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Ask the Slot Expert: Mad dash to requalify for slot club elite

15 June 2022

I let time slip away from me and now I'm in a mad dash to requalify for the elite level in a slot club. I'm not keen on spending the hours it will take to requalify playing single-hand video poker -- and, to be honest, I'm getting a bit bored with it -- so I'm playing more multi-hand.

The problem with moving up from $1.25 or $5 per hand to $10 and more in the locals casinos is that the paytables get worse. You don't see that so much on the Strip. The reason is because the paytables at the low denominations are pretty lousy on the Strip, so the casinos can afford to make them better when you increase your bet.

In the locals casinos, there are many breakeven and positive expectation paytables at quarters and dollars. It's not surprising that there are no $5 Full Pay Deuces Wild machines, but you don't even find the breakeven paytables in multi-hand or higher denominations. That's because these paytables go positive (ever so slightly today, but still positive) on multiple points days.

The best paybacks I can get are around 99%, but I'm willing to trade a bit of long-term payback for time. Besides, I need to play only a few thousand hands, so any consideration of the long run is ridiculous.

I may not be considering long-term payback, but I am considering volatility. While it would be nice to play Triple Double Bonus and hit a few premium quads, I'm more comfortable playing a paytable that has lower highs and, more importantly, higher lows.

My two paytable choices are 8/5 Bonus Poker and Deuces Wild (Airport/Illinois). I decided to play the Deuces Wild. It irks me to give up a little in long-term payback, but I keep reminding myself that long term doesn't apply. Another advantage to the Deuces game is that I don't have to switch to a different strategy mindset. I've been playing NSU Deuces exclusively the past few years. Even though this Deuces paytable has a few strategy changes from NSU, I'm not bothering with them.

Now my interrelated choices are: denomination, hands to play, and bet per hand. I could start with any of them, but because the goal is to generate status points (action), it makes the most sense to start with bet per hand. Ten bucks per hand would halve the number of hands I have to play to requalify, but there are no Two-Play video poker machines, so I'm looking at $15-$25 per hand. (I know, there's Ten-Play quarters, which is close to $10 per hand. I'm also trying to stick with machines in the High Limit room.)

First session was Triple Play dollars. Down $600 on $4000 in action. Not a good start.

Another day, another session. Hundred Play nickels. Down $400 on $6000 in action. Better than the first session. That's the best I can say for it.

Third session was back on Triple Play dollars. I was mixing Hundred Play and Triple Play that day to take advantage of the positive aspects of each game. Down $30 on $4000 in action. That's more like it. I can afford that.

Another day, fourth session in my quest. Back to Hundred Play nickels, but this time only $20 per hand. My goal was to decrease the volatility of Triple Play dollars. I was playing an even number because I hate the change to $2/point for video poker and abandoning a partially earned point if I cash out on an odd number -- although I'm pretty sure I've lost more money playing an extra hand to get to an even number than I've won and earned from points from that extra hand.

Next week I'll share my observations about adjusting hands and denomination while keeping bet per hand constant. I'll also have a few more data points to share.


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I'm always amazed that scammers can't find someone who speaks English well enough to fix their text. Or they can't find a similar message from a legitimate company that they can alter with their info. I wonder where alicesimth7265562090@gmail.com, the From address on the email, is.

I have the same complaint with Chinese take-out menus -- in print in the old days and now online. These restaurants really can't find a native English speaker in Westfield, New Jersey or Las Vegas to write or edit the descriptions of their dishes?

And how about the manuals that come with products today. I don't know how much these companies spent to develop their products, but couldn't they find another $250 to have someone who speaks English write their manuals instead of using Google Translate?


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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