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Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

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Ask The Slot Expert

30 November 2000

Hi John,

Got back from Las Vegas over the weekend. In spite of my hours of practicing video poker and reading a couple of books on the subject (that you had recommended and I thoroughly enjoyed reading), I came back to Honolulu about $300 poorer.

I must admit that $100 of the total was because of my first sojourn on the craps table; lasted all of 5 minutes. Some friends said they would teach me so we went to an open table at the 4 Queens (downtown). I was so concerned about not tossing the dice over the table that I couldn't even think about anything else. In the future, I think I will stick to video poker.

Seems that 4-of-a-kinds were very common, as over the 5 days there, I had at least 10 and my buddy had about 2 dozen; some were the bonus ones that gave 1200 coins. I played a 10 hand, nickel game and hit a Royal; but on that hand, I had not played the maximum coins so I lost out on the $200 jackpot.

So, back to the drawing board.

But, thank you for all the insights and information you've sent me these past couple of months.

Aloha,
Raymond

Dear Raymond,

If everyone won every time they went to Las Vegas, the casinos would be out of business. I wish I could give you the secret to winning every time, but there is no secret.

Most gamblers, even video poker players who play positive expectation video poker machines, have more losing trips than winning trips. And it sounds like you got a lot of action out of your $300 loss. As long as losing $300 doesn't affect your ability to pay the rent or buy food, consider it the cost of your entertainment. Any other vacation probably would have cost you much more. And if losing $300 does affect your standard of living, you have to set a lower loss limit for your trip.

As for craps, you can always pass the dice. There's no rule that says you have to shoot if you don't want to. When I play with Frank, I usually pass the dice and let him shoot. And you can make $100 last a while by sticking to $5 pass line bets or placing the 6 and 8 for $6 each. You also don't have to bet on every shooter. Frank's craps mentor, the Captain, uses a method called the 5-count to decide the shooters on which he will bet. The 5-count doesn't change the math of the game, but it cuts down on your losses because you bet on fewer shooters.

Please be careful with the multi-hand machines. Some have very low paytables because all slot managers see is the denomination and they don't take into account the fact that players may be wagering more per round than on a single-hand machine of a higher denomination. Also, multi-hand machines require higher bankrolls than single-hand machines of the same denomination. If your bankroll is not sufficient, you run too high a risk of running out of money if you hit a long cold streak.

Finally, don't be discouraged because you lost. You might come back ahead on your next trip.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Send your slot and video poker questions to John Robison, Slot Expert, at slotexpert@home.com.


For more information about slots and video poker, we recommend:

Break the One-Armed Bandits! by Frank Scoblete
Victory at Video Poker and Video Craps, Keno and Blackjack! by Frank Scoblete
Slot Conquest Audio Cassette Tape (60 minutes) with Frank Scoblete
Winning Strategies at Slots & Video Poker! Video tape hosted by Academy Award Winner James Coburn, Written by Frank Scoblete
The Slot Machine Answer Book by John Grochowski
The Video Poker Answer Book by John Grochowski
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