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Ask the Slot Expert: Those elusive deuces

1 December 2021

Suncoast has six video poker machines with NSU Deuces. Only one machine has no glare from the overhead lights. Only one machine has the sound turned on, ever so slightly. They are not the same machine.

I had played the glare-free machine most of the time. I would even get up early on 10x points days to beat the other knowledgeable players to the machine. If you know how much I hate getting up early, you know how much I really wanted to get that machine and avoid the glare.

The machine always gave a glare-free experience. Unfortunately, for me at least, it almost always gave a profit-free experience, as well. As I wrote last week, I've had a streak of losing sessions the past two months or so. In the past, it was not unusual for a session to end breakeven or nearly breakeven. Sure, there were the occasional sessions that ended with a significant loss -- and many that ended with a significant win -- but even when I didn't hit a royal or deuces, I could frequently end the session with close to what I started with.

Not the past two months. Almost every session ended with that I consider a significant loss. In fact, when I hit the royal at the beginning of the month (after going without one for 21 months and 113,000 hands), I left the money in my wallet because I figured that NSU was just going to take it back in short order anyway.

I eventually gave up on the glare-free machine. If it wasn't going to pay me, I was not going to play it. I was playing the machine back-to-back with it when I hit my royal a few weeks ago.

I wondered whether there might be another cause of my poor session performance besides plain bad luck. I wondered whether I might be missing some paying hands because the machines I played didn't make a noise when I was dealt a paying hand. I should say, rather, that the machines did make a noise. I just couldn't hear it because the sound was off. Another paying-hand notification that is missing is the hand name that can be displayed between the cards and the paytable. And one last thing that could have contributed to my missing a paying hand is the glare on the paytable that made it nearly impossible to see that one of the paylines was highlighted.

(Although it is ultimately up to players to figure out what they've been dealt, I don't see any harm in requiring that casinos enable the hand name notification in the middle of the screen.)

I thought maybe I was missing some wild straights and straight flushes, like 5-8-2-9-6. Maybe I was missing some wild straight flushes with two deuces, like suited 5-2-9-2-6, and held just the deuces.

I really didn't think I was missing paying hands, but nevertheless I switched to playing the one machine with sound. I can't tell whether I was now catching paying hands I would have otherwise missed because the machine dinged faster than I could evaluate a hand. Nevertheless, I did have more typical session results, but my sample size is much too small to draw any conclusions.

This morning, hoping that my luck had changed and not wanting to deal with glare, I decided I would give the glare-free machine another chance. I don't hold grudges against machines.

There was no one playing the glare-free machine. That was unusual given that it was a 10x points day and I didn't get to the casino early. It's been over a cycle since I hit my last set of deuces. I thought that maybe I'd hit one today.

After 1300+ hands played today, I'm still deuceless. Deuces are willing to sing solos, duets and trios for me, but they just won't form a barbershop quartet. It's been 7600 hands since my last set. But I did have a nice surprise shortly after I started playing, about 50 hands in.

I held the jack and queen of clubs. Two-card royals rarely amount to much, but I was hoping I might get three-of-a-kind or a flush from it. I hit the Draw button, not expecting to win anything on the hand.

Up popped three more clubs. A flush, at least, maybe even a straight flush. Right as the Call Attendant message appeared on the screen, I saw that the three clubs I got were the ten, ace, and king I needed for a royal.

It has been only about 17,000 hands since my last royal. The statistic of about 43,000 hands between royals is just an average, not a countdown. Your mileage may vary.

I hope I continue to hit royals before completing a cycle of 43,000 hands. NSU still owes me seven more royals.


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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