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Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

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Blank Ticket Cashout

30 September 2004

Hi, John,

Enjoy your columns letters and your responses very much. As a point of interest to your readers. I was at Foxwoods in Connecticut a week ago. The lady next to me cashed out and got her paper ticket. I did see the pay out amount. About five minutes later she came back to the slot machine with an attendant. Turns out that after she left the machine she checked her ticket and it was blank, nothing on it. The attendant was able to verify her winnings and took care of her. Advise your readers when they leave the paper payout machines that the paper is printed with the right amount. It might prevent some unnecessary hassle.

Thank you,
Bob

Dear Bob,

Thanks for sharing your story with us. It's the first time I've heard of that happening.

That's good advice. Always check that your ticket is correct when you cash out of a machine.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Thank you so much for all the info you have made available to me. I have learned a lot over the past year or so. Keep up the good work.

My husband and I are going to Las Vegas the first week in July. Our children gave us this trip for our 40th wedding anniversary. We have heard playing off the main strip and downtown you will have better odds. Is this true? We like to play slots. Where do we go to find better odds? Are there smaller hotels or clubs somewhere else in Las Vegas? Could you give me some names or directions to these places? We are staying in the Luxor.

Thanks again,
Carol

Dear Carol,

Thanks for the kind words.

I know some people are tired of reading the question and answer about where to find better odds in Las Vegas, but as long as people keep asking it, I'll keep answering it.

The off-strip casinos do have higher paybacks than the strip casinos in general. You can however find some high-paying video poker on the strip.

The Palms, which isn't far from Luxor, is known for having good paybacks on their slots. You can also try Sam's Town, any of the Coast casinos, and any of the Station casinos. Just pick up one of the freebee magazines to get a map.

Don't go crazy trying to gain a few extra percentage points in payback on the slots. Unlike with video poker machines, you'll never know the payback of the slot machine you're playing. I think most slot players would be better off maximizing the things they can quantify -- casino ambience, rooms, restaurants, slot club, friendliness of staff, machine selection, etc. -- instead of payback, which they'll never be able to know for sure.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Hi, John,

The wife and I go to Harrah's Casino in Cherokee, N.C. once a month and play the slot machines. My question is that on the machines there you can change the rate of speed on the reels at any given time you like. Would this have any effect on the results of your chances of winning or losing? I seem to have better luck on the second rate of speed rather than the first or third.

Thank you!
Duffy

Dear Duffy,

The rate of speed should have no effect on your chances.

The only thing that choosing a faster rate of speed will do is make you lose your money faster!

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Dear John,

I thought you might want to hear that I was very successful as a result of following your advice (and the advice of other noted gambling experts).

Prior to a recent trip to Laughlin, Nevada, I read several casino books, including your book, "The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots." I then typed the pertinent information into my computer and printed it out on about ten business cards. I referred to the cards constantly while gambling in three casinos. In seconds, I could quickly refresh my memory regarding how many coins to play, what are the most popular machines, and how to deal with the money-gobbling multi-line video slots.

I was on my last gambling session at Riverside Casino between 12 Midnight and 2:00 A.M. and playing the popular Ten Times Pay machine in the non-smoking section. It was a multi-denominational machine where one could play quarters, 50-cent pieces, or dollars; maximum two coins. Following your advice, I played one quarter per spin. After winning a small $50 "jackpot," I decided to switch to dollars, one dollar per spin. After about 20 minutes, at 1:47 A.M., my machine hit a triple bar sign and TWO ten symbols, paying out one hundred times the normal jackpot of 30 credits, which was the equivalent of $3,000. I was just stunned.

Yes, had I put two dollars in per spin, I would have won $6,000, but I was very happy with my win for the amount of money I was betting. Quite frankly, had I NOT followed the expert advice of you and others to only bet one coin on straight multipliers, I would have NEVER had enough bankroll left to be able to hit the jackpot I ended up with. So I'd rather have a $3,000 jackpot than no jackpot. Oddly enough, a woman won the exact same jackpot 24-hours earlier, nearly to the second, but was playing quarters and won $1,500.

After not being able to sleep from all the excitement of winning, I did return to the casino to try the Ten Times Pay machine again, pouring about $600 of my winnings back in at two dollars per spin. Big mistake because, sure enough, that $600 was gone in about two hours, proving the experts right: Bet one coin per spin on straight multipliers.

It takes a lot of discipline to follow expert advice, but my time, effort, and the $50 I spent on all the gambling books made this a very fun and profitable trip. I was sure to keep a detailed diary of my losses, which will help offset the taxes I have to pay on my jackpot. It's also a good way to manage your gambling money.

Aside from your book, your readers would also benefit from reading Jean Scott's "Frugal Gambler" books. My room for two nights, all my meals, and even $26 in gifts were paid for by three casinos as a result of advice given by Scott that I followed.

Thanks, John, for all the great advice you provide in your book and newsletter!

Crusader

Dear Crusader,

Thank you very much for sharing your story with us.

You made an excellent point about playing one coin per spin as opposed to max coin. Sometimes playing one coin at a time keeps you in the game long enough to hit a nice jackpot. Had you been playing full coin, you would have run out of money.

Don't feel bad about giving back the $600. You still took away 80% of your win. Plus, you got two hours of play out of it at $2 per spin, which isn't too bad.

Congratulations on your win,
John


Hi,

I was wondering what are some of the good slots to play in Atlantic City. I usually go to Harrah's or Trump Marina. Also do you know some good placements of slot machines that usually pay out the most and the most amount of times?

Thank you,
Matthew

Dear Matthew,

I think you should play whatever slots you enjoy playing. Unless the machines are marked with their paybacks, I don't know of any machines that may have higher paybacks than the norm.

As for placement, some people believe that slot directors will place looser machines in highly visible areas. The theory is that players will see others winning and be encouraged to keep playing.

This may have been true 10 or more years ago, but I don't think it's true today. People keep playing machines because they're more entertaining than they were before, plus people want to get to the bonus round just one more time. In addition, know that slot floors have thousands of machines instead of hundreds, most machines within a denomination pay back about the same amount.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Send your slot and video poker questions to John Robison, Slot Expert, at slotexpert@comcast.net. Because of the volume of mail I receive, I regret that I can't send a reply to every question. Also be advised that it may take two or more months for your question to appear in my column.

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