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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

27 March 2002

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 from Memphis on WMC 790AM Saturday morning from 10-12 CT.


In honor of St. Patrick's Day, when everyone hopes to have "the luck of the Irish," here are my tips for creating your own luck while playing the slots.

Choose a machine based on the characteristics you want. If you want a life-changing jackpot, for example, play the progressive machines with the huge jackpots. If you want a machine that may not hit often, but when it does it's usually for a meaty jackpot, play machines like Red, White, and Blue and Five Times Pay and Ten Times Pay. If you want a machine with high entertainment value, it's tough to beat the video slots with their bonus screens. Finally, if you want a machine that's going to give you a lot of play for your session stake, look for a high hit frequency machine, like a reel-spinner that pays even money for its lowest winning combination or most multi-line video slots.

Have a sufficient bankroll. I like having enough funds for about 100 spins on a machine. I figure that that's enough to give me a good shot at hitting a decent jackpot, even on very low hit frequency machines.

Cut your losses. I lost a bit of money in the stock market when the tech stock bubble burst. I could have sold some of my losers after I had taken a small loss, but instead I held onto them until they were worth 10% of what I paid for them. Sometimes when you're playing, nothing goes right and you just keep losing. If it seems like you just can't do anything right, maybe it's time to switch machines or even stop playing completely on this trip. Now, I admit that there is no mathematical justification for this tip or my analogy with the stock market. Slot results are random and stock prices are not supposed to be set randomly. Your next spin is just as likely to result in a big jackpot when you're behind as when you're ahead. But it's much better on the psyche to be able to say "I lost 25% of my bankroll, but I'm not wiped out and I have enough to come back another day" than to lose all the money you brought with you and have to beg for gas money from the people waiting on the buffet line.

Use your players card. Any cashback, comps, gifts, rooms, shows, and other benefits you get from the players club go straight to your bottom line. The benefits may not be enough to offset the house edge most slot players face, but they'll definitely decrease it.

I wish I could give you the secret for winning every time you play the slots, but I can't because there is no secret. If you follow these tips for making your own luck at the slots, however, you'll have a good chance at getting what you're looking for in your time at the slots and minimizing your losses.


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


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