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Following Up on Player Card Reader Problems and Disappearing Comps at the Slots

21 February 2011

By John Robison

Regarding the lady who could not get her player card to register: I have noticed that some metals interfere with registration. When I have my card on a keychain it will not register. I suspect that your comment on her jewelry may be correct.

Also, she should consider her watch.

I hope she finds the cause.


Dear Fred,

Thanks for sharing your experience with players card problems and keychains. I doubt you had a car key on the same keychain, but I can see that there might be problems with the card reader and one of the new car keys that has a transmitter in it.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,

Hi John!

I just read your latest report on "no free drinks at the video poker bar" at the Wynn casinos. My son recently sent me a picture of the royal he hit at the newest Vegas Wynn casino. I was shocked to see the 35 coins for a full house and 25 coins for flush on a $1 machine...and he said NO FREE Drinks! I will surely avoid this casino on my next trip! (And I don't even drink!)


Dear Barb,

I used to like Steve Wynn's casinos. Bellagio was out of my price range to be my regular casino, but okay for a splurge. Same for Mirage. Treasure Island, on the other hand, hit my sweet spot. Priced right, simple rules to qualify for the casino rate, and decent games. That was 10-15 years ago, before Wynn sold them.

There always was a loose inverse relationship between how upscale the property was and the quality of the games. Bellagio had few video poker games worth playing and they were usually high denomination. Mirage wasn't much better, maybe even worse. I remember there were at times playable video poker at Bellagio but not at Mirage. Treasure Island, while Wynn ran it, always seemed to have many playable machines, albeit at the dollar level. (Golden Nugget usually had more because of its location.)

Now Wynn has Wynn Las Vegas and Encore, both more upscale than Bellagio. Using my rule of thumb, I'm not surprised that the video poker has low long-term paybacks. Not comping drinks is adding insult to injury. I can see not comping top shelf booze on dollar players, but they should be able to get free well drinks. Especially since the payback on this video poker machine (7/5 Jacks) is probably pretty close to the paybacks on the slots.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,

Send your slot and video poker questions to John Robison, Slot Expert, at 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