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Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

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Should I play the $25 machines?

31 October 2005

Once a slot machine has paid a fairly good payout, is it best to switch to another machine?

Are the bingo-oriented machines that we have here in Florida better or worse for payouts?

I really enjoy you newsletters.

D

Dear D,

Thanks for the kind words about my columns.

The odds are the same on every spin, so there's no reason to leave a machine after you have hit a good payout on it.

As for the bingo-oriented (Class II) machines in Florida, they don't necessarily pay back any more or less than Class III machines in other markets. You can find high and low paybacks in both types of machines.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


For Kevin from Canada:

The Tropicana in AC is the best I have found overall.

  • The food is good.
  • Comps good.
  • Incentives goo.d
  • Rooms clean.
  • Great new shops.
  • Close to everything.
  • Payout on slots better than most.
  • Many kinds of table games and slots available.

We go down with a group from Maine 2-3 times a year.

Thank you for your newsletter!!!!

Doreen

Dear Doreen,

And thank you for your recommendation for the Tropicana.

The Tropicana certainly has one of the most varied and innovative slot floors and one of the most innovative rewards programs in Atlantic City. I have stayed there a few times and never had any problems.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


My husband and I play video poker machines a LOT. His opinion is whatever you decide to hold, the cards that you will draw are already pre-determined. I think he's wrong.

A new outfit for me is riding on your answer.

Thanks a lot.

Annie

Dear Annie,

Video poker machines used to draw all 10 cards that could possibly used in a hand when you pressed the Deal button. Modern machines draw only the five needed at first, continue shuffling their electronic decks, and then draw the cards needed to replace the discards when you press the Draw button.

You're both right, but I'd say you're righter — but I don't know if you're righter enough to win a new outfit.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Hi,

I read your articles faithfully and love them.

My question to you is about the $25 slots machines. We visit the Argosy quite a bit and I see those machines go off a lot it seems.

Do you recommend playing $25 machines and do they hit more frequently than say the $1 slots or the $5 slots?

Thanks,
Carol

Dear Carol,

My opinion, unsupported by any concrete evidence, is that casinos tend to order high hit frequencies for their high denomination machines. It's a lot more thrilling to watch a high-limit player win than lose.

A high hit frequency does not imply a high long-term payback. I've seen some absolutely terrible payback percentages (low 90s) available for high-limit machines.

I do not recommend playing high-denomination slot machines (excluding video poker machines). The expected loss is just too great when compared with dollar and five-dollar machines. I'd rather see people contemplating playing $25 machines sit down at a table game instead, where they'll get a better get.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


I was playing a slot machine at Windsor Canada. In the middle of my playing, two men stopped me for a minute to go into the machine. After some adjustment, they said, "OK, go play."

Was the machine ready to pay off big and they stopped it? Why pick me out of all the rows of slots? Should I have asked them?

I did not think about this until I went home. Does the casino have an eye on everyone in the casino and maybe didn't like my looks?

We go to casinos at least once a month. I have yet to see smiling faces or people with buckets of coins. The secret, of course, is to quit when ahead. Try it if you can. It is a way to get your jollies and have fun.

Thank you,
MJ

Dear MJ,

As the old joke goes: Just because you're paranoid, it doesn't mean they aren't out to get you.

I don't know why the technicians had to open your machine, but it certainly wasn't to stop it from paying off big. Knowing how superstitious players are, I'm surprised they didn't wait until the machine was idle.

According to my back-of-the-envelope calculations, the "Quit While You're Ahead" method single-handedly paid for the mountain in front of Wynn Las Vegas. It only works if you truly quit and don't play again. If you keep playing, the house edge will eventually win out.

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 several 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