Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Best of John Robison
Ask the Slot Expert: Slot player's rituals27 November 2013
Each casino has its own policies for when they will shut down a machine and for how long they will shut it down. Thanks for sharing the policy at Harrah's Chester.
The next time you're playing your favorite machine and need to take a break, you can try asking a slot floorperson if the machine can be shut down for you to ensure it's available for you when you come back.
Thanks for the kind words about my columns.
Slot players can be a superstitious lot. I've seen players plaster their machines with pictures of their kids or grandkids, so much so that you could barely see the reels through all the clutter. I've seen players set up an array of good luck charms across the tops of their machines.
The accessories are easy to ignore. Like you, though, I find it tough to ignore the rituals. One lady would wave her hand in front of the reels, first one way and then the other, before pressing the spin button. That was annoying to see her trying to put a spell on the reels every spin.
Of course, even though the good luck charms and rituals have zero effect on the results on a machine, these players are perfectly within their rights to put whatever they want on their machines and do whatever they want before, during and after each spin as long as they don't infringe on another player's space. Being able to be seen, either directly or in peripheral vision, doesn't count.
You did the only thing you can do when another player's behavior bothers you -- move.
Playing the slots should be fun and entertaining. Like you, I've seen players play machines like they're playing in a tournament -- hitting the spin button as quickly as they can. And I remember another regular at the Desert Inn. He would park himself at the end machine of a bank of Double Diamonds, swivel the chair so his legs were out in the aisle and he was sitting parallel to the machine, alternate between taking a sip of his drink and a puff of his cigarette using his right hand, and push the spin button with his left. All the while, I don't think he ever looked at the reels to see what landed on the payline.
I like to watch the reels and root for combinations. If my money is on the line, I'm going to try to get as much out of the experience as I can. Otherwise, it's like paying for a movie and then sleeping through it.
Once when I was in a downtown Las Vegas casino with my cousin, I heard my name being paged. I picked up a house phone and got connected with my cousin's boyfriend, who had been in the casino with us. He said that he got so upset when he just missed a high-paying combination on a slot, he hit the glass hard enough to break it. A slot floorperson came right away to see what happened. The player next to him told the floorperson that my cousin's boyfriend had barely touched the glass (yeah, right). The slot floorperson said that players break machines all the time. My cousin's boyfriend decided to make himself scarce and go to the casino next door to page us. Players should be engaged with what is happening on the machine, but they can't take a cold streak personally.
Like I tell people when they ask me when they should leave a machine: Win or lose, if you're having fun playing a machine, stay with it. If playing stops being fun, switch to another machine or stop playing altogether.
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