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Best of John Robison

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An unexpected ticket

14 July 2007

Hi, John,

I am new, reading your column this past year. I bought your book and pass all that intriguing information on to my retired Dad, who I take to the casino every month here in Connecticut. He loves the Mohegan Sun and I love Foxwoods! We play the slots.

This week I noticed a brand new penny video slot titled Shop Til You Drop. I played $20 and after over 30 minutes and a lousy screen play, it was not worth the effort, and I regained $17 of my $20 and got off. However, I noticed the attraction of this machine was its large ad to win $50,000 if five shopping bags showed at once on the screen. Interestingly, four of these icons showed up on my screen within my half hour of play four different times! I assume that is supposed to keep my hopes up while playing. Anyway, my question: How often does winning $50,000 for five icons actually occur in your observation? Is it possible to be programmed that it may hit once and never again, but the advertising stays?

My second question is about a Carnival penny machine. I played this a month ago. Once my kitty was over $450 (which I think is high for a penny machine, and I put in only $60), for some odd reason a ticket came out as if I had pushed cash out. It was for $15. I continued to play until my pot was down to $350 and got off.

What a surprise that a ticket would come out automatically after the machine was up to $450? The next time I played (2 weeks later), it yielded $0 after about spending $60. But this weekend I played it again and made $400 and got off. The ticket did not come out like before, but I'll be darned that the machine acted the same way it did a month ago.

My question is why would a ticket come out after $450? Does the machine have a maximum pay out or something? I guess I will continue to play this machine whenever I go and see what happens, but it was really strange, and fun at the same time.

I continue to love reading your monthly newsletter and am glad to pass the information on to my Dad. It helps a lot to have that knowledge when entering the casino to play. I am going to Las Vegas with my husband's company in March and can't wait to read up on that before I go! Keep up the great information!

Helene

Dear Helene,

Thanks for the kind words about my column.

The only way to know how likely it is to hit five shopping bags is to look at the layout of the virtual reels on the machine. It is not possible for the $50,000 to hit once and then not again and for the amount to remain on the paytable. Jurisdictions usually require that if a combination is listed on the paytable, it must be possible to hit it.

I don't know why that machine spit out a ticket that one time you played it. Hopper-based machines were sometimes set to dump coins if the win would push the credit meter over a certain amount, but I can't imagine why a ticket-based machine would be set that way.

In any case, it sounds like you've found a machine that treats you well most of the time. Take it for everything you can get, but keep your eye on the ticket printer.

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