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Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

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Ask The Slot Expert

21 June 2001

Dear John,

Question One: Is it legal to take a hand-held counting device (such as a baseball ball strike indicator) into a casino? One could use it to count hits.

Question Two: Would this be helpful in searching out good machines?

Thanks in advance,
Mike

Dear Mike:

One: To tell you the truth, I don't know for sure whether or not it is legal to take a hand-held counter into a casino. I think it is okay because it is not an eletronic computing device. That said, I take one with me all the time to count the number of hands or spins I play. I need to know how much action I give in order to calculate cashback and comp percentages when I review the slot clubs in Atlantic City. I have never been given any kind of heat for using the counter. I also didn't have any problems when I kept track on a clipboard before I had the counter.

Two: Keeping track of hits will help you find high hit frequency machines. I like high hit frequency machines because my bankroll tends to last longer on them. Low hit frequency machines have a lot of their payback in relatively rare combinations (like spinning the wheel on Wheel of Fortune), and if you don't get your share of them, your bankroll can be gone before you know it.

If your slot club uses a countdown or a simple formula to figure out the number of points, you can use your slot club points to calculate the number of spins. Let's say you're betting 50 cents per spin and your slot club requires $2 per point. It takes 4 spins to earn 1 point. Note how many points you have before you start playing and how many points you have when you're finished. If you earned 100 points, for example, you played 400 spins (100 points times 4 spins per point). Use the hand-held counter to count hits while you play. If you had 80 hits, your hit frequency would be 20% (400 / 80 * 100) and you've found a high hit frequency machine.

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