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Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

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Are two-coin machines tighter than three-coin machines?

11 February 2008

Hi, John,

There is something I noticed the other day at the casino. I was playing 3-coin single line Double Diamonds at the 25-cent level. I had played 3 or 4 of them and I was getting my money's worth in terms of playing time on all of them. I then played a 2-coin 25-cent Double Diamond, and all I got after 90 some spins was a cherry and two any bars. My money practically vanished.

This made me start to wonder if there is some sort of correlation between the number of coins a machine can take and either the hit frequency or the payback. It would make sense to have lower coin single-line machines tighter because they have a lower max bet, which means they don't have as much earning potential for the house.

Do 5-coin machines have the highest payback and/or hit frequencies and how come there are so few 5-coin single-line machines? I like playing those.

Thanks, this is the best site on the internet for slot machine advice.

Brian

Dear Brian,

Thanks for the kind words about this site.

Most slot directors order roughly the same payback percentage long-term payback for all of their machines in a particular denomination today, regardless of the number of coins a machine takes. (By "roughly the same," I mean within a few tenths of a percentage point.) There might be slot directors out there who do order a slightly lower long-term payback for their two-coin machines, but I've never heard it mentioned as a strategy in any of the seminars I've attended or read it in any of my casino management books.

What you experienced was, most likely, just run a bad luck on the two-coin machine.

I think the reasons that there are few 5-coin single-line machines are: 1) at this point many players would rather play a video slot, so slot designers don't design them as much today; and 2) slot designers didn't design that many of them even before video slots.

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