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Best of John Robison

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More on counting spins

26 November 2007

Chaz has it right.

I count the spins that it takes to hit.

The casinos do tend to adjust those percentages from time to time.

I like to look at the payout percentage after a machine has just paid off a large amount. I notice that that seems to be around 9 to 11%.

So by counting with minimum bet until it starts to hit makes sense.

I noticed that machines will often pay at 7 8 11 20 50 and 100 spins kind of like in an order similar to this.

When I sit at a new machine, and I do believe the central computer looks at your number and allows you to win early. Will start at one bet, after 3 spins up it, and 3 more up it again, I normally hit some kind of jackpot before 10 spins for the first go around.

I do observe the losses that my neighbors are incurring and the penalty is about the same. The difference is that I might lose 3 dollars to their 100.

We normally come home with their money every visit.

Steve

Dear Steve,

If your system works for you, stick with it.

But I think you're trying to find a pattern where none exists. And when it can take hundreds of thousands of spins for a machine to zero in on its long-term payback percentage, how can you make an estimate of its payback percentage "after a machine has just paid off a large amount"? And there is no central computer determining outcomes unless you're playing in a Native American casino with Class II games. Furthermore, the slot club system has no effect whatsoever on the outcomes on the machines.

The reason you lose less money than your neighbors is because you don't play max coin all the time.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


What are the rules regarding the maximum coins per lines? I have lost so much money thinking I always have to put the maximum number of coins on all the lines that I'm playing. Does this rule apply only if there is a jackpot? Some machines are not clear, especially when no jackpot is involves.

Thanks.

Every casino's gaming guide I've seen has said that you should always play maximum coin to get a machine's highest long-term payback possible. That's true, but it's not the whole story.

I have a series of articles about when it's mathematically advantageous to play full coin in the archives on this site. The rules are also in my book The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots.

Briefly, playing full coin is always in the casino's best interest and only sometimes in yours. On straight multipliers, for example, there is never a reason to bet more then one coin per spin. On a buy-a-pay, however, the extra coins may raise the long-term payback enough to give you a lower loss per spin than playing one coin.

Now, I think when you say "jackpot" you're referring to a progressive jackpot. On progressives, if you don't play max coin, you're just feeding the progressive for someone else with no chance of winning it yourself. My recommendation is to play full coin on progressives or don't play them at all.

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