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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

5 June 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.


Always take a quick look around a casino before choosing a machine to play. You may find a better machine to play than the first one that catches your eye.

There are many different video poker paytables. A casino will sometimes have a mix of full-pay and short-pay paytables at one denomination. One casino in Las Vegas used to have a mix of 9/6 Jacks or Better and 8/5 Jacks or Better machines in quarters. The machines were mixed in one aisle. I would frequently see people playing 8/5 machines, even though the 9/6 machine next to them was free.

Another trick for finding a good video poker paytable is to check the multi-game machines, such as IGT's Game King and Bally's Game Maker. The multi-game machines sometimes have different paytables than the video poker-only machines.

Turning to slot machines, some have progressives that are not part of a casino-wide or state-wide link. I call them stand-alone progressives. Blazing 7s, for example, is frequently a stand-alone progressive. Many casinos, in addition, have stand-alone progressives on which the winning symbols are the casino's logos.

When a casino has a carousel of stand-alone progressives, play the one with the highest jackpot. The odds of hitting the jackpot is probably the same on each of the machines, so you might as well go for the largest win possible. I can't tell you how many times I've seen people playing a progressive and the jackpot on the machine next to theirs is higher.

I modify this strategy a little when the jackpot is between $1200 and $1500. To avoid the W-2G, I'll play a machine on which the jackpot is below $1200, even though a machine with a higher jackpot is available. I consider a machine playable again when the jackpot goes over $1500. I figure at that point I'll have $1200 or more left after taxes.


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
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