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Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

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Buying Your Own Slot

19 August 2004

Can you explain what the payback flaw structure is in online casinos? How do you take advantage of this?

Thanks,
Marshall

Dear Marshall,

Sorry, I don't have any idea what this is.

I have seen some advertisements for systems claiming to have found some flaw in probability theory that one could exploit in the casinos. I haven't purchased any of these systems, so I don't know what they think they have found.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Can you tell me which casino(s) in Atlantic City has the loosest slots? I like to play the 25-cent Wheel of Fortune and the 5-cent The Price Is Right machines. We've been going to the Claridge mainly because our brother-in-law works there, but the last couple of times we've been there the area where the Wheel of Fortune slots are is almost empty where in the past you had to wait for one of those machines. Can you give me a suggestion for other casinos that seem to pay out pretty well?

Thanks for your help,
Kathy

Dear Kathy,

IGT owns the Wheel of Fortune machines and the same machines have the same paybacks regardless of which casino they're in. I think the same is true of The Price Is Right machines, but I'm not 100% sure.

For May 2004, the Borgata had the highest payback on nickel slots (90.4%) and the AC Hilton had the highest payback on quarter slots (92.0%).

The Claridge was not far behind with paybacks of 89.9% and 91.6%, for nickels and quarters. It will take millions of spins for this small change in payback to have a greater effect on your results than randomness, so I suggest sticking with The Claridge if you still like playing there.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Dear John,

I have always stayed clear of Video Poker machines since I have never been a successful player with cards.

I ran across a free on line game (http://riptorn.dyndns.org/games/) and started playing Jacks or Better. Either I have become one helluva player or this program is set up to make you feel good.

I kept fooling around with different ways to play and hit on one that has pretty consistently paid on a little over 50% of the hands played.

My thought is that this is a "Feel Good" program and has is not even close to reality. How about you?

Don

Dear Don,

I suspect the program is random. 9/6 Jacks has a hit frequency close to 50%, so your hit frequency of a little over 50% could just be due to a small sample and a run of good luck.

Video Poker is one of the best games in the casino because the paybacks tend to be higher than those on slots, and because you can tell the payback of a machine by its paytable. I suggest you take it up if you enjoy playing it.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


In your report dated 5/8/04, there was a question concerning Triple Diamond vs. Double Diamond in terms of hit frequency. The question I have in your opinion would you rank the following highest hit freq to lowest hit freq. Red White Blue, Double Diamond, 5x, 10x, Triple Diamond having the lowest hit freq. What I mean is the number of spins it takes to hit a combination to give you a return. I find RWB and DD hit about every 7 times, 5x and 10x I can't seem to get a reading on, and Triple Diamond I find hits the worst.

What do you think?

Thanks,
Bobbi

Dear Bobbi,

There many different payback programs available for each machine, so I can speak only in generalities.

I would rank the machines this way from highest to lowest hit frequency: Double Diamond, Triple Diamond, Five Times Pay, and Ten Times Pay.

The rule of thumb I use is that on machines with multiplying symbols, the higher the multipler, the lower the hit frequency. This is only a rule of thumb. There may be specific Ten Times Pay programs, for example, that hit more frequently than some Double Diamond programs. But the rule works in general.

Notice that I left out RWB. Because RWB does not have a multiplying symbol, its hit frequency can be high or low, depending on the whims of the programmers.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Do you know how to make a "dyna 3" hold? Is it a dipswitch? Or is it how the buttons are wired?

Your help is greatly appreciated.

John

Sorry, John, I don't know what a "dyna 3" is and my quick search on the Internet didn't turn up anything remotely related to a slot machine. I did however find a good deal on renting a Toyota Dyna 3 Tonne Truck in Sydney. Comes complete with radio/cassette and tailgate power lifter.

If anyone knows the answer to your question, I'd be happy to share it in a future column.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


John,

I read your column all the time, you do a good job explaining complex slot issues in an understandable manner (RNG, virtual reels, etc.)

Just sending you a quick note about the "Price is Right" question that Scott asked. IGT, as well as any other licensed slot manufacturer in the US and especially Nevada could never sell a new slot machine to anyone who does not have a Gaming License. This would be against NGCB guidelines as well as all other states who have any sort of legalized gambling. The only way for an individual to purchase a slot machine is through a secondhand dealer, or some other licensed used slot machine dealer (at least legally). Of course, you can find machines on Ebay or wherever, not sure of legality of this however, that's another discussion.

Each state that allows an individual to own a slot machine seems to have different guidelines to go by. For example, in NV, an individual cannot own a slot machine less than 7 years from date of manufacture, I believe Colorado is 12 or 14 years from date of manufacture. Specifically about Price is Right, this game is not for sale, even to an operator. These are participation only, each day a fee gets paid to the Price is Right Licensor for it being placed in the field.

Sorry for the rambling...lol, just wanted to point out that contacting IGT isn't going to get him very far.

Keep up the good work.

Dan Zurcher
Aristocrat Technologies, Inc.

Dear Dan,

Thanks for giving us the scoop on buying our own slot machines. I could have sworn that Nevada residents have told me that they have purchased brand-new slot machines for home use, but either they stretched the truth or I misunderstood.

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