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Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

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Electrical Problems and Slots

21 June 2004

Gentlemen:

Do you know of any occasions where a glitch (i.e., lightning, temporary power loss, etc.) in the electric power to a casino has damaged the sensitive RNG electronics in a slot or electronic gaming device? I was wondering how the power outage affected the Indian Reservation Casinos and Atlantic City other than the obvious loss of revenue due to the down-time.

Clark

Dear Clark,

I don't know of any case in which lightning has affected a slot machine, but a slot is just a computer and if a power surge can fry you computer, it can also fry a slot machine--although I'm sure that a slot machine has far more protection than your home computer.

I do know someone who was playing video poker in a casino when it lost power. When power was restored, his machine displayed a few self-test screens and then resumed play right where he left off. I think he was even in the middle of a hand, but I don't remember for sure. I do remember that he didn't lose a thing.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


John,

I enjoy your column very much.

My comment is on the "Collective Groan" you mentioned, when the Megabucks jackpot is hit. I was at the Main Street Station, about to play a Megabucks slot, with a 30+ million value, when all the lights went out on the Megabucks slots. Everyone assumed it had been hit.

I was disappointed, but also realized that, at that moment, someone's life had changed dramatically, forever, hopefully for the better. It turned out to be a false alarm, but that feeling of a life-changing moment for someone has stayed with me, and kind of buffers the disappointment.

Neil

Dear Neil,

Thanks for the kind words and thanks for sharing your thoughts.

I don't think I could be as kindhearted as you were in that situation, taking into account how this jackpot could be making someone else's life considerably better.

I've read about too many lottery winners who spend their winnings as if there's no tomorrow instead of using their windfall to provide a more secure future for themselves and their children. I'm sure there are many slot winners who are no better off after their jackpots than they were before.

One of the best stories of a jackpot winner I know is one that Frank Scoblete tells. He spoke with a lady who won a Quartermania jackpot. She invested her winnings and uses the interest and dividends for her bankroll.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


What is the lowest percent payout a slot machine can be set at in Nevada?

Thank you,
Louis

Dear Louis,

I don't remember offhand the exact percentage, but it's something in the 70s, like 75% or 78%.

I don't think there are any machines whose paybacks are that low, not even at the airport!

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Hi, John,

Recently the local (Tampa, Florida) Seminole Indian casino was told that they were not allowed to have machines and tables playing against the house but must be set up where players were playing against other players. They were told by the Indian affairs people they must make this change or the casinos would be shut down. In plain English, what are they talking about?

Thanks,
Roger

Dear Roger,

I'm not well versed on Indian gaming, but I'll share my understanding of the situation.

There's a difference between a house-banked game and a player-banked game. A player-banked game is like church bingo--the charity returns a portion of the money paid by the players to the winners. The charity keeps the rest. Players are playing against other players, not against the house. This is Class II gaming.

House-banked games are in Vegas-style casinos and players play against the house, not the other players. This is known as Class III gaming. Class III gaming includes Vegas-style slot machines, in addition to blackjack, craps, and other table games.

Tribes can offer Class II games provided the state allows other charities to have Class II games like bingo. Class III gaming requires a compact with the state.

It sounds like the tribe that owns the casino you're referring to was told that they had to remove their Class III games and replace them with Class II games.

Hope this helps,
John


John,

I have an offer from Susan Applegate for her book "Zig Zag Method of Winning At Slot Machines" @ $32.00 including postage.

My question is: Which would probably be better deal? Buying her book or betting $32.00 on the longest long shot in the next Kentucky Derby?

Don

Dear Don,

I bought a copy of this pamphlet. My review is in my March 14, 2004 column.

I think the better deal is betting on the long shot.

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