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Best of John Robison

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Ask the Slot Expert: Report video poker machine malfunctions

6 April 2016

Question: Do you ever play Super Aces? I travel and can't find the game in many casinos. Pays too well?

Answer: No, I don't play Super Aces. I'm pretty sure that I've seen it on some multi-game machines, but I never played it because I didn't know its long-term payback, I didn't have a strategy card for it, and there were high-paying pay tables that I knew how to play on the machine.

This question gives me a chance to recommend a great site for finding the video poker pay tables offered in a given casino, vpFree2. Video poker players report changes to a casino's video poker inventory to the site to keep the information on the site up to date.

You have many different ways to search. These are the two ways I use most frequently. First, you can search by casino to find the best-paying games in your favorite casinos. Second, you can search by pay table to find which casinos have your favorite pay table.

I used vpFree2 to search for Super Aces throughout the U.S. You're right. There aren't many casinos with the pay table. Note, though, that the site is geared towards the high-paying pay tables in a casino. A casino may have a low-paying version of Super Aces, but it is not listed on the site because there are many better options available.

According to vpFree2, there are three small casinos in Las Vegas and two in Reno with full-pay Super Aces. Fitzgeralds Tunica has a full-pay machine in dollars and a low-paying variation in lower denominations.

Casinos in the Midwest are your best bet. Lake of the Torches has 10 full-pay dollar machines and River City Casino has four slightly below full-pay, but very playable, 99.84% dollar machines. Then there are many listings for pay tables paying below 99%.

My gut feeling for why this pay table is hard to find is not because its long-term payback is too high. There are many low-paying (below 99%) variations available that casinos could install. I think the reason it's hard to find this game is because Double Bonus and Double Double Bonus have captured the market for players who want bonuses for quads and a volatile game.

Perhaps it's just a branding problem. (Double) Double Bonus sounds like it's more exciting, more often than Super Aces.


Question: In a recent article, you mentioned you accidentally didn't hold one card of a four-of-a-kind because one of the hold keys was a little finicky. This happened to me once on a wild Royal. I called a floorperson over. She got a supervisor, who opened the machine and pulled up the last hand. She then awarded me the full pay for that wild Royal.

I figured you would know to ask to do that. From what I was told, casinos have the ability to pull up the most recently played hand, so long as you don't play any further . . . something like that.

Answer: You're absolutely right. I could have called over a floorperson. Even though I knew to be careful with that one key, I should not be disadvantaged because it was not working well.

The reason I didn't pursue a remedy is because I was playing pennies and the difference between what I won and what I could have won was only a couple of dollars. Had I been playing a higher denomination, I would have switched machines.

Years ago — before tickets — I may not have bothered for a few dollars. I remember waiting almost an hour for a hopper fill once at an Atlantic City casino. I got so frustrated, I even made a sign and put it on the top of the machine hoping that the eye might send someone over.

Today, even though there are fewer floorpeople, waiting time has decreased immensely because they are no longer involved with hopper jams and fills. I've never had to wait more than a few minutes for someone to respond to my service light or start the hand-pay process.

Slot regulations vary by jurisdiction, but most regulations require that a machine maintain an audit trail of the last five or ten hands or spins played. If you want to report a problem with a machine, don't play another game. Alert a floorperson immediately after you experience the problem.


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