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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

21 May 2001

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 fastest-growing segment of the slot market today is the Aussie-style, multi-coin/multi-line slot machine, which allows the player to bet anywhere from one coin to 45, 90, or even more per spin. Although these machines are sometimes quarter or dollar machines, they're most often nickel machines to make them playable by the greatest number of people. These machines are so popular, most of the new casino space opening up in Atlantic City either has a great number of these machines or is entirely dedicated to these machines.

Here are my Slot Expert's tips for playing Aussie-style machines, some of which are based on inside information.

How many coins to play? Many of these machines are straight multipliers. That means that if you win 10 coins for a combination when you bet one coin, you win 20 coins when you bet two, 30 for three, and so on. Even the bonus games are frequently straight multiples of your line bet. On these machines, there is no advantage to playing more than one coin per line.

When there is a bonus for playing maximum coins, play maximum coins. Wheel of Fortune, The Addams Family, etc., all part of the IGT MegaJackpots series of games, require a max coin bet to be eligible to win the progressive jackpot. If you don't play max coins on these games, you're only feeding the progressive meter for someone else with no chance of winning it yourself. I personally rarely play these games because the chances of winning the big jackpot are so small.

Paybacks? These machines present a real problem to slot managers. They want to give players who are going to risk a few bucks per spin a payback similar to those on their dollar slots, but they also need to have a nickel slot-like payback for players who are going to bet only a few nickels per spin. I think they're ordering relatively low paybacks on these machines and that's why we see slot paybacks falling over all.

Other things to keep in mind about paybacks: Wide-area progressives pay back less than other machines in order to pay for the costs of running the link and to pay for the progressive itself. Many machines from WMS Gaming (Monopoly and Jumble) are placed on a lease or participation basis. That means that rather than purchasing the machine outright, the casino pays either a monthly fee or percentage of the win to the manufacturer. And you know where that money comes from--the players. These machines may have lower paybacks than other machines.

Aussie-style slots are here to stay. They're also a lot of fun to play, with their high-resolution graphics and sound. With a little bit of knowledge, you can get maximum bang from your bankroll buck when you play these machines.


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:

The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots by John Robison
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