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Best of John Robison

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Ask The Slot Expert

15 June 2003

How can they loosen or tighten the slots?

Also, I have heard that the Argosy in Indiana is the best place to play slots. Is this true?

Shirley

Dear Shirley,

The only way a casino can loosen or tighten a slot machine is by replacing one or more of the chips in the machine. Depending on the jurisdiction, the casino may be able to perform this procedure itself or it may have to call the casino control commission in to witness the change or even to have someone from the commission make the change.

Whether or not a casino is the best place to play slots is a personal decision. A casino may have high-payback machines, but if you don't like the machines it has, or you don't like the rooms or the restaurants, or you don't feel safe playing there, it really doesn't matter how good the machines are.

If you like the Argosy and you like the machines it has and you feel like you're being treated fairly by the slot club, I'd stick with it.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John

I've used Bob Dancer's WinPoker Versions 5.0 and 6.0 since they came out. I consider the programs to be an excellent training aid. However, the "random" card draws make me seriously doubt the draws are TRULY random. This is especially apparent when using the double-up option, where the dealer's card probably beats the players card 90% to 95% of the time.

I've compared WinPoker's draws against equivalent draws with a deck of cards and observed a marked difference in the results. Drawing from an actual deck yields a realistic expectation of randomness.

Now we have Wolf Gaming's Frugal Video Poker software, which I would like to purchase. However, I have the same concern whether their draws are TRULY random or not.

Does the software contain its own RNG or is the draw determined by the computer software? Do these programs really draw to TRUE randomness?

Fred

Dear Fred,

It depends upon what your definition of "true" randomness is. Mathematicians have devised many tests for various aspects of randomness and the RNGs satisfy many of those tests, even though the numbers aren't truly chosen at random. Software-based RNGs use deterministic functions, so they're correctly known as Pseudo-Random Number Generators.

The absolutely correct answer to your question is: No, the results from the RNGs are not truly random.

I tried my own test of WinPoker and I had very different results from what you experienced. To get the greatest number of observations in the least amount of time, I doubled up every winning hand until I lost. I won 26 times and lost 35.

I don't know whether the programmers used the RNGs that came with whatever language they used or whether they purchased better ones. In any case, I'm sure that whatever RNGs they used are suitable for playing video poker.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John

How do you know which machines are buy-a-pays, bonus multipliers, straight multiplier, hidden buy a pays, etc.? What are the best machines to play other than video poker?

Joe

Dear Joe,

You can tell the type of machine just by looking at the paytable.

If playing additional coins activates additional winning combinations, the machine is a buy-a-pay.

If playing additional coins only multiplies the amounts paid for winning combinations, then it's a multiplier. If the amount you win for one or more combinations when playing the last coin isn't a straight multiple of the first coin payoff times the number of coins played, then it's a bonus multiplier.

Hidden buy-a-pay is a name I coined for a machine that forces you to play a certain number of coins in order to be eligible for some sort of bonus. For example, if a machine lets you spin a wheel in its top box when a special symbol lands on the payline only when you play max coins, the last coin in effect buys the special symbol.

Video poker machines tend to have higher paybacks than slot machines. As for which slot machines are the best to play, it depends upon what you're looking for in your slot-playing experience. I like straight multipliers because I can play one coin at a time and know that I'm getting the highest payback and hit frequency possible from the machine. I also like video slot machines because I like the graphics and the sounds and the flexible betting possible on them.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John

Hi John,

I'm going to Reno soon and I would like to know who has the best video poker.

Also, is it better to play at night or during the day?

Thank you,
Ralph

Dear Ralph,

Skip Hughes runs a very good site (www.vphomepage.com) that tells you where the high-paying games are all across the country. It's a pay site, but the fee is reasonable.

According to the site, there is plenty of good video poker in Reno. Standouts are Atlantis, Cal-Neva, Peppermill, and Silver Legacy.

There's no better time of day to play in terms of winning. The only thing to consider about time is whether or not you like playing when the casino is crowded.

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