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Ask the Slot Expert: Magic tricks and slots -- the truth about how they work is dull

21 October 2020
Magic tricks and slot machines have something in common. Though they both appear to be governed by some mysterious process, the truth about how they operate is actually quite pedestrian. One magician said, "You really don't want to know how a trick works. It's so mundane, you'll be disappointed." Consider a trick performed by Magical Katrina on season 7 episode 11 of Penn & Teller Fool Us. ... (read more)
 

Ask the Slot Expert: In video poker, sometimes the first play you see isn't the best play

14 October 2020
Synergy Blue develops skill-based video machines. I spent a good deal of time playing its Mahjong game before COVID-19 shut down Red Rock. The pod of four machines were there on a trial basis. They had stickers saying that you could not redeem free play on them -- a sure sign that there is something unusual about the financial arrangements with a machine. ... (read more)
 

Ask the Slot Expert: Do you always have a chance at the biggest prize in a picking bonus?

6 October 2020
Question: When the feature [bonus picks] is activated in some games, choices appear for the player. The three of the same kind, say free spins, regularly is what he or she gets. Question, on those screens where the possibilities include mini, major, etc., jackpots, it seems that often what results is ... (read more)
 

Ask the Slot Expert: When your slot machine reboots

30 September 2020
I was playing my favorite video poker machine a few days ago when the bezel surrounding the card reader slot changed to flashing purple. I know that red means no card inserted; flashing red means card invalid or card can't be read; green means everything is hunky-dory; and flashing yellow means that you ... (read more)
 

Ask the Slot Expert: What can I do to not lose at the slots?

23 September 2020
Question: I have been playing for a while. The machine steals my money. What can I do to not lose at the slots? Answer: There's only one system that is guaranteed -- that works 100% of the time -- to keep you from losing at the slots: Don't play them. All slot machines (as opposed to video poker machines) are negative expectation. ... (read more)
 

Ask the Slot Expert: Tracking my video poker results

16 September 2020
I had my first social distancing incident at a video poker machine this weekend. I was playing in the first position in a bank of four machines. The rest of the machines were empty. At one point a lady sat down to play at position three. I didn't really like that because she could have played at position four. ... (read more)
 

Ask the Slot Expert: Are real slot machines gone forever and only video game machines are the future?

9 September 2020
Question: Are real slot machines gone forever and only video game machines are the future? Answer: When you enter any casino today, you see a sea of video slot machines as far as the eye can see. It may seem like real reel slot machines are gone, but many (most) casinos still have some on their slot floors. ... (read more)
 

Ask the Slot Expert: Free play or point multiplier?

2 September 2020
Question: I'm not going to the casino as often as I used to. Should I go when I have free play or when there's a point multiplier? Answer: How about going when you have free play AND a point multiplier? Last week I wrote that casino marketing at the two casinos I've been playing at since reopening seemed to be internally coordinating their promotions more than before. ... (read more)
 

Ask the Slot Expert: Majority of respondents in Las Vegas Advisor poll back restricting smoking in casinos

26 August 2020
Question: First, thank you for all of the great columns you've written over the years. I'm an avid video poker player and have learned a lot about strategy from you. I live near Chicago and my wife and I visit Las Vegas twice each year and since I retired I add a couple of more solo trips, too. We also visit casinos in Indiana and Michigan on a regular basis for mid-week getaways. ... (read more)

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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