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Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

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Ask The Slot Expert

5 June 2002

Hi John,

I just returned from another trip to check on my "investments" in Las Vegas. Both my money and the city are doing well and I've added to my "investments" there.

If you're familiar with the Treasure Chest video poker machine (mainly at the Cal and Fremont in downtown LV), can you give me some insight on how it works? Whenever you hit 4 of a kind, 5 treasure chests appear. Using the save/hold keys, you select one chest that may contain credits of 140, 180, 250, 500, or the jackpot of $1,199. You don't see the what the other 4 chests contained. I suspect that the $1,199 is not always under any of the 5 chests, i.e., all 5 of the chests for your hit may only contain 140 credits each or some other combination. Is my suspicion accurate? I know that this type of machine is not one of the best to play, but it's fun and frustrating to have a chance at the $1,199. P.S. My buddy pulled it.

Regarding video poker machines with progressive jackpots (e.g., linked in a carousel), if I saved the "wrong" card and missed a royal flush, does it mean that my chances of hitting it on that machine is less, that I'd have a better chance at the RF at another machine in the carousel? In other words, does the RF go around and around the linked machines or does each machine in the link still have an equal chance of hitting it?

Thanks for your comments,
Ray

Dear Ray,

I don't know for sure how the Treasure Chest screen works. The only way to be certain would be to see the par sheet for the machine or talk to one of the programmers. When the machines doesn't show you the values for the other choices, it certainly does seem like the machine has chosen what your bonus would be and your choice is irrelevant.

I have trusted sources for video slot info who have given me conflicting info on how similar bonus screens work on a particular machine. One says that your choice matters. Another says that the program has already chosen your bonus amount and it doesn't matter what you choose. We're talking about the same machine here.

So, the bottom line is that I don't know. I do know that your chances for hitting a royal flush are the same on each machine in the progressive link regardless of what has happened in the past on that or any other machine. Conceptually, each hand is dealt from a freshly shuffled deck of cards and each machine in the link has an equal chance of hitting a royal at all times.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John

Addendum: We can figure out whether or not the $1,199 value is always available. If each value is assigned to a chest and we assume each value is equally likely to be picked, we can then calculate the EV of picking a chest and, therefore, the value of a four-of-a-kind. We can then plug that value along with the other values in the paytable into WinPoker to calculate the long-term payback of the paytable. If it's more than 100%, we know that the values are not equally likely to be chosen.


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
The Video Poker 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