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Best of John Robison

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Landing the Legendary Fish in Reel 'Em In

24 June 2004

Hello,

I have a question about the Reel 'Em In slot machine. I've gotten all the legendary fish in the vacation lakes, but I've never gotten a legendary fish in the fishing contest. Is it even possible to get a legendary fish in the contest?

Thanks,
Lisa

Dear Lisa,

I've never gotten a legendary fish, but I haven't played Reel 'Em In that much.

If the rules say you can get a legendary fish in the fishing contest, then I'm sure that you can. If anyone who has gotten a legendary fish in the fishing contest would like to share his or her victory, I'll print the replies in a future column.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


My husband and I play slots at a nearby Indian Casino and my question is this: Sometimes it seems everyone is winning to a degree with some very large pay outs; then the next time we go no one wins a cent for hours. I was told the machines, being computerized, have a way to control for higher or lower pay outs. Is this true?

Maureen

Dear Maureen,

It's not true. Any machine that doesn't choose results randomly without regard for what has happened in the past would be illegal in all jurisdictions in the U.S.

What you have witnessed is just normal randomness. Sometimes machines are hot, sometimes they're cold. The cause is randomness, not an effort to control payouts.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


John,

I am sure that by now if you didn't see the episode of Las Vegas you probably have had a few e-mails about it - the one where a guy inserts his slot club card and gets the machine to pay off a certain amount. Allegedly, it contained some sort of algorithm which told the machine to pay a set sum w/o actually putting money in the machine or pushing the buttons.

Now according to all the great issues of your newsletter I have gotten over the past months this just had to be a bit of fiction posed by the scriptwriters, correct?

Wouldn't you know it, that same week the show aired, the wife and I were playing at one of the Biloxi casinos and when we checked with the players club to get a comp lunch they asked to see our cards. They then issued new ones, stating that the new ones were prettier, etc. Wife wanted to keep her old one (as a collectible) and there was almost a tug-of-war over it. After lunch the wife used the new card for an hour or so. Nothing to speak of hit-wise on the slots. She then used her old card in the machines. Lo and behold, she started doing much, much better.

Coincidence? Probably. But one really has to wonder sometimes. Wouldn't be a bit suspicious except for the fact the casino really and insistently wanted to dispose of the old cards. So, what does the card tell the machine, exactly?

The card doesn't tell the machine anything, really. The players club subsystem only asks the machine for information.

When you insert your card, the subsystem asks the machine for the current values of various meters (coin in, for one) and sends those values along with your card number in a "Card In" message to the main slot club computer. At various times while you're playing, the subsystem will ask the machine for the current values of the meters and send them in a "Logical Card Out" message to the main computer. This way, if the machine blows up or gets fried, all of your play to this point would be tracked. When you pull out your card, the subsystem asks the machine for the meter values and sends them in a "Physical Card Out" message to the main computer.

The conversation between the machine and the players club subsystem is pretty limited in scope. The language has been expanded recently though to allow the subsystem to tell the machine to add credits to the machine's credit meter. The bonusing systems used by some casinos use these additional commands.

It's hard not to see a connection between your wife's results and the card she used, but your sample is far, far, FAR too small to prove a connection. You really need hundreds of thousands of spins, if not even a million or more.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Greetings,

Just want info on simulations done for a group of numbers from 0-9?

I would appreciate any info provided.

Thanks,
Al

Dear Al,

I would appreciate any info you could provide about what exactly you want.

The subject of your message is "Keno/Super Bingo", so I assume you're asking about how often the numbers appear. Each number appears about 10% of the time.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Hi, John,

Thank you for the advice on U.S. tax withholdings for Canadians. I contacted irs.gov and learned that I must do like you said and file in 2005 for a refund. I will get a win/loss statement from the casino for the year and file accordingly.

My question this time applies to multi-denominational machines which allow you to play 25 cents, 50 cents or $1 on the same machine just by selecting the amount. Are the payout percentages the same or different for 25 cents as opposed to $1? Also are the hit frequencies any different?

Getting back to the tax withholdings and your past comment re: thanking me for the interest free loan to the U.S. government and people... You're welcome... Always glad to help. Hope I can do it again...

Stu

Dear Stu,

The paybacks on the games in a multi-denominational machine can be and frequently are different. You can see that by looking at the video poker paytables. The hit frequencies may or may not be different. There's no relationship between hit frequency and payback or between hit frequency and denomination.

If it's any consolation for your tax situation, I own stock in a Canadian company and it withholds Canadian tax on the dividend payments and I don't get any of that back. And I too hope you do get make many more interest-free loans to the U.S. government in the future.

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