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Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

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Ask The Slot Expert

26 April 2001

Dear John,

At one time I had a formula for figuring out the cashback percentage at a slot club. Do you know what it is?

Thank you,
John

Dear John,

Slot clubs sure don't make it easy to figure out what their cashback percentages are. It can get confusing going from how many dollars it takes to earn a point to how many points it takes to get a dollar back. I always have to think about it when I do the calculation. Fortunately, the calculation isn't difficult when you have the formula.

To find the cashback percentage: divide 1 by the number of dollars you need to play to earn $1 in cashback and multiply by 100.

Example: It takes $30 to earn 1 point and 10 points to get back $1. 10 x 30 = $300 to earn $1 in cashback. 1/300 * 100 = .33%.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos!
John

Dear John,

I believe I understand how comps are calculated on the table game side of the business -- take the expected win and multiply that by, say, 25-40% and that would equal the value of my comp. But how do they do it on the slot side of the business where there is a tremendous more "churn"?

Let me know. Thanks.

Every casino has its own formula for how it will reward slot players. In some casinos, you get 1 point per dollar, regardless of whether you play slots or video poker. In other casinos, video poker players have to play anywhere from a little to a lot more than a slot player to earn one point. Then each casino has its own redemption schedule to determine how many points it takes to get a comp or cashback.

Other casinos take into account the payback of the game you're playing and rebate a portion of their expected win. Although this formula most closely resembles the table games formula, it's the most universally disliked formula among slot players. I think slot players don't like this formula because they usually don't know what the house edge is on the game they're playing, while table game players usually do.

Further complicating matters today is that some casinos are taking into account whether you win or lose when they decide on comps. Tracking results is easy to do on slots, and many slot players have said that they were denied some comps on winning trips.

As much as I hate to say it, the fairest system is one that rebates a portion of your expected loss. Even though $1 for one point is a very simple-to-understand system, shouldn't someone playing a 92% payback slot machine earn more comps than a video poker player playing a machine that pays back 99.5% or even 101%?

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