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Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

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Another opinion on tipping

17 April 2006

The question no one knows the answer to:

Does the stop button on the slot machine really override the RNG or the RNG already has the wheels symbols chosen and the stop button just makes it happen (stop) faster?

Thanks,
Bernie

Dear Bernie,

Pressing the stop button does absolutely nothing to alter the outcome of a spin. Pressing it merely cuts out the "show" of the reels spinning.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


John:

I appreciate your columns and advice and generally agree with you on most issues. However, your most recent advice to the individual inquiring about tipping casino personnel on a hand pay got the hairs on the back of my neck standing up.

While I do not have an issue with your advice about having small bills on hand for general tipping, I really object to the entire idea of tipping anybody because of a hand pay. Having worked in the service business (restaurants) for many years, I am fully cognizant of appropiateness of tipping for service. My wife and I tip well for service in all endeavors in the casino (bellmen, waitresses/waiters, cocktail waitresses, dealers, etc.), but hold the line on tipping for hand pays. Essentially, our view is that hand pays are driven by the IRS's requirement for reporting income earned from jackpots. It is also a function of protection for the casino to ensure there was not a machine malfunction as they often check out the machine to ensure it worked properly. To us, that is not a service that enhances our experience. Our view is that they are performing a function similar to a cashier or bank teller and we would certainly not consider tipping those individuals.

Thank you for your time.

David

Dear David,

If I may paraphrase your statements, the hand pay doesn't add any value to your experience. It's done primarily for the casino's convenience.

But consider this. Machines with hoppers will have hand pays to avoid emptying the hopper — and sometimes the hopper doesn't even have enough tokens to pay some jackpots. One could argue that the hand pay is mainly for the casino's convenience, but I say the player benefits too. Hand-paid jackpots eliminate the need to carry heavy buckets of coins to the coin redemption booth.

On ticket machines, there's no need for hand pays and the machines only need to lock up for IRS paperwork and jackpot verifications.

Another thing to consider is that, unless casinos have raised their pay, the slot floorpeople depend on tips for a large part of their income.

Thanks for sending in your thoughts on tipping.

John


Dear John:

My sister saw a TV show that reported the cards issued by casinos are for tracking whom they WANT to win. This seems to be contradictory to what you've reported. Maybe I should pay more attention to what I'm reading, but is she correct?

Thanks for your interesting articles.

Nancy

Dear Nancy,

Thanks for the kind words about my columns.

I hope your sister misheard what they said on that show. Using a players club card has no effect whatsoever on your results. Using the card only lets the slot club system track your play. It doesn't make you win or lose more.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Hi,

I read your slot articles like clockwork and love it.

My question is, if you happen to lose a ticket after cashing out on a slot machine in order to move on to another machine and you cannot find it can someone else cash it in and keep your money?

This has happened and I wondered if complaining to management if there was some way the ticket could be traced and your money returned to you.

Thanks,
A slot machine freak

Dear Freak,

Fortunately, this has never happened to me or anyone I know or have received a letter from, so I can't say for sure what procedures casinos may have for this situation.

I believe that the ticket is like cash and anyone can use it. However, I know some casinos ask for a slot club card or other ID when cashing tickets over a certain amount.

If this should happen to you again and the amount is more than a few bucks, I suggest you report the loss to the casino. They might be able to check outstanding tickets for your players club ID and be able to put a hold on the missing ticket.

If anyone has had any experience with lost tickets, please write and I'll publish the responses in a future column.

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