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HOME > HI-ROLLER > Gaming Tips > Ask the Slot Expert: Fishing for cash on fish table machines

Ask the Slot Expert: Fishing for cash on fish table machines

24 June 2020

By John Robison, Slot Expert™

Question: I am in Texas. Are there any apps to help my chances of winning on keno, or 7s, or even the fish tables? We have Pot of Gold and Life of Luxury tables, and all types of fish tables.

Answer: I'm always amazed at the unusual machines that are in some states. I've never seen these games in New Jersey or Nevada.

Fish tables or fish skill games are video games in which you shoot fish to win money. Operators claim that the games are not gambling because they require skill. Law enforcement generally does not agree.

I'm not convinced that these machines are legal in Texas, so I'm not going to comment on them. You might find something if you do a Google search.

I have no idea what game "7s" is, but I assume that you're playing keno legally, either the keno-like games from the lottery or keno machines in one of Texas' Native American casinos.

I worked in New York City when the New York State Lottery started its first Keno game. It seemed like a good game. They draw 20 numbers out of 80, you select 10 and payouts start at three (I think) matches. The odds printed on the back of the pick slip, however, showed that the game wasn't the surefire winner it seemed to be.

Nevertheless, I thought I had a way to improve my odds. I was going to write a program to track the numbers drawn. I would then buy a ticket with either the 10 most frequently drawn numbers or the 10 least frequently drawn numbers (they're due, right?)

I really don't recall if I ever finished the program. I do know, at least now, of the numerous safeguards that New York and other state lotteries have in place to protect the integrity of their drawings, such as having multiple sets of drawing balls and choosing a set at random shortly before the drawing, and checking that the weight of each ball is the same. Lotteries even take into account the weight of the paint in the numbers painted on the drawing balls. The end result is that each number is equally likely to be drawn in any drawing.

Given enough data, I would have found that each number's probability of being drawn was about 1/80.

The same holds true for electronic keno machines. Each number is equally likely to be drawn.

There are many keno tracker apps available, but they're all useless.

Four weeks ago, on May 27, the death toll from COVID-19 in the United States passed 100,000. Since that time, about 700 people a day died from the disease. Although the news -- at least the news that I watch and read -- continues to report the latest tally, some people may get the impression that the toll of the disease has leveled off because the death toll is going to be in the hundred-thousands for another three months (longer, I hope).

In its national reports, ABC News just says what the current number is and doesn't say how much it increased from the day before. When you hear 120,000 then 120,800 then 121,700 then 122,900, they sound like the same number because as numbers grow larger, we pay less attention to the less significant digits. Moreover, who remembers what the number was the day before. The reports should really say, "X people died from COVID-19 yesterday, bringing the total number to Y."

To fill that gap, to help us keep track of how well we're going against the virus, and to remind us that this health crisis is nowhere near over, starting next week I'll post the latest counts from the CDC's website each week and the change from a few prior weeks. If we see the numbers going down, we're making progress against the spread of the disease. Up, we're losing.

I don't have last week's data, but here are the current totals as of 6/23: US: cases 2,302,288, deaths 120,333; NV: cases 13,764, deaths 510.

Nearing the end of the third week of Phase 2 reopening in the casinos, I've seen a drop in the number of visitors from the first two weeks -- at least on the Friday and Saturday mornings that I've gone. The number of cars have been about the same on Fridays, but I noticed a distinct drop on Saturdays. The entry level of Red Rock's East garage was nearly full on 6/13, but there were many empty spaces on 6/20. The lower, VIP level was nearly empty both Saturdays (and on the three Fridays since reopening).

There were fewer people in line for the Grand Cafe on the second Saturday and I was pleasantly surprised to see mask usage among those in the queue much higher.

Speaking of masks, the new rule in Nevada is that you must wear a mask at a table game if there is no barrier between you and the dealer and the other players. From the Gaming Control Board's notice:

Licensees must require patrons to wear face coverings at table and card games if there is no barrier, partition, or shield between the dealer and each player. This requirement applies to table and card game players, spectators, and any other person withing six feet of any table or card game.

Smoking isn't explicitly addressed, but the requirement to wear a face covering implicitly bans smoking at the table. I saw a man playing blackjack get up from the table, walk a few feet away to an ash tray, smoke his cigarette, and then go back to the table. I'm sure many dealers appreciate this new rule.

Every place I go to now requests that patrons wear masks. Nevada Governor Sisolak has scheduled a press conference on 6/24 to give an update on the virus in Nevada. Some are speculating that, given the rising number of cases and hospitalizations since reopening, he may make wearing masks mandatory in public.

Getting on a high-paying video poker machine hasn't been a problem yet. Only once has there been another person on the same bank with me. I sat down at the machine on the left. There were two machines in the middle and then a man on the rightmost machine. We were over six feet apart and both masked, so I figured we posed little risk to each other. I wasn't going to be long, anyway. Nevertheless, the other man left shortly after I sat down. I don't know whether he was finished playing himself or didn't want to be that close to me.

Please continue sharing your stories about casinos in the COVID era. Have you been able to play the machines you want to play? Does your casino require patrons to wear masks? Is it doing a good job of encouraging and enforcing social distancing?

Movie theaters are starting to reopen. What do theaters have to do to make you comfortable going back to a theater?

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

Copyright © John Robison. Slot Expert and Ask the Slot Expert are trademarks of John Robison.

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. Hear John on "The Good Times Radio Gaming Show," broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoons. You can listen to archives of the show online anytime.

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