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# Ask the Slot Expert: Who counts the hands played on a video poker machine?

28 March 2012

Hi John

Thanks for all your wonderful articles.

As a local in Las Vegas, I mostly patronize and play video poker at a neighborhood poker bar. I am a well-seasoned video poker player for over 10 years, and I am a marathon player, oftentimes playing on one machine for up to 18 hours straight.

We all know that the odds of getting a royal flush are about 1 in 42,000. If I am playing a video poker machine for 18 hours straight, and let's say I am averaging 1 hand every 10 seconds, that would come out to 6 hands per minute, 360 hands per hour, that would give me 6,480 hands for an 18 hour session.

Let's say I never got a royal. I leave the machine, and another customer gets on the machine. So the question is: Who's counting the hands played? The machine. So the customer who plays the machine after me gets the advantage of knowing he or she will start out as if they already played 6,480 hands. Does this make any sense?

In the "old days" when the machines took coins, and the gaming company had to be called to pay off a royal, I would ask them some of these questions. The other thing I want to know is: If I am playing JOB on a multi-game machine, and then change to DDB on the same machine, does the 1 in 42,000 stat apply to each individual game? Or machine?

Thanks for reading my questions, and I look forward to hearing your answers.

Warmest regards,
JG

Dear JG,

Thanks for the kind words about my articles.

Who is counting the hands played? Nobody. Not even the machine. When we say that you get a royal every 42,000 hands, we're talking about an average. You might actually get 0, 2, 3 or more royals in any block of 42,000 hands.

There is nothing in any video poker machine in the U.S. that counts the number of hands played and ensures that there is a royal every 42,000 hands. All of the cards are dealt at random, without regard to what has happened in the past.

There is no advantage to playing a machine on which someone has just played 6,480 (or 60,480) non-royal hands. The odds of getting a royal are the same on every hand.

Similarly, changing games on a multi-game machine has no effect. There is nothing in the machine counting hands. The cards are dealt randomly on every hand.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John

Send your slot and video poker questions to John Robison, Slot Expert, at slotexpert@comcast.net. Because of the volume of mail I receive, I regret that I can't reply to every question.

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