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Ask the Slot Expert: Breaking up (with a video poker machine) is hard to do

20 January 2021

A few weeks ago I wrote about how I was going to have to break up with my favorite video poker machine. It was my favorite for these reasons. There's no glare on its screen. It deals quickly when set to the fastest deal speed and it is in a quiet area of the casino.

Other regulars like the machine too. I frequently was not able to play it because another regular had beaten me to it.

My fondness for the machine diminished the past few weeks. The slot club subsystem in the machine has gotten a little flaky over the years and it now sometimes reboots while I'm playing. There wasn't much of an effect on the points I earned. I never lost all of the points I had played before the reboot. If I had lost any points, it was only the points for the two to three hands I played before realizing the subsystem was freaking out.

I don't need the added task of keeping an eye on the card reader display to see if the subsystem is in trouble again. Better to play another machine. Yet I ended up playing that machine on my last two visits to the casino.

It's not a Brokeback Mountain, "I wish I knew how to quit you" thing. Playing the machine was actually my last resort. I ended up at the machine because all the other playing positions were either taken or off limits for me because there was a smoker or other unmasked person nearby.

Fortunately I didn't have any slot club reboots while playing the machine the past two times. Maybe it's going to be a short break-up and I'll put the machine back on my most-favored machines list.

A royal would sure help.


Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th President of the United States Wednesday at noon. When Trump was inaugurated four years ago -- as per tradition -- the Obamas welcomed Mrs. Trump and him to the White House and then they and the Bidens held a tea reception for the Trumps and the Pences. After the reception, Obama gave Trump a lift to the Capitol in the presidential limousine.

Rather than attend the inauguration, it looks like Trump is going to pull a Nixon and get out of Dodge while he's still President and can get a free ride on Air Force One. An interesting exchange between the pilot and Air Traffic Control will occur right after Biden says, "So help me, God."

An aircraft has the Air Force One designation and call sign only when the President is aboard. After Biden is sworn in, the President is at the Capitol and not on the plane. The call sign of the aircraft will change mid-flight. An exchange similar to this will take place:

Pilot: Washington (or Atlanta or Jacksonville -- whichever ATC center is handling the flight at the time), this was Air Force One. Will you change our call sign to Sierra Alpha Mike 28000 (or 29000, depending on which 747 Trump is on)?

ATC: Roger, Sierra Alpha Mike 28000.


Here are the latest figures from https://www.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#cases.

Totals Weekly Increases
US NV US NV
Date Cases Deaths Cases Deaths Cases Deaths Cases Deaths
 01/19   23,839,868   396,442   261,573   3,779   1,317,119   21,318   11,324   279 
 01/12   22,522,749   375,124   250,249   3,500   1,790,345   22,660   17,217   294 
 01/05    20,732,404   352,464   233,032   3,206   1,499,561   18,435   14,655   233 
 12/29   19,232,843   334,029   218,377   2,973   1,258,540   15,460   12,493   186 
 12/22   17,974,303   318,569   205,884   2,787   1,656,411   18,537   16,472   239 
 12/15   16,317,892   300,032   189,412   2,548   1,494,763   17,247   18,825   229 
 12/08   14,823,129   282,785   170,587   2,319   1,375,502   15,483   18,418   175 
 12/01   13,447,627   267,302   152,169   2,144   1,114,175   10,286   15,942   121 
 11/24   12,333,452   257,016   136,227   2,023   1,197,199   10,784   14,130   106 
 11/17   11,136,253   246,232   122,097   1,917   1,099,790   8,501   11,115   65 
 11/10   10,036,463   237,731   110,982   1,852   767,645   6,838   8,868   68 
 11/03   9,268,818   230,893   102,114   1,784   588,207   5,809   5,936   35 
 10/27   8,680,611   225,084   96,178   1,749   492,026   5,585   5,238   (10) 
 10/20   8,188,585   219,499   90,940   1,759   401,037   5,053   4,501   48 
 10/13   7,787,548   214,446   86,439   1,711   351,270   4,886   3,910   48 
 10/06   7,436,278   209,560   82,529   1,663   306,965   4,962   3,232   36 
 09/29   7,129,313   204,598   79,297   1,627   303,616   5,136   3,058   54 
 09/22   6,825,697   199,462   76,239   1,573   288,070   5,370   2,196   82 
 09/15   6,537,627   194,092   72,043   1,491   250,265   5,404   1,825   65 
 09/08   6,287,362   188,688   72,218   1,426   282,919   5,638   2,734   92 
 09/01   6,004,443   183,050   69,484   1,334   251,790   5,291   3,237   104 
 08/25   5,752,653   177,759   66,247   1,230   330,411   7,889   4,076   125 
 08/18   5,422,242   169,870   62,171   1,105   358,071   7,463   4,973   114 
 08/11   5,064,171   162,407   57,198   991   365,353   7,203   5,776   117 
 08/04   4,698,818   155,204   51,422   874   418,683   7,532   7,367   109 
 07/28   4,280,135   147,672   44,055   764   460,996   7,042   7,130   91 
 07/21   3,819,139  140,630  36,195  674  463,682  5,395  8,181  57 
 07/14   3,355,457   135,235   28,744   617   422,861   5,102   5,607   57 
 07/07   2,932,596   130,133   23,137   560   351,367   3,394   5,006   24 
 06/30   2,581,229   126,739   18,131   536   278,941   6,406   4,367   26 
 06/23   2,302,288   120,333   13,764   510 

Johns Hopkins has the U.S. death toll on 1/19/21 at 401,586.

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