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Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

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Is a Loud Machine a Loose Machine?

24 July 2004

I'm a slot tech for a casino in Wisconsin. We have absolutely no rhyme or reason as to how we set the volume on our machines, most are turned off.

When we verify a jackpot we NEVER swap a chip, only verify that it is the chip that is supposed to be in that machine. EPROMs have what's called a signature, which is just a code that is registered with the Kobetron machine. We just pull the EPROMs from the main board and verify that they have not been tampered with and that the signatures are correct for the machine. The same chip that was in the machine goes right back in. There's nothing different about it......It just randomly generates Reel Stops when you press the "Spin" button.

Dave

Thanks for sharing your procedures with us.

The questions that prompted Dave's e-mail had to do with whether loud machines are any looser than quiet machines and a reader's comment that he thought a casino swapped chips after verifying a jackpot.


Hi,

I really enjoy your column.

I am going to Vegas on May 1. Where is a good place to play slots/a high percentage payout? We either play quarters or nickels.

Also, I am addicted to the Area 51 machine in Treasure Island Casino, RedWing, Minnesota. What casinos do they have Area 51 at in Vegas?

Do you believe it is best to play the max all the time or jump around with different combinations of numbers?

We are staying at Harrah's for two nights and Palace Station for one night and I think the Frontier another night.

Also, what do you think of live keno?

One last question, I live in Wisconsin and go to the HoChunk casinos in Black River Falls and Baraboo. Do you know what the payout percentage is in Wisconsin?

I just bought your book and have enjoyed reading it. Keep up the good work!!

Laura, Wisconsin Cheese Head

Dear Laura,

Gee, you ask a lot of questions for a cheese head from Wisconsin.

Seriously, thanks for the kind words about my column and my book.

I'm sorry that I couldn't answer your letter before your trip. Generally speaking, the locals casinos in Las Vegas have better paybacks than the strip casinos. Keep in mind, though, that the promotions at the locals casinos are geared more for the frequent visitor than the tourist.

Casinos constantly change their machines, so I hesitate to say that a casino has a particular machine. Casinos don't change their video poker machines as frequently plus I have good sources that can tell me a casino's current video poker offerings, so I will say what video poker machines a casino has.

As for the number of coins to play, the only advantage to altering your bet and not playing max all the time is that you lower your risk a little. Altering your bet won't confuse the RNG into being generous, contrary to the myth.

I suggest you search on this site for my series called The Best Number of Coins to Play. I have specific recommendations for the number of coins to play per spin for the different types of machines in the casino.

What do I think of live keno? I think it's an oxymoron. At least it's a good thing live keno moves so slowly. That offsets the high house edge against you.

My publisher, Anthony Curtis, does have one good thing to say about live keno. It's the cheapest way to get a couple of free drinks from the casino because you'll make very few bets in the time it takes you to get your drinks.

Strictly Slots does not list paybacks for Wisconsin. That means that the state does not release payback figures.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Dear Sir,

Need your advice.

I am a Singaporean who is exploring the possibility of getting a career in casino.

As my government might consider opening a casino in the near future, I see the potential in working out a career in the casino.

Could you advice me on what type of course I can look into to heighten my employability?

Need your expert advice.

Thank you!

Regards,
Kevin

Dear Kevin,

I would think that anyone working in casino management should have a solid background in probability. Yet, if I remember correctly, probability was not a requirement in the casino management degree from the University of Nevada until recently.

I suggest you check out the Hotel Administration college at the UNLV site (www.unlv.edu) to see the courses in its curriculum. Then I suggest finding a local college that offers similar courses.

Best of luck in your career,
John


Dear John,

Enjoy your column.

When you use a preferred player's card, does the casino report the information on your wins to the IRS?

Sincerely,
Peggy

Dear Peggy,

No. The casino reports wins to the IRS only when you get a W-2G, which the casino has to issue for any slot jackpot of $1200 or more.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Hi, John,

I live in New England and often visit the Indian Casinos Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun. I have never seen such terrible payouts on slots... What are the better percentages of payouts, $1 or $5 machines? I heard they were getting a $10 and $20 slots. Are there such slots?

Thanks for your great column.

Carol

Dear Carol,

Not only are there $10 and $20 slots, there are $25 and even $100 slots.

Generally speaking, $5 machines tend to pay back a little more than $1 machines. The higher payback, however, is nowhere near enough to make up for the fact that you're risking five times as much per spin (that is, the house edge is not cut to one-fifth that of the dollar machine). It's not worth jumping from dollar machines to $5 machines to increase your payback from, say, 95% to 97%.

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