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Best of John Robison

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When Not Every Coin Counts

26 December 2004

John,

One thing I noticed this past weekend (again) is what some of the casinos are doing to players to screw them, point-wise, and I think it deserves comment.

Several casinos on the Gulf Coast (Biloxi and Gulfport) have instituted or re-instituted, as the case may be, not allowing players to carry their point credits from machine to machine.

For instance, if on a 25-cent machine, say, it takes 20 or 30 quarters of play to get a point and the player quits that machine and moves to another after having spun down to say, 15 credits, the 20 or 30 credits requirement starts once again.

I inquired/complained about that and the management just shrugs and says "all the casinos are doing that." Like that is some sort of answer. Not true at all. Many still allow a carry-over. So if you left your current machine with 15 credits to go for the point, the next machine you play will start at 15 credits for the count-down.

Folks should be aware of the sleazy tactics some casinos will employ to grind the player down. Surprisingly, many folks don't notice what is happening. They just shove their Player's Card into the machne and play away.

Me, I'll take the sleazy casino's monthly mailings and redeem their cash chits, sleep in their free rooms and eat their food using my comp food coupons, but I won't be playing their slots anymore. I'll give them some table action, as I enjoy that as much or more than slots anyway, but that's about it. And if their comp offers stop coming in the mail - no big deal as I'll be playing twice as much slot action in the casinos that don't employ this practice and they comp just as well as any casino on the beach. I'll probably be better off in the long run in concentrating my play, at least as far as slot comp points go, and what they will return in value as to offers to return and play again.

Something similar happened to me at The Desert Inn in Las Vegas. You used to carry the countdown from machine to machine, but suddenly the countdown was always reset when you changed machines.

I complained to the management about this change, and I found out the situation was not as bad as it seemed. They had installed new slot club software and one of the changes was that your countdown did not follow you.

That did not mean, however, that some coins you played did not count. The system calculated your points based on your total action, regardless of whether you completed points on a machine. The countdown was really irrelevant. At worst, it was something to encourage you to play just a bit more on a machine to complete a point.

I verified that every coin counted by playing partial points on a number of machines and seeing my total point count increase at the end by the exact amount I expected.

The systems at the casinos you visited may actually be counting all coins, despite the resetting countdown. One would think the slot floor people would know and, certainly, the slot club booth people should know, but many times these people are not well-versed in the detailed workings of the slot clubs in their casinos. The slot directors at the casinos should definitely know, however.

There were, and maybe still are, some systems that require players to complete points on a machine, otherwise the partial-point play is not counted. I agree with you that not counting every coin played is despicable. The casino has the edge on every coin played.

Your only recourse it to vote with your feet. I would also suggest writing a letter to the slot director. Say that you noticed this change and you will be going to other casinos in the future. If casinos don't know exactly what they're doing wrong, they ca9n't fix the problems.

You might also want to check out www.unitedgamblers.com. Star Brooks has taken it upon herself to stand up for the players. It used to be that we had mega-casinos. Now we have mega-corporations running the mega-casinos. Star's trying to ensure that the mega-corporations don't lose touch with the players, who after all are the reason they exist.

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 two or more 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