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25 February 2015
By John Robison, Slot Expert™
It might be possible to redeem a slot ticket issued at one casino at another casino that is owned by the same company because they might share the same ticket system and database. For example, you might be able to redeem a ticket issued at Sam's Town at The Orleans.
The Palms, though, does not have any sister properties so you'll have to redeem the tickets there. Check the tickets for an expiration date. You should have at least a month to redeem the ticket and perhaps as much as six months or a year.
There's no single answer to this question, so here are some ideas:
If you want the best chance of doubling your money, bet it all on an even money bet at roulette. You have an almost 50/50 chance (you have exactly 18 ways to win and 20 ways to lose) to double your money.
If you want to win big, you can play $5 or $10 slots. In many cases, the chances of hitting any particular winning combination are about the same on $5 and $10 machines as on dollar machines, but the combination pays much more on the high-denomination machines. But, as you pointed out, cold streaks could wipe out your bankroll.
I frequently try a hit-and-run at the $5 slots, taking my free play or $20 (or more) and playing a few spins on the Double Diamond slots, the theory being that any hit could pay real money, especially if it includes the Double Diamond symbol. Double Diamond machines typically have hit frequencies on the lower side, so I've experienced a lot of running and very little hitting.
If you want to try to maximize playing time, play a high hit frequency video slot, which will keep you in plenty of what we used to call "tray money". Most video slots have high hit frequencies because they can pay less than a push. But stay away from games with stacked symbols or symbols that are taller than one stop. The hit frequencies on these machines will not be as high as on machines without them.
If you want to play at the highest long-term payback, play video poker. There's no guarantee that you will win more money than if you tried my other suggestions because it takes many plays (tens of thousands if not hundreds) for a change in long-term payback to have a greater effect on your results than luck.
Best of luck with however you decide to play. Let us know what you decided to do and how you made out.
Send your slot and video poker questions to John Robison, Slot Expert™, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Because of the volume of mail I receive, I regret that I can't reply to every question.
18 February 2015Love reading your column. Don’t always agree with you but, hey, that’s life. In your most recent column about casinos and racinos you talk about a 95% payout is a 95% payout. I’m hung up on the 95% not what you explained in the column. If you know of any casinos in the state of Arizona, Illinois, Nevada or anyplace in the USA that have a 95% payout, I would love to get their names. ... (read more)
11 February 2015A friend of mine and I were debating the differences between a slot machine and a VLT machine. We live in Cleveland, Ohio and we recently got both casinos and racinos. The racinos are controlled by the Lottery Commission. I'm not sure I totally understand how a VLT works, but here is a situation we ... (read more)
4 February 2015If it's possible to calculate the odds of winning the lottery, I guess the same can be done for winning a major jackpot at a slot. In other words, if we can gather data on the number of slot players in a given year in a city or casino and determine the number of major winners, then we can correlate that ... (read more)