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Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

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Slot Systems

7 August 2003

I've received a lot of mail--junk mail, really--advertising slot systems. They all claim to let you in on the secret of consistently making money playing slots in the casinos. Some ads even claim that their systems will let you quit your real job and play slots for a living.

One ad said that the system was designed by a slot technician. If anyone would know how to beat the machines, you'd think a slot technician would know. Other ads say that their systems were designed by people who have discovered some physical property or some flaw in probability theory that you can exploit.

I've purchased a number of these systems over the years. With three exceptions, they were all junk.

Let's look at some of these systems and their claims.

Almost all of the ads prove the validity of their systems by reproducing all the W-2Gs that the system's designer or users have won. All those W-2Gs don't prove anything. First, if you play long enough, you'll amass a nice collection of W-2Gs whether or not you're using their system. And second, you can collect a large number of W-2Gs in a short period of time by playing high-limit slots.

Many systems involve altering the number of coins you bet per spin. We've talked many times in the past about determining the best number of coins to play on a machine to maximize your payback potential and minimize your risk. The problem with systems that have you alter your bet based on past results is that past results do not indicate future results. The odds of hitting a winning combination are the same on every spin, so it doesn't make mathematical sense to bet more or less on the next spin because you just won or lost a spin.

Other systems involve scouting machines and looking for machines that have not been paying off. The theory is that other players have primed the pump for you and these machines are ready to pay. Again, the problem with this system is the same as the problem with altering your bet. The odds are the same on every spin.

So much for the junk, here are the three that actually had some value.

One system for consistently making money at the slots was to play only 100%+ video poker with the proper strategy. I can't argue with this system. Video poker does fall under the general "slot machine" heading, but most people buying this system are expecting a system to play something with reels.

The next system that I thought was okay was one that involved altering your bet, even though it doesn't make sense to do that. Here's a simple example of this system. Say you're going to play a two-coin machine. Your session stake is 30 coins. You break your stake into stacks, one of 10 coins and the other of 20. You start with the 10-coin stack and play one coin at a time. Anything you win goes back into your stack. If you ever have more than 10 coins in the stack, the excess goes into your pocket.

Now, you keep playing and you use all the coins in the first stack. You start on the second stack playing two coins per spin. Anything you win goes back into the stack. Any excess over 20 coins, goes into rebuilding the 10-coin stack. You then go back to playing one coin at a time from the 10-coin stack.

If you're going to play a three-coin machine, you add a stack of 30 coins, which you'll play three coins at a time should you get to it.

The theory behind this system is, I suppose, that you're due for a nice hit if you make it to the two-coins-at-a-time or three-coins-at-a-time stack. The theory is unfounded, of course, because the odds don't change.

The reason I like this system is because it adds another dimension to slot play as you bounce back and forth between the different stacks. It is a bit tedious, though, and it's days are numbered as more and more casinos switch to coin-less machines. It can be played off the credit meter, however, and that's the way I used to do it when I played this system.

There was one system I bought that was fantastic. It really didn't tell you how you could consistently beat the machines, but it spot-on descriptions of how the machines work and it gave solid advice on how to limit your losses.

The only problem with this system is that it was a collection of articles and reprints from books that Frank Scoblete wrote, with his byline removed and most of the text that would identify him as the writer blacked out like the documents were released through the Freedom of Information Act.

The bottom line on slot systems: For the price of one of these systems, you can buy all the really good books on slots and have money left over. Don't waste your money on these systems.

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