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Best of John Robison

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The night of 4-card royals

26 May 2008

It was one of those times that try video poker player's souls.

I went to the Desert Inn to see old friends who were there for the last DI slot tournament and to find out where the members of my "DI family" would be working after the place closed. Of course, I played some video poker while I was there because the point requirements for merchandise at the slot club were cut in half.

Two smokers were playing the machines on either side of my machine, the one on which I hit my very first royal flush, so I had to play a different machine. Janice, one of the change people at the DI, was shocked to see me playing a different machine. For years I had played one single-hand video poker machine exclusively at the DI. I had become so associated with that machine that Ressa Powell, DI slot host, suggested that I talk to Tony DeFelice, Directory of Slot Operations, about purchasing the machine after the DI closed. It's an intriguing idea, but then I'd have to hire a cocktail waitress to simulate the casino atmosphere.

I told Janice that I would log some quality time with my machine later when the casino was less crowded. (I bet you never thought you'd read about someone waiting for the DI's casino to be less crowded!) In the meantime, I would try my luck on another machine. I was going to play a Silicon Gaming Lucky Draw machine that had treated me well in the past, but all the 9/6 games in the Silicon machines had been dropped to 8/5, so that was out of the question. I overheard a number of other players commenting that there were very few playable dollar machines left. We were all trying to play the same six machines and I was lucky to get a machine at all.

It was a very frustrating session. I didn't get much play from the first two hundred-dollar bills, but the third one lasted quite a while. My credit meter climbed to nearly 400 credits and I thought I would be able to get the machine to dump coins, but I hit a cold streak before breaking 400 and I eventually ran out of credits.

The most frustrating part of the session was the number of 4-card royals I drew. I'd hold a 3-card royal and get dealt only one of the two cards I needed. I'd hold a 2-card royal and get dealt two of the three cards I needed for the royal. I lost track of the number of times I ended with a 4-card royal.

After the DI, I walked down the strip and played at the Venetian. I got two hours of play, about 1,100 hands, out of one hundred-dollar bill. Again, I ended with more 4-card royals than I could count. A man next to me playing a multi-hand machine held a 2-card royal and received a royal on one of his hands, but I could never get more than four-fifths of a royal.

My credit meter never broke 200 and I always hit a few good hands to replenish my credit meter when it fell close to zero. I spent a lot of time between 50 and 150 credits. Except for all those 4-card royals, it was a pretty good session.

Back at the DI, I finally had a chance to play my machine for one last time. I cashed out $5 ahead. It's nice to say goodbye with a profit.

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