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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

8 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.


For the past few weeks, we've talked about how you can stretch your bankroll by playing one coin at a time on some machines. When I walk through a casino and look at the slot players, I see people who always play one coin and I see people who always play full coin. I also see people who vary their bets, sometimes wagering one coin, sometimes two, sometimes more. You're free to play how ever many coins you want per spin, but on some bonus multiplier machines you should never play one coin less than full coin.

Here's why. Bonus multipliers give you a bonus on some pay combos when you play full coin. And on some of these machines, players actually have the edge on that last coin. For example, the payout on a royal flush jumps from 1,000 coins to 4,000 coins when you play the fifth coin. On 9/6 Jacks or Better, the long-term payback on the fifth coin is 106%! It doesn't make sense to play the first four coins, on which the casino has the edge, and then not put in the fifth coin, on which you have the edge.

I first discovered this effect when I took a close look at the programming of a Wheel of Gold machine, the forerunner of Wheel of Fortune. On Wheel of Gold, you have to play three coins to be eligible to spin the bonus wheel. Spinning the wheel was so profitable, the long-term payback on the third coin was almost 125%.

I wish I could tell you every machine on which the payback for the last coin is over 100%, but I can't without knowing how the machines were programmed. Instead, I give general advice that one should play either one coin or full coin and nothing in between on bonus multipliers.

If you want to vary your bet while you're playing, that's fine. But if the machine offers you a big bonus for playing full coin, it's very possible that you have the edge on that last coin. Don't play one coin less than full coin on those machines.

This week's tip: Never play one coin less than full coin on bonus multipliers with big bonuses.


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