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Best of John Robison

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Is 6/5 Jacks better to play than slots?

17 August 2007

An upstate New York Indian casino's video poker machines are 6/5 JB (nickels, dimes, quarters, or dollars). Are these machines still better to play than the traditional slots and the new video slots?

Bob

Dear Bob,

6/5 Jacks or Better is as low as you can go in Jacks or Better pay tables. Its long-term payback is only 95%, compared with 99.54% for 9/6 Jacks or Better and 97.3% for 8/5 Jacks.

Even though its payback is low by video poker standards, I think it still is your best bet to play in this casino. Unlike with a slot machine, you know the payback you're getting. In addition, its payback is probably the same as the paybacks on the slots of the same denomination, if not even a bit higher. It's not likely that it's lower.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Hi, John,

I love your column and have learned a lot about slots from reading your articles. Please settle this bet my husband and I have (a steak dinner is riding on your response).

My husband believes a person should always play the maximum number of coins on the first spin of a slot machine. I say it doesn't matter at all. I know that the amount of coins played has nothing to do with the RNG, but he does win more money and jackpots than I do (usually on max bets).

What say you? (In my Bill O'Reilly voice) *smile*

Thank you so much,
Allie

P.S. I just thought of another question: If the RNG is generating millions of combinations per second, isn't it possible and likely that some top jackpots will never be hit because the player might not hit the spin button at the exact moment the top prize's number is generated? How can this be prevented on progressives?

Thanks again :)

Dear Allie,

Your chances of hitting something on a spin are exactly the same on every spin and it doesn't matter whether you bet one coin or max coin, or whether it's your first spin or hundredth spin. I don't know what your husband's theory is, but I agree with you. It doesn't matter. How do you like your steak?

There's probably a simple explanation for why he wins more money. He puts more money at risk. If you looked at your respective nets, though, you might find that you are actually ahead. You might be winning less, but you are also losing less.

As for your second question, RNGs generate at least 100 outcomes per second, not millions. It's theoretically possible that no one will hit the spin button at the right moment to hit the jackpot on a machine or progressive link. Given enough play on the machine(s), though, it's not likely. Nothing can be done to prevent this situation from occurring. The result determined by the RNG must be displayed and any secondary decisions are illegal.

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