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Best of John Robison

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Ask the Slot Expert: Did a Class II slot cheat me?

7 October 2015

About twice a month my work sends me past an Indian casino. I have been playing the Monte Carlo Royale slot machine there.

So far I am ahead of the game, but I wanted to know if you could provide your advice on if or when to place the max bet ($5). The machine takes at least $1 per play. I stick a $20 bill in at a time.

The top jackpot has been $24,000+ each time I stopped in and, of course, you see it grow very slowly.

Any advice you can give me would be helpful.

My advice would be to play the max bet on a spin that lands the top jackpot combination. Unfortunately, there's no way to know if your next spin will be that spin when you have to make your bet.

I usually don't play a progressive if I can't make the max bet. You usually don't qualify to win a progressive if you play less than max. If you play a progressive without making the max bet, you're just feeding the progressive for someone else and you have no chance to win it yourself. My exceptions are video slots in some sort of a progressive link. I don't want to play $4 or more per spin at the measly paybacks most casinos have on their penny video slots to have a slim chance -- maybe even slimmer than hitting the Megabucks -- at winning a few hundred thousand dollars.

The result of each spin is determined at random without regard for what has happened in the past, even in a Native American casino. There's no way to know the result of the next spin, so there's no way to know when you should raise your bet.

Because you're doing well at $1, I suggest you stick with it. If the machine is paying off and you have more than the $20 you put in, you could play at max coin until you go back under $20. You could also try playing every third or fifth spin at max. You could also try a max bet after a winning spin at $1 and keep betting the max as long as the machine keeps hitting. Or you could try a max bet after, say, three or five consecutive losing spins.

Of course, none of these plans make any mathematical sense because your chances of hitting any winning combination are the same on every spin. There's no mathematical justification for raising your bet.


I am new at playing Class II Lucky Ducky slots in Native American casinos in Oklahoma. Recently, a blackout bingo pattern showed and did not pay out.

Did the machine malfunction or does the secondary mechanism allow the casino an advantage of no payout? Please advise.

I was playing the $5 max bet. Having been to the casino less than ten times, I will not be going back as I feel there is foul play. In retrospect, I should have taken a picture of the bingo pattern for proof. If I do return, I will be prepared to dispute payout.

Class II slot machines may be based on a bingo drawing, but that does not mean that they follow the rules of bingo played in the bingo hall. Filling a column, row or diagonal may not necessarily be a winning pattern.

Somewhere in the help screens on the machine is a screen that shows the winning patterns and what they pay. Covering all the numbers, while a winner in the bingo hall, must not be a winner on that machine. There is no secondary decision that rescinds a winning pattern. You must be paid if your pattern is one of the winning patterns.


I am fairly tech-savvy and I have a few ideas for some innovative slot machines games. Would you know what computer applications are used to create the video-reel games? Flash? After Effects? Or is it all hard coding? (C++? JavaScript?)

The big gaming trade show, Global Gaming Expo, was in Las Vegas last week and I thought that would be the perfect place to get an answer to your question.

Well, not so much. Most of the people in the booths were marketing folks, not tech folks, but I was able to track down a few programmers.

They all use off-the-shelf graphics programs to create the images used in the games. "No sense re-inventing the wheel," they all said. There's no consensus on the language used for the game program itself. It could be C, C++ or even machine language or a combination of different languages.


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