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Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

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What's Up with All These Penny Machines?

25 April 2005

John:

This may be a dumb question, but could you briefly list what you believe the best casinos in Las Vegas are for slot machine play, I like to play $1 dollar to $5 dollar machines.

I have been to Vegas a few times but have not really found a decent place to for slots, they all seem so tight these days.

Thanks,
Dave

Dear Dave,

There are no dumb questions here. Dumb answers, yes, but no dumb questions. (Okay, I paraphrased that bit from a Car Talk commercial.)

If you want to find the higher paybacks, head off the strip and go to the casinos that the locals frequent. The locals scene is dominated by Station Casinos and Coast Casinos.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


If it hit on one dollar, would the machine would have hit on max?

Thanks,
Joe

Dear Joe,

Probably not.

The jackpot combination was the result only at the split second that game began on the one-dollar bet. If the max-coin bet began the game at the exact same split second, then the jackpot would also have hit. Chances are, though, that the max-coin bet would have taken more or less time to place than the one-coin bet, so the game would have begun at a different instance and therefore would have a different result.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


John,

I enjoy immensely reading your articles. I have a question though. If there are two video poker machines, sitting side by side, with the exact same pay tables, will the payoff (assuming perfect play) be exactly the same on each machine? I know that with regular slots, some can be loose, while others are tight. Is this also true with video poker machines?

Thanks in advance for your help.

Paul

Dear Paul,

There are many ways to populate the virtual reels in a slot, but there's only one way populate a deck of 52 cards.

Unlike slots, video poker machines with the same paytables have the same long-term paybacks,

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


I spent last week in Wendover, Nevada. I played the Price Is Right Plinko slot machine game and I am wondering, is there anyway I can download the game for fun? I am a fan of of The Price Is Right.

Thanks.

I don't know of any way to download the game and I don't think it's on any CD of slot games.

If anyone knows of a home version of this game, please let me know and I'll print your response in a future column.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


I live in Colorado, not too far from the casinos in Blackhawk and Central City. I have frequented them many years. As of late, most of the casinos are bringing in a lot of penny machines. I have been told that these machines are their money makers.

What is going on with so many casinos changing to penny machines?

Five years ago, if I told people that nickel and penny slots would be the fastest-growing segment of the slot floor, they would have thought that I was crazy. But then video slots and ticket systems really took off and low-denomination machines are taking over more and more of the slot floor.

Players like penny machines for many reasons. Players have a lot of betting flexibility in the number of lines and number of coins per line they can bet. A penny machine is also almost guaranteed to be a ticket machine. And a penny machine can be played by players with all sizes of bankroll.

Video slots are big money makers for casinos. First, they tend to get a lot of play because many people enjoy playing them. Second, they also tend to have relatively low paybacks. Because players can bet just a few cents per spin, I think most casinos order about the same payback percentage for all of their low-denomination machines, regardless of whether they're reel-spinning or video. After all, the max bet on a reel spinner is usually 3 to 5 coins, and players could bet that many coins on a spin on a video slot.

But most players play at least one coin per line and many bet the max. What a great situation for the casinos! The average bet on these machines has skyrocketed, but the payback is still the same. And players can't get enough of the games.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
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 send a reply to every question. Also be advised that it may take several months for your question to appear in my column.

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