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The Slot Expert's Guide to Winning at Slots and Video Poker1 October 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.
Last time we talked about why there was no benefit in playing more than one coin at a time on straight multipliers. This week let's look at the straight multiplier's cousin, the bonus multiplier.
A bonus multiplier is a machine that pays you a bonus on one or more winning combinations when you play full coin. An example is a three-coin Double Diamond machine that pays 800/1600/2500 for three Double Diamond symbols when one, two, and three coins are played, respectively. If this were a straight multiplier, you'd get paid 2400 coins for the jackpot, but this bonus multiplier pays a bonus of 100 coins. Worth going for, right?
Not usually. The secret that the casinos never tell you is that the jackpot hits so infrequently, even large bonuses on the jackpot lead to small increases in payback. It's not worth tripling your risk just to increase your payback from, say, 92% to 92.5%.
What about machines like the three-coin Red, White & Blue that pay a really meaty bonus for the jackpot? A three-coin RWB pays 2400/4800/10000 for the jackpot. The straight multiple is 7200 for three coins. Is that 2800-coin bonus worth playing for?
The same rule applies. Even large bonuses lead to small increases in payback. But here we have another problem. If lightning should strike and you land the jackpot on the payline, you'd be pretty disappointed getting 2400 coins instead of 10000. Fortunately--or unfortunately--the chances of hitting the jackpot are pretty slim (though orders of magnitude better than hitting the Powerball lottery), so you'll probably never experience this disappointment. On these machines, you have three choices: 1) Do what I do. I don't play them. 2) Play one coin at a time. 3) Play full coin.
Now, some people point out that you're playing at a lower payback when you play only one coin at a time and shouldn't you play at the highest payback possible? But that's being penny-wise and pound-foolish. The number that matters is your expected loss, which is the product of the house edge multiplied by the action you give. You are able to decrease the house edge by playing full coin on a bonus multiplier, but you almost always give it back and then some by running two, three, or more times as much money through a machine compared with playing one coin at a time.
This week's tip: Play one coin at a time on most bonus multipliers.
Send your slot and video poker questions to John Robison, Slot Expert, at email@example.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
This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Best of John Robison