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Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

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Downtown Las Vegas, Rancho Strip

4 March 2004

Hi!

I just also wanted to add my voice to the chorus of "Thank you we really enjoy your newsletter/emails"--they're great.

I wanted to agree with you that downtown is great for the Golden Nugget--we stayed there some years back and it was wonderful. Also, recently we've been making an effort to get downtown on most every trip to Las Vegas and play at Main Street Station. We really enjoy this "hidden gem". And after just a few hours of play on mostly 25-cent machines--they've been sending us free nights like crazy. Plan to take them up on it in the near future, I hope!

Thanks again,
Jean

Dear Jean,

Thanks for the kind words and thanks for sharing your downtown experiences.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Greetings,

Just wanted to know what you mean by RF interference on the response for the cell phone question that was submitted by another reader? Are you at liberty to say what other devices cause slot machines to act up? If not, I understand.

Thanks,
AL

Dear Al,

RFI (radio frequency interference) is any sort of effect on a device that is caused by a transmitter--in other words, the unwanted reception of radio signals.

The only instance I know of is one in which the keying of the mikes on a particular brand of commercial walkie-talkies would energize the hopper circuitry in a slot.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Hello, John,

I really enjoy your articles and insight to gaming questions.

I am sending you this email because of a question from one of your subscribers. He asked, "We are going to Vegas for the races the first part of March. We are staying downtown and where is the best place to play the nickels?"

I live in Vegas and frequently read Slots magazine (don't know if it's a local magazine or what), but the casinos on the North side of Vegas (Texas Station, Sante Fe Station, Fiesta, Jerry's Nugget, and a couple of others) always have a higher percentage payout than the other casinos according to the magazine. The payouts are higher, but normally are only about 1% higher. They have it broken down into the various denominations.

Keep the good info coming,
Mitch

Dear Mitch,

Thanks for the kind words and thanks for sharing the info from Slots magazine. I haven't seen it, so I suppose it is a local magazine.

If I remember my Las Vegas geography correctly, North Las Vegas the neighborhood is a rough place that tourists are advised to avoid. On the other hand, North Las Vegas as a collection of casinos have some of the highest paybacks in Las Vegas--this despite the fact that Station Casinos owns all of the casinos on the Rancho strip.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


I heard that there are several RNGs in a slot machine, and one or two of them have high payout percentage than the others. Is this true?

Thanks.

Well, I suppose it's possible that the software in a slot machine may have more than one function to return random numbers, but I don't know why a manufacturer would do that. In any case, the RNG does not determine the payback on a machine. The layout of the symbols on the virtual reels determines the payback. A 92% payback Double Diamond uses the same RNG as a 99% payback Double Diamond. The difference in payback is caused by the differences in the virtual reels.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Hi there!

Love reading your columns! (But then you have already heard that!)

I am going to Vegas at the end of March for 10 days. Will stay at the Bellagio. I want to play more there (if it is a suitable venue) because the amount of play may count toward getting a casino rate for my room, hopefully, which is a suite).

Using the following criteria as a guideline:

  1. Largest number and selection of 25 - 50 cent and $1 slots to play.
  2. Comfortable ambiance (physical as well as clientele)
  3. Reputation for payouts

Would there be a top five casinos (on the strip and in that area) that would fit into the above or most of the above!

I have not been able to find a breakdown of casino by casino listing of how many slots are available. But keep in mind I am spoiled by Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, which have thousands of slots!

However I have seen some information that certain casinos (Barbary Coast, for instance) have approximately 700 slots, which really is not a good place for a slot player who plays 4 to 6 hours a day. I don't enjoy sitting at one machine or one type of machine for more than a $20 buy-in.

Thanks so much,
Nancie

Dear Nancie,

Thanks for the kind words about my columns.

I was at Bellagio the day it opened (and won a nice progressive video poker jackpot, too!) and stayed there a few years ago. It's a nice place, to say the least.

You are a bit spoiled by the sizes of the Connecticut casinos, but I'm sure you'll be able to find a Las Vegas casino that you'll like.

Bellagio is not known for having high slot paybacks, but they do have a few high-paying video poker machines for half-dollar and up players.

I think the Palms is the casino that best fits most of your requirements. If you're willing to give up a bit in slot paybacks, I would recommend Caesars Palace and the other former Mirage Resorts properties (Mirage and TI, though TI is probably too small for you). Mandalay Bay is also very big and very nice, but I don't think they've ever had a decent video poker machine and I think that says their slot paybacks are not very high.

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.

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