, a large part of the Novomatic Group, one of the largest international companies of slot machines. Our machines are maintained by DR Gaming Technology™, a Belgian company with the mantra: “The player first”, a quote that we fully support!
“Faites vos jeux”, is the sound you hear at the roulette table when players spread their chips over the numbers and colours and the wheel starts spinning. Moments later, when the croupier says “rien ne va plus”, all eyes turn to follow the little white ball. Win or lose, fate decides.
Roulette, French for ‘small wheel’, probably originated in 18th century France from a mix of board and wheel games. There was no standard size for the wheel and some initially only had the numbers 0 and 00 together with even and odd boxes on it. This evolved into a game with a wagon wheel around which there were playing cards to bet on. These were red and black, still the colours of today’s roulette.
One of the origin stories tells that the final rotating wheel was accidentally invented in the middle of the 17th century by the French philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal who was looking for a perpetual motion machine. Another Frenchman, one Francois Blanc, would then have given the wheel its current shape. It was given the digits 1 to 36 with alternating red and black areas. The 0 was put in green. Spicy detail: the total sum of these numbers is 666, which is the “Number of the Beast“. It is said that he sold his soul to the devil for the knowledge of these numbers.
In 1796 the first variant of the casino game roulette was introduced in Paris with both the numbers: 0 and the double 00. It quickly became immensely popular all over the world.
The use of the double 0 was abolished in 1843 by the two French brothers François and Louis Blanc. This made it easier for them to compete against other casinos offering the traditional wheel with single and double zero house pockets. Soon that became the standard variant in Europe and we started to call it European roulette. This is of course the form we also maintain in VIAGE. The more boxes there are on the wheel, the less chance you have of winning with a specific number. The American roulette contains 38 numbers and the advantage for the casino is 5.26%. The European variant has 37 numbers that brings the casino advantage down to 2.70%.
“Alea iacta est,” said Julius Caesar as he crossed the Rubicon and thus went against the will of the Roman state. The die is cast, freely translated in French as ‘rien ne va plus’. The roulette game belongs irrefutably in every casino. The relatively simple rules of the game might make it so charming. You bet your chips on one or more boxes, on black or red, on even or odd, or on a mix of all of these. Then the croupier turns the wheel one way and the ball the other. If doubt strikes, you can still change your bet until the winged words ‘rien ne va plus’ resound. You too cannot go back and will surrender yourself to fate.
Evolution: derived from the Latin verb evolvere: ‘to unfold’. In particular, the figurative meaning of ‘development’ is used in different contexts in Dutch. Evolution is therefore an upmarket word to indicate that things are changing, a situation with which we are all now confronted in a profound sense. But did you know that even something as small and insignificant as a card in a deck has also undergone quite an evolution in order to assume its now familiar form?
Probably originating in China, mixed with an Islamic version along the way, playing cards first appeared in Europe in the 14th century. Despite being cursed by the Roman Church and acquiring the nickname ‘the devil’s picture book’, playing cards gained in popularity everywhere. And thanks to the invention of the printing press a century later, were able to spread far and wide. A wide variety of playing cards, numbers and symbols was still used.
In the 16th century, a version with which we are still familiar appears for the first time in the French city of Lyon. The knights used previously are replaced with women and the four stylised symbols – hearts, spades, diamonds and clubs – represent the social classes of clergy, nobility, merchants and ordinary citizens.
The figures of the king, queen and squire eventually become commonplace as king, queen and jack because their order of rank in the game is clear and easy for everyone to understand. At first, they are still depicted standing but by the middle of the 18th century, the double image comes into use and it no longer matters how you hold the card in your hand.
Initially, the ace was simply a number card which had little value in many card games. However, thanks to French revolutionaries, it was promoted to the ace with which the king could be trumped. In 1850 the first cards with printing on the reverse side appeared in London. The joker is an American invention from 1865.
Card games can be classified in different ways, depending on the purpose of the game, the number of players, the main feature, etc. Over time, card games cross-fertilized and innovations arose in existing games. Trump, for example, originally a separate game with separate cards, proved so influential that many games adopted this idea.
