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HOME > STRATEGY > Strategies & Tips > Why are they still called slot machines?

Why are they still called slot machines?

18 May 2017

By John Grochowski

QUESTION: The name “slot machine” comes from the coin slot, right? Now that machines don’t have slots, do you think that will change?

ANSWER: It won’t change anytime soon. After more than a century of use, the name is so ingrained that even online players who risk no money in social casinos refer to the games as “slots.” Maybe as skill-based games without any semblance of reels claim a place in casinos, the terminology will start to evolve.

Incidentally, the name “slot machine” originally referred to any coin-operated device, such as vending machines. The term was in use more than a decade before Charles Fey’s Liberty Bell, the first three-reel slot, was introduced in 1895. “Slot machine” didn’t come to be associated strictly with gambling machines until at least the 1910s.

QUESTION: Video poker strategy question: I like Super Double Bonus Poker, where four of a kind with faces pay 600. Should I treat face pairs like aces in Double Bonus Poker, Double Double and so on, where you hold three of a kind while breaking up a full house? Should I break two pairs? What if I have two different faces, like unsuited jack-queen with three no-help cards? Should I hold both or pick one?

ANSWER: Super Double Bonus is more like Double Bonus than Double Double Bonus is that there is no jackpot increase for kickers. Given a five-coin bet, four aces pay 800, but there is no jump to 2,000 if the fifth card is a 2, 3 or 4, as in DDB. Four 2s, 3s or 4s pay 400, but there is no kicker boost.

The attraction is that four Kings, Queens or Jacks, which pay 250 on Double Bonus, Double Double Bonus and many other games, pay 600 on Super Double Bonus. That’s a nice extra. We hold single high cards so often than every now and then we’ll luck into a draw worth 600 credits.

The full pay version pays 9-for-1 on full houses and 5-for-1 on flushes, and returns 99.7% with expert play. More common are 8-5 (98.7%) and 7-5 (97.8%) pay tables.

How big an impact the 600-coin pay on face quads makes on decisions depends on the pay table. In the 9-5 game, if you’re dealt K-K-K-7-7, you’re better off holding the full house for a 45-coin return than break it up and go for the fourth king, with a 41.7-coin EV. But when the value of the full house is reduced, the situation reverses. In 8-5 SDP, the EV of 41.44 for holding just the kings tops the 40-coin return on the full house.

As for your other specifics, let’s start with two pairs. Dealt K-K-7-7-9 in the 9-5 game, the 8.40 EV for holding both pairs beats the 8.21 on the kings with a three-card discard. Again, the situation reverses at lower pay tables, and the 8-5 EVs are 8.16 on K-K and 7.98 on K-K-7-7.

Your other specific was queen-jack of different suits, and here there is no strategy change. You’re better off starting with two high cards than one. Dealt queen of spades, jack of hearts along with 9-7-5 of mixed suits, EVs in 9-5 SDP are 2.35 for holding Q-J, 2.21 for holding the jack alone or 2.17 for the queen alone. On 8-5 SDP, EVs are 2.34 on Q-J, 2.20 on J and 2.16 on Q.

If you’re lucky enough to find a 9-5 game, hold your full houses that include three of a kind with faces, and hold your two pairs. If the full house payoffs are reduced, break up those hands and hope the draw matches your faces.

This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at fscobe@optonline.net.

John Grochowski
John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field. Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago.

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