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Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

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Ask The Slot Expert

27 September 2001

I have been watching this dollar, two-coin machine since June. I wasn't there since mid-July, but from early June until mid-July this machine has hit for $10,000 or $5,000 at least five times that I know of. I returned back last night and watched some lady hit for $800 and then $100 about twenty minutes later. I never had my chance at the machine as I had to leave.

My question is, do I put in max coin and play for two or three hundred, or do I just put in five or six coins and leave if I don't hit?

I'm a new slot player who hates to lose. It seems as though most of the people I see win, sit there and pump in a couple hundred dollars before they hit. What would be a good strategy?

Thank you very much for your time.
George

Dear George,

Slot machines should have warnings like mutual funds: Past performance does not indicate future performance. The result of each spin is determined at random. So just because you don't hit for a few spins, that doesn't mean you won't hit the $10,000 jackpot on the next spin.

I would attack this machine this way. First, check the paytable. If it's a straight multiplier (all payoffs for two coins are twice those for one coin), I would play only one coin at a time. The payback is the same regardless of whether you play one coin or two.

If it's a bonus multiplier (the payoff on one or more winning combinations when playing two coins is more than twice the payoff when playing one coin), it gets a little tricky. If the bonus is small, you don't gain much in payback for playing the second coin. I would still play one coin at a time.

If the bonus is very large, you have a decision to make. As a general rule, the top jackpot hits so infrequently that even large bonuses lead to small increases in payback. If it would really bother you if you hit the jackpot with only one coin in, then play two coins. For me, I figure that it's so unlikely that I'll hit the jackpot, I'll take my chances and stretch my bankroll by playing only one coin at a time.

Finally, if the machine is a buy-a-pay, that is, the second coin activates different winning combinations, I would play two coins.

Next, I budget for the session. Based on what you said, I would allocate enough for 100 spins on this machine. That gives me at least 100 shots at hitting something.

Let me know what strategy you decide to use and how you do.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John

Dear Mr.Robison,

I'm sorry to be pestering you with this question, but you seem to be the one expert who consistently answers his mail (according to my friends and what I read).

I need to find out whether SpinPoker Double Bonus 10/7 has the same payback as 9 single lines of 10/7 just with a lower bankroll requirement, as would be the case if it were 9 play. I get hung up because it seems that one isn't holding cards for each line the way a 9 play (if such existed) would. It feels like one is holding only 1 card and that the payoffs on most lines are sort of on the deal rather than the draw. Is there some place I can read how this works?

Thank you so very much.

A given paytable on SpinPoker has the exact same long-term payback as the same paytable on a multi-hand video poker machine or on a single-hand video poker machine.

The best description of the math behind SpinPoker is in this article by Dan Paymar (http://videopoker.casino.com/articles/spinpoker.shtml). The math gets a little goofy as compared with a multi-deck/multi-hand video poker machine because you have to account for the cards removed from the deck as you draw, but the basic concept is that as undesirable cards are used, it becomes more likely to draw a desirable card, and net effect is that the EV remains the same.

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
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