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Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

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Do I Have to Tip?

17 June 2004

John,

When playing games such as Texas Tea (WVA state lottery slot game), does the machine have to take in a certain amount of money before the machine is able to hit a special payouts? Is this true with Cherry Masters also?

Thanks,
Sheena

Dear Sheena,

If the Texas Tea machines work the same way they do in Las Vegas and Atlantic City--and I have no reason to believe that they don't--they do not have to take in a certain amount of money before hitting winning combinations. The result of each spin is determined by a number from the Random Number Generator without regard to what has happened in the past.

From the limited amount of research I have done on Cherry Master machines, I believe they operate in the same way.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Are there any auctions that sell used slot machines?

Jackson

Dear Jackson,

You can find some slot machines for sale on eBay. You can also buy used machines from The Gambler's General Store (www.gamblersgeneralstore.com).

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Can you explain how a Texas Hold Em Tournament is played and formatted? How does the casino make money on this?

Mark

Dear Mark,

I've never played in a poker tournament, so I don't have any firsthand experience with how they are run. From what I understand, the player with the most money at each table at the end of the first round of play moves on to the second round. Again, whoever has the most money at each table at the end of the second round moves on to the third. The player who has the most money at the end of the final round wins the tournament.

Any readers who have played in a Hold Em tournament and would like to share their experiences, please drop me a note and I'll publish them in a future column.

The casino can make money on the tournament if the prize money returned to the players is less than the total of the entry fees. If the tournament is free or the prize money exceeds the entry fees, the casino will lose money on the tournament, but more than make up for it elsewhere. The tournament got players into the casino. How many of them are not also going to play some other games while they are there?

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Your articles are the greatest and most informative.

Knowing the low salary of casino employees, I believe in tipping for service. If I hit a $1000 jackpot, am I obligated to tip the employee who pays me off?

After a jackpot payoff, the employee asks that I put another coin in to clear the machine. Why is this my duty? I normally object.

In a Louisiana casino, there is a slot room with perhaps 300 machines isolated from the main gambling area of slots and all the other table games. Would I be wrong in assuiming the slots in the isolated area would pay a lesser percentage than the high traffic area?

Would appreciate your time in answering the above. Thanks!!

Thanks for the kind words about my articles.

You are not obligated to tip anyone in the casino. I always tip well at my base casinos, because I want the employees there to be happy to see me. At others, the level of service comes more into play. Speaking of tipping, I remember one handpay I got at the Atlantic City Hilton. The floorperson paid me off and then ran off to handle another customer. He didn't give me a chance to tip him.

Some casinos want you to play off a jackpot because many players won't play a machine that has just paid a jackpot in the mistaken belief that the machine now has to go into a "take cycle" to collect enough money to pay another jackpot. Again, you are under no obligation to do this.

Finally, there's no way to know what the slots in the isolated area pay unless we had access to their par sheets. Here are some theories: They're low-paying machines because casinos put high-paying machines where in highly visible areas where they can encourage players to play. They're high-paying machines because the casino has to do something to get players to play in that area. They're high-paying machines because they are away from the table games so the noises of winning slot players won't disturb players at the table games.

I would bet that those machines pay back about the same percentage as the other machines in the same denomination. Most slot directors today order about the same payback percentage for all of their machines in a particular denomination, so these isolated machines won't be any better or worse than the machines in other parts of the slot floor.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Dear John,

Please don't print this as it might seem rather silly, but I need help!

I am pretty familiar w/cards (poker), but I have recently ordered a handheld poker/blackjack game and am cofused w/the doubling. After winning, I click on the double button and it deals out four cards face up and I am supposed to press one of two buttons labeled big or small. It then deals the fifth card and I either win or lose. I have been doing well with it, but it's pretty much a guessing game because I don't know what I should be basing my selection on. Unfortunately, the company did not include any detailed info. This is not doubling as I have experienced it for real. It's driving me crazy not to know why I am winning the double (or doubles) in some cases and not others! Can you help?

I have yet to receive a silly question.

I don't know how to play this double up game either. I don't know what the purpose of the first four cards is. Perhaps it's just to take some cards out of play to potentially alter the chances of big versus small to something other 50/50. And, by the way, I don't know what they mean exactly by big and small.

If anyone has this game and knows how the double up game works, I'd be happy to print their letter in a future column.

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