CasinoCityTimes.com

Gurus
News
Newsletter
Author Home Author Archives Author Books Search Articles Subscribe
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Newsletter Signup
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Recent Articles
Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

author's picture
 

Ask the Slot Expert: Experiences playing 88 Fortunes

10 July 2019

Question: I read your response to the question on the 88 Fortunes bonus round with great interest. It is interesting to watch the player next to you carefully selecting the bonus coins as if what they selected had any influence on the predetermined outcome. I let them enjoy the game as they want to and do not bring what is really going on with this bonus round to their attention.

You are right on target with the possibility of increased bonus activity with a higher bet in my opinion and based on my limited experience.

My strategy in playing that game is to play 10 spins at each bet level going progressively higher starting with the second lowest, $1.76 I think it is, and only five spins at the two highest levels, the $5.76 (I think that is what it is) and the $8.88 before starting over again at a lower bet level. If I get a free spin bonus at any level, I start all over again at the lowest level. I don’t think this gives me any advantage other than to extend my play and give me a couple of shots at a higher payoff when I get to the cycle with the 10 higher bets. Maybe in a twisted way of looking at it, I think I am using the randomness of the game to my advantage. Anyway, that is the way I play these games.

I have noticed two things by playing this way. One is that I get more free game bonus rounds at the lower bets. This is understandable as I am playing more games at the lower levels and have more chances to get the bonus round. It is a great feeling, however, to run through all my lower betting cycles without hitting a free game bonus and then to hit one when the $8.88 bet was placed!

The second is that the rice bowl bonus does seem to occur more frequently when you are in a free game bonus at the $8.88 bet level, almost 1 out of 4 times it drops coins in the rice bowl. You still get the minor payoff 99.9 out of 100 times, but you do seem to get the chance to play it more often, even if the rice bowl graph does not show the bowl full of coins. On two occasions, I got the rice bowl bonus twice during a free game bonus and on one of those occasions, I got it on back-to-back spins. I have never seen that happen at any of the other lower bets when playing in the free game bonus.

Don’t know if any of your readers have had any similar occurrences on that game.

Of course, getting the free game bonus at $8.88 does not mean you will have a big payout. While I have had some nice ones, I once got four symbols to start the free games and with the four symbols I got 10 free games instead of the eight you get with three symbols. Free game after free game spun by blank and I cashed out a whopping $78! While the free game symbols have a payoff value themselves, there should also be a minimum of 10x your bet as a consolation prize for a free game bonus round.

I do like the dramatic music with the drums boom-boom when you get a nice hit! Lots of fun!

Answer: I once watched a couple put a great deal of thought into the which coins they would pick in the bonus round. They had revealed two coins for each jackpot and were trying to figure out which coin was most likely to be the third coin for the Grand jackpot.

They were quite excited, but not nearly as excited as a group of four people in their late 20s in the high limit room at the Palms two weeks ago. I guess they've seen the group spin videos on YouTube and they were going to pool their money to play a few spins on a $5 Wheel of Fortune machine.

The adventure got off to a rocky start when they had difficulty figuring out how much money they should each put in to get an integer number of spins on the machine. Once they had worked out that problem — no one used the calculator on their phones! — they loaded up the machine with their bankroll and began to play.

There was no doubt whenever a halfway decent symbol landed on the payline. The two young ladies in the group screamed like Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers, Chucky and Jason were coming at them wielding their weapons of choice.

No, wait. That's not a good analogy. It has the volume right, but not the emotion.

The girls screaming for the Beatles at the Ed Sullivan Show is better. Volume and gleeful anticipation both at 11.

Well, I thought they had reached their peak when they hit three single bars, but then a few spins later they won the opportunity to spin the wheel.

More screaming. And more math as they figured out how much each would get for the various amounts on the wheel. A few people walking by stuck their heads into the high limit room to see what all the commotion was about.

When the group had finished spending their virtual money, one of them finally hit the Spin button. The wheel went around a few times and then slowed down. Gasps as high-value wedges approached and then passed the pointer. Then the wheel got really slow. It's getting close. Could the wheel possible land on the....

It did! They got the $1,000 wedge. Pure pandemonium. Now a steady stream of players came into the high limit room to see the big hit — surely, it must have been a MegaJackpot! — and left disappointed when they saw it was $1,000, not $100,000 or $1,000,000. Not even a hand pay!

After they cashed out, they took their act on the road and left the high limit room to go out on the main slot floor. They must have done OK out there too because I heard occasional screams from far away.

I too sometimes bounce around between the various bet levels on a machine, as long as there is no specified and likely advantage for playing at the higher levels. For example, some video slots participate in a progressive jackpot. That long-shot payout is not enough to entice me to play full coin all the time, but if one set of bet levels enables more bonus opportunities (like the bet levels that enable both the Ring Feature and the Eye Feature on Lord of the Rings - Rule Them All) or makes bonuses occur more frequently (like on The Flintstones - Welcome to Bedrock), I'll bounce around within that set of bets.

You're right that bouncing around the different bets does not give you any advantage other than making your bankroll last longer than if you had bet the max on every spin.

"Using the randomness of the game to your advantage" may be wrong, but it's not so twisted — or unique. A number of years ago there was a video poker "expert" who recommended going up in denomination after a losing streak at a lower denomination. His reasoning was that you were bound to hit something and a good hand at a higher denomination can erase many losses at the lower denomination.

The problem with this reasoning, of course, is that a long losing streak doesn't change the probabilities. It may not be likely to have 10 losing hands in a row, but that streak doesn't mean that you are any more likely to win on the 11th hand.

You get an A-plus though for realizing that the most likely reason why you had more bonuses at the lower levels is because you played more spins at the lower levels and, thus, had more chances to get the bonus.

A relatively recent development in free game bonus round technology is using a different set of reels for the free games. The machine is required to inform you that a different set of reels are being used, so you'll see a message like "Bonus reels are in play" or similar somewhere on the machine. All sorts of wonderful new features can happen or existing features can happen more frequently when the bonus reels are used.

Finally, there is almost nothing more frustrating than finally getting the bonus and then not winning much — and sometimes winning absolutely nothing at all — in it. I love playing those Bally games that have playing various sevens-based sub-games as one of the bonus features. On most of them, if you don't win anything on any of the sub-games you have to look for a shoulder to cry on. But on one variation, you get to keep playing the set of sub-games you won again until you finally win something on them. Once it took until my third set of sub-games to finally win something.

There's at least one slot machine that gives you a consolation prize if what you win in the bonus round is less than it. A few months ago I got to the bonus round on a machine and did not do well. When the bonus ended, I expected to see the machine credit me with the toll money I had won, but instead it said that I had won the consolation prize instead. It would have been terribly clever for me to note which machine this was, but I didn't.

Does anyone know of any machines that award a consolation prize if you do poorly in a bonus?


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