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Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

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A recommendation for VPInsider.com

20 February 2006

John,

I've been a regular subscriber to your newsletter, and everything you tell us about slot machines being random is true.

My husband, mother, and I just returned from a trip to Tunica, MS, and Shreveport, LA. In Tunica on the way back to our room, I randomly walked up to a quarter machine, inserted a voucher, played one quarter on a Triple-Double Red, White and Blue, and didn't hit anything. The second time I played one quarter, I hit the Triple, Triple, Triple payout and won 2,500 quarters. While waiting for the machine to count the coins, a "gawker" stood there and said, "Oh, she only played one quarter." I laughed, because there I was playing a quarter and walking away with $650. That was more money than I had in my wallet to gamble for 5 nights. In Shreveport/Bossier City Casinos, I walked up to the same type of machine. I played the first quarter, it didn't pay. The second quarter hit a white 7 with the Double, Double, and paid out $100.

Even though I continued to play the same machine the second night, it never again hit a big jackpot. Everyone around me was amazed that I could win even playing just one quarter both times! I had to explain that, yes, you can win big. I just get to play longer by only playing one quarter!

Nancy

Dear Nancy,

Congratulations on your wins!

And congratulations for stretching your bankroll by playing only one quarter per spin. I know from personal experience that many players will tell you that you're wasting your money by not playing full coin. All you can do is thank them for sharing — and count your winnings!

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Where do I find an updated inventory of Atlantic City Casino video poker and machine location?

Ralph

Dear Ralph,

The best source for finding out the machines in casinos is Skip Hughes' and Viktor Nacht's VP Insider (www.vpinsider.com). A three-month trial subscription costs $20.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Dear John,

I have been to many casinos where they offer a slot tournament at certain times of the month, not every day. I have seen them take a bank of slots, where people have been playing, and take a key and turn a switch and then those machines become the tournament slots. I was told that slot machines cannot be altered on the floor to change the payouts. These certainly were. Please explain, if you can.

Thank you for your attention.

Suzanne

Dear Suzanne,

I didn't think that a jurisdiction would allow this sort of setup, but apparently at least one does. Not only did throwing that switch change the payout on the machines, it also changed it from game mode to tournament mode.

It's still true right now that the payback percentage on a slot machine in normal game mode cannot be altered except by changing a chip in the machine.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Can you increase your chances of winning big on slots by keeping an eye on players next to you who are not winning or winning very small payoffs and when they leave, going to their slots and playing because eventually they've got to pay?

By the same reasoning never go and play at a slot that just paid big?

What do you think?

Howard

Dear Howard,

Machines are never due and past performance does not give any information whatsoever about future performance. The chances of hitting any winning combination are exactly the same on every spin.

You can go to a machine that has been cold, but your chances of hitting anything are still the same as the other player's.

And there's no mathematical reason not play a machine that has just hit a big jackpot. The chances of hitting that jackpot — or any other payout — have not changed.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Slot Expert:

Resort Casino, formerly Harrah's, gave me the worst casino experience that I've ever had.

I am a Harrah's card holder and frequent the Trump, Majestic and Horseshoe. I have gone to the Resort both before and after the transition and wish that I never had and never will again. The Resort has eradicated the excitement of gambling all together. They are the bad apple that has spoiled the whole bushel.

I am trying to figure out how do they expect to be patronized without a new plan of keeping their customers happy. The last give away did cause a disaster because of the massive number of people who attempted to retrieve the limited gift "Combo Pan Set" on July 25th, however, true satisfied customers tell others. This type of marketing will have the same effect over and over again. Do they realize that their marketing and advertisement is really being wasted? I'm happily collecting the stuff and much rather pay my gambling $$ to keep my shredder blades sharpened than be entice to visit the Resort. My real plans are to return the coupons and other offers with a note informing them of their wasted time and ad dollars.

Also, overall the service is sickening. I twice visited "Aces" and twice my food order was given to someone else, poor!

Everyone who knew Harrah's knows of the Resort-light bulb!!! Please, via your print media tell, suggest or somehow let them cut the cost on the advertisement and marketing and get back to what keeps loyal customers loyal-loosen up the machines! Not just the $2-$5..... ALL OF THEM and do not lie about their business profitability.

And, sadly the GM reported that their customer base has not changed.....that is so far from the truth the place is a ghost town.

Three time a week I observe the crowds at the Trump and Majestic why are there so many available parking spaces at the Resort?

Disgruntled

Dear Disgruntled,

I've published your letter without editing it because I'm not sure exactly what your complaint is.

I think you're saying that the Combo Pan giveaway was a disaster because the casino did not adequately plan for the number of patrons who decided to take the casino up on its offer. I agree that a casino has to be prepared for the crowds that might show up to take advantage of a promotion.

In any case, you're absolutely right that a satisfied customer is an advertisement that no amount of money can buy.

A recent article in The Newark Star-Ledger was about Resorts (and its parent, Colony Capital) and the number of acquisitions the companies have recently made. The article discussed the growing pains the company has experienced and concluded that it grew too big too fast.

I received this letter last July. Resorts may have already addressed many of the problems you've experienced. You can always write a letter to the General Manager and tell him or her about the problems. And you can always do what you say others are doing — playing elsewhere.

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 send a reply to every question. Also be advised that it may take several months for your question to appear in my column.

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