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Just Ask Scobe and AP

13 December 2002

Dear Scobe and A.P.:

I want to share with you something that really annoys me. I like to play the slots but my husband and his friends are all blackjack players. On a given night I bring about $300 to play 25-cent machines and I play one coin in the type of machines that Frank recommends. I have no trouble spending four to six hours of play with that size bankroll. I also play very slow. Rarely do I lose all of it in one night.

Now, here's my problem. My husband and his friends think I am a idiot for playing the slots! They say that I am foolish to be playing a game that has such a high house edge and that they, the blackjack players, are much brighter for playing their game. I try to explain to them that I don't like blackjack. The few times I played it, I found some of the other players to be rude and one fellow to be crude (he was drunk). At the slots I play at my own pace and I don't have to contend with the other gamblers. What is your opinion? By the way, my husband is a loser at blackjack although he has had more winning nights than I have but he has also lost much more money in his gambling "career" than I have in my "gambling career." Am I stupid to enjoy playing the machines?


Dear R.M.:

Both you and your husband are playing negative-expectation games, albeit yours definitely has a greater house edge. (We assume your husband is not a card counter but is playing basic strategy.) However, the way you play, slowly and for one coin, probably accounts for the fact that you have lost less than he has in your respective "gambling careers." Since neither one of you is attempting to make gambling your second income or even your hobby, then your taste is what counts. If you like the slots and feel comfortable playing them then go right ahead. The fact that you are playing the machines that don't reward full coin with big bonuses means that you can last a pretty long time and are probably getting a better percentage return as well.

Many gamblers, especially those who play with an advantage, will sometimes scoff at players who just enjoy the games for their own sake with no pretense of trying to make money at them. But players who play "just for fun" are similar to golfers who just enjoy hitting the ball, walking, hitting the ball, walking -- and so what if they rarely shoot under a hundred? Most slot players are not drooling idiots; they are well aware that they have little chance to beat the machines. They just enjoy playing them as you do.

Tell your husband and his friends that the old saying "to each his own" applies in this gambling situation. However, here's some other advice: Have you ever considered playing video poker? Some machines, with proper strategies, are beatable or extremely close contests. You could have your cake and eat it too if you play "machine" video poker! Consider it. Frank's book Victory at Video Poker has all the strategies you'll need to play the most popular machines. Good luck.

For more information about slots and video poker, we recommend:

The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots by John Robison
Break the One-Armed Bandits! by Frank Scoblete
Victory at Video Poker and Video Craps, Keno and Blackjack! by Frank Scoblete
Slot Conquest Audio Cassette Tape (60 minutes) with Frank Scoblete
Winning Strategies at Slots & Video Poker! Video tape hosted by Academy Award Winner James Coburn, Written by Frank Scoblete
The Slot Machine Answer Book by John Grochowski
The Video Poker Answer Book by John Grochowski
Alene Paone
Alene Paone is the publisher of Paone Press which specializes in gaming books, videos and audio cassettes. For a free brochure call: 1-800-944-0406.
Alene Paone
Alene Paone is the publisher of Paone Press which specializes in gaming books, videos and audio cassettes. For a free brochure call: 1-800-944-0406.