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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 December 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.


I was at Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City a few weeks ago playing a Texas Tea slot machine--and doing rather well, thank you very much. I even hit five armadillos, which pays 2500 coins at max coin. I was on an assignment to investigate Atlantic City's slot clubs. I had to run a particular amount of money through the machine, so I was playing max coin to get done as quickly as possible.

After I hit the armadillos, I decided to just revel in the win and let the machine take its time in racking up the credits. Besides, I could watch the armadillos dance while the machine was counting.

With 2500 credits, I thought I'd be able to play forever. Also, this machine was set up to hand-pay amounts over 2000 credits, and I thought that I had so many credits that there was no way I'd fall below 2000 and have to deal with a ton of nickels.

After that hit, the machine went cold on me. The credit meter fell steadily until it was below 2000. And that's when I realized that a piece of advice I give about playing traditional reel-spinning slots and video poker was especially appropriate for multi-line/multi-coin slots.

That advice is this: Think of payoffs in terms of spins, not credits.

A 2500-coin jackpot on a two and three-coin machine is enough to keep you playing for a weekend. But 2500 coins when you're betting 45 coins per spin buys only 55 spins--about 15 minutes of play on a cold machine.

I first developed this different way to think about payoffs when I was bouncing back and forth between playing one coin and multiple coins at a time on traditional slots. Getting 20 coins instead of 10 for single bars seemed like a windfall, but I kept reminding myself that the doubled payoff buys the same number of spins when playing twice as many coins per spin.

The same advice applies to multi-hand video poker. A 45-credit win on a single-hand machine will keep you going for a while, but on a Triple Play machine it's good for only three rounds.


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