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Best of John Robison

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Ask The Slot Expert

24 April 2003

I love to play video poker and think over the long run I can win. I've tried playing online but can't get credit card approval. The credit card company says "99.95 of on-line casinos don't pay."

If this is true, how do they stay in business? And is there an online casino that is acceptable to credit card companies?

Thanks
Bob

Dear Bob,

The problem isn't so much that the casinos don't pay, it's that cardholders who use their cards at online casino refuse to pay when they lose. Add to this problem the fact that online gambling is in legal limbo in the U.S., and the result is that many credit card companies will not take transactions from online casinos.

I've met a few people who run online casinos and each one runs an honest operation. They have the odds in their favor and they're happy to take their house edge and make money slowly and build up a loyal clientele, rather than trying to cheat players in order to make a lot more money more quickly and constantly have to look for new marks.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John

I'm going to the Atlantic City Tropicana to play video poker. What video poker games give me the best chances? Deuces Wild?

Robert

Dear Robert,

The games that give you the best chances are the ones that you know how to play. If you don't know the proper strategy to use to play Deuces Wild, for example, it doesn't matter if the Deuces Wild games have better paytables than the other games. You'll just be playing on hunches.

There are no decent Deuces Wild games in Atlantic City. The last time I was at the Tropicana, they had a few Double Jokers Wild games (quarters) that had good paytables. I usually head for the 9/6 Jacks or Better games that they have in halves and dollars.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John

Hi John,

I just returned from another trek to Las Vegas; had several of chances to hit a royal flush but no cigar. Got a tax-related question for you:

On a slot or video poker jackpot of $1,200 or more, is there a way I can legally avoid receiving a W2-G or other IRS tax form? For example, on a $10,000 jackpot, can I ask the casino not to pay me but rather keep the money in an account for me? I would then draw the cash as needed.

I met a friend there and he insists that his friend did it, i.e., got the casino to hold the winnings so he didn't receive a W2G.

Similarly, on a $1,200 jackpot, can I ask the casino to only pay me $1,199?

Hope all's well, in and out of the casinos.

Ray

Dear Ray,

The only way I know of to avoid getting a tax form on a jackpot of $1,200 or more is to refuse the money! There is no way to avoid getting a tax form when your jackpot is $1,200 or more.

As for your second question, putting the money on account at the cage doesn't change the fact that you won $10,000. You'll still get a W-2G. What your friend's friend probably avoided, however, was the currency reporting requirement for cash transactions of $10,000 or more. If your friend's friend took $10,000 cash and then went to deposit the cash in the cage, the cage would have to report the transaction. By having the casino deposit the money directly at the cage, the source of the money is known and, I suppose, there would be no need to report the transaction.

I've never thought of asking the casino to pay $1,199 on a $1,200 win. I doubt it would work, but you can give it a try.

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