CasinoCityTimes.com

Gurus
News
Newsletter
Author Home Author Archives Author Books Send to a Friend Search Articles Subscribe
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Newsletter Signup
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Related Links
Related News
Recent Articles
Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

author's picture
 

Losing Power at Bellagio

7 November 2004

Dear John,

We were in Vegas the weekend of the big power outage at Bellagio. We were wondering what happened to the people playing slots. Many probably had credits in their machines, and many were probably hitting large or small jackpots when it happened. The outage lasted for days. Was there ever any way to sort it all out?

Enjoy your column!

Sue

Dear Sue,

This question was asked a few weeks ago. I had a chance to do some research on what happened this time, so here is a more complete answer.

I don't know exactly what happened, but I believe a backup power system took over when the main power was lost. The backup power had to be shut off a few hours later, however, because its cables run through the same conduits as the primary power's cables, and workers could not repair the primary power while the backup was operational.

According to an article at the KVBC.com, five players failed to get their money out of machines before the casino closed. And according to an article in the Review-Journal, the casino was not allowed to reopen until all players with outstanding credits had been paid.

Because there was a backup power system, there wasn't much to sort out. It's not like the machines went dark and players had to wait days for power to be restored so they could cash out. In any case, the machines are required to handle power failures gracefully. When pwoer is restored, they will pick up wherever they left off when the power went off.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Hi, John,

Just wanted to ask a question that I really already feel I know the answer to, but to sastify my Aunt's mind I'll ask it anyway.

She thinks that by taking your card out of the machine you are playing that you have a better chance of winning and I say it doesn't matter. She thinks that it makes the machine think you have left the machine and it will pay better! Kind of a far fetched question, but she does win most of the time.

Thanks in advance,
Doris

Dear Doris,

You are right. The machine doesn't care whether you have a players card or whether you pull it out to make the machine think you've left.

The only thing your Aunt is doing by pulling her card is cheating herself out of some comps that she otherwise would have been entitled to.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Dear John,

I play the slots and video poker on freeslots.com (originally simslots.com). I would like to know how close these games come to the real machines in the casinos. Of course, I play the real thing in three areas of Mississippi when we get a chance to make a trip for a couple of days. Pearl River is the closest, but our favorite is Tunica.

Barbara

Dear Barbara,

There's no reason why the slots at this site and others like it can't be very close to real slots in terms of hit frequency and payback percentage. I wouldn't be surprised, however, if the machines at the free sites are more generous than the real machines.

First, the free sites make their money from advertising, not the house edge. They can afford to have very generous, and even positive expectation, machines.

More importantly, the only thing the free sites can offer is the thrill of a win. If we lost most of the time we played at the site--like we do in a real casino--we might stop visiting the site. We keep going back to the casino, however, because when we do win, we get paid with real money.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Concerning the fact that quarter machines are generally looser than nickel machines, would a nickel machine that allows play on 5 lines still be considered a nickel machine in terms of payout percentage or a quarter machine? Same goes for multi-line quarter, etc.

Thanks!

Dave

Dear Dave,

That's a great question. Years ago, when multi-line/multi-coin slots were first starting to catch on here, I attended many seminars in which the manufacturers and Australian operators told U.S. casinos that when players are betting dollars per spin, they should be getting a dollar-slot payback--even though they're playing a nickel or quarter machine.

The problem, though, is that some players play only a few coins per spin. The casinos need to have a high house edge against them. As it turns out, it's very difficult to design a machine that gives a nickel-slot payback to someone who plays a few coins per spin and a dollar-slot payback to someone who plays a few dollars per spin.

Despite the recommendation that they order higher paybacks on their multi-coin/multi-line machines than their denominations would indicate, I think most casinos "stuck to the party line." In other words, if a casino has a 90% payback on its traditional nickel machines, it ordered 90% payback multi-line/multi-coin machines instead of, say, 92% paybacks.

And now, the genie is out of the bottle. The video slots are incredibly popular and we're betting big-time bucks on them despite their relatively low paybacks.

For the casinos, it's like a dream come true. Dollar players, who used to play $3 per spin at 95% payback, are now playing $4.50 per spin at 90% payback--and having more fun!

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