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Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

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Ask the Slot Expert: Parallel versus serial deal in video poker

16 October 2013

Regarding your answer on why the casinos want you to play another spin after winning a jackpot:

You might also consider that the casinos want to remove the big win from the screen before someone else comes along and says that they won the jackpot that shows on the screen and tries to claim the money again.

I don't think another player would be able to re-claim the jackpot on today's machines. If the jackpot was below $1,200, it would just be added to the credit meter and the cheat would have to claim the machine malfunctioned. If it was $1,200 or more, or for some reason required interaction with slot floor personnel, the machine would lock up. The casino unlocks the machine only after all the paperwork and whatnot has been taken care of. If someone tried to re-claim this jackpot, the casino personnel would know the jackpot had already been paid because the machine was back in game mode and not locked.

And there's always the eye in the sky, which might have surveillance footage that shows who truly won the jackpot.

Jackpots for all,
John


I go to Saratoga every year for the last four days of thoroughbred racing. At night we always go to Saratoga Raceway, which has a racino.

On the last evening I was playing Pompeii, having some luck. I left the machines around 7:30 p.m. and came back at 9 p.m. and found that technicians had changed all five machines in that bank.

I watched them finish the last one. They just took a board, installed it, and then took the Pompeii picture glass out and put a new one in. They did it that fast.

I really did not know they could do this on a machine and so fast. I know they are VLTs, but is this normal?

Yes, this is normal. All a casino has to do to change a video slot machine from one game to another is change a board (or chip or other device that contains the game program) and the glass on a machine and, voila, Tibetan Treasures is now Texas Tea.

The only additional step on a reel-spinning slot is changing the reel strips to have the symbols for the new game.


I'm sure I'm missing something, but after reading your explanation of serial/parallel deals, I still am having trouble with your answer to the example you gave. If the person ended up only holding three cards due to the malfunction, they would not have completed the royal no matter how the cards were dealt, because they discarded one of the four royal cards. Also, it sounds like since they did discard the card by mistake due to the malfunction, the card would have indeed shown up in a parallel deal.

You wrote:

Usually, whether an older machine used a parallel or serial deal was irrelevant. The player odds are the same. But there was one incident in which the type of deal did make a difference.

The hold buttons on a machine malfunctioned and a card that a player wanted to hold wasn't held. I don't remember the exact details and I couldn't find a report of the incident online, so let's say the player had a 4-card royal in the first four cards dealt and held only three of the cards due to the malfunction. Then the card needed to complete the royal appeared in the spot for the card that should have been held.

If the machine used a parallel deal, then the player would not have completed the royal flush. The card needed would not have been revealed because the player did not discard the card above it. If the machine used a serial deal, however, the player would have completed the royal. The card needed would have been sitting on top of the draw pile and would have replaced the card in position 5, thus completing the royal.

Let's say the person was dealt the 10, Jack, Queen, King and 7 of diamonds. He wanted to hold onto the first four cards, but because a hold button malfunctioned, he only held the first three and didn't realize it before hitting the Draw button. The Ace of diamonds appeared in position 4 and we don't care what card appeared in position 5.

If the machine used a parallel deal, the Ace of diamonds would have been in discard position 4 and there's no way the player would have gotten the Royal Flush if the button hadn't malfunctioned and he had held the four cards. The only way to get the Ace was to discard the King, making the Royal impossible to achieve.

If the machine used a serial deal, on the other hand, the Ace of diamonds would not have had an assigned position. It would have been on the top of the deck, waiting to take the position of any card that was discarded. Had the hold buttons all worked properly, the Ace would have popped up in position 5 and the player would have gotten the Royal.


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