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Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

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A reader's slot strategy

17 May 2010

Love your column!

As a mathematician, I developed this slot strategy that my wife and I use when we play. When I tell people about it, their first reaction is "Oh! You have a method of winning?" I answer, "Of course not! This is a method of losing slower and enjoying it."

I have read about many other "methods" such as the "play $1 on a three-line machine." But they all seem to be missing a way to capture any winnings. My "system", which I call "Play 'n Pull", does capture winnings. When my wife and I play this way, we often play for several hours, have a great time and retain approximately 90% of our bankroll. (Interestingly, that's around the slot payback!)

Here is "Play 'N Pull":

First, stake yourself appropriately. We play penny slots up to 25 lines. If we feel lucky, we will play the bonus on machines such as Cashman and others (which increases our play amount by 5 or 10 cents); otherwise, we avoid them. We avoid all progressives, machines over 25 lines, Buy A Pay over 10 cents and machines on which additional coins buy additional winning combination (2nd & 3rd coin payouts). On penny machines we use $5 bills. Each $5 bill gives us 20, or 25 or 50 pulls (on a 25, 20 and 10 line machine).

On higher denominations, play one line. If you play quarter machines, use $10 bills (40 pulls). If you play half-dollar machines, use $20 bills (40 pulls). For dollar machines, use $50 and so forth (50 pulls). So you need a lot of bills. My wife and I get $500 worth of $5 bills. This gives us each 50 tries each before we need to "ticket up" and cash out. (As an alternative to the redemption machines, which are very slow, we "ticket up" by putting all the tickets into one slot machine and then pull out one ticket to be redeemed -- much faster.)

That's the play side. =Here is the Pull strategy.

When you hit a payout and the credit meter now shows a profit, PULL THE TICKET. Lock in that win! =Then deposit another bill and play again. =For example, if you are playing a quarter machine, your credit meter will start at 40 (40 * $0.25 = $10). Let's assume that you are lucky, and on the fourth spin, you hit a prize of 10 coins. =Your credit meter now reads 46 (4 pulls reduces the meter to 36 plus the win of 10 = 46). PULL THE TICKET and lock in those 6 coins! Put in another $10 and continue playing. In this way, you stay at a machine that is paying and lock in the wins. Most people lose when they just play and play until the machine beats them no matter how much they won!

Of course, you will end up drawing down eventually on each machine. When that happens, my wife and I pull the ticket with pennies on it and move to two more machines and try again. (Note: never go to zero; always pull a ticket. That way you have a record of how many bills you put into the machines.)

When my wife and I do this, we end up with a huge pile of tickets. We add them up and record how we did. We never lose big.

For Husbands and Wives:

Another thing we do is alternate spins. When my wife spins I watch her machine and celebrate her win and she spins again. If she loses or pushes (wins the same amount as the bet) on that spin, it is now my turn and I spin and she watches my machine and celebrates if I hit. If I hit, I go again. If I push or lose, it is her turn. This slows down our rate of play and increases the time we can play for the same money. We cheer each other on and we actually enjoy each other's company! And more importantly, you don't get mad when the machine next to you wins! Your spouse is on it!

Technical note: Yes, I know each spin is independent and there is no difference mathematically between staying on one machine or moving around. But there are also statistical groupings. (A penny flip is always 50-50, but there are times when you will have 5 heads in a row.) This method tries to catch those groupings by staying with a machine that is paying and moving on if it is not. The capture of the wins is what makes this methodology works.

Best of luck to all!

Paul

Dear Paul,

Thanks for the kind words about my column and thanks for sharing your slot strategy.

I like your strategy because it keeps you involved with what is happening as you play and it has a built-in way to slow down your play. I don't think I could cash out with just a 6-coin win, though.

As a mathematician, I know you know that no method of cashing out will defeat the house edge against you.

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. Because of the volume of mail I receive, I regret that I can't reply to every question.

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