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Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

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Getting Your Comps

30 August 2004

We recently stayed at the Plaza downtown, received their "Players Cards". We played most of the time at the Plaza for two days. When I asked about points for our room, I was told we didn't have enough to pay for our room. We were not even offered a dinner, or a discount on our room. Why bother with the Players Cards?

Louis

Dear Louis,

You have to bother with the players cards because using the cards is the only way for slot and video poker players to get comps.

I don't how much action the Plaza requires for its comps and I also don't know how much action you gave them. But I do have two suggestions.

First, you can always ask how much action is required for various comps. Sometimes the answer will be clear cut (e.g., 5000 points), sometimes it will be nebulous (e.g., about four hours at full coin on a quarter machine). And second, when you think you've played enough to earn a comp and the casino says that you haven't, describe how long you've played and ask if all of your play was recorded. If it wasn't, there might be something wrong with your cards.

Oh, one more suggestion. Make sure that your card is accepted when you first put it in a machine, and check that it is still okay every couple of minutes. I've had many occasions on which my card was accepted when I began to play, and then the reader flashed "Reinsert" a few minutes later.

And one more. As Jean Scott, The Frugal Gambler says, ask. The Plaza's people should have offered a comp that you did have enough points for, but next time you're denied a comp ask if there are any comps that you do qualify for.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


When the power failed at the Bellagio recently what happened to all the credits on the slot machines? Were they wiped out and if not how were the people payed off?

Mike

Dear Mike,

I don't know what the Bellagio did for the players, but the machines should have picked up right where they left off once power was restored.

I suppose they could have given the people a receipt showing the game they were playing when the power went off. Then when the power was restored, they could note the credits on each machine. Then the players could come back to get paid, using the receipt as proof of the game they were playing.

If anyone knows how Bellagio handled paying off the players, I'd be pleased to publish the answer in a future column.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Is the information that you provide the same as for the Class II gaming machines (Bingo disguised as slots)? Specifically, are wins determined by the use of the random number generator? Or is there some other method? Is there any way to improve your chances of winning?

Vanessa

Dear Vanessa,

The results on a Class II slot are determined by an RNG, but the RNG is in a central system that draws the bingo numbers. Those numbers are then sent down to each machine and symbols that land on the payline are determined by the pattern covered on each machine's bingo card.

Just as on a Class III device, there's no way to improve your chances of winning.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Love your articles, John.

I will be going to Isleta and am wondering how good their slot and video poker machines are. Know any good ones to play? Is their payback good?

Ann

Dear Ann,

I was at Isleta at the end of last year and I know the Marketing Director because he used to be on the radio show that Frank and I do on Saturday mornings.

The Isleta tribe had just brought in a new management team when I was there, and they hadn't had a chance yet to make all the changes they wanted to make. The casino that you'd see there today is very different from the one I saw nine months ago, so I can't make any specific recommendations.

I know the management team wants to give you a Las Vegas-style experience in New Mexico. The paybacks will definitely be competitive with the other casinos' paybacks.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Dear John,

First of all, I love your articles and they have helped me out greatly in the past.

Recently I went to Wheeling Downs and was only playing 2 quarters on a Double Diamond/Triple Diamond machine. I kept getting small pots coming up. I had three buckets of quarters when the machine went empty. The attendant came to fill it up with quarters and as she did this, she had to push my buckets back to open the machine. Before opening the machine, she took her walkie talkie out and stated she had a code 29. I had never heard or seen that before. All I know is that after she said that and filled the machine, that machine never hit again in over an hour. Ended up putting an entire bucket back into the machine and gave up and cashed in the other two buckets. It seemed strange and I felt like she called in a warning of a constant winning machine. Could this have been true?

Thanks you again for a fine newsletter.

Marianne

Dear Marianne,

Thanks for the kind words about my articles.

It's natural to think that the attendant's actions caused your change in luck, but they didn't. The casinos can't control when machines pay off. The results of a spin are determined by a number from the RNG, and the RNG doesn't know anything about what has happened on the machine in the past.

In short, Lady Luck found someone else.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Dear John,

When i go to the casino and see the symbols have been glued or messed with, is it a sign that they changed the winning of the reels or tighted up or loosened the machine? I know you say the RNG controls the way the reels stop or pay out, but I do see a lot of machines where the reels have been messed with.

Larry

Dear Larry,

The symbols you see are on a strip of paper that gets put on the reels that spin.

The only thing that visible glue means is that the slot techs didn't do a very good job putting on the reel strips.

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