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Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

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Ask The Slot Expert

5 May 2000

Dear John,

I play 25 cent video poker at Laughlin and Vegas. What do you think is the better play for making money or trying to just break-even? Deuces Wild or straight Jacks or Better. I play a lot of straight Bonus Poker, but I don't do well.

Thanks,
Steve

Dear Steve:

Only positive expectation paytables can make money for you in the long run. No commonly available Jacks or Better paytable pays back over 100%, but some Deuces Wild paytables do and 10/7 Double Bonus also pays back over 100%.

Just trying to break even is a slightly different question. Now we can take the volatility of the game into consideration. In the long run, you're still better off playing the most generous paytable you can find, but that paytable may be more volatile than a lower-paying paytable. You tend to win or lose more money after a certain number of hands on a more volatile paytable than on a less volatile paytable.

Deuces Wild is usually more volatile than Jacks or Better. If I were just trying to break even, I would play the Jacks or Better machine.

On the Bonus Poker, doublecheck the paytable. There are some new paytables out that look very much like old, high-paying paytables, but are not as generous. I saw them in Las Vegas last weekend and they're probably in Laughlin too. Make sure you have the proper strategy for the paytable too and follow it.

Also, you're probably doing better than you think on Bonus Poker. Let's say you lose $100 on a machine and you played a total of 800 hands. Your total action is $1000, so your payback is 90% ((1000-100)/1000). That's not too bad.

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:

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