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Best of John Robison

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Ask the Slot Expert: Can I redeem a slot ticket at another casino?

25 February 2015

We were in Vegas in October and forgot to cash in two slot tickets at the Palms before we left. Can they be cashed in at another casino in Nevada?

It might be possible to redeem a slot ticket issued at one casino at another casino that is owned by the same company because they might share the same ticket system and database. For example, you might be able to redeem a ticket issued at Sam's Town at The Orleans.

The Palms, though, does not have any sister properties so you'll have to redeem the tickets there. Check the tickets for an expiration date. You should have at least a month to redeem the ticket and perhaps as much as six months or a year.


I plan on taking $1,000 to the casino to gamble with. What do you recommend playing to maximize my odds of coming out ahead, winning big or, at worst, breaking even?

I thought about playing high-limit machines but am scared that I will lose it all.

There's no single answer to this question, so here are some ideas:

If you want the best chance of doubling your money, bet it all on an even money bet at roulette. You have an almost 50/50 chance (you have exactly 18 ways to win and 20 ways to lose) to double your money.

If you want to win big, you can play $5 or $10 slots. In many cases, the chances of hitting any particular winning combination are about the same on $5 and $10 machines as on dollar machines, but the combination pays much more on the high-denomination machines. But, as you pointed out, cold streaks could wipe out your bankroll.

I frequently try a hit-and-run at the $5 slots, taking my free play or $20 (or more) and playing a few spins on the Double Diamond slots, the theory being that any hit could pay real money, especially if it includes the Double Diamond symbol. Double Diamond machines typically have hit frequencies on the lower side, so I've experienced a lot of running and very little hitting.

If you want to try to maximize playing time, play a high hit frequency video slot, which will keep you in plenty of what we used to call "tray money." Most video slots have high hit frequencies because they can pay less than a push. But stay away from games with stacked symbols or symbols that are taller than one stop. The hit frequencies on these machines will not be as high as on machines without them.

If you want to play at the highest long-term payback, play video poker. There's no guarantee that you will win more money than if you tried my other suggestions because it takes many plays (tens of thousands if not hundreds) for a change in long-term payback to have a greater effect on your results than luck.

Best of luck with however you decide to play. Let us know what you decided to do and how you made out.


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