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Slot Machine Pay Off

31 July 2003

By John Robison

Dear John,

In reference to the reader's question about slot machines where you play for gold or silver tokens:

In Las Vegas, many of the casinos have 25-cent slots that pay off a $10 jackpot with a $10 silver souvenir token. Caesar's Palace has higher denomination machines.

Besides Caesar's Palace, I've collected coins from Bellagio, Las Vegas Hilton, Monte Carlo, Palms, Venetian, New York, New York, MGM, Paris, Imperial Palace, California, Fremont, Golden Nugget, Four Queens, Plaza, Golden Gate, Main Street, Mandalay Bay and many of the casinos in Reno.

Aloha,
Larry

Dear Larry,

Thanks for the info. These are called "Silver Strike" machines and they're made by Anchor Gaming. I wasn't sure they were still in casinos after IGT purchased Anchor.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John

* * * * * * * * * *

I play only video Keno machines. At Foxwoods casino in Connecticut, they always seem to pay off at the same time of day, midmorning, and not pay so well as the day goes by. Is this possible?

Do Keno machines run off an RNG like a regular slot machine, or do the numbers you choose truly make a difference?

Janice

Dear Janice,

Video keno machines use an RNG to choose the numbers drawn. Because the numbers are chosen at random, any set of numbers you select has the same chance of winning as any other set of numbers.

I think the key phrase in your statement is that the machines "seem" to pay off at the same time. I think if you paid close attention and watched long enough, you'd find that the machines pay off just as much at the other times of the day.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John

* * * * * * * * * *

Dear John,

I need an answer for this question about slots: Why do they slow down and speed up?

Also, the Missouri Gaming Ccommision took chips out of certain machines and they work slower than usually do. Also, the money deposit places won't take dollars or quarters or half dollars. Is this normal when they do this? The machines work slower till they put the chips back in and they don;t pay off like they did before they took the chips out. Is this normal?

Thank you,
Lawrence

Dear Lawrence,

I don't think I've ever seen a machine speed up and slow down while I've been playing it. The length of time between starting the game and the reels stopping does vary from spin to spin, and that's normal. And some machines, particularly video slots, slow the reels as they approach their stopping points. Again, that is also normal.

I don't know what the gaming commission did when you say they took chips out of certain machines, so I don't have any explanations for what you experienced afterwards.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John

* * * * * * * * * *

I'm going to Vegas in July. I've never hit the jackpot in my life. I won $400.00 once a few years ago. I play 25-cent, 50-cent, and dollar slots.

How long should I stay on a machine? How can you tell if it's going to hit? Give me some advice before I go to Vegas in July.

Thank you,
Joanne

Dear Joanne,

There's no way to know when a slot machine is going to hit. The computer inside the slot machine chooses the results of each spin without regard for what has happened in the past.

You should stay on a machine as long as you enjoy playing it. If you're getting frustrated because a machine is not paying off, move to another machine. This is an emotional decision. There's no way to know whether the machine is going to continue being stingy or hit the jackpot.

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.

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