CasinoCityTimes.com

Gurus
News
Newsletter
Author Home Author Archives Author Books Search Articles Subscribe
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Newsletter Signup
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
John Robison Archives
More Strategy Experts

Gaming Guru

author's picture
 

Ask the Slot Expert: You can hit the big progressive on 88 Fortunes with a minimum bet

23 May 2018

By John Robison, Slot Expert™

Question: I read your June 2016 article on 88 Fortunes and was wondering if you ever found out about whether it was possible to win the grand jackpot when betting only 88 cents.

Answer: Yes, it is possible to win the Grand jackpot when betting only 88 cents. My July 6, 2016 column contains a letter from a reader who knows someone who won the big jackpot on a minimum bet. If you search for "88 Fortunes" on this site you can see a number of other columns dealing with 88 Fortunes.

One of the more interesting e-mails I received about 88 Fortunes was from a lady who plays at Dover Downs. That casino has a bank of 88 Fortunes machines that share common progressives. She noticed that one of the progressives on the other machines would always reset as soon as she entered the bonus round — and the progressive that reset was always the one that she would win.

This is a clear indication that the program running the slot machine has determined which progressive you will win and that your choices are immaterial — at Dover Downs, at least. (We know that's the case elsewhere too because it says so in the help screens — Player interaction in the bonus round has no effect on the amount won.)

States have a regulation that players who hit a winning combination must get paid the amount indicated on the pay table for that combination. If these machines did not reset their progressives immediately, consider what would happen if a second player entered the bonus round while the first player was still picking and the second player was awarded the same progressive. When the second player finally picked three coins for the winning progressive, that player must be paid the amount on the meter — which is still the non-reset amount. So, to prevent possibly having to pay the same progressive amount multiple times, the linked machines reset the progressive level as soon as it is awarded on another machine — even though the player hasn't finished the bonus round yet.

An interesting consequence of the must pay meter rule is that it is possible, though really, really (really, really) unlikely that a Megabucks player in Pahrump could hit the big one and another player in Las Vegas then also hit the Megabucks before the reset message has reached his machine and IGT would have to pay the Las Vegas player the meter amount and not the reset amount.

I'm ashamed to admit that I didn't notice whether the 88 Fortunes machines I see in Las Vegas are linked. I'll doublecheck the next time I'm in a casino — tomorrow!


Question: Kudos to you for bringing up the glare problem on slant-top video pokers. It qualifies as my main gripe!

Answer: I know that I sound like a broken record (MP3 player on repeat?), but I can't believe that the folks who design casino lighting systems don't take into account the reflections that their lighting fixtures make on nearly horizontal screens when designing ceiling lighting systems.

I've attended a number of casino design and slot layout seminars over the years. I was amazed at some of the features that the architects and slot managers try to incorporate in their designs. For example, casinos usually have a transitional area between the doors and the casino floor. Behavioral scientists found that people like to have an interstice when moving from one environment to another. I realized while house hunting that the houses I liked better were the ones that had a foyer, a clearly defined place that wasn't outside and wasn't living space, over the ones where the front door opened right into the living space.

Casino floor designers want people to be able to get to where they want to go with a minimum of confusion, so they may use different flooring materials, like tile or a different color carpet, to differentiate the main walkways from the casino floor and to indicate to people to take the main walkway to the theater or buffet and not amble through the casino floor.

Slot floor designers, moreover, learned that players feel trapped when they play in the middle of a long line of slot machines, so now you rarely find more than six machines in a row before there's some sort of break.

With these and all the other things taken into account when designing a casino, why isn't lighting fixture glare taken into account?

The Palms has a new ceiling with beautiful new fixtures — which throw a horrible reflection on many of the slant-top video poker machines. As I've written before, the Palms is still a work in progress so the slant-tops might be moved to better places. (Please!)

There is a hybrid upright/slant-top cabinet that solves the ceiling light reflection problem. On these machines, the screen is vertical (like on an upright), but the button deck is lowered to just above lap level. Most slot machines use this general style of cabinet now. I think the video poker machines in this cabinet take up the same amount of floorspace as a traditional slant-top machine.

With this style of cabinet, video poker players can enjoy the ease and comfort of playing a slant-top machine, lighting designers can knock themselves out with their fixtures, and the video poker players won't get a headache from the glare from the overhead lights.


Question: Got a chuckle out of your Caveman Keno comment. Yeah, without a doubt, a Caveman Keno machine on high volume might just be the most annoying machine on the planet. And worse, don't know if you've encountered it, but occasionally the video card glitches on those machines and you get a five-minute bonus of having to listen to the sound wav's of every game programmed on the machine.

Answer: I'm happy to say that I haven't experienced the game medley on those machines — yet.

I have to admit that I don't get keno. I know it has a faithful following, but if you want a strictly random game, aren't slot machines infinitely more entertaining?

New York State introduced a keno game while I was working in New York City in the 1980s. It seemed like you couldn't lose with the game. You pick 10 numbers and the lottery draws 20 from a pool of 80. How can you lose?

