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Ask the Slot Expert: More Advantage Play outside the casino

27 April 2022

This week let's continue looking at using Advantage Play techniques outside the casino.

Advantage Play is sometimes just knowing the rules of a promotion and using that knowledge to make informed choices in a promotion. Last week I wrote about how some people try to get the most from promotions at Starbucks. I don't want to leave out Dunkin' Donuts.

Just about every offer I have in my DD app says it cannot be combined with another offer. Is that another offer on that item or another offer in the purchase?

In the past, when I wanted to use a free-beverage-from-points offer and also buy something that had a bonus points offer, I would make two online orders: one order with just the beverage, and the other order with everything else. When I had everything in one order, the points earned summary at the bottom of the receipt showed that I had earned only regular points on the order, no bonus points. I assume that the bonus points offer could not be combined with the free beverage offer on one purchase.

This situation seems to have changed. The DD app was enhanced to show how many points you earn on a mobile order. I accidentally used a free beverage offer on an order with a bonus points item purchase. I was pleasantly surprised to see that I received the bonus points.

Dunkin allows an order to tick many offer boxes. It recently had a promotion in which you received 100 bonus points for placing a mobile order. I was able to place one mobile order for a cold brew and a chocolate croissant and use a free beverage offer on it, get 100 bonus points for the mobile order, and get bonus points for the croissant from another offer.

As I wrote last week, Bob Dancer made out a bit better in the promotion that he had a problem with and I actually made out a little better in the croissant promotion. My DD didn't have any more croissants, so they offered me two chocolate donuts instead. The two donuts cost a dime more than the croissant. By the way, since when do donuts cost $1.39? The last price I remember for them is 99 cents.

T-Mobile frequently offers a $2 DD promo card to subscribers on T-Mobile Tuesdays. The fine print says that the "offer may not be combined with any other discounts, coupons, promotions or special offers." The promo card must be redeemed at a register. My receipts have shown that I didn't earn any DD Perks points when I used the T-Mobile card and paid with the app -- in fact, the message on the receipt suggested that I join DD Perks -- so now I make two orders: one to use the promo card on and another with the other things I want to earn points.

Last week I complained about contestants on Wheel of Fortune buying so many vowels. This week I'll complain about they way they are almost always disappointed when they land on Express.

They shouldn't be. Express removes the risk of having to spin the wheel and it gives the player one of the highest values for consonants. Granted, there is the added danger of any mistake (consonant or vowel not in puzzle or incorrect guess) causing a bankrupt, but if you don't have anything to protect, like the Million Dollar Wedge or something else you would lose on a bankrupt, jump on the Express.

Likewise for the Mystery Wedge. It's a 50/50 shot between $10,000 and bankrupt. If you have less than $5000 and you don't have anything to protect, pick up that wedge and reveal the result.

Why do players who know the puzzle call a letter that is in the puzzle only once and then solve when there is a letter that is in the puzzle more than once? If you're doing a spin-and-solve, call the letter that appears in the puzzle the most.

Some contestants are great actors. They solve the bonus puzzle. Then Pat opens the prize card to reveal $39,000 and the contestants shriek and jump for joy.

That's the minimum they could have won. There should be no joyous surprise when it is revealed.Save that for the car or the $100,000 card.

One more comment about Wheel of Fortune. I read the fine print at the end of the show. Why does every almost every episode have a disclaimer saying that the show was edited due to technical difficulties?

Speaking of fine print, have you ever read the fine print at the end of America's Got Talent?

Survivor and The Amazing Race used to have presentations of huge million-dollar checks to their winners. Have you noticed how you never see that with an America's Got Talent winner?

The judges frequently ask the contestants what they will do with the million-dollar prize. I wonder if a contestant ever said, "Well, if you actually gave me a million dollars, I would...."

The fine print at the end of the show says that the prize is "payable in a financial annuity over forty years". That's $25,000 per year. Can't do much with that.

Winners can opt for the present value of the annuity, which is around $300,000. Now we're talking money, but it's not a cool mil.

AGT is one of the most watched -- if not the most watched -- series over the summer. Surely it can afford to pay its winners $1,000,000 in cash.

(Okay, granted, the real prize is the nationwide exposure, which can be worth much more than $1,000,000. But if you're going to advertise a million-dollar prize and you can afford to pay it in one lump sum, you should.)

The contestants on Jeopardy leave a lot of money on the table with their wagers in Final Jeopardy. When it's not a runaway, the leader usually bets enough to finish with $1 more than the maximum amount the second-place contestant could finish with. They could have bet more. Unless the leader has some knowledge about the second-place contestant that would make the leader think the second-place person would get Final wrong, the leader has to bet assuming the second-place player will bet it all and be correct.

