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Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

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Ask The Slot Expert

27 March 2003

Hi there!

I only play 1 dollar Blazing 777 slots in my local casino.

Is there any specific strategy to play this Blazing 777?

The only strategy for playing Blazing 7s is to follow my recommendation for the number of coins to play in a machine that is part Buy-a-Pay and part Multiplier: Play full coin. The extra payback you get by buying the combination of sevens is frequently worth the extra risk of playing the extra coins.

In addition, the general slot-playing strategy applies: Don't lose more than you can afford, use your players club card, and play at a casino that you like.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John

We have been playing video, poker and being a relative novice at this game, we have heard many theories. Is it true that the cards in video poker are laid out behind the set that was dealt to you? If not, how are they dealt?

In another related question-- Are the casinos able to loosen and tighten the payouts on slots at will?

Thank you,
Ingrid

Dear Ingrid,

When manufacturers used less powerful computers in their video poker machines, the software did choose all 10 cards that might be needed for a hand at the time you pressed the deal button. The first five cards were displayed on the screen. The next five were used for replacement cards on the draw. They were sometimes assigned to specific positions in the hand--that is, the sixth card would go to position 1 if that card was not held, the seventh to position 2, etc. In other machines, the five cards were used wherever they were needed--that is, the sixth card was used to replace the first discarded card, the seventh card replaced the second discard, etc.

The machines work very differently today. When you press the deal button, the machine chooses the five cards needed for the deal. The RNG continues to cycle while you make your hold/discard decisions. Only when you press the draw button does the machine choose the cards needed to replace your discards. All jurisdictions with which I'm familiar require video poker machines to operate in this manner.

Can casinos loosen and tighten slot payouts at will? Yes and no. A casino can change the payback on a machine any time it wants. To do that, all they have to do is buy the new payout chips from the manufacturer and change one or more chips in the machine.

Depending upon where the casino is, they may be able to change the chip themselves and file a notification with the state that the payback was changed. Other jurisdications require that a representative from the gaming control board be present to witness the change.

So, yes, a casino can decide to change the payouts whenever they want, but making the change may take hours, days, weeks, or months. They can't throw a switch to tighten or loosen their machines.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Send your slot and video poker questions to John Robison, Slot Expert, at slotexpert@comcast.net.

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