Well, according to the odds printed on the back of the bet slip and my personal experience, you can lose. I thought about writing a computer program to track the numbers drawn so I could play tickets with the numbers that are due and, conversely, with the numbers that are drawn more frequently.

Of course, this was all nonsense. No numbers were ever due and none were over-drawn. The Lottery went to great lengths to ensure that every number was equally likely in each drawing and any short-term deviations were due to randomness.

Speaking of nonsense, one of Jean Scott's fans told her that he kept track of how many times he hit a quad playing 9/6 Jacks and he was behind in quads. I thought, "The datum is trivia. It doesn't mean anything. It doesn't mean you're more likely to hit a quad to get your average up to where it should be. The only thing you can do is keep on playing. As your sample size increases, the problem will take care of itself."

Now, I have to admit that I note when I hit a royal flush, a straight flush (on a non-wild card game), and four deuces (on Deuces Wild). I also keep track of the number of hands I play. I have a query that tells me the average number of hands played between royals, straight flushes and deuces. It's just trivia and good for small talk, though when I mentioned to one friend that I was behind in hitting deuces, he held up his hand and rubbed his thumb and index finger together. He said, "You know what this is? The world's smallest violin and it's playing just for you."

In addition to noting the event, I also take a picture of the hand when I hit one of these high-paying hands. When I recently hit four deuces and took a picture, the man at the machine next to me asked if I was from out of town.

I told him that I was a local now. And I thought to myself that the deuces hit frequently enough that getting them is not really a picture-worthy event. Still, the ladies pay enough that hitting them frequently turns a losing day into a winning day — or a breakeven day, at least, and breaking even is the next best thing to winning.

I still take pictures of the deuces.


Send your slot and video poker questions to John Robison, Slot Expert™, at slotexpert@slotexpert.com. Because of the volume of mail I receive, I regret that I can't reply to every question.

Copyright © John Robison. Slot Expert and Ask the Slot Expert are trademarks of John Robison.

 

Ask the Slot Expert: You can hit the big progressive on 88 Fortunes with a minimum bet

23 May 2018
Question: I read your June 2016 article on 88 Fortunes and was wondering if you ever found out about whether it was possible to win the grand jackpot when betting only 88 cents. Answer: Yes, it is possible to win the Grand jackpot when betting only 88 cents. My July 6, 2016 column contains a letter from a reader who knows someone who won the big jackpot on a minimum bet. ... (read more)
 

Ask the Slot Expert: New tax law affects itemizing gambling losses

16 May 2018
Question: One of the interesting side effects of Trump's new tax bill is that it will virtually eliminate the ability of most gamblers to neutralize their jackpot wins via itemizing. Under the old tax plan, most homeowners generally paid enough in mortgage interest to allow them to meet the minimum threshold for itemizing. ... (read more)
 

Ask the Slot Expert: Can a slot machine tell the difference between free play and cash?

9 May 2018
Question: I am constantly reading online that a slot machine cannot differentiate between free play and cash. Recently, the operations of my local casino switched ownership, and we no longer accrue points when using free play. This to me indicates that the machine is indeed distinguishing between cash ... (read more)

Next 10 Articles >

  • Featured Articles

Hit Frequency, Reno, Atlantic City, Double Up

Hi there, Has there ever been any research done into what number of times a slot machine will pay "anything" during one hundred spins on the average? I have counted many times and find the average slot machine will pay roughly 16 times out of 100 spins. That includes winning a lowly cherry return to a bigger win. ... (read more)
 

Slot Machine Pay Off

Dear John, In reference to the reader's question about slot machines where you play for gold or silver tokens: In Las Vegas, many of the casinos have 25-cent slots that pay off a $10 jackpot with a $10 silver souvenir token. ... (read more)
 

Declare Your Independence from the Slots

On this Independence Day as we celebrate 226 years of independence from the tyranny of the British, consider making your own Declaration of Independence from the tyranny of the slot machines. You don't have to stop playing machines altogether. Just switch to playing video ... (read more)
 

Guide to Winning at Slots: The Best Number of Coins to Play

Every casino guide to gaming recommends playing maximum coins on all slot machines. And almost everyone who's written a book about slots also recommends playing maximum coins when playing a slot machine. I analyzed over 1,000 slot machine programs and I discovered that ... (read more)
John Robison
John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a slot and video poker columnist and has written for many of gaming’s leading publications. He holds a master's degree in computer science from the prestigious Stevens Institute of Technology.

You may hear John give his slot and video poker tips live on The Good Times Show, hosted by Rudi Schiffer and Mike Schiffer, which is broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoon from from 2PM to 5PM Central Time. John is on the show from 4:30 to 5. You can listen to archives of the show on the web anytime.

Books by John Robison:

The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots
John Robison
John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a slot and video poker columnist and has written for many of gaming’s leading publications. He holds a master's degree in computer science from the prestigious Stevens Institute of Technology.

You may hear John give his slot and video poker tips live on The Good Times Show, hosted by Rudi Schiffer and Mike Schiffer, which is broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoon from from 2PM to 5PM Central Time. John is on the show from 4:30 to 5. You can listen to archives of the show on the web anytime.

Books by John Robison:

The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots