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Best of John Robison

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Thoughts on minimum-bet machines

6 July 2009

You wrote:

So, should this machine be in with the penny machines or the quarter machines? I went back and forth many times until I arrived at the correct conclusion. I'm going to come down on the side of protecting players. Players sitting down at quarter machines know they are going to have to bet at least 25 cents per machine.

But here's the difference: The 25-line penny machine pays back lots of wins that are less than 25 cents each, while a true quarter machine (like classic Double Diamond) would never pay back just 4 cents at a time.

The posted denomination of a machine probably should refer both to the betting units AND the payback units, so I'd vote for keeping the machine in question with the other penny slots. Another reason why players need to carefully scope out the display, buttons, and pay table before they insert their money or voucher.

Chris


John,

Regarding the recently discussed question of whether a machine requiring a 25-cent minimum giving the player 25 lines per game, I think you still have to categorize it as a penny slot because the payoffs are in pennies, not quarters. For example, three of a kind on a five-column machine would pay 2 cents on the winning line, not 50 cents, and the big 2,500 or more credit win is paid in pennies, not quarters.

There is a Dean Martin machine that has an odd configuration where there are two columns of two boxes followed by three columns of six boxes somehow producing 60 lines for a 30 credit pay (or 1/2 cent per line). There are other betting options at the same 2 lines per credit configuration.

Regarding penny slots, I like to have bets with an option to be as close to one of the common lower payments, example nine-credit win for a 10-unit play rather than winning nine credits on a 25-credit play. We're all hoping for the bonus game anyway, so giving yourself a chance for more bonus wins by getting more spins and extending the bankroll is how I prefer to play it.

We chose pennies because they are a lot easier to come up with than quarters and dollars, at least for most of us low rollers!

Ray

Dear Ray and Chris,

Everything you say is correct, but I still think that it is safer and better for players if these machines are with, or at least near, the quarter machines.

If I sit down with a dollar at a quarter reel-spinner, I know I'll get a maximum of only four spins if I don't hit something. If I sit down with a dollar at a penny slot, the maximum number of spins I can play without hitting something is 100. If I sit down with a dollar at the 25-cent minimum bet machine in the original letter, the maximum number of spins I can get without hitting something is four, just like on the quarter machine.

I should have been clearer in stating my conclusion. I wasn't suggesting that we call it a quarter machine, just that it belongs with or near the quarter machines because they can only be played by people with quarter-slot bankrolls. People with penny-slot bankrolls will get wiped out in a flash unless they're very lucky.

Thanks for your thoughts,
John


Send your slot and video poker questions to John Robison, Slot Expert, at slotexpert@comcast.net. Because of the volume of mail I receive, I regret that I can't reply to every question.

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