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HOME > Gaming > Ask the Slot Expert: Telling which slot machines are going to hit

Ask the Slot Expert: Telling which slot machines are going to hit

4 June 2014

By John Robison, Slot Expert™

I am going to Atlantic City for the first time in about five years.

I like the slots, especially ones that have a cute bonus round. I have learned that I can make a little playing 5-cent machines compared to playing higher denominations that pay less often.

Are there any indications as to which machines are going to hit? A certain seat in a row of machines?

Any tips you could give me would be very appreciated.

If only we could predict when a machine is going to hit.

Slot manufacturers go to great lengths to ensure that the results of each spin are determined at random. Machines do not have tells that indicate that they are going to hit soon. Moreover, the casino does not know and can't control when a machine is going to hit.

Some casinos identify the top-paying machines for the past week. You have nothing to lose by playing those machine, but you also have nothing to gain. Machines have hot and cold streaks all the time. Just because a machine was a top-payer last week, that doesn't mean it will continue to pay well. The machine next to it may be a top-payer this week.

The best tips I can give are these:

  • Gamble with money you can afford to lose.
  • No matter how much of your money a machine has taken, it is never due.
  • Get the most entertainment value for your money by playing machines you enjoy playing.
  • If playing stops being fun, switch machines or stop playing.
  • Always use your slot club card and take advantage of as many casino promotions as you can.

I think your answer about the Connecticut Gaming Commission was to the point and correctly answered. I had a problem with the results on a video poker machine and took it to the Gaming Commission there on the floor. And while they are paid by the casino, they still took the time to open the machine and review several hands that were played and found that my play was correct. They also went back a number of plays to see if the machine had malfunctioned and couldn't find any malfunctions. I was satisfied with what they did for me and felt that they had the player's interest at heart. I was very satisfied with the time they spent with me.

While I do know the casino lowered the pay schedules on some of the video poker machines and that makes it harder to get the return that I used to get, I still enjoy going there.

I haven't seen a Gaming Commission representative's pay stub, but I'm pretty sure the representatives are paid by the state, not the casino.

The state Gaming Commission is charged with ensuring the integrity of the games. Gamblers put a great deal of trust in the games and the commission ensures that the games are fair -- that is, the casino does not have an edge other than the one determined by the rules of the games and players aren't being cheated or misled the way they are with carnival midway games. If a player's complaint against a casino is legitimate, the commission will act to make the player whole again. If a player's complaint is unfounded, the commission will side with the casino.

Some players ask me why gaming commissions always seem to side with the casino. They claim that the commissions are biased and are trying to protect the casinos. Whenever there is a denied jackpot story and the commission rules in favor of the casino, the news media always ends the story with a warning that the next time you think you've hit the jackpot, you may find out that the casino will not pay you.

It is true that gaming commissions rule in favor of the casino much more often than they rule in favor of the player, but this predominance is not an indication of bias. If every matter brought before the commission were a 50/50 proposition with each side having an equally compelling argument, then there would be bias.

But the matters brought before a gaming commission are far from 50/50 propositions. Something unusual must have happened for the matter to be before them. Whenever the reporters warn about fickle casinos and gaming commissions denying players their jackpots, they're ignoring the thousands, tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands of times that the casino has happily paid a jackpot because no red flags were raised. It's only when a machine has malfunctioned (like saying you won $100,000 when the top prize is 50,000 pennies) or there is evidence of cheating that a casino will deny a jackpot and the gaming commission will have to get involved.

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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