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Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

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Will radio waves affect a video poker machine?

7 July 2007

Can a casino set a machine where it won't pay out? If so, is this legal?

Thanks,
Marilyn

Dear Marilyn,

No, a casino cannot set a machine to not pay out. The result of a spin must be the result determined by the RNG, which can't be manipulated.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Hi John,

I look forward to getting your emails.

My questions are to the Irish person who won $175,000 at an Indian casino 5 years ago and think they are paying according to their particular state gaming pact. Are you totally insane? Has gambling ever been honest? Who is monitoring the Indian casinos? I call it the Fox guarding the Chicken house. In Arizona the gaming pact calls for a minimum of an 80% payback on slots. I believe they were paying the 80% "before" they got a proposition passed guaranteeing them no outside competition. After that proposition became effective about 4 years ago it was as if they threw a switch on the slots which made it 80% for the house and 20% for the player. In other words, you rarely win enough to play very long. An average $400 bankroll rarely lasts more than about an hour. Therefore, they have lost my business. They seem to think throwing your money in their slots to watch all those blanks on the reels is fun. The casino's employees will try to tell you the payout is over 90%. What a joke this has become and apparently our gaming pack law enforcement could care less. The state gets a percentage of the profit so why would the gaming pack enforcement care if the payout is not accordance with the stated pack rules.

Jim

Dear Jim,

I think gambling in almost every casino today is honest. But we may have different definitions of honest.

Mathematically, a fair game is one in which no player is favored. Assuming each player plays optimally, each will have net earnings of $0 in the long run.

Clearly, casino games are not fair, in the strict mathematical sense. But they are fair in the sense that they are exactly what they are. The casino depends on its house edge in the games it runs to make money and it doesn't manipulate the games to increase its profit.

If your definition of honest is the same as the strict mathematical definition of fair, then no casino game is honest. But the games are honest in that there is no nefarious manipulation to increase the casino's take beyond what it should be given the house edge.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Dear John,

Is it possible to break the RNG of poker machine by radio waves?

Regards,
Tony

Dear Tony,

I don't know what you mean by "break the RNG," but slot machines are tested for vulnerability to electromagnetic interference and radio waves should have no effect on the machine.

The best way to win money at video poker machines is to learn the proper strategies to use while playing them.

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