On a recent show, the returning champ was in first place (1P) and had $20,400 going into Final, and the challengers had $10,200 (2P) and $8,000 (3P). You're the champ. What would you bet?

As expected, 2P bet it all and the champ bet $1. They both got the answer right and the champ kept the crown.

In the past, the champ could have taken the sure thing, bet $0, and worst case would have been a returning co-champion. A number of years ago, Jeopardy changed the rules so that ties at the end of Final were resolved with a tie-breaker and only one person would return as champion. The reason given for the change was to ensure that they would always use 10 people from the contestant pool for each five-episode taping day.

The champ had to assume that 2P would bet it all and get the answer right, so the champ had to bet at least $1. I think the champ could have bet up to $4399.

The way the game played out, the champ could have bet much more. If 2P got the answer wrong, they are no longer a threat. Now the champ's bet has to be defensive against a correct answer from 3P with an all-in bet. The champ could bet $4399 and get the answer wrong and still have $1 more ($16,001) than when 3P goes all in and is correct ($16,000).

I think the general rule is that 1P's minimum bet is to have $1 more than a correct all-in bet from 2P when 1P is correct and 1P's maximum bet is to end up with $1 more than an a correct all-in bet from 3P or a $0 bet from 2P when 1P is incorrect. The minimum is determined by 2 times 2P's amount and the maximum is determined by the greater of 2P's amount and 2 times 3P's amount.


Here are the latest Covid data. There is a difference in the hospitalization data for US versus NV. The CDC reports total number of Covid hospital admissions. Nevada reports current hospitalizations, not admissions.

All data comes from the CDC (https://www.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#cases_totalcases, https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#new-hospital-admissions), except for Nevada current hospitalizations (https://nvhealthresponse.nv.gov/).


