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Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

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Can you tell the long-term payback of a slot machine?

31 May 2010

Hi John,

I just read your article about when a slot machine is more likely to pay off. You are so right that it doesn't make any difference about when a person will or will not win. It is all in the luck of the pull. I've even seen people take their card out of the machine, thinking it would pay off more often. You just have to be in the right place at the right time. It has nothing do to with the time day.

"I think we might have a combination of selective memory and self-fulfilling prophecy going on here." I think you were a little harsh when you made this comment to Pat in your article. Just explaining how slot machines work is all you need to say.

I don't play slots when I go into a casino. A friend and I were discussing slots just recently. She was saying she was playing in Las Vegas. Someone sat down next to her. He was looking at the payoffs and commented they were terrible. If you were checking out a slot machine, what would you look for before playing or does it depend upon the machine? If I was to play video poker, I know would know immediately when looking at the payoff table whether it was a machine I wanted to play. You learn after playing for 30 yrs. As the payoffs lessen, I don't play video poker like I once did. I remember when draw poker was 7/10 or 6/9 machines, now they were more like 6/5.

Carole

Dear Carole,

With video poker, you can tell the long-term payback from the pay table. You can't tell anything about long-term payback from the pay table on a slot machine.

The main thing I look for when checking out a slot machine is whether it looks like a fun machine to play.

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 reply to every question.

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