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Ask the Slot Expert: Readers' advice to hold on to slot winnings

7 April 2021

Question: I read with great interest your answer to the reader's question on how to walk out with your winnings and not put it back into the machine. I too have had difficulty getting up from a machine -- whether winning or losing.

A long time ago at the old Atlantic City Hilton, I had a run like never before, or after. I was playing a Blazing 7s game and began winning. I was winning, and, did I mention I was winning? I ran this machine up to $1400+ before I decided to get up and stop chasing the accumulated jackpot of about $1100. I think I could have tried to double my winnings by attempting to hit the Blazing 7s, but I grabbed hold of myself and said, "Stop chasing the rainbow, get out now!"

I love to think about that day. It was the day I became the master of myself and not the casino's benefactor.

When my mother was alive, we would take the Casino Bonus Greyhound from Baltimore several times a year. Atlantic City Hilton was my favorite place to stay.

Keep the good stories and experiences coming.

Answer: A long time ago, in a casino long, long closed....

Congratulations on your run of good luck. I've had many instances of both good and bad luck. Fortunately, I remember a lot about the good runs and almost nothing about the bad runs except for the fact that they happened.

I remember hitting a handpay at the Atlantic City Hilton, mainly because they had no slot chairs in that section of the casino and I had to stand while waiting.

Are chair-less slots still a thing? Before social distancing, every slot in the casinos I visit in Las Vegas had a chair in front of it. Maybe some slot houses that cater to foot traffic downtown or on the strip still cram in as many machines as they can by making players stand.

How about in other parts of the country? Does your casino have machines where you have to stand?

Atlantic City used to have some bizarre rules about slot chairs -- and other things. In the pictures showing slot floors in the early days of Atlantic City's casinos, there's not a chair to be seen. And the machines are lined up in long rows like they're in a warehouse. Slot floor design at the time was 15 rows of 20 machines with no breaks in the middle.

At some point slot chairs started appearing in Atlantic City. I think the rule was that they had to either be fixed to the floor or fixed to the machine. Photos of Bally's Wild Wild West casino show slot chairs mounted on top of poles coming out of the floor.

I wanted to play a machine that was against the wall at some Atlantic City casino. When I walked up to the machine, the guard standing near it offered to get the chair for me. The guard dragged the chair over and attached it to the machine.

I felt real bad when I decided I didn't like the machine and left after a few minutes. The guard had to detach the chair and drag it back against the wall.

Some other bizarre Atlantic City rules: You can't post payback percentages on machines. Cocktail servers could not offer cocktails, only coffee, tea and soft drinks. They would bring you anything you wanted. They just couldn't offer cocktails as they canvassed their areas.

I'm pretty sure it was the Atlantic City Hilton that had a drawing on a weeknight at 8PM. I drove down to Atlantic City right after work to go to the drawing. Timing had the potential to be tight because I left work around 5PM for the two-hour drive and traffic on the Garden State Parkway can be unpredictable.

I made it there in time. I didn't win anything. Back in the car for the two-hour drive home. But hey, you gotta be in it to win it.

The Atlantic City Hilton building has had many name changes. It started out as Steve Wynn's Golden Nugget. After Wynn got tired of battling with New Jersey's regulators, he sold the building to Bally Manufacturing and built The Mirage. The building was now Bally's Grand Hotel and Casino. (It's kinda small to be grand.) Then Hilton Hotels bought it and renamed it the Atlantic City Hilton. Then it became the ACH Casino Resort, much the same way that the Las Vegas Hilton became the LVH for a while. Then it was the Atlantic Club Casino Hotel for a couple of years and then it closed in 2014.

The only constants over the years were the peregrine falcons that nested on a ledge outside the penthouse. I wonder if they're still there. They were still there about a decade ago. Changing the signs to Atlantic Club Casino was delayed nine years ago until the baby chicks flew away. I guess the presence of the falcons isn't as protective as the presence of the ravens at the Tower of London.

Your story of holding on to your winnings underscores what I was trying to say in last week's column. It is completely up to the players to quit playing according to whatever criteria they have set or feelings they have.

The casinos encourage us to play and keep playing. They give us chairs to sit on and bring beverages to us. They make comfortable areas in which to play. No more rows of machines like soldiers lined up for inspection. Instead they have clusters of four to ten machines laid out so you never feel like you're trapped in the window seat.

During the recent social media hearing in Congress, one legislator criticized the social media companies for making compelling sites.

Well, duh! What are they supposed to do? Build a site that no one wants to use? Build it and they won't come?

Casinos make compelling playing environments and machines and players have to take it upon themselves to play responsibly.

If you hit something nice, take some or all of it with you. The casinos can afford it. The volcano will still erupt at The Mirage. The fountains will still dance at Bellagio.

Are there any other free shows left on the strip? The pirate battle at Treasure Island got a bit sleazy when it was changed from a battle between pirates and British sailors to a battle between pirates and the scantily clad Sirens of Treasure Island, and then Sirens of TI. I once dined with Frank Scoblete in one of the restaurants that had a view of the pirate show. In the middle of dinner, the waiter alerted us that the show was about to start and we could watch it from one of the windows. The show was still Pirates vs. British then. That show closed in 2019.

Excalibur used to have a low-budget, cheesy wizard show, Merlin vs. Dragon. Voted Worst Attraction in both 2002 and 2003 (our defending champion), it closed in 2004.

It may not be a coincidence that the remaining shows were both started by Steve Wynn.

Question: I’ve heard of players using the Winners Bank200 to keep their winnings safe. Take a look.

Answer: If you need a mechanical aide to help you keep your winnings, this device may work for you. It's like giving your money to someone else with instructions to not give it back to you no matter how much you plead.

The Winner's Bank 200 is like a roach motel for cash. Bills check in, but they don't check out. At least not until you get home, where you should have left the key to open it.

If you are the type of person who likes to limit risk and gain an advantage while playing games in casinos, then, the Winners Bank200 is for you. It is a sleek pocket-sized bank made of a light weight metal to secure your winnings. It comes with two keys and you may choose from four different colors, Matte Black, Dark Blue, Red, and Pink. The back of the bank is chrome. When you’re having a winning occasion, just put that money into the Winners Bank200 and you will go home a winner.

I think you should develop the discipline to leave with your winnings. But if you can't, the Winners Bank200 is $35.95.


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

Totals Weekly Increases
US NV US NV
Date Cases  Deaths  Cases  Deaths  Cases  Deaths  Cases  Deaths 
 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   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 
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