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Ask the Slot Expert: Three royals in 18 hours

9 December 2020

Question: Thanks for the explanation as to how you ended up with NSU deuces as your go-to game.

An update on my Royal Flush amazing run.

Over the last three sessions of about 6 hours each I have had a Royal each session. Very unusual.

I have had over the years two in one day about an hour apart. This last one was really out of the blue. Held one and drew the other four!! Am closing in on 50 of them since I started keeping track some years ago.

Answer: Very unusual indeed! I don't know how quickly you play, but I would estimate that you play between 4000-6000 hands in six hours. Hitting one royal in three six-hour sessions is not news. You have to hit them sometime. Two royals in 18 hours, a good story, but not momentous. We all get lucky sometimes (well, I haven't, but more on that later). Three royals in 18 hours, though, is a great story and a rare event.

I've gotten three sets of deuces in one session three times (Is that a double hat trick? A hat trick cubed?), but I've never had more than one royal per day playing single-hand video poker. I did get two royals in one session playing five-play -- that was memorable -- and multiple royals playing 20-100 play for dimes or quarters -- not so memorable.

Oh, wait. I do have a memorable multiple-royal experience playing quarter 10-play. I was dealt a royal and won $10,000. The casino even took my picture with a big cardboard check.

That experience is memorable not only for my big win, but also for what had happened about 20 minutes before. A woman sat down at the machine next to me. She said that she was on a vacation to try to forget her troubles. Her mother was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.

I said that there was hope for a recovery. I told her that my mother had breast cancer in 1973, survived it, and she died of old age in 2010. Treatments are much better today.

Then she said, "How about we go partners and split whatever we win?"

Okay, I had given her the benefit of the doubt but she's just a con artist. I told her I wasn't interested in taking on a partner and she was on her own. She didn't leave right away and I was considering hitting the Service button to ask a floorperson to call security. She left before I took action and I never saw her again.

I told Jean Scott about my multi-hand dealt royal and, of course, she could top it. I think she has written about this experience, so I'm not speaking out of class.

She and Brad were playing at a casino and they were trying to keep a low profile. They were playing 100-play quarters to earn points quickly for a promotion and they were dealt a royal. It's nigh impossible to have a low profile when you win $100,000.

I attract scam artists. Washing my hands in the mens room, a guy asked for help. He showed me a page in the notebook he was carrying. The page had the name and address of a nursing home, where he was supposed to work that day. He said that he got off the bus at the wrong stop.

I thought, Maybe you did get off the bus at the wrong stop, but how did you end up in a mens room in Red Rock Casino?

(The one time I took a local bus in a London suburb -- Crouch End, sounds like something you'd get an ointment for from your gastroenterologist -- I sat right behind the driver and asked him to tell me when I should get off. And then I got off through the entry door instead of the exit door. No one complained about my not following the proper procedure. If my American accent didn't give away the fact that I didn't know what I was doing, the luggage I was carrying did. Or maybe their courtesy was just English politeness.)

I told the off-course bus rider that I didn't know anything about the bus routes in Las Vegas and I couldn't help him. He said that what he really needed was money to buy another bus ticket. I told him that I still couldn't help him.

A week or two later, I was sitting in the Red Rock food court having a snack and my buddy came up to me again. He showed me the same page in the same notebook and started to tell me the same story about going to work and getting off the bus at the wrong stop.

I interrupted his performance. I said, "You don't remember me? You told me the same BS story two weeks ago in the mens room right over there. How come you keep getting off the bus at the same wrong stop?

He ran away from me. A little while later I saw him going from table to table in the food court again. I went to the security podium and told them about the con artist. I said, "You can't miss him. He has a three-inch wooden cross hanging from a string around his neck." It took security so long to respond that the grifter had enough time to get someone to buy him lunch at Panda Express and then disappear. I haven't seen him since.

I've been playing less NSU Deuces and more Bonus Poker the past two weeks. It's near the end of the year and I haven't requalified for the top tier in one of my slot clubs yet. In retrospect, I should have played more over the summer when the virus was less prevalent. I've been bitten more than once by the wait-a-while-things-will-get-better-in-the-future trap only to have things get worse in the future.

I'm trying to limit my time in the casino, so I'm trying to earn the status credits I need more quickly than I can earn them playing single-hand NSU. That means playing triple-play Bonus Poker so I can earn a bunch of points in a third of the time it would take playing NSU and have only a small expected loss on a point multiplier day. And maybe I'll hit a bunch of royals in a short amount of time, too!

Keep up your amazing run. I want to hear about your fourth royal before the end of the year.


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

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

Trump, December 5, Voldosta, GA: "We’re rounding the turn, we’re rounding the corner of the pandemic." Donald Trump Georgia Rally Transcript Before Senate Runoff Elections December 5

Over a million new cases each week and more than 2000 people dying each day. New cases and new deaths increasing week after week. I always thought that "turning the corner" means getting past the most difficult time and starting to improve?

As I said before, I'm trying to limit my time in the casino and maybe requalify before the Thanksgiving surge shows up in the data. I guess it's really too late, because the people who are going to be in next week's statistics are playing in the casinos now.

I'm amazed at the number of people who seem to think that it's business as usual. I'm the only one playing at a bank of four machines. I'm at one of the machines on the end. Another person comes to play at the bank and doesn't sit at the machine at the other end, but picks the machine next to it.

Even though we both have masks on (I've been doing a double mask for weeks now), don't you want to be as far from me as you can be? This happened a few days ago. I was going to play until I had a round number of points, but then the drink he had ordered arrived. He pulled down his mask and left it down. I was outta there.

I always avoided interior machines and smokers in the past, but now avoiding them is absolute for me. Interior machines are out because of social distancing. And I can generalize avoiding smokers in that I avoid being near anyone who is not wearing a mask for any reason -- smoking, drinking, eating.

How has taking Covid precautions changed your behavior in the casino? Are you going less frequently? Are you staying for a shorter length of time? Are you keeping more than six feet away from other players?


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