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Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

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The Slot Expert's Guide to Winning at Slots and Video Poker

20 November 2000

You can hear me give my slot and video poker tips live on The Good Times Show, hosted by Rudi Schiffer with Frank Scoblete, which is broadcast live from Memphis on WHBQ over the air on 560AM and over the Internet on Yahoo! Broadcast on Saturday morning from 8-10 CT.


The expected loss formula tells how much you will lose, on the average, playing a game in a casino. If you look at this formula from the other side of the fence, that is, from the casino's point of view, it's called the expected win formula and it's how casinos pay for lights and air conditioning.

The expected loss formula is simply this: Your expected loss playing a game is the number of decisions per hour times the number of hours you play times your bet per decision times the house edge.

This series of tips deals with stretching your bankroll, that is, limiting your losses, by changing the variables in the formula.

This week, let's look at the third variable: how much you bet per decision.

At the risk of stating the obvious, the less you bet, the less you can lose. On the surface, then, we should all be playing nickel machines and sitting at the $5 tables.

But there are other considerations to take into account. First, the amount of money at stake has to be meaningful. I can get very excited about a $1000 royal flush, but I can't get as excited about a $200 royal flush. Second, you can sometimes get better rules or higher paybacks with larger bets. We'll talk about the tradeoff involved in risking more money per decision to get a lower house edge in a later tip.

For this week, though, my tip is to play the lowest denomination or table that gives you the experience you want. By experience, I mean the amount of money you can win, the amount you can lose, and the length of time you want to play.

This week's bankroll-stretching tip: Bet as little as possible per decision to get the gaming experience you desire.


Send your slot and video poker questions to John Robison, Slot Expert, at slotexpert@home.com.


For more information about slots and video poker, we recommend:

Break the One-Armed Bandits! by Frank Scoblete
Victory at Video Poker and Video Craps, Keno and Blackjack! by Frank Scoblete
Slot Conquest Audio Cassette Tape (60 minutes) with Frank Scoblete
Winning Strategies at Slots & Video Poker! Video tape hosted by Academy Award Winner James Coburn, Written by Frank Scoblete
The Slot Machine Answer Book by John Grochowski
The Video Poker Answer Book by John Grochowski
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