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Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

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Ask the Slot Expert: Tipping for hand pays on slot machines

29 May 2013

When I win a large hand pay on a slot I usually tip the attendant something, but not necessarily in the hundreds of dollars. I've thought about this for a bit and wonder why any tip should be given. A tip is supposed to be an added amount paid for good service or for service above and beyond the average. When you tip a beverage server, you are essentially giving a reward for prompt and courteous service for something you ORDERED. Sort of like tipping a waitress in a restaurant.

With a slot win, you did not order anything. You spent your own money and gambled you would win something back. The casino does not take out a tip for large non-IRS reported slot wins and I doubt any slot players would think they should tip the casino for winning a non-hand-pay jackpot. I know the casino industry workers depend on tips, but why should a hand pay garner a tip? Are you tipping to give thanks for actually giving you the money? Or for giving you the money in a timely fashion?

You don't tip the slot attendants for fixing a "tilt" event, or for replacing ticket paper (or, in olden days, for replenishing coins in the hopper). Why the expected tip for giving you money you are entitled to? Is the tip for the "service" of bringing you your winnings on the floor, rather than having you go to the cage for your winnings? In fact, many times slot supervisors have to pay out the money, not the slot attendant working the area in which your winning machine is located. Why tip the supervisors? I understand casino tipping in general but, even though I give a tip for winning a hand pay, I really don't understand the hand-pay tipping rationale.

Thanks for your valuable information.

Don

Dear Don,

Thanks for the kind words.

In the olden days, some players would tip the slot attendants for hopper fills and for fixing a machine. I would occasionally give a buck or two for hopper fills.

I admit it's easier to see the rationale for tipping at a table game. The dealer's demeanor and skill have a big effect on your experience at the table. A friendly dealer can take some of the sting off of a losing session and you can have a good time even when you lose.

I think there are two reasons why we tip for hand pays. One, which you pointed out, is that many casino workers depend on tips to make a living wage. The other reason is that the workers are providing a service above and beyond bringing you your money. They're processing the IRS paperwork needed.

Jackpots for all,
John


My wife and I consider ourselves very generous people when it comes to tipping servants (waitresses, bellhops, chefs, doormen, etc.). We realize their wages depend on tips.

I fail to see where a person that brings your winnings to you gets a tip for doing their jobs. I wasn't aware that they depend on tips. If anyone deserves a tip, it would be the people that clean up around the slots while you are sitting there. Jackpots are so few and far between now, the person bringing the money to you would starve if they depended on tips.

Thanks for your response.

JR

Dear JR,

Aren't the waitresses, bellhops, chefs and doormen just doing their jobs, too?

But I get your point. Those workers are providing you a service that you've requested and tips may be a large part of their compensation.

I've occasionally tipped workers who don't usually get tipped, like the people cleaning the machines or, in the past, the people at the change booth. They've always been very appreciative.

Jackpots for all,
John


Thanks so much for your most interesting and informative articles.

Recently, you wrote about two slots, one a high frequency and the other a low frequency. Is there any place that would list the slot frequencies, or that you can look up an individual slot and it will tell the frequency?

Thanks in advance for any information you can publish regarding this.

William

Dear William,

Thanks for the kind words about my columns.

There is no place where the hit frequencies are published, but you can figure them out yourself just by playing a machine a hundred or so spins and calculating the percentage of winning spins.

In my book, The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots, I give three rules to spot low-hit-frequency slots. Slots that have low hit frequencies have multiplying symbols with high multipliers or high values (e.g., 5 or 10) for the lowest winning combination. The third rule is Mama's Rule: Slots are low hit frequency because I said so. Slot like Blazing 7s don't fall into either of the first two rules, but they're low hit frequency machines nonetheless.

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