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Best of John Robison

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Do Girl Games Pay Less Than Guy Games?

14 March 2005

I am a 49 year old female who has played slots a few times in Atlantic City casinos and Las Vegas. I like to play the games that have pictures, characters, etc. (Milk Money, Ghost, Horoscope, Sherwood Forest, etc.). I call these girl games.

Do the slot games that have to deal with cards and card or number symbols pay off better?

It seems there are slots that generally appeal to men and slots that appeal to women. I've wondered if I waste my money playing for the fun of it on games I like. Perhaps I would increase my chance of winning money if I played male-oriented games.

Aloha,
Pattie

Dear Pattie,

Most slot managers today order roughly the same payback percentage for all of their machines in a particular denomination. I don't think you'll find any difference in payback between the "guy" games and the "girl" games.

You never waste your money when you have fun playing games you like.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Dear Sir,

I am a new gambler. I became a regular twice-a-week casino gambler here in Manila. In most of my visits to the casino, I usually win on my first few hours playing, but when I leave the casino I leave a loser.

My only experience leaving the casino a winner was when I bet only once.

Now I place all my bankroll for a day on a single even money bet, like in baccarat or roulette. When I lose, I lose all my bankroll for that day. But if I win, I go home a winner that day. I celebrate and enjoy my winnings for that day.

Is this a good betting strategy? Can I depend on this strategy and someday be a professional gambler meaning making gambling as a source of income?

Thanks in advance for your advice.

Odilon

Dear Odilon,

Two friends of mine were in Atlantic City. One got hammered at the tables and lost half his bankroll. My other friend asked him if he wanted to breakeven. He said he did.

So my friend took what was left of the other guy's bankroll and bet it all on red at roulette. Red came in and my friend broke even.

Your strategy is good if your goal is to have a near 50/50 chance between doubling your money and losing it all. You're much more likely to double your money by putting it all down on one bet than by trying to do it $10 at a time.

On the other hand, if you're goal is to minimize losses, extend your playing time, and stretch your bankroll, your strategy is terrible. You'll spend more time walking through the casino to get to your table than you will actually playing at it.

As for using this strategy to turn pro, forget it. The only wat to be a professional gambler is to get the odds in your favor by counting cards, controlling dice, playing positive expectation video poker, or playing live poker. Your strategy doesn't do anything to lessen the house edge.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


I have noticed on several occasions while playing a slot machine that (taking a double diamond machine for example) the first two reels will land on the double diamond. Then as the third reel comes around with the double diamond (which would make a jackpot), it will stop so abruptly that it makes the reels shake. It looks as if it was trying to stop on the double diamond but was stopped on purpose. Does this happen very often and is it rigged to keep from hitting the big jackpot?

Thank you,
Sharon

Dear Sharon,

I can see how you would think that the machine was about to hit the jackpot, but then came to its senses and stopped the reel right next to the jackpot symbol.

I don't know how frequently this happens. I also don't know how the machine decides how long a spin is going to last. I'm sure you've also noticed that some spins are over in the blink of an eye, while others seem to play out for a few second. The machine may choose from a collection of programmed spin profiles or it may choose the spin time for each reel at random--or it may use some entirely different method.

In any case, the machine is not rigged to keep it from hitting the jackpot. Whatever symbol lands on the payline is the one that one chosen at random--regardless of whether the reel coasts or screeches to a halt.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Sir,

I enjoy your column and have found it helpful.

In a recent column you referred to a par sheet. What are they and where can you get them for the machines at the casinos you play at? My husband and I play at the Northern Indiana casinos.

Mickie

Dear Mickie,

Thanks for the kind words about my column.

The par sheet describes how the reels are laid out, the probabilities of hitting each winning combination and what they are worth, and thus the long-term payback for a machine. I essence, it contains the same information that is available for each state lottery.

The casinos, manufacturers, and gaming regulators have the sheets, but they're not available to the public.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Does the stop feature on some of the video slot machines change the outcome or do you get the same results if you didn't use this feature?

JC

Dear JC,

Pressing the stop button only cuts out the spinning of the reels (the "show" in manufacturer lingo). It doesn't change the result.

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 several 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