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City Pages blogger plays e-pulltabs: A review

Playing these machines isn't as painful as getting kicked in the shins, but it's more costly and comparably fun.
Playing these machines isn't as painful as getting kicked in the shins, but it's more costly and comparably fun.
Photos by Aaron Rupar

I've devoted a lot of digital ink to the epic disappointments that are e-pulltabs, so last night, I figured, What the hell? I'll head to O'Gara's and give 'em a shot.

SEE ALSO: MNGOP Sen. Sean Nienow says Dayton "duped" public about e-pulltabs, demands investigation

I'm a seasoned casino blackjack player, but until last night, I'd never ever played pulltabs in any form. So in order to compare and contrast, I decided to spend $5 on the electronic version and $5 on their old-school paper counterparts.

I began my adventure by asking the bartender if I could buy $5 worth of e-pulltabs games. He took my Lincoln, grabbed an iPad from behind the bar, and handed it over.

As I scrolled through the dozen or so games preloaded on the machine...

City Pages blogger plays e-pulltabs: A review

... I asked the bartender how many people come in wanting to play e-pulltabs. He didn't seem overly eager to make conversation with me (who can blame him, right?), but said during a typical week about 30 people come into O'Gara's while he's working looking to iPad gamble it up.

All of the e-pulltab games I played operate on the same basic premise: You press a button to "open" the tab...

City Pages blogger plays e-pulltabs: A review

... then see what's hiding under the digital strip. Depending on the game, three or four of a kind is needed to win some moula:

City Pages blogger plays e-pulltabs: A review

Unfortunately, my first $5 came and went quickly without me ever tapping a winner:

City Pages blogger plays e-pulltabs: A review

I couldn't even hear the casino-style sounds the games allegedly make, as my iPad was adorned with a leather protector that covered the speaker and made it impossible to adjust the volume (or so the bartender told me).

Well, that sucked, I thought to myself. I can see why nobody wants to spend their hard-earned dough playing the stupid things. But I still had $5 to burn on paper games, so I headed over to the pulltab dispensing machine with visions of $100 winners dancing through my head.

(For more, click to page two.)

 
I bought five of the ironically named "Stinkin' Rich" tabs, only because it looked like lots of winning tickets were still left in the machine:

City Pages blogger plays e-pulltabs: A review

But 15 yanks later, I was out the full $10 without a single winning ticket to show for it:

City Pages blogger plays e-pulltabs: A review

Verdict: Some argue traditional paper pulltabs are preferable to their electronic counterparts, in part because the sensation of peeling back strips of paper to reveal whether you have a winner is more satisfying than simply pressing a button. But is that meager pleasure really worth throwing away a dollar? If you think it is, then I have a whole bunch of printer paper for sale -- feel free to shred it with your hands as you please!

Bottom line? Take me to the casino for some blackjack any day. Electronic or otherwise, pulltabs involve no strategy and just aren't fun to play (although you and I both know I'd be singing a different tune had I won a few bucks). That said, at least I can say I did my part to help pay the state's portion of Zygi-land, right?

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at arupar@citypages.com.


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