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HOME > HI-ROLLER > Gaming Tips > Ask the Slot Expert: Using earplugs while playing video poker

Ask the Slot Expert: Using earplugs while playing video poker

20 September 2017

By John Robison, Slot Expert™

Question: I was playing in the high limit area in Caesars AC a couple of years ago and someone hit something like two cherries and a Double Diamond on one of their $100 machines. Many people came to see what the hit was, but hung back in awesome respect of someone even playing a $100 machine. I took a look too, but did not note if he had one or three coins in. The hits on that machine were great with any amount bet.

One person in the crowd said, "Nice hit, but too bad you were not playing the max bet." He said it loud enough for several to hear, including the attendant that was just arriving to process the hand payout. The attendant gave him a sour look.

The lucky player admitted that it would have been great if he had played the three coins. The passerby smirked and started to move on.

The player turned and said, "Hey! Too bad you didn't play one coin yourself on this one, huh?"

Answer: Ooh, zing!

Question: Referring to your column last week, I thought I was the only one driven slightly crazy by people hitting the max button on a video poker machinee.

Two things.

One. I always have a pair of earplugs in my pocket to help insulate me from those noises when they start to bug me.

Two. My theory as to why some players hit the max bet button is that most are usually older players that used to play the older machines, and a lot of the old coin droppers required you to hit the max bet button, because the deal button back then was just a draw button.

Answer: I sometimes bring a set of earbuds with me so I can listen to programs I've downloaded from SiriusXM radio on my phone. I use the kind that have hangers on them so I can just hang them off my ear and not actually put them in my ear. This makes it like I have little speakers near my ears. Because I don't put them in my ear, I can still hear the ambient noise. I don't want to be completely cut off from what is happening around me.

I find, though, that there are only a few places in a few casinos where I feel comfortable using them. In some areas, the level of the music and ambient noise is so high that I have to crank up the volume on the earbuds. My program competes with the music and the noises of the machines in the area and I have a hard time picking out what I want to hear from what I'm trying to filter out. With so much going on near my ears, I feel cut off from my environment. I don't use the earbuds in these situations.

I think I would feel too isolated with ear plugs. I have used them in other situations. I suppose if you don't follow all the directions to get them to really block the ear canal, enough ambient noise will get through to just muffle the outside noise.

I've seen many other players using headphones. If you're going to listen to music, please don't sing along with it. I can't hear the music. And definitely don't sing along if you can't stay in tune.

Regarding hitting the max bet button, I'm sure you're right that some players hit it out of habit. And I suspect that some players, regardless of when they started playing video poker, don't know that you can hit the deal/draw button to start a hand after the bet level has been established.

The players who really get me, though, are the ones who switch between hitting deal, bet max and bet one five times. These people clearly know that they can hit the deal button to start a hand. They switch it up because they think it will improve their results. Frank Scoblete wrote that some of these players think they can confuse the RNG by switching methods to start a hand.

While it's true that players may get different results depending upon how they start a hand, the difference is only because the hand is started at a different instant in time and the RNG had a different value. Their results will be the same in the long run whether they always hit deal or always hit bet max or always hit met one five times or mix it up.

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
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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