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Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

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Ask The Slot Expert

10 May 2001

Dear John,

I was wondering if video poker is legal in the state of Alabama? For instance, if a bar owner were to put a video poker machine in the bar, when someone won would he be able to give cash payouts?

Thanks,
Genny

Dear Genny,

I'm not familiar with Alabama's regulations. I took a quick look at Alabama's web site (www.state.al.us) and the most relevant document I found mentioned the constitutional amendment to allow a state lottery.

Here is the entry for Alabama from Prof. I. Nelson Rose's Status of Gaming Enabling Laws document on our site:

ALABAMA - The Seminole case began when the Poarch Band of Creek Indians sued the state because the Governor refused to negotiate for casinos. The U.S. Supreme Court: 1) ruled a state could not be sued without its consent; but, 2) refused to decide whether the Secretary of the Interior could make the gaming regulations, leaving tribes and states in limbo. The tribe is operating gaming devices in a bingo hall, while the court fights continue. District Judge Eric Fancher ruled that non-tribal Jackpot Bingo machines, which pay out $5 Wal-Mart coupons, are slot machines, despite the Chuck E. Cheese law, but dog tracks are putting in similar machines. Incumbent Gov. Fob James Jr. (R) opposed a state lottery and lost reelection to Don Siegelman (D) in November 1998. But religious organizations mobilized like they never have anywhere before and in October 1999 defeated at the polls a constitutional amendment to allow a state lottery. A proposal to give the state's four moribund dog tracks video poker machines died in the Senate, but attempts to bring it back to life continue.

I would say that it would be illegal for a bar owner to operate a video poker machine, but you'll have to have a lawyer check the laws.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos!
John

Dear John,

I always lose at slots. Should I play .25, 1.00 or 5.00 machines.? Is there a system that has been successful for you? Where can I find info on systems to play and win?

Sincerely,
Butch

Dear Butch:

The only successful slot system I know of is to not play the machines. Like all the other negative-expectation games in the casino, the math is such that the casino will eventually win all of your money if you play long enough. I can't tell you how to play and win, but I can tell you how to play and lose less.

Like the other casino games, there are better and worse ways to play the slots. For example, $5 machines may have high paybacks, but is it worthwhile risking five times as much per spin as on a dollar machine? The expected loss for 1000 spins at $1 per spin and a 95% payback is $50, while the expected loss for the same number of spins at $5 per spin and a 98% payback is $100.

My recommendation to you would be to play a straight multiplier slot one coin at a time. A straight multiplier pays a straight multiple of the number of coins played for each winning combination. Examples are 2-coin Double Diamond and Wild & Loose. You can also play a bonus multiplier slot one coin at a time, as long as the bonus is small. For example, on a 3-coin Double Diamond, the bonus is only 100 coins on the jackpot for playing full coin.

Playing only one coin at a time is a great way to stretch your bankroll and because you're playing a straight multiplier, you're not giving up anything in payback or hit frequency by playing short coin.

The best sources for information are the articles about slots at this site, and these books: The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots by me (www.greatstuff4gamblers.com), Break the One-Armed Bandits by Frank Scoblete, and The Slot Machine Answer Book by John Grochowski. Don't waste your money on any of the high-priced slot systems advertised in magazines or in mailers. There is much better advice on playing the slots in these books that cost less than $15 each than in those higher-priced systems.

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