Totals Weekly Changes
US NV US NV
Date Cases  Hosp. Adm.  Deaths  Cases  Curr. Hosp.  Deaths  Cases  Hosp. Adm.  Deaths  Cases  Curr. Hosp.  Deaths 
 04/26/22   80,874,929   4,632,868   988,991   717,604   104   10,728   348,507   12,597   2,446   1,447   (22)   46 
 04/19/22   80,526,422   4,620,271   986,545   716,157   126   10,682   266,330   10,525   3,308   1,232   (37)   497 
 04/12/22   80,260,092   4,609,746   983,237   714,925   163   10,185   228,465   10,343   3,627   1,228   23   53 
 04/05/22   80,031,627   4,599,403   979,610   713,697   140   10,132   203,709   10,312   4,105   1,059   (52)   76 
 03/29/22   79,827,918   4,589,091   975,505   712,638   192   10,056   206,914   9,572   4,083   1,187   5   40 
 03/22/22   79,621,004   4,579,519   971,422   711,451   187   10,016   200,627   8,502   8,178   742   (71)   83 
 03/15/22   79,418,377   4,571,017   963,244   710,709   258   9,933   253,069   17,393   5,492   24,844   (20)   113 
 03/08/22   79,165,308   4,553,624   957,752   685,865   278   9,820   310,308   24,471   9,870   2,099   (101)   116 
 03/01/22   78,855,000   4,529,153   947,882   683,766   379   9,704   465,845   33,261   14,988   6,421   (189)   196 
 02/22/22   78,389,155   4,495,892   932,894   677,345   568   9,508   551,462   46,726   12,797   4,023   (297)   173 
 02/15/22   77,837,693   4,449,166   920,097   673,322   865   9,335   1,005,691   67,963   17,059   5,280   (375)   149 
 02/08/22   76,782,002   4,381,203   903,038   668,042   1,240   9,186   1,769,556   92,750   18,185   11,144   (387)   235 
 02/01/22   75,012,446   4,288,453   884,853   656,898   1,627   8,951   3,193,570   121,420   17,885   26,555   (344)   191 
 01/25/22   71,818,876   4,167,033   866,968   630,343   1,971   8,760   5,102,999   143,329   16,393   57,574   99   133 
 01/18/22   66,715,937   4,023,704   850,575   572,769   1,872   8,627   4,983,654   147,105   13,301   25,927   (1,787)   99 
 01/11/22   61,732,283   3,876,599   837,274   546,842   3,659   8,528   5,421,565   139,572   12,168   32,486   2,594   100 
 01/05/22   56,310,718   3,737,027   825,106   514,344   1,065   8,428   3,501,427   104,272   8,867   20,966   276   61 
 12/28/21   52,809,291   3,362,755   816,239   493,378   789   8,367   1,693,987   63,185   11,127   7,977   89   56 
 12/21   51,115,304   3,569,570   805,112   485,401   700   8,311   1,063,296   55,734   9,102   5,639   9   110 
 12/14   50,052,008   3,513,836   796,010   479,762   691   8,201   853,262   57,885   8,946   5,008   17   91 
 12/07   49,198,746   3,455,951   787,064   474,754   674   8,110   821,215   66,191   8,575   5,011   23   125 
 11/30   48,377,531   3,389,760   778,489   469,743   651   7,985   563,746   28,426   6,309   3,343   (50)   55 
 11/23   47,813,785   3,361,334   772,180   466,400   701   7,930   667,924   41,145   10,754   4,784   (24)   86 
 11/16   47,145,861   3,320,189   761,426   461,616   725   7,844   604,748   63,164   7,862   4,577   22   85 
 11/09   46,541,113   3,257,025   753,564   457,039   703   7,759   516,764   33,219   8,290   5,539   34   103 
 11/02   46,024,349   3,223,806   745,274   451,500   669   7,656   555,915   38,028   9,226   4,327   45   109 
 10/26   45,468,434   3,185,778   736,048   447,173   624   7,547   488,829   42,265   9,842   4,753   (87)   96 
 10/19   44,979,605   3,143,513   726,206   442,420   711   7,451   578,396   11,963   4,381   136 
 10/12   44,401,209   714,243   438,039   7,315   795,586   14,067   15,710   149 
 10/05   43,605,623   700,176   422,329   7,166   554,194   10,642   3,852   121 
 09/28   43,051,429   689,534   418,477   7,045   817,218   14,463   6,160   165 
 09/21   42,234,211   675,071   412,317   6,880   971,637   14,691   7,466   152 
 09/14   41,262,574   660,380   404,851   6,728   1,176,763   12,919   10,256   145 
 09/07   40,085,811   647,461   394,595   6,583   975,725   10,076   5,237   104 
 08/31   39,110,086   637,385   389,358   6,479   1,113,414   9,385   7,592   173 
 08/24   37,996,672   628,000   381,649   6,306   1,045,491   7,507   8,117   116 
 08/17   36,951,181   620,493   373,649   6,190   959,978   4,715   7,065   150 
 08/10   35,991,203   615,778   366,584   6,040   819,524   3,987   7,652   122 
 08/03   35,171,679   611,791   358,932   5,918   622,832   2,279   7,489   81 
 07/27   34,548,847   609,012   351,443   5,837   652,251   2,394   8,347   79 
 07/20   33,896,296   606,618   341,096   5,758   169,933   1,478   3,351   28 
 07/13   33,726,363   605,140   339,745   5,730   181,047   1,959   4,982   33 
 07/06   33,545,316   603,181   334,763   5,697   75,104   1,373   2,234   27 
 06/29   33,470,212   601,808   332,529   5,670   87,507   2,057   3,020   24 
 06/22   33,382,705   599,751   329,509   5,646   75,420   2,157   1,930   22 
 06/15   33,303,285   597,594   327,579   5,624   95,797   2,293   1,560   17 
 06/08   33,207,488   595,301   326,019   5,607   114,250   3,762   2,271   21 
 06/01   33,039,238   591,539   323,748   5,586   123,333   3,709   991   27 
 05/25   32,969,905   587,830   322,757   5,559   174,125   4,234   1,676   26 
 05/18   32,795,780   583,596   321,081   5,533   223,966   4,230   2,301   27 
 05/11   32,571,814   579,366   318,780   5,506   303,856   4,687   2,541   33 
 05/04   32,267,958   574,679   316,239   5,473   343,348   4,908   2,559   40 
 04/27   31,924,610   569,771   313,680   5,433   383,163   4,958   2,747   65 
 04/20   31,541,447   564,813   310,933   5,368   464,556   5,072   2,590   36 
 04/13   31,076,891   559,741   308,343   5,332   480,061   5,321   2,986   57 
 04/06   30,596,830   554,420   305,357   5,275   448,935   7,124   3,084   38 
 03/30   30,147,895   547,296   302,273   5,237   439,510   6,793   939   63 
 03/23   29,708,385   540,503   301,334   5,174   388,928   7,446   1,863   53 
 03/16   29,319,457   533,057   299,471   5,121   381,695   8,362   3,078   81 
 03/09   28,937,762   524,695   296,393   5,040   480,902   11,573   2,413   83 
 03/02   28,456,860   513,122   293,980   4,957   463,356   14,129   2,835   75 
 02/23   27,993,504   498,993   291,145   4,882   451,083   13,923   2,406   162 
 02/16   27,542,421   485,070   288,739   4,720   602,906   21,411   4,149   198 
 02/09   26,939,515   463,659   284,590   4,522   779,305   21,828   5,444   244 
 02/02   26,160,210   441,831   279,146   4,278   1,007,777   22,004   7,249   249 
 01/26   25,152,433   419,827   271,897   4,029   1,312,565   23,385   10,324   250 
 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 
 12/29/20   19,232,843   334,029   218,377   2,973   1,258,540   15,460   12,493   186 
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