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Best of John Robison

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Ask the Slot Expert: Can you win the grand prize each time you get to the bonus round on Fortune 88?

14 February 2018

Question: So bubble craps is the question besides not holding is this completely random theses Interblock organic machines good to know they don't have a rng in craps like slots or slot roulette predetermined bets where its short lived like baccarat or roulette sometimes with theses machines so I guess the only think bubble craps u cant hold the dice no dice control dice setting nothing like the real thing. I took a picture of bubble craps chart i want to send u snap a pic i like to time the 7s and study the program

Answer: The advantage of taking Humanities courses at an engineering college as part of a Computer Science degree compared with taking them at a Liberal Arts college is that the Humanities professors at the engineering school are much more flexible with their grading. The professors at the engineering school don't want to damage our GPAs as long as we made an effort in their courses. That's not to say that the workload was any easier — the freshmen Humanities course was known as The Book of the Week Club — but grading on papers and tests was pretty lenient. One piece of advice they gave us was this: If you don't know the answer to a question, answer a question that you do know the answer to.

I don't really know what you're asking, so I'll address a few other topics I've wanted to address for a while.

First, a number of times I've heard players say that they've hit something good and then played too long and gave most or all of it back. A few weeks ago, a lady playing next to me hit four deuces and said, "I should probably stop now." Many times my cousin has told me about hitting a nice combo on a slot and then playing a bit more and ending up just breaking even. (Breaking even is still pretty good. It's the next best thing to winning.)

Quitting while you're ahead is not a long-term winning strategy. Quitting while you're ahead does nothing to reduce the house edge against you. It does nothing to help you win more or lose less.

About a year ago, I hit four deuces on my first hand. Was I supposed to quit and go home right away? And what do you do on those many occasions when you never get ahead?

There is one good thing though about quitting while you're ahead. A player once said that quitting after a decent hit gives her the money for her next casino visit.

A real winning strategy is concentrating most of your play on the best-paying machines in a casino and taking advantage of the slot club and promotions to earn a little bit more or spend a little bit less.

The second item I want to address is casino lighting design. Why are lighting designers still using recessed lights that cast a glare on slant-top machines? Can't they use indirect lighting or diffusers to minimize or eliminate the glare? I sometimes have to sit in an awkward position to deal with glare. For example, my usual video poker machine at the Palms was in use yesterday, so I had to play another machine in the bank. There was such a pronounced glare on this machine I couldn't make out the far-right card. I had to sit far to the right to get rid of the glare. My off-kilter position meant I was off-kilter to the buttons too and I had to be especially careful that I was hitting the right buttons to hold the cards I wanted.

Designers, please take glare into account when choosing lighting equipment. And casinos, please have a couple of people of different heights sit at your slant-top machines to check for glare. And if there is glare, maybe you can put a shield or diffuser on the light to get rid of the glare.

Finally, I will give a shot at answering the question. Based on my correspondent's e-mail address, he is French. I should be able to speak another language as well as he does English.

The Interblock electronic craps machines are usually used in jurisdictions that don't allow live table games. I see them a lot in Las Vegas now, though. The electronic dealers never need a break and never take a sick day. Many casinos moreover use the electronic craps games to augment (or replace, if they don't get much craps action) their live craps tables.

There is no RNG in these machines. The randomizer in these machines is the set of fair dice in the bubble. The platform bounces and vibrates the dice to simulate a shooter and achieve a random roll. Sensors in the machine determine what number was rolled.

As my correspondent pointed out, players don't get to hold the dice, so there's no opportunity for dice control. The probabilities are the same as when a chicken feeder has the dice.

Check that the payoffs on this machine or any electronic table game — and really, any live table game — are what you expect them to be. Some machines and casinos have lowered payouts on their games — like 2-1 for blackjacks — so players have to be sure they're getting the game they want.


Question: We just returned from a Vegas Super Bowl trip and it was a blast. I discovered Fortune 88 and it was a lot of fun to play. When you fill the pot and have a chance for the grand prize, can you win the grand prize each time or is it already pre-determined?

Answer: Yes. To both parts of your question.

For those not familiar with Fortune 88, as you play, certain symbols on the screen cause coins to be added to the rice bowl above the reel display. At some point after the rice bowl is full, the pick-em bonus round is triggered. You pick coins from a field of 12 until you match three. Each coin is associated with one of the four progressives on the machine.

Four progressives, three coins to match, twelve coins to choose from — you'd think that each progressive has three coins on the field.

But that's not the case. When the bonus round is triggered, the program running the machine determines which progressive you will win. Each progressive can be won at every bet level, but the progressives are weighted so you're much more likely to get one of the lower ones than the grand. After the program determines which progressive you will win, the program randomly distributes two coins for each progressive you won't get, and fills in the field with coins for the progressive you will get. Your choices don't determine which progressive you get -- only one has three coins in the field. Your choices only affect how long it takes for the pre-determined outcome to be revealed.

You can search on this site for more columns about Fortune 88.


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