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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

26 June 2002

It seems like every time I go into a casino, I see someone playing less than full coin on a progressive machine. The problem with playing less than full coin on a progressive is that you're just feeding the progressive for someone else with no chance of winning it for yourself. But sometimes playing short coin isn't such a bad move after all. Let's look at when I play full coin and when I think it's okay to play short coin.

For reel-spinning wide-area progressives, like Megabucks and Wheel of Fortune, I always play full coin. Full coin on these machines is usually two or three coins. I don't mind so much sacrificing one or two coins in order to play the last coin that qualifies me for the progressive.

Progressive video slots are another matter. Full coin on these machines can be 45, 90, or even more coins. On a 45-coin machine, you have to play 44 coins before you can play the coin that qualifies you for the progressive. One of Robison's Rules of Slot Mathemetics is that the paybacks on coins played average together. So, even though the payback on the last coin might be very high due to the progressive, it gets spread over 44 other coins. The progressive raises the overall payback of the machine by very little.

I usually play one coin per line on video slots. For me, it's not worth increasing my bet by nine times (on a 45-coin machine) in order to take a shot at a rarely hitting progressive that has little effect on the payback of a machine.

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