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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

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


Double Diamond is one of the most popular and successful slot machines ever. Even with all the fancy video slots out there with high-res graphics and CD-quality sound, Double Diamond always comes in as one of the top 10 favorite slot machines whenever slot players are polled.

I think one of the reasons the machines are so popular is because of an effect Randy Adams, chief game designer at Anchor Gaming, described to me. Randy says that the unexpected reward is worth more than its value in credits.

For example, if you win 10 coins for single bars, that's not too exciting because that's what single bars are worth. But if you win 10 coins for mixed bars because one reel had the Double Diamond symbol, that's like getting something extra because mixed bars are worth only five coins. The doubled mixed bar win seems more valuable than the single bar win, even though they're both the same amount.

Now, how can we find the loose Double Diamond machines? The casino does not give up its secrets willingly and getting the best deal possible from a casino usually requires some work. Blackjack players have to learn basic strategy to whittle the house edge to the bone, just as video poker players have to learn the best strategies for the games they play.

Finding the loose Double Diamond machines will take a little work. Unfortunately, you can't spot one by the graphics, how the reels spin, by serial number, or anything visual. The only way to find the loose Double Diamond machines is to play them.

Here's the insider information you need to know to find the loose Double Diamond machines: On a 3-coin Double Diamond machine, there is a direct correlation between hit frequency and payback. In other words, the higher the hit frequency, the higher the payback.

Let's go through that piece by piece. Payback is the amount of money the machine pays back to its players in the long run. We want that number to be high. High payback machines are loose machines.

Hit frequency is the percentage of spins that return something to the player. It doesn't matter whether the hit is 5 coins or 5000, a hit is a hit.

Direct correlation means that as one statistic increases, the other also increases without any exceptions.

So we know that Double Diamond machines that hit more frequently are looser machines.

Here's the part that's part work and part fun. You have to play the machines to estimate their hit frequencies. Keep track of the number of spins and the number of hits. Play the same number of spins on a number of machines. The machines with more hits are the looser 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