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Best of John Robison

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Ask the Slot Expert: What happened to Red Rock's big electronic craps game?

5 February 2020

Question: When I left Red Rock a couple weeks ago, they were removing the big craps machine, which had been getting a lot of action during our three-day visit (even though they had made changes to the programming so that you could only bet $1 on the pass line).

Do you know if they were just moving it to another area, or did they remove it permanently?

Answer: I'm surprised I never noticed that the machine was gone. I walk by that area every time I go to Red Rock (which is almost every day) because I park in the East garage, which has a voluminous VIP section.

Plus I've been playing the machines in the Up to 99.8% bank in that area more the past few weeks. Red Rock replaced another bank of four Up to 99.8% machines near the old craps machine with newer machines with lower-paying paytables and it reconfigured four machines in front of Panda Express that had the Up to 99.8% poker-only menu to have the poker/slot/keno menu.

Because there's more competition for the Up to 99.8% machines deeper in the casino, I've been jumping on one in the bank of 10 that are next to where the craps machine was when there was an aisle machine open there. I realize now that I haven't heard "Push the button" in a while and it's much less smoky in there now.

Red Rock recently replaced the 3-coin $5 machines that I was fond of playing in the center high-limit room. The paytables paid back about 99% so they weren't in my regular rotation. I only played 8/5 Bonus Poker on multiple points days when I had a profit from playing NSU. I hoped that my luck would continue to be good and I'd hit some high-paying hands. Sometimes I did, often I didn't. And sometimes the machines were good for running up a lot of points quickly.

When I went to play one of the machine a few weeks ago, I discovered new machines in their place. I asked one of my friends at the service desk in the room what had happened and did they get moved somewhere?

He said that they were old and, like many of the machines on the slot floor, it was getting tough to get replacement parts for them. That made sense because I had pointed out something that was wrong with one of the machines to him and he had put in a repair order. As far as he knew, they were gone, gone, gone.

I told him that they got rid of the machines too soon. I hadn't hit a $12,000 royal yet.

A few days ago I asked him about the craps machine. He said that it was gone, but they were looking at getting a new one. It was popular with the players, he said.

He repeated that many of the video poker machines on the slot floor are old and breaking down and are difficult to repair. I wonder if some of the machines on the floor were there when the place opened in 2006. Red Rock, in any case, is in a long-term slot floor modernization project.

He pointed to a bank of video poker machines that would eventually be replaced and said that they were reluctant to swap them out because the machines were popular with players. I thought about saying that it's not the machines that are popular, it's the paytables on them. Video poker players just want a machine with little or no glare, responsive buttons and a sharp screen -- and all of those are negotiable if the paytable is good. If you replace the old machines with Crystal Slant machines with the same (or better!) paytables, video poker players would be very happy with the change.


Question: If you look on YouTube there are hundreds of people with slot channels and receiving handpays. My question is, how do these people keep winning handpays and I've never had one in my life?

Answer: YouTube has turned out to be a useful resource for me. I've been able to see machines in action that aren't in casinos near me. Plus, in addition to seeing massive handpays, I've been able to see bonus events that I've never experienced on some of the machines I play.

There are two reasons you might be lead to believe that these people are hitting handpays right and left. First, many of the videos I've seen are sizzle reels and show just the handpays and not the minutes or hours of unremarkable play.

And second, some of these people are playing for high stakes. I enjoy living vicariously through their high betting.

When you're betting big, the payoffs can be big. The probability of landing three Double Diamonds on the payline may be the same on both a quarter machine and a $25 machine, for example, but the 1600-coin jackpot is worth $400 on one and $40,000 on the other. High-stakes players, moreover, will get more handpays because more winning combinations and bonus events pay more than $1200.

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