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!
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’.
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.
Comic-strip hero Lucky Luke, the cowboy who is faster than his own shadow, owes his name to the above-average share of happiness allotted to him on his path in life. In every comic, the poor lonesome cowboy rides into the setting sun after thwarting the villains’ plans and making the world a better place locally.
Being a comic-strip hero obviously has its advantages in terms of having luck on your side. For ordinary people made of flesh and blood, like you and I, being lucky is more of a game of chance. To increase the chances, we like to reach for assistance. After all, you never know.
In a casino, which is about chance, games and luck, a whole range of rituals and lucky charms can be found under one roof. Under the motto: it doesn’t hurt to try, we enable you to benefit from this. No one would say no to some extra luck, particularly in these strange times.
Those who won’t take advice but secretly prefer to err on the side of caution can cross their fingers or touch wood. For a constant feeling of safety, put a four-leaf clover, a rabbit’s foot or a horseshoe in your pocket.
The fully-fledged player goes for lucky numbers. Seven, three and eight are the most obvious. However, that is precisely why you should not choose them. If you want to increase your chances in a game by using a lucky number, then you are better off opting for your own, unique number. And no, it is better not to take the so-called unlucky number thirteen. Celebrities like Frank Sinatra, Taylor Swift and LL Cool J have already preceded you. Invoking luck by applying the reverse reasoning of misfortune is a well-known technique. So feel free to leave your black cat at home…
Colours also have hidden symbolism often, especially in Chinese culture. Both red and yellow/gold are identified with luck. In addition, red reflects happiness while yellow and gold represent the imperial monarchy.
It has never been scientifically proven that any of these symbols and rituals work. Although…A belief in superstition gives the person in question more self-confidence, which of course helps. So if a football player, a casino visitor or someone who wants to avoid corona feels more at ease wearing their favourite yellow pants, keeping a rabbit’s foot in their inside pocket, or their fingers crossed and wearing a red handkerchief around their ankle, there is nothing exceptionable about this.
Yes, we are closed, and we think – as do you too, hopefully – that is highly regrettable. However, … there is nothing to prevent you from honing your casino skills at home, or from trying out your best poker face in the mirror. Casino games in quarantine – for something a bit different …
Because the aim is not to arrange a casino evening at home, of course, we are focusing on solo activities. A nice game of cards is indispensable in this case.
By the way, did you know that the Chinese invented card games? The first traces of paper playing cards date from the seventh century. According to tradition, Emperor Mu-Tsung played ‘domino cards’ with his wife. Symbols such as a horse, crow, pheasant, fish, or rabbit were depicted on these cards.
Card games were first introduced into Europe in the fourteenth century. The first cards were made by hand, but that was very time-consuming and costly. The printing press was what gave an impetus to card games.
In films you often see artists at work shuffling a deck of cards in the most ingenious manner. Is that something you can practice yourself?
Or would you rather stick with your poker face? As you are no doubt aware, in many cases non-verbal rather than verbal communication is more important. Look out for sudden movements of the eyebrows and lips. That is an indication of nervousness. And if you begin breathing more rapidly, your smart opponents will notice something is up. This can happen when the flop (the first three cards), the turn (the fourth card) or the river (the fifth card) is shown. Your breathing can express excitement or disappointment when the cards are shown. Incidentally, touching your nose or ears is not a good idea either when playing poker. This indicates a certain level of unease that is at odds with the concept of ‘adopting a poker face’.
So find your perfect poker face. Perhaps you can practice during one of our favourite poker films. We are happy to propose a selection for you:
James Bond and villain Le Chiffre take their seats around the poker table in Montenegro. The stakes are sky-high and the tension great. A rollercoaster with special effects that has a surprising climax in Venice.
Matt Damon and Edward Norton shine in this poker film from 1998. Two shrewd poker fanatics play to pay off Norton’s debts. He has just been released from prison and is being pursued by a gang of heavy-handed creditors.
Maverick, played by Mel Gibson, is a gambler who wants to compete in a well-known championship on a riverboat. It is a high-stakes ‘Winner Takes All’ poker game. In order to participate, he needs USD 25,000. To increase his chances, he forges a pact with a female poker player (played by Jodie Foster).
The Cincinnati Kid
The Cincinnati Kid, notorious in 1930s New Orleans, is a true classic. ‘The Kid’ (played by Steve McQueen) takes on the legendary champion ‘The Man’ in a high-stakes poker game. What follows is a tremendously exciting poker game to decide who will become the poker king of New Orleans.
Photo ⓒ MomoFotografi
‘Once upon a time there was…’ is how many fairy tales begin.
This particular fairy tale begins, ‘once upon a time there was not’.
Once upon a time there was not a casino in Brussels. But ‘Casinos Austria International’ wanted to do something about it. The chronicle of how a genuine all-in-one entertainment centre came into being was based on the motto ‘if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing well’.
After spending the summer in Knokke, Jay Gatsby and his decadent entourage return to VIAGE for some good ‘old glamour, mystery and sensation. The Great Gatsby Immersive is a unique experience that’ll submerge you in the atmosphere of the wild 20’s. A time where ladies removed their tight corsets and dressed more comfortably.