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Ask the Slot Expert: How Do Slots in New York's Racinos Work?

28 November 2012

By John Robison, Slot Expert™

Hello John,

I enjoy reading your articles and like your practical advice in the casinos. You give worthwhile advice.

My question is regarding New York racinos and how their machines work since I am planning on visiting New York.

Is it correct to say that the racino machines are Central Determination? Meaning are the machines a video representation of an electronic "scratch ticket" with pre-determined number of winners and losers since they are operated by the NY lottery? I have heard that the video poker machines also operate on this system as "bad choices" do not affect results because the machine has already drawn a winning or losing scratch ticket. The machine is just displaying the result.

Do the electronic table games also run on the "electronic scratch ticket system?" If I am right, this is very similar to how the machines in Indian casinos in Washington state operate.

Nonetheless, despite the way the machine displays a result, it is practically no different in play in any Class III casino. Some days you do well, others you don't. Like in any casino, knowing when to stop is the key.

Thank you for your advice.

Jesse

Dear Jesse,

Thanks for the kind words about my column.

The machines in New York's racinos are Class II machines, meaning that they do not determine the results of bets themselves but rely on another system to determine the results. As you wrote, the central system tells the video poker machines what the result of a hand will be and it doesn't matter what choices the player makes. Strategy is useless on these machines -- the result is predetermined.

As for their electronic table games, they don't use the "electronic scratch ticket system", but their results are determined by an RNG instead of dealt cards, thrown dice or a roulette ball and wheel.

Most players don't know whether they're playing a Class II or a Class III machine. The classification is statutory, not inherent in how the game plays.

Jackpots for all,
John


Dear John,

Can't say enough accolades about your column. They are clear, concise and to the point! No BS! Kudos to you!

I have participated in many slot tourneys at the big casinos on the Strip in Vegas. For about two 10-minute sessions, participants pound the "max bet" button until they build up a sweat or develop carpal tunnel syndrome. I have come to understand that the "max bet" button bet will not be accepted by the machine until the reels stop turning. So, I just sit there and only begin pounding when the wheels are about to stop. I feel as I am being looked upon as an "apathetic black sheep".

Am I correct in my thinking, or should I change and develop carpal tunnel syndrome?

I have tried both ways and still lost! Drats!

Thanks,
Johnny B.

Dear Johnny B.,

Thanks for the kind words.

Let's start with a strategy to do better in a slot tournament round. The only thing a player can do to do better is to try to get in more spins than the other players. The only way to do that is to have a minimal amount of time between the end of one spin and the start of the next one. In that respect, it makes sense to keep hitting that Spin button.

But, as you point, all that pounding before the reels stop spinning is wasted effort. Those button presses are just ignored.

So I agree with you. It's fine to wait a few seconds during the spin before you start pounding the Spin button.

I used to play in quite a few slot tournaments a year. I've seen rounds won by "constant pounders" and by "waiters". (The only thing I didn't see is a round won by me!) Winning is almost all luck. If the waiters keep hitting jackpots and the pounders low-paying combinations, any extra spins the pounders were able to get in will not be able to outweigh the jackpots the waiters keep hitting.

Still, the only thing you can do to improve your results in a round is to get in as many spins as possible. Keep the reels spinning. Doing so doesn't guarantee better results, but it can't hurt -- just don't hurt your wrist.

Jackpots for all,
John


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