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HOME > > Ask the Slot Expert: Buffets? Just say no

Ask the Slot Expert: Buffets? Just say no

15 September 2021

By John Robison, Slot Expert™

Question: We never eat at buffets.

Have you ever seen the way people pick over the food, get close to the food and cough, sneeze and wheeze in the line?

No thanks.

Answer: Close to the food? I've been to buffets where the sneeze guards made it nearly impossible to get to the victuals. One salad bar had an array of salad toppings in a 6x3 grid of containers sunken into crushed ice. The sneeze guard left only about a four-inch gap underneath it. To get something from the back row you (well, at least I) had to crouch down so the tongs were going in nearly level. If you stood normally, the tongs went in at an angle and you could just barely get to the middle row. Even with the tongs level, it required a great deal of dexterity to grab a black olive from the back row and hold on to it as you withdrew the tongs. Many back row items never made it to a plate. The containers in the front two rows contained a melange of what was supposed to be in them and what fell in them.

The sneeze guards for the hot food were much easier to deal with. I guess the heat kills anything nasty that gets on the food, so hot food doesn't need as much protection. As I moved up the ranks from buffet novice to experienced buffeter, I learned to dig deep in the chafing dish to get the food at the bottom. It's hotter than the food at the top. Plus the food at the top is sometimes dried out.

How do you feel about people taking half of something, like a Chicken Parm? On the one hand, you shouldn't take food that you have no intention of eating. But on the other hand, would you take something that somebody else cut? No one ever took the half donut left in the box on donut day at work. It seems to me that these half servings just sit in the tray waiting to be taken away when the tray is replaced.

I ate lunch at one buffet when it had a Chicken Parm action station. Your parm was freshly prepared. It doesn't take long to cook a thin chicken cutlet. Then the cook topped it with a handful of mozzarella that he grabbed from an industrial-size bag of pre-shredded mozzarella.

That cheese was very dry and did not melt well. The cooking shows are right. Don't buy pre-shredded cheese.

Well, you still don't have many options for Las Vegas buffets. Off strip you better plan on eating at the food court or coffee shop. On the strip, if your casino doesn't have a buffet, there's one a casino or two away, but it may not be serving the meal you want and you won't want to pay the price.


Question: I hit for pretty well the whole screen of prime time ladies in my beer slot game then host shut down machine do I still get those prime spins

Answer: Does anyone know which slot machine this reader is referring to? I thought it might be WMS' Bier Haus, but it's pretty clear that the Bavarian beauty featured on the machine is named Heidi.

In any case, are you sure it was a host that shut down the machine? In Las Vegas, hosts have authority over comps (and long-time visitors and residents tell me that the hosts' authority over writing comps has been steadily decreasing over time), but hosts have no authority over slot floor operations. Hosts cannot shut down machines. They don't have the necessary keys to shut down a machine.

A few years ago, one of my regular casinos upgraded the slot club software in its machines. The upgrade required replacing a flash memory card in the machine. I mentioned to one of the slot techs that I hadn't used a flash memory card for years. I switched to SD cards a long time ago. I realize though that this is the technology that was tested and approved, so this is what will be used until a new generation of hardware and software is tested and approved.

One of the features in the upgrade was the ability to play promotional games on the machine. The first time it ran a promotional game there were still a few kinks in the system. I was playing NSU on my favorite machine. The promotional game was triggered and it appeared in the slot club panel on the left side of the display. Then my machine locked up.

The slot floorperson who came to my rescue determined that they would have to reboot my machine. She couldn't do it, so she radioed for her supervisor to come with her magic key that would enable them to reboot the machine.

I think there are some details that you left out of your question. Did you have to forfeit any credits you had on the machine?

If a machine reboots in the middle of a game, it will resume where it left off after it comes back up. I've never seen a casino shut down a machine in mid-play, but if it did, I think the machine will resume where it was when it is turned on again. Because you weren't there when the machine was restarted, you don't get those spins.


There's been much talk the past few weeks about breakthrough infections. This is an example where science terminology collides with colloquial meaning.

The word breakthrough connotes an impervious barrier that something was unexpectedly able to penetrate, like if the Big Bad Wolf had been able to blow down the third little pig's house of brick. The word gives the impression that the vaccine gives complete protection against infection.

Doctors and scientists have been saying since the beginning that no vaccine is 100% effective. Remember when they said they would be happy with a vaccine that had about 35% efficacy? They've also said that the goal of the vaccine is to decrease hospitalizations and deaths.

Vaccinated people will get infected. It's expected. The fact that vaccinated people still get infected doesn't show that the vaccine doesn't work. The milder severity of those infections and the relative rarity of hospitalizations and deaths compared with the unvaccinated, on the contrary, shows how well the vaccines work.

Here are the latest figures from https://www.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#cases_totalcases.

