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Best of John Robison

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Ask the Slot Expert: Jackpot and coin values on Lightning Link

26 June 2019

Question: When playing Lightning Link, I noticed that if you play the 2-cent denomination, the Mini goes from $10 to $20 and the Minor goes from $50 to $100. I always tell people that, if they are going to bet $1, play the two cents. I see so many people playing for $1 at the 1-cent bet. Do the dollar amounts change on the coins at the 1-cent and 2-cent bet like the Mini and Minor amounts?

Answer: I made this same recommendation a few months ago. On the Aristocrat games that have these multi-level jackpots, increase denomination before increasing bet per line.

I checked the help screens on a few Lightning Link machines today. They all said that the values of the coins/orbs/whatever in the Hold & Spin feature are multiples of the total bet, not just the denomination. I also watched a few videos of people playing Lightning Link machines on YouTube and the minimum value I saw in each bonus round was never lower than the total amount bet.

So, Mini and Minor change with denomination. The values on the Hold & Spin feature symbols change with total amount bet.

All of the Dragon Link machines I have seen have $1 and $2 denomination choices. When you switch to one of these denominations, the machine displays a message that a new reel layout was loaded. These dollar denominations might have higher long-term paybacks than the lower denominations. You might be better off in the long run playing at one of the dollar denominations if you're going to bet $5 or more per spin. Be aware though that there are fewer paylines at these denomination so, in my experience, you won't hit as often as when you play the lower denominations.


Question: Several months ago I needed to take a restroom break while playing video poker. I cashed out a $600 ticket, tilted my chair and asked the lady playing next to me to save the seat. When I returned I reinserted the ticket and players card. At that time the lady hit a good hand and we spent some time talking about her good fortune.

When I started to play again, the machine had no credits on the meter. Thinking I must not have put the ticket in, I was in a state of panic when I couldn't find the ticket. I retraced my steps to the restroom and was convinced I had lost the ticket.

That lady told me to contact a floor supervisor to look at the security tapes. When I did contact him, he came to my machine. He put his card in the machine and was able to see exactly when I had reinserted that $600 ticket. He said it was in the "escrow account." With a couple of keystrokes he printed the ticket but never explained why it happened.

Had I given up hope convinced that I lost the ticket, what would have happened to that $600?

Answer: In general, the money would have been considered abandoned and reverted back to the casino. If you did not remove your players card before cashing out, your players card number would have been associated with the ticket and the casino could have contacted you about the money.

I'm not sure what the supervisor meant by "escrow account." Bill validators have an escrow area. It's the way station that a bill or ticket stops in after it is inserted until the bill validator and ticket system either accept or reject the bill or ticket. If the ticket or bill is accepted, it then goes to the bill stacker, from which it cannot be retrieved by anyone except the soft count team after the stacker is removed from the machine.

If your ticket could not be validated, it should have been returned to you. Because it wasn't, the ticket must have been added to your credit meter. But then how could the credits disappear? I've never heard of a machine zeroing out the credits after a certain length of time with no play. Players cards timing out, yes, but not credits.

Has anyone else had an experience with credits timing out or a machine accepting a ticket and not adding the value to the credit meter?


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