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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.

Click here for the latest Covid data.

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