Totals Weekly Increases
US NV US NV
Date Cases  Deaths  Cases  Deaths  Cases  Deaths  Cases  Deaths 
 09/14   41,262,574   660,380   404,851   6,728   1,176,763   12,919   10,256   145 
 09/07   40,085,811   647,461   394,595   6,583   975,725   10,076   5,237   104 
 08/31   39,110,086   637,385   389,358   6,479   1,113,414   9,385   7,592   173 
 08/24   37,996,672   628,000   381,649   6,306   1,045,491   7,507   8,117   116 
 08/17   36,951,181   620,493   373,649   6,190   959,978   4,715   7,065   150 
 08/10   35,991,203   615,778   366,584   6,040   819,524   3,987   7,652   122 
 08/03   35,171,679   611,791   358,932   5,918   622,832   2,279   7,489   81 
 07/27   34,548,847   609,012   351,443   5,837   652,251   2,394   8,347   79 
 07/20   33,896,296   606,618   341,096   5,758   169,933   1,478   3,351   28 
 07/13   33,726,363   605,140   339,745   5,730   181,047   1,959   4,982   33 
 07/06   33,545,316   603,181   334,763   5,697   75,104   1,373   2,234   27 
 06/29   33,470,212   601,808   332,529   5,670   87,507   2,057   3,020   24 
 06/22   33,382,705   599,751   329,509   5,646   75,420   2,157   1,930   22 
 06/15   33,303,285   597,594   327,579   5,624   95,797   2,293   1,560   17 
 06/08   33,207,488   595,301   326,019   5,607   114,250   3,762   2,271   21 
 06/01   33,039,238   591,539   323,748   5,586   123,333   3,709   991   27 
 05/25   32,969,905   587,830   322,757   5,559   174,125   4,234   1,676   26 
 05/18   32,795,780   583,596   321,081   5,533   223,966   4,230   2,301   27 
 05/11   32,571,814   579,366   318,780   5,506   303,856   4,687   2,541   33 
 05/04   32,267,958   574,679   316,239   5,473   343,348   4,908   2,559   40 
 04/27   31,924,610   569,771   313,680   5,433   383,163   4,958   2,747   65 
 04/20   31,541,447   564,813   310,933   5,368   464,556   5,072   2,590   36 
 04/13   31,076,891   559,741   308,343   5,332   480,061   5,321   2,986   57 
 04/06   30,596,830   554,420   305,357   5,275   448,935   7,124   3,084   38 
 03/30   30,147,895   547,296   302,273   5,237   439,510   6,793   939   63 
 03/23   29,708,385   540,503   301,334   5,174   388,928   7,446   1,863   53 
 03/16   29,319,457   533,057   299,471   5,121   381,695   8,362   3,078   81 
 03/09   28,937,762   524,695   296,393   5,040   480,902   11,573   2,413   83 
 03/02   28,456,860   513,122   293,980   4,957   463,356   14,129   2,835   75 
 02/23   27,993,504   498,993   291,145   4,882   451,083   13,923   2,406   162 
 02/16   27,542,421   485,070   288,739   4,720   602,906   21,411   4,149   198 
 02/09   26,939,515   463,659   284,590   4,522   779,305   21,828   5,444   244 
 02/02   26,160,210   441,831   279,146   4,278   1,007,777   22,004   7,249   249 
 01/26   25,152,433   419,827   271,897   4,029   1,312,565   23,385   10,324   250 
 01/19   23,839,868   396,442   261,573   3,779   1,317,119   21,318   11,324   279 
 01/12   22,522,749   375,124   250,249   3,500   1,790,345   22,660   17,217   294 
 01/05    20,732,404   352,464   233,032   3,206   1,499,561   18,435   14,655   233 
 12/29   19,232,843   334,029   218,377   2,973   1,258,540   15,460   12,493   186 
 12/22   17,974,303   318,569   205,884   2,787   1,656,411   18,537   16,472   239 
 12/15   16,317,892   300,032   189,412   2,548   1,494,763   17,247   18,825   229 
 12/08   14,823,129   282,785   170,587   2,319   1,375,502   15,483   18,418   175 
 12/01   13,447,627   267,302   152,169   2,144   1,114,175   10,286   15,942   121 
 11/24   12,333,452   257,016   136,227   2,023   1,197,199   10,784   14,130   106 
 11/17   11,136,253   246,232   122,097   1,917   1,099,790   8,501   11,115   65 
 11/10   10,036,463   237,731   110,982   1,852   767,645   6,838   8,868   68 
 11/03   9,268,818   230,893   102,114   1,784   588,207   5,809   5,936   35 
 10/27   8,680,611   225,084   96,178   1,749   492,026   5,585   5,238   (10) 
 10/20   8,188,585   219,499   90,940   1,759   401,037   5,053   4,501   48 
 10/13   7,787,548   214,446   86,439   1,711   351,270   4,886   3,910   48 
 10/06   7,436,278   209,560   82,529   1,663   306,965   4,962   3,232   36 
 09/29   7,129,313   204,598   79,297   1,627   303,616   5,136   3,058   54 
 09/22   6,825,697   199,462   76,239   1,573   288,070   5,370   2,196   82 
 09/15   6,537,627   194,092   72,043   1,491   250,265   5,404   1,825   65 
 09/08   6,287,362   188,688   72,218   1,426   282,919   5,638   2,734   92 
 09/01   6,004,443   183,050   69,484   1,334   251,790   5,291   3,237   104 
 08/25   5,752,653   177,759   66,247   1,230   330,411   7,889   4,076   125 
 08/18   5,422,242   169,870   62,171   1,105   358,071   7,463   4,973   114 
 08/11   5,064,171   162,407   57,198   991   365,353   7,203   5,776   117 
 08/04   4,698,818   155,204   51,422   874   418,683   7,532   7,367   109 
 07/28   4,280,135   147,672   44,055   764   460,996   7,042   7,130   91 
 07/21   3,819,139  140,630  36,195  674  463,682  5,395  8,181  57 
 07/14   3,355,457   135,235   28,744   617   422,861   5,102   5,607   57 
 07/07   2,932,596   130,133   23,137   560   351,367   3,394   5,006   24 
 06/30   2,581,229   126,739   18,131   536   278,941   6,406   4,367   26 
 06/23   2,302,288   120,333   13,764   510 


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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