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Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

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Ask the Slot Expert: Slot players should learn to play table games

27 March 2013

Just read the letter that John sent you about slots on 11/14/12. It seems that John is a pretty sharp guy as far as asking questions about slots. If he could only channel that by learning to play basic strategy in blackjack where the house edge is one-half percent over the player, or even learn to count cards where he would actually have an edge over the house, he would be a lot better off. He could also learn to play craps where the house edge is 1.41 on the pass line and even less when taking odds and making come bets with odds.

It's really sad that people play these slots where they have no chance to win long term and then complain about tight machines, etc. There are two types of slot players: losers and liars. Bottom line is people just don't want to be bothered to learn the games with a low house edge but love to complain about tight machines. It's really sad but the casinos love it.

You're pretty harsh on slot players. Some players are looking for entertainment and don't want to turn a casino visit into high-stress work. In addition, some players can't afford the table minimums.

There are good games to be found in the slot aisles, not just at the tables. Some video poker games pay back more than 100 percent; others are profitable when slot club rewards are factored in. Some slot machines pay back 98 percent or more.

One thing I will agree with you on is that getting a low house edge in the casino almost always requires some effort on the part of the player, whether it's learning the strategies to use or the best bets to make.

I've seen many people who don't know basic strategy playing at blackjack tables and I've seen many people who bet the high house edge bets at craps tables. They're playing for entertainment too.

To each his own.

Jackpots for all,
John


I don't play much. I think I left a card in a casino that I thought I wouldn't go back to. I received promotions from that casino in the mail, so I decided to check the comps and points. Turns out there are comps for table games (I don't ever play) and points for free play or whatever.

Could it be that someone is using my card to hide something? If they hit big and manage to collect without proper ID, could I be responsible for the tax?

I can't think of any reasons why someone that gambles more than myself, wouldn't use his/her own card to gain points or comps.

The players card is used for comps only. It isn't used for ID for jackpots because the person responsible for the tax is the person playing, not the person whose card was being used.

The most likely explanation is, if you left your card in a machine, one or more players didn't realize it was in the machine and played. In any case, you don't have to worry about being liable for tax on anything they won.

Jackpots for all,
John


Hi John,

Love your articles.

My question is in regards to casino hosts. I was playing at the Isle in Pompano Beach, Florida and a man walked up to me and introduced himself and said he was the casino host and asked if I needed anything. I e-mailed him and told him I was coming back in July and he said he would get me a complimentary dinner.

My question is do I tip him? I've heard you're not supposed to.

Thanks,
Colleen

Dear Colleen,

Thanks for the kind words about my columns.

You are correct. Slot hosts are not allowed to accept tips. They usually are allowed to accept gifts of minimal value, say, less than $25. Jean Scott, the Frugal Gambler, sometimes suggests getting an extra dessert and giving that to your host.

In any case, one comped dinner deserves a sincere thank you. You can consider a gift if he arranges a special comp for you (like tickets to a concert you're anxious to see) or after you've built a long-term relationship with him. And the best gift is a letter telling him how much you appreciate how welcome he makes you feel in the casino and how he's a main reason you keep coming back.

Jackpots for all,
John


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