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Do VLTs emulate playing with real decks of cards?

14 September 2011

Since I had no electricity at home thanks to Irene, I called my gambling buddy and we took a drive to Maryland's recently opened Hollywood Casino in Perryville for the first time. I was surprised to find both video blackjack and video poker machines there.

Since Maryland runs a VLT system and not RNG machines, how can these games properly emulate the play of a real deck? Are the usual strategies useless on these VP machines? How about the blackjack?

Anyway it wasn't too bad of a place to kill an afternoon, if you like slot barns.

Thanks,
Tom

Dear Tom,

VLTs (video lottery terminals) do not emulate playing with a physical deck of cards. A central computer system tells your machine (terminal) what the result of your spin or hand will be, and your machine will do whatever it has to do to give you that result.

Strategies are useless on these video poker machines because they don't deal from fair decks and because the outcome of your hand has already been determined. Suppose the central system has determined that you should win the value of a full house. The machine may deal you a full house. You can discard the full house and the machine may either deal you another one, or it will deal you a garbage hand and a wizard will appear and award you the value of a full house. Whatever it takes, the machine will give you the value of a full house.

Strategies are also useless on the blackjack machines. The central system has already determined how much you will win. No matter what smart or stupid moves you make, you will win that 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 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