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Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

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Which slot manufacturer is best?

20 September 2010

Dear John,

I recently stumbled upon your site and find your columns to be most helpful. I'm from the Philippines and most of the casinos here are run by the government through the state-owned Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. There are some third-party operators, such as Resorts World, but they have to secure permits from the state-run casino and have to pay franchise fees. Have you ever been to the Philippines to sample the gaming here? You should.

The casinos here purchase video slot machines from different manufacturers. The majority are "pokies" from Australia. Some are European, like Atronic. There are some machines from IGT and Bally, while the delightfully funny ones are from WMS (Lucky Lemmings is notable). I find the Atronic machines to have the smoothest-looking graphics, artwork and sound. The IGT games are okay but feels like they're trying hard to get to the WMS level but can't. On the other hand, the Bally games feel so "American" (if you understand what I mean). The Australian pokie machines are all alike regardless of manufacturer (boring is how I describe them), but give you the best bang for your buck in terms of payoffs on winning combos and free games, which is why a lot of players here prefer them over the other brands.

Which company do you think makes the best games in terms of graphics, sound and entertainment value? What about best in terms of payoffs?

Many thanks and more power!

Allan

Dear Allan,

Thanks for the kind words about my columns. I hope you didn't hurt yourself when you stumbled. I've been to the Pacific a few times, but never to the Philipines.

To answer your last question first, no manufacturer is best in terms of payoffs. Almost all machines are available in a wide range of long-term paybacks. Individual casinos decide what hold percentage they want for a particular denomination and order machines with long-term paybacks close to that hold percentage. Casino strategy has more effect on long-term payback than manufacturer.

As for who makes the best games, there's something about the way the reels decisively look into place with little wobble on IGT's reel-spinning games that appeals to me. In terms of graphics and sound, I think I have to give the nod to WMS, although the other manufacturers have new products that will give WMS some real competition. I also give the nod to WMS for entertainment value because of the Star Trek and Lord of the Rings games that let you save your progress through the bonus rounds.

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 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