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Best of John Robison

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3-Card Poker, Locals Casinos in Vegas

23 October 2003

I hear that 3-Card Poker has had some changes in the casinos (in favor of the house). Can you tell me what the changes and differences are and have they been changes on the slot machines also or just at the tables? We are heading up to one of the casinos this weekend and would like to know of the changes before we go.

Thanks!
Nancy

Dear Nancy,

I too recall hearing that there was some sort of a change to 3-Card Poker that favored the house, but I don't remember what it was and I couldn't find any references to it on the Internet.

I asked Frank and he didn't of any change. I also asked Don Catlin, who analyzes casino games for manufacturers, and he was not aware of any change either. He did have this to offer:

"According to Stanley Ko, if the pay table for the Pair Plus wager is changed from 4:1 to 3:1 the house edge on this bet rises from 2.3167% to 7.276%. Naturally raising the dealer qualifying hand on Ante/Play from Queen to King or something in between would also hurt the player."

Double-check the rules and payouts before you begin to play and you'll know right away if anything has been changed.

Finally, none of us were aware that 3-Card Poker was ever in a slot machine.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John

This just in: Don Catlin found an article by Henry Tamburin about changes in 3-card poker in the August Casino Player.


If you are playing a slot machine and it runs out of money or you see that a machine has just ran out of money and been refilled, is it best to just walk away from the machine or shouldn't it matter?

What are your thoughts about machines on which you can play as many lines as you like, up to maximum for that machine, and amount of coins you want for each line? With the chance to go to bonus screens. how many coins to play, lines to play, etc.

Any ideas when to quit when a machine is hitting good, before you lose alot of your winnings?

Randy

Dear Randy,

It doesn't matter if a machine has just been refilled. Your chances of hitting any winning combination on a slot machine is the same on every spin.

As for multi-coin/multi-line machines, I think they give players a lot of flexibility in how to bet on a spin., but they have to be careful about loading up on a machine. Playing 90 coins per spin on a nickel machine gives more action per hour than playing three coins per spin on a dollar machine.

On most multi-coin/multi-line machines, the payouts for additional coins on a line are just straight multiples of the one-coin payout. There's no reason to play one more than one coin per line on these machines.

Finally, there's no way to know when a machine that has been hitting will stop hitting because, as I said before, your chances of hitting the winning combinations are the same on each and every spin.

What I usually do is borrow a page from the stock trader's handbook and set a stop loss when I've made money on a machine. Let's say I'm up $50 on a machine. I may decide to keep playing unless my profit falls to $30, and then I'll quit. If I keep winning, I keep raising my stop loss number so I'll take away more money from the machine.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Mr. John Robison:

I enjoy reading the Casino City news faithfully, and have learned many pointers.

I only go to Louisiana, mainly Coushatta, back again in 2 weeks, Delta Downs, and the Paragon in Marksville. How can I find reading information on the Internet on these casinos? Please help. I only play the slots and not over $l.00.

Thanks so much,
Jennie

Dear Jennie,

Whenever I want to find out if information is available on the Internet, I go to a search engine. My favorite is the one from Google, which is used at many sites in addition to Google's own site (www.google.com).

Searching for Delta Downs on Google, I found out that they have their own web site at www.deltadowns.com. Paragon has a web site too at www.paragoncasinoresort.com. The search results will also include any pages on which anyone mentions the casino. I found one site, for example, has a scanned image of Paragon's slot club card.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Hi.

I mostly gamble at a Nevada border town called Jackpot, Nevada. I have a slot clup membership at Cactus Pete's Resort and Casino and can also use it at their property called the Horseshoe. My bankroll mostly allows me to only play nickel video poker. The best playing machines at these two casino's is 9/5 for Double Bonus and 7/5 for Double Double Bonus. There is a casino across the street that doesn't have a slot club but they have better pay tables on their video poker. For nickels they have 9/5 on Double Double and 9/7 on Double Bonus. I'm not sure of the best way to approach playing. I hate to lose out on the comps but it's not fun playing a machine that doesn't have a good pay table.

Also, I know that the odds are the same for video poker, based on a 52-card deck but when I quit getting good cards I can't sit at that same machine anymore. I move until I find one that's dealing good hands. I seem to do better this way since a machine can go a long time before it starts dealing good cards but is it recommended to move around since the odds are the same?

Thanks!
Teri

Dear Teri,

Are you sure you have the correct figures for the Double Bonus paytable at the casino with the slot club? If it pays 5 for the flush, then it pays the same amount for a flush and a straight and not many machines do that.

In any event, 9/7 Double Bonus pays back 99.11% in the long run with perfect play. If the paytable on the other machine is indeed 9/5 Double Bonus, then that machine pays back 96.73%.

One way to look at the situation is to see if the slot club benefits are enough to overcome the difference in paytables. It is very unlikely that you're getting benefits worth 3% of your action from the slot club, but if you are, then the two games are equivalent.

Another way to look at the situation is that the additional payback is subject to randomness. It may take hundreds of thousands of hands for the difference in payback to have a greater effect on your results than randomness. Depending on how often you play, you may not play enough for the difference in paybacks to have much of an effect on your results. Slot club benefits, moreover, are not subject to randomness and are guaranteed just for playing.

A third way to look at it is that if you do play a lot, you will most likely win enough money playing the higher-paying machine to pay for all the comps you're missing out on.

You'll have to decide for yourself which way you want to look at the situation and whether you like the comps more than you like playing a higher-paying machine.

As for your second question, the key phrase you said was "the odds are the same." It doesn't matter if you switch or stay--the odds are the same.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Hi.

Thanks so much for the advice. You're right, I was wrong on the Double Bonus at Cactus Pete's. It's 9/6 not 9/5.

Teri

9/6 is more like it. That paytable pays back 97.8% with perfect play in the long run. That makes Cactus Pete's plus slot club a bit more competitive with the club-less casino across the street -- and perhaps makes your decision more difficult!

John


Dear John:

You mentioned in a recent newsletter that when in Vegas you should play at the casinos the locals frequent. How would I know which casinos are frequented by locals? We'll be spending a week in Vegas next May. I enjoy your articles and I also enjoy casinos. We've been to Delaware, Atlantic City, Canada, Foxwoods, the Cherokee casino in North Carolina and the Charles Town casino in West Virginia and also cruise ship casinos. We're looking forward to our trip to Vegas.

Thanks,
Pat /p>

Dear Pat,

Thanks for the kind words about my articles.

The locals casinos tend to have better-paying games than the casinos that cater primarily to tourists.

The locals casinos in Las Vegas are the ones off the strip. Some examples are the many Stations Casinos, the Coast Casinos, the Arizona Charlie's casinos, and the Palms, a near-strip casino that has many good games.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Send your slot and video poker questions to John Robison, Slot Expert, at slotexpert@comcast.net.

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