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Ask the Slot Expert: Was that really a missed royal?

25 November 2020

How many times has this happened to you? You hit the Deal button and your final hand has four cards of a royal flush. You grumble a bit, maybe curse out the machine, and say, "Another missed royal."

But did you really just miss out on a royal?

Anytime I end up with four cards to a royal in my ending hand, my gut reaction is to think, Ugh. So close. Just missed it. Darn machine. It seems to happen quire frequently. But then I took a closer look at the hands and I realized I wasn't being fair to the machine. Based on the cards I held, many times it was impossible for me to get a royal flush.

I play Deuces Wild almost exclusively. I hold a lot of deuces. If I hold a deuce and a partial royal and end with a four-card royal with the deuce, I can't complain about a missed royal because holding the deuce made it impossible to have a natural royal. (I have to admit that I've never been disappointed by getting a deuce with a four-card royal -- or any dirty royal, for that matter -- because they are worth so much. I don't think I've even been disappointed when holding a four-card royal and getting a deuce instead of the card I needed for the royal. Getting my share of dirty royals sometimes turns a losing session into a winner.)

Perhaps the most common royal near miss scenario, and one that happens to everyone, is the four-card royal along with a pair. You're dealt a pair, hold the two cards, and get dealt three cards that go along with one of the cards in the pair to give you a four-card royal. That four-card royal really stands out on the screen, giving players visions of credit meters increasing by 4000 credits dancing in their heads.

But they should have driven all hopes of a royal out of their heads after they held the pair. There was no viable path to winning a royal after holding the pair. They didn't just miss a royal. They missed out on a three-of-a-kind, a four-of-a-kind or a full house.

The next time you see a four-card royal on the screen at the end of a hand and you're mad at the machine, take a moment and take a deep breath. Was a royal flush a possible outcome given the cards you held?

If it wasn't, you didn't just miss a royal. Calm down. You might even lower your blood pressure.


Here are the latest figures from https://www.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#cases.

Totals Weekly Increases
US NV US NV
Date Cases  Deaths Cases Deaths Cases Deaths Cases Deaths
 11/24   12,333,452   257,016   136,227   2,023   1,197,199   10,784   14,130   106 
 11/17   11,136,253   246,232   122,097   1,917   1,099,790   8,501   11,115   65 
 11/10   10,036,463   237,731   110,982   1,852   767,645   6,838   8,868   68 
 11/03   9,268,818   230,893   102,114   1,784   588,207   5,809   5,936   35 
 10/27   8,680,611   225,084   96,178   1,749   492,026   5,585   5,238   (10) 
 10/20   8,188,585   219,499   90,940   1,759   401,037   5,053   4,501   48 
 10/13   7,787,548   214,446   86,439   1,711   351,270   4,886   3,910   48 
 10/06   7,436,278   209,560   82,529   1,663   306,965   4,962   3,232   36 
 09/29   7,129,313   204,598   79,297   1,627   303,616   5,136   3,058   54 
 09/22   6,825,697   199,462   76,239   1,573   288,070   5,370   2,196   82 
 09/15   6,537,627   194,092   72,043   1,491   250,265   5,404   1,825   65 
 09/08   6,287,362   188,688   72,218   1,426   282,919   5,638   2,734   92 
 09/01   6,004,443   183,050   69,484   1,334   251,790   5,291   3,237   104 
 08/25   5,752,653   177,759   66,247   1,230   330,411   7,889   4,076   125 
 08/18   5,422,242   169,870   62,171   1,105   358,071   7,463   4,973   114 
 08/11   5,064,171   162,407   57,198   991   365,353   7,203   5,776   117 
 08/04   4,698,818   155,204   51,422   874   418,683   7,532   7,367   109 
 07/28   4,280,135   147,672   44,055   764   460,996   7,042   7,130   91 
 07/21   3,819,139  140,630  36,195  674  463,682  5,395  8,181  57 
 07/14   3,355,457   135,235   28,744   617   422,861   5,102   5,607   57 
 07/07   2,932,596   130,133   23,137   560   351,367   3,394   5,006   24 
 06/30   2,581,229   126,739   18,131   536   278,941   6,406   4,367   26 
 06/23   2,302,288   120,333   13,764   510 

It's deja vu, all over again.

The daily number of new Covid cases is setting records. Hospitals are at or nearing capacity with Covid patients. Field hospitals are being set up to handle the overflow.

The daily number of new deaths is steadily increasing. Refrigerated trucks are needed to store the bodies of the victims.

These were the headlines a few months ago and now they're the headlines again.

But the circumstances are different. The weather is cooling and not warming, so we're spending more time indoors and not outdoors. The strain on the health care system is across the country and not limited to a few areas. Doctors and nurses can't go to hotspots to help because they're needed where they are.

At the end of August I went to Costco for the first time since April. It was comforting to see the paper products aisle that was roped off in April open and fully stocked again in August. When I went back last week, part of that aisle was filled with pallets of wreaths and there were no pallets of Kirkland products, which was disappointing because I specifically wanted to try the Kirkland tissues to see how they compare with Kleenex, which I usually buy. (I somehow had an offer for a free box of Albertson's brand tissues. I wonder what the grit rating on them is. The Kirkland brand product is supposed to be better than the name brand in at least one aspect, so I wanted to give them a try. Maybe next time.)

Purchase limitations on some products are back where they had been lifted. Still, stores have empty shelves again. I'm surprised that there are so many panic buyers left that didn't stock up in the spring. And you'd think that people would have learned that one reason there were shortages is because people overbought. If people would just buy the products as they normally would, the supply chain will keep up.

Stay at Home 2.0 didn't slow down the spread of the virus in Nevada, so Gov. Sisolak has reinstated some restrictions in a pause for the next three weeks. Casinos, bars, and restaurants are limited to 25% capacity again. A new restriction is that now everyone, residents and visitors, is required to wear a mask at all times, indoors and outdoors, when around people that are not in their immediate household. If Nevada's numbers don't improve, the governor said that he might have to close businesses again.

If people have Thanksgiving dinners that mix households -- and it looks like it will be too cold on Thursday to eat or spend much time outside -- is there any chance that the numbers will improve?


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