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Ask the Slot Expert: More on Good Times Pay video poker

31 July 2024

Question: Very interesting information in your column about playing NSU DW at South Point playing the Good Times Pay version. Does this statement by the Wizard of Odds "the average value of the multipliers in the grid is always the fair cost"of enabling the grid (and the math behind it) apply to any Good Times Pay game other than NSU DW, like DDB or DWB?

Answer: I don't know for sure, but there's an easy way for you to check for yourself.

The Wizard said, "It seems that every game I looked at had a distribution of multipliers as follows." (I added the Sum row. I'll explain it later.)

Multiplier 6 Coins Bet 7 Coins Bet 8 Coins Bet 9 Coins Bet 10 Coins Bet
7 0 0 0 0 1
6 0 0 0 1 1
5 0 0 1 1 1
4 0 1 1 1 1
3 1 1 2 1 1
2 4 7 7 10 10
1 25 21 19 16 15
Average 1.2 1.4 1.6 1.8 2
Sum 36 42 48 54 60

If you see that distribution of multipliers, it's the same. (Gee thanks, Captain Obvious.) I found a video of someone playing Good Times Pay on YouTube. He was betting 10 coins per hand and his distribution of multipliers matched what the Wizard saw.

You don't want to carry around the Wizard's chart or you don't have it handy? No problem.

Just add up the values of the multipliers in your grid. I added the values of the multipliers that the Wizard saw and put the totals in my Sum row.

Now, all you have to do is divide by 30 to get the average value. (There are 30 multipliers in the grid.) For example, the 10 Coins column is 60/30=2. (That was an easy one.)

Now compare your average multiplier to how much more you're betting. In the 6 Coins column, for example, you increased your bet by 20% and the average multiplier is 20% greater than 1. In the 10 coins column, you increased your bet by 100% and the average multiplier is 100% greater than 1.

That's rather clunky, isn't it? It's easier to remember that the benchmark is 0.2. Each additional coin you bet should raise your average multiplier by 0.2.

Now I'm reminded of the math class I had that introduced me and my fellow high school juniors to Calculus. The teacher would give us a formula to integrate and we would spend a few minutes calculating the answer. The teacher would just look at the formula and write out the integral.

After we did this for a few days (or weeks), I remember that he asked us, "Do you want to know the fast way to do it?"

I'm pretty sure that we all said, "Yes!"

Do you want to know the fast way to tell if your grid of multipliers is worse than, the same as, or better than the distribution that the Wizard saw?

Notice that the sum of the multipliers in the Wizard's distributions is 6 times the number of coins bet. If the sum of the multipliers in your grid is more than 6 times the number of coins you're betting, your distribution is better than the Wizard's. Less is worse.

There's no way to avoid adding up the multipliers, but at least you can do that on your phone or watch today. There's also no way to avoid multiplying the number of coins you're betting by 6, but that's much easier to do in your head than dividing by 30.

I think you'll most likely find the same multiplier distributions on all paytables on all machines. The beauty of the distribution is that, in terms of comparing the actual payback of the machine with the expected payback based on the number of hands played, the casino doesn't care whether players bet only 5 coins or bet extra coins. The payback is the same. There's still the issue of short-coin play, but since a short-coin bet affects payback only when it's on a royal, I suppose it's not really much of a problem.

If you would like to see more non-smoking areas on slot floors in Las Vegas, please sign my petition on change.org.

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