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Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

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Are 15-Line Machines Looser than 9-Line Machines?

11 September 2003

Hey John,

I noticed that more and more nickel slot machines are going to 15 or more lines. Is a 15 line any looser than a basic 9 line? I know it costs a lot more money and typically it is more reasonable for me to play a 3 line quarter than it is to play the mulitple line nickles. But the nickles have the fun bonus rounds.

I also see that the quarter machines are now going more than a max 25 on them (are they any looser than the basic 3 line?). What's the deal?

We are trying to stretch the money we have and it's darn hard when they keep advancing those line numbers. I thought the whole concept was to keep us in action playing longer but if you run out quickly there is no play through money. Do the manufacturers think we all have an endless bankroll or are the casinos asking for these bigger multiline machines?

Dear Nancy,

A 15-line machine isn't necessarily any looser than a 9-line machine, which isn't necessarily any looser than a one-line machine.

The reason the casinos are putting in multi-line/multi-coin quarter (and even dollar) machines is because people play them.

But you don't have to play them. And you don't have to play every line if you don't want to. One way to stretch your bankroll is to play fewer than max lines. On most machines, you only give up a little bit in hit frequency and nothing in long-term payback.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


If you use the double up option on a video poker machine, do they use a different deck for the double or are the five cards the next hand if you don't double?

Thank you,
Charlie

Dear Charlie,

The five cards are not the five cards you would have received had you not taken the double up option.

A video poker machine is constantly shuffling its electronic deck, so the deck would be in a different order in the amount of time it takes you take the double up option versus the amount of time it takes you to decline the double up and deal a new game.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


What is the best video poker game to learn or does it matter? Do they have the same type of odds (not on the payout screen)?

They say to practice your VP games. I practice on Jacks or Better, Deuces Wild and Jokers' Wild. I time myself for 20 minutes a segment and compare the positive/negative figures. So far it seems like the Deuces Wild has better long run odds. Is this possible or in the long run does one exceed better then another? I am also throwing into the mix the each machine has the highest payouts. I want to know whether I should concentrate on just one particular game or not.

Thanks!
Nancy

Dear Nancy,

There are many different Jacks or Better, Deuces Wild, and Joker's Wild paytables. They range in long-term payback from a little over 100% to well under 90%.

The best game to learn is the highest-paying game that is readily available at the casinos you visit. It doesn't do you any good to become an expert on Full Pay Deuces Wild if it's not offered at any of the casinos you go to.

You should definitely concentrate on just one or two games. Even with concentrating on only two games, it's easy to forget which one you're playing and use the wrong strategy.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


What are the best Video Poker books out today?

Frank

Dear Frank,

The video poker books on my short list today are Victory at Video Poker by Frank Scoblete and The Video Poker Answer Book by John Grochowski. Both are available at bookstores everywhere and online.

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