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Best of John Robison

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Steve Still Hasn't Hit a Jackpot

22 November 2004

Where can I find the "Boom" slot machines online? I'd rather play free, but....please help!

Thanks,
KE

Dear KE, I don't know of any site that has Boom. If anyone does, I'd be happy to pass on the info in a future column.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Hi,

I am going Vegas in two days. Where would be the best machines to play? Downtown or on the strip?

Thanks,
Rose

Dear Rose,

The slots in the downtown casinos tend to have higher paybacks than those in the strip casinos.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


It's Steve. You know, the unlucky SOB who may just never hit a jackpot for as long as I live?

Well, I can honestly tell you that there is no piece of advice that you or anyone on the face of this Earth could possibly give me to ensure that I'll walk out with a modest profit, let alone a jackpot.

I've played those damn machines every month for 2 full years now. Some people are just lucky, and some people are just not. When you already know to always play the maximum number of coins all the time and know to take home at least most of your winning credits, then you don't need to waste your money on books and videos about playing those machines.

They basically undermine the basic knowledge one gains from going and going and going there for a long enough period of time. It's impossible to come up with a winning strategy for someone to win a jackpot or even a good-sized win at those machines.

I know enough to tell you that those machines are a damn ripoff. I'm now 25 years old and have still never hit.

Steve

Dear Steve,

Sorry to hear that you have still not hit a jackpot. You're right that some people seem to be luckier than others, and some people seem to be unluckier than others.

I disagree with just about everything else you wrote, though. Books and videos that claim to tell you how to hit jackpots or find hot machines are a waste of money. But books that describe how slot machines actually work and tell you how to stretch your bankroll and play intelligently are worth reading.

For example, it's not always wise to play maximum coin and, on some machines, you're just throwing your money away when you do. Both Frank Scoblete and I describe those machines in our books.

One must be careful of the "knowledge" one gains from playing the slots. Experience in fact is a very poor teacher when it comes to games of chance. Players have used empirical evidence to support theories that machines pay less when you use a club card, that machines pay more when you use a club card, that machines hit more/less frequently when you play one/max coin, and that machines pay more/less during the week/weekend, when in reality none of thse factors has any effect on the results on the machines.

Finally, I wholeheartedly agree that there is no strategy to win a jackpot. Players can ensure that they "win" (that is, have a good time) each time they play by playing machines they like, betting sensibly, and stretching their bankrolls to ensure they don't run out of money.

If you're no longer having fun playing the slots, it's time to take a break--perhaps permanently.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Hi,

I was in Atlantic City playing a progressive video poker machine and I hit the 10, J, Q, K, A. I just about hit the floor but I soon realized that I had an Ace that didn't have a special star on it. Apparently, you had to have the special star on all 5 cards to win the progressive amount ($26,000,000 by the way).

My wife and I figured that we would risk the $500 payout and discard the Ace hoping to hit the special star Ace. We lost. I was later told that the big jackpots had to pay on the first hand and lock the machine until the casino had paid it. Is this true? Was I drawing dead on my goal of hitting the big payday?

Thank you,
Scott

Dear Scott,

I'm not familiar with the machine you played, so I don't know whether you could draw to a hand that would win the progressive or whether you had to be dealt it. The rules should have been on the machine or a help screen.

I can't do the math to see if you made the right move to discard the Ace. I don't know how many cards with stars were in the deck. Nevertheless, I strongly suspect that you made the right move.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Why are the Cashman slots for 5 cents are so limited in the Indian casinos? They always draw a large crowd, and there are never enough. Is it because they are losing money on these machines?

Joyce

Dear Joyce,

If the casinos were losing money on the machines, they wouldn't be there. And it's almost impossible for a casino to lose money on a machine in the long run.

Slot directors always have to guess how popular a machine will be when they decide how many to order. It sounds like the directors at your casinos understimated the popularity of these machines.

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 two or more 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