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Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

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Ask The Slot Expert

8 February 2001

Dear John,

Wow! I thought it would be a 1 in 20 shot that my question would appear in your column, never mind getting a personal response from you! Thanks a million!

My question today is: If people can get even more than 100%, say 100.3% from a video poker machine, even that isn't much of a profit. How could people make a living doing that? That wouldn't even be enough for supplementary income, unless the person has a bankroll of perhaps $100,000 or so. I imagine the only reward for people with a smaller bankroll is that they get the entertainment value from playing the game, having the casino experience without really losing money, and gaining comps.

I once again wish to thank you to answering my email. I am honored. I promise I won't ask you a question every time you respond (unless you want me to; I have some great questions if you need them for your column, or if you need them for the challenge). I know you're a busy man.

By the way, I followed your advice on the 9/6 $1 vs. 8/5 quarter progressive and I returned from the casino $100 richer -- and I took only $100 with me to the casino! Wow!

Sincerely,
Vladimir

Dear Vladimir,

Feel free to ask as many questions as you like. But please don't send them all at once.

Congratulations on your win. Doubling your money in a day is not too shabby. I just wish your results could be this good every time. Be prepared for some losing days.

You're right that a 0.3% advantage on a video poker machine isn't much of an advantage. But 0.3% of $10,000,000 is $30,000. If you played video poker eight hours a day, five days a week, you might put in that amount of action.

You'll find few, if any, 100%+ video poker machines above the dollar level. At dollars and below, the hourly wage one can earn from a machine is not very attractive.

Thus, the video poker pros have to take advantage of every angle they can to eke out a living. That includes cash back, double points promotions, selling free rooms and other comps, participating in free tournaments and drawings, and anything else they can find to generate more income.

It also takes a large bankroll, as you said. There's no guarantee that any given day will be profitable. And the player could hit a prolonged losing streak. A salary is not subject to randomness, but a video poker wage is.

Recreational players, as you point out, have a completely different outlook. They're willing to play a negative expectation game in order to get the entertainment from playing, and maybe some free meals and rooms in a nice hotel.

Different criteria apply when video poker is your vacation and not your vocation.

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