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Best of John Robison

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More on slot machines that pay both ways

27 August 2007

John,

Just reading today's column on machines that pay both ways...

Actually, Atronic has a series of games on which you can wager an extra stake to engage "two-way pays" — right-to-left as well as left-to-right. It jacks up the hit frequency and doubles the scatter-pays.

As you note, the programmer has figured out all the math ahead of time, so you'll obviously get a lot of lower-level hits. There are probably a dozen or so games on which you'll find the "two-way" feature.

I don't think they've done real well for Atronic, but they're out there.

Regards,
Frank

Frank Legato, Editor
Global Gaming Business

Dear Frank,

Thanks for giving me this nudge to clear up an ambiguity in my answer.

The original letter was from a reader who was wondering if he should check all of the Texas Tea machines in a casino to see if he could find one that paid right-to-left in addition to left-to-right.

What I was attempting to say in my answer, and which I think I lost in trying to make my answer brief, was that he wouldn't find two machines of the same game on which one paid only one way and one paid both ways. In other words, he won't find a Texas Tea that pays both ways because Texas Tea pays only left-to-right.

If a slot manufacturer were to make two versions of the same basic game, they would have slightly different names to distinguish them. Texas Tea, for example, pays only left-to-right and, if it existed, Texas Tea Deluxe would pay both ways.

Manufacturers usually want to distinguish games that have a gimmick (e.g., paying both ways, repeat-pays, symbols that nudge to the payline) because it seems like these machines pay more than others without the gimmick. It's a psychological trick, though, because the gimmick hits have all been taken into account when the programmers worked out the match of the machine. As slot design guru Randy Adams one told me, "An unexpected (i.e., gimmick) hit is worth more than an expected (i.e., traditional) hit."

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