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# Ask the Slot Expert: Where I hit my royals

17 May 2017

Question: Always enjoy your articles and the information you publish.

I just read your latest about royal flushes and the percentages of hitting a royal vs. how many cards to the royal you were dealt. We live in the S. Lake Tahoe area, so we play at the five casinos they have here.

Reading your article to my wife, she asked, "Does it seem to matter what type of machine you're playing since there are different companies that make poker machines?" Can you address that?

Of the 13 royals you had (GREAT JOB), were they all on the same machine and were you in various casinos?

Answer: Thanks for the kind words about my articles.

Last year was an incredible year for royals — not only two dealt royals, but royals on back-to-back days. I played a lot of multi-hand poker last year, so that's one reason I hit so many royals.

I'll eventually be able to figure out how many hands I played last year. I started off keeping my records in Excel, but I couldn't generate reports from the spreadsheets. I switched to a database mid-year. The original structure had a lot of extra data about the number of high-paying hands I hit, which I thought might come in handy sometime, but it was time-consuming to gather and enter the data. So I designed a new structure for 2017 and designed reports based on the new structure. One of the reports will compare the number of high-paying hands I've hit with the total number of hands played to see how close I am to what the math predicts. I can already tell that once I get last year's data into the new table, the numbers will show that I hit more royals than expected given the number of hands I played.

Moving on to your questions, the type of machine may seem to matter, but it doesn't. In Nevada and in all Class III casinos, the video poker machines deal from a fair deck. The math is the same regardless of the manufacturer.

The paytable, on the other hand, does have an effect. The calculations from Dan Paymar that I provided were based on a non-wild card table. In Deuces Wild, for example, we have to remove the hands with one or more deuces from Dan's calculations for the probabilities of being dealt a partial royal. We're going to hold the deuces along with the partial royal, so there's no way these hands can lead to a natural royal flush.

I hit my royals in seven different casinos on six different machines. I hit three royals on the multi-hand machine I played frequently last year. I hit the most royals, six, in the casino in which I played the most — go figure. I hit two royals in one casino and one royal each in the remaining five casinos.

Funny story about one of the singleton royals. A friend of mine was the slot floorperson on duty in the video poker area when I was playing. I thought, "It might be a bit awkward if I hit a royal now. Should I tip him? Well, it's not likely I'll have to deal with it."

Well, 20 minutes later, I hit the royal. And my friend came to handle the hand pay. He took my players card and went to the terminal 15 feet away from my machine to do the paperwork.

I hadn't changed my address at this casino since moving to Las Vegas. There was a line at the cage when I arrived that day, so I figured I'd change my address when the line was shorter. My friend came back to me and said that he would need my license too. My old address was still in the system.

After a few minutes, he told me that he was having difficulty changing my address. The system wouldn't retain my new address. He said he was going to get his supervisor to help.

The two of them then worked on changing my address. I overheard them discussing how they keep saving my new address but my old address keeps coming back. And what does this "C" in the corner of the screen mean? They told me they were going to go to the cage and try to change my address there.

We're about 20 minutes into this hand pay now. All the time with the jackpot music playing on my machine. A man playing a few machines down asked me if I was ever going to get my money. I told him that I think I know what the problem is.

I have a line of credit at this casino. When you have a line of credit, updating your information in the system is restricted to the cage because the credit office wants to ensure that they always know how to reach you to get back the money you borrow from them.

After another 10 minutes, they came back with my license and my money. The "C" in the corner of the screen indicates that I have a cage account and updates have to be made there.

"What about the tip?" you ask. The supervisor disappeared a split second after I got paid, so I didn't have to worry about him. I was paid in all hundreds, so I don't know whether they didn't have the nerve to set me up to give a tip after taking 30 minutes for a hand pay or my friend just didn't expect me to give him a tip. I keep a few twenties in a compartment in my wallet, so I always have tip money in case the casino pays me in all large. I gave him one of my tipping twenties.

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