The simplest form consists of the players ‘exchanging’ cards with each other or with a player with the stock. Cards can also be ‘played off’. This is when you try to be the first to get rid of all your cards. You can also ‘play away’ your cards on your own, as in Patience. Other games try to ‘avoid loss’. You must try not to get certain cards or tricks. The game ends with a loser, namely the one who gets the ‘penalty card’ or the cards to be avoided, and not with a winner.
In Europe, ‘trick games’ are especially popular. All players have the same number of cards, which they play card by card until all the cards have been played. The rules of the game about who may start and who may pick up the cards are clear. This is called a trick. Strategy and technique play a major role here. Skilled players can influence the game by observing the other players, counting the cards played, etc.
This does not apply to ‘gambling games’. Here the element of chance is decisive. You bet on the right card, the best hand or on convincing others that you have the best hand. Although, of course, some strategy and skill does help. Soon property and money were played for. The temptation to give chance a bit of help increased. Disagreements regularly arose at the card table, resulting in quarrels, fights, legal disputes and sometimes even murder and manslaughter. In short: all divine virtues were severely tested and the ‘devil’s picture book’ was burned at the stake.
Everyone gambled, children and adults, clergy and nobility, farmers and city dwellers. In England, the nobility faced ruin at the card table. For the card addict Lord Sandwich, a special arrangement of bread – the sandwich – was devised so that he could eat with his cards in the other hand. In France, Louis XIV encouraged his courtiers to squander considerable amounts. Evenings spent playing card games, with the possibility of ruining one’s fortunes, became fashionable. The last period in which professional gamblers made a lot of money was on the great ocean liners at the beginning of the 20th century.
At VIAGE we play by the rules. We are waiting impatiently for society to evolve into one in which we can try our luck again together in complete safety.
For one entertainment centre with ten different ways of experiencing it.
We worked on it. Ceaselessly, tirelessly, tenaciously and with firm conviction. For ten years.
The path was not strewn with roses, but we never lost sight of our goal.
Ten years on, Grand Casino Brussels VIAGE was ready to celebrate that dream in festive fashion. In April 2010, ‘Grand Casino Brussels VIAGE’ opened its doors in premises on the Anspachlaan near the Grand Place. The new place-to-be, a genuine temple of relaxation with playing areas, bars, restaurants and shows, was a reality. We were looking forward to starting this festive year in splendid style with all the people who believed in and placed their trust in us in the past decade, who were involved in one way or another, such as the residents of Brussels, the authorities, our partners, our customers,..
In these ten years, we put VIAGE on the Brussels nightlife map. We only need to think of Brussels as the capital of the World Poker Tour, Là Haut VIAGE, The Great Gatsby, VIAGE Grill, etc. We gave VIAGE solid foundations and were ready to strengthen our vision of becoming Brussels’ entertainment centre par excellence.
We were hoping to welcome you for ‘the night of your life’ on Friday, April 24 with a new version of the Viage Musical Dinner Show as the starting point of the festive year. But suddenly we discovered not just a thorn but a whole forest of thorns in our way. Our dream was overtaken by reality and is on hold for a while. But postponement does not mean cancellation. The past ten years were real and genuine.
The ‘Cinna Bar’ is waiting to let you sample delicious cocktails once more. The gaming tables and slot machines are looking forward to bustling with activity again. A distinguished silence has fallen over the Oak Room for now and it is daydreaming about the future when players will come from far and wide again to spend their time here. The pots and pans of the newly renovated ‘VIAGE Grill’ restaurant are hanging on their hooks and the Australian broiler grill is dreaming draconian dreams about spewing smoke and fire. In the ‘VIAGE Theater’ there are shadows of yesteryear: Prince, Kool & The Gang, Paul Anka, The Gibson Brothers, and many others who passed through in recent years. Last year, the sensational show ‘The Great Gatsby’ was still running. And, of course, the legendary Viage Musical Dinner Show began life here.
Our anniversary weekend is passing in silence. The revelry we had in mind is a long time coming. Because we will party! As soon as it is safe to return, we will revive our premises and fill them with activity, fun, laughter and warmth. Our festive year will not pass unnoticed. After all, the number eleven also contains a ten…