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Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

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Ask The Slot Expert

1 February 2001

Dear John,

Thanks so much for answering my questions. I like to play the Sizzlers quite a bit. In fact that's my favorite machine. However, sometimes the sevens or the Sizzler 7 keep coming up quite frequently. One keeps thinking that the three red sevens or the Sizzlers are going to hit any minute, so I keep playing. I am beginning to think that it seems like that really doesn't mean anything.

By what you said, I gather that it's all a matter of luck. What gets me is that the minute that I leave the machine, the next person gets the 7s or the Sizzlers. It's awful if I see it or if I pass by later and someone tells me that the next person got it after a few pulls.

Thanks again,
Yolie

Dear Yolie:

I'm happy to answer your questions--that's why I'm here!

I like Sizzling 7s too, especially the two-coin version.

You are absolutely right when you say that the 7s landing on or near the payline mean nothing about when the machine will hit a big payout. Your chances of hitting a big payout are the same on every spin.

Those "almost jackpots" are called "near misses" and they provide some of the fun of playing slots. I call them the slot player's version of the fisherman's tale of "the one that got away."

Near misses also encourage some people to keep playing. Slot regulators are now considering new regulations that limit near misses in slots. You may have noticed that the blank above or below a jackpot symbol lands on the payline more frequently than a blank above or below a single bar. The slot programmers can cause the blanks near the jackpot symbol to land on the payline more frequently than the other blanks on the reel. The new regulations would limit how much more frequently the blank near the jackpot can land on the payline compared with the other blanks.

Use the near misses to add excitement to your slot play, but remember that the odds for the jackpot on your next spin haven't changed.

In the short run, winning is just a matter of luck, though mathematicians will argue that there is no such thing as luck, just randomness and volatility.

It is annoying when you hear about someone hitting the jackpot on a machine right after you leave it. But consider this. How many machines have you left and how many times has the next player after you hit it big? You've left hundreds, if not thousands, of machines and on just a few occasions has the next player hit it big. It's a very rare event.

Another thing to remember is that the slot machine uses a Random Number Generator (RNG) to determine which symbols will land on the payline and the RNG in the slot machine is constantly running. You would have had to have hit the Spin button at the exact same instant that the jackpot winner did to have gotten the jackpot for yourself.

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:

The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots by John Robison
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
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