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Ask The Slot Expert22 February 2001
The answer to your first question is maybe and the answer to your second question is no. You might be ahead on a negative expectation machine in the short run, but not in the long run. A negative expectation game cannot be profitable in the long run.
The only way you can be ahead is if you cash out more money than you put in. What you do in between putting money in and cashing money out generates action. Long-term payback is based on action, and the math doesn't care whether you replay winnings or take more money out of your wallet to generate the action. In fact, there's no such thing as "playing with the house's money." Once you win, the money is yours.
The more hands you play, the closer your payback will be to that of the strategy you're playing. Depending on the paytable and your strategy, there might be a good chance that your payback will be over 100% after only 40,000 hands because the cards are dealt at random. If your payback is over 100%, you cashed out more money than you put in overall. If it isn't, you cashed out less than you put in.
Your bankroll is less than your action, so your winnings or losings will be a greater percentage of your bankroll than of your action. But you can't show a profit in your bankroll without also showing a profit on your action. You can't lose money on your action and show a profit in your bankroll.
For example, suppose you put $100 in a dollar video poker machine. You play 100 hands at full coin before running out of credits. The return on your investment is -100%, but the payback you experienced was ($5000 - $100)/$5000 = 98%. If you cash out $100, the return on your investment is 0% and your payback is 100%. And if you cash out $200, the return on your investment is 100% and your payback is 102%.
Best of luck in and out of the casinos!
Send your slot and video poker questions to John Robison, Slot Expert, at email@example.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
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