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Ask the Slot Expert: How much to tip for a slot machine jackpot?1 March 2017
Answer: Something strange seems to be going on with hand-paid jackpots. It used to be that the last hundred was always paid in twenties or tens, but I've gotten a number of $4,000 jackpots recently that were paid entirely in hundreds.
I tip more for bigger jackpots, but not a fixed percentage. There's not much more work to pay a $2,000 jackpot compared with a $4,000 jackpot. On the other hand, a restaurant with $25 entrees gives a higher level of service than a restaurant with $12 entrees. Percentage-based tipping makes sense in a restaurant, but not in a casino.
An extreme example: I saw someone hit a $20,000 jackpot last year. He was paid with two banded bundles of $10,000 each. No counting, just handing him the first bundle and saying "ten thousand dollars" and handing him the second bundle and saying "anther ten thousand dollars makes twenty". By the way, he tipped $200.
Two hundred dollars is 1% of $20,000, and that's my starting point for figuring out what to tip. Then I make it easy by rounding to a whole bill.
Some real-life examples: I tipped $20 to each attendant on $4,000 royal flushes. (I keep two twenties in a separate compartment in my wallet so I'm always ready in case they don't give me any twenties in the hand pay. I'm sorry to say that I haven't needed them for quite a while.) I also tipped $20 on a $10,000 jackpot. All they did was hand over the bundle and, as I said, I try to keep tipping easy. On $1,200 and $1,300, two fives or maybe even two tens if I know the attendants.
I've had the same experience that you've had in regards to tips. Every slot attendant has appreciated every tip I've given him or her.
Answer: Most, if not all, jurisdictions require a slot machine to store and be able to display a certain number of the last plays on the machine. One of the reasons, as you witnessed, is for use in resolving player disputes.
When the attendant used his key, he took the machine out of Game Mode and put it in Maintenance Mode. He then used the Maintenance menu to display a prior spin.
He was not able to display a particular result, only prior results that had occurred on the machine.
So what was the code he entered? You may have noticed slot attendants inserting their cards into the slot club card reader and entering a code on the keypad. In many casinos, the surveillance room gets notified whenever certain events, like door open, occur on a slot machine. The attendants then have to enter their employee numbers or some other code to tell the slot accounting system that the event was initiated by a legitimate employee and not someone who found or stole the key. That's why the attendant entered a code, to let the system know that an authorized employee caused the event.
The results on slot machines are indeed determined at random and there is no way for the casino or a player to influence the results -- not legally, at least.
A few weeks ago I had a question about the Russian slot cheats who were stealing from certain slots in the United States and abroad. Here is a video called "Attacking a Slot Machine's RNG," which gives a good description of the method the cheats used and why it worked.
Send your slot and video poker questions to John Robison, Slot Expert™, at email@example.com. Because of the volume of mail I receive, I regret that I can't reply to every question.
Best of John Robison