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HOME > > Hare or Tortoise

Hare or Tortoise

27 March 2021

By Jerry Stickman

I am sure you have seen them play next to you in the casino. They play either slot machines or video poker machines.

They can’t seem to play the machine fast enough. In fact, they seem to be in some sort of race with themselves to see just how fast they can play.

Some of them even play more than one machine. They hit the spin button on the machine to their left. Then they hit the spin button on the machine directly in front of them. Finally, they hit the spin button on the machine to their right before quickly starting all over again on the machine to the left.

They almost seem angry when they have to wait for the credits to register when they win. If they are not angry, they certainly appear irritated.

Waiting for the credits to register seems to be getting in the way of them spinning again. And spinning the reels is what they really seem to enjoy.

This method of play reminds me of the hare in the fable of the Hare and the Tortoise. Everything they do is quick. The fun for them is the action – and action means the reels spinning.

However, is this really a good way to play the slot machines? Or is this more accurately an example of the foibles of the hare in Aesop’s beloved fable.

Let’s examine.

Virtually all slot machines have an edge favoring the casino at all times. There are some that have a jackpot that builds with play that might at rare times have a player advantage, but this is extremely rare in today’s casino offerings.

What a casino edge of a slot machine means is that the more you play, the more the casino wins and the more you lose. Playing faster may get to your next jackpot more quickly, but it is at the cost of higher loses over a given period of time.

Like the carefree hare that is unaware of the danger as his rapid pace and careless napping, the casino hare is unaware of the cost of their increased action while chasing the next jackpot.

The tortoise in the casino would be someone who realizes that every spin of the slot machine has a built-in edge for the casino and plays a slow, deliberate game. The “tortoise” accepts wins as they come and knows the slower play costs less in the long run. He or she knows that slow and steady wins the race and plays accordingly.

Is there any time where the “hare” method makes sense?

There was a fairly lengthy period of time where I played video poker as quickly as possible. Why?

Because the game had a player edge. A player edge, while virtually nonexistent in today’s casino environment, was somewhat common several years ago. It is in the player’s interest to play as quickly as possible if they have the edge. The more hands played, the more the player wins over time.

There are still instances where the player has an edge at video poker (or even some slot machines) when considering the machines house edge combined with comps players earn with their play. This would also be a situation to play like the hare.

One thing to consider while playing video poker quickly, however, is that the play must be accurate. The cards held for each dealt hand must be the correct cards – the cards that produce the highest return for each hand.

Once the player starts making mistakes, it is time to either slow down or quit. If not, the mistakes will outweigh the player advantage and he or she becomes like the clueless hare of the fable.

When is comes to slot or video poker play are you a hare or a tortoise?

Please play it smart.

May all your wins be swift and large, and your losses be slow and small.

Jerry “Stickman”

Jerry “Stickman” is an expert in craps, blackjack and video poker and advantage slot machine play. He is a regular contributor to top gaming magazines. You can contact Jerry “Stickman” at stickmanjerry@aol.com

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.

Jerry Stickman
Jerry "Stickman" is an expert in dice control at craps, blackjack, advantage slots and video poker. He is a regular contributor to top gaming magazines. The "Stickman" is also a certified instructor for Golden Touch Craps dice control classes and Golden Touch Blackjack's advantage classes. He also teaches a course in advantage-play slots and video poker. For more information visit www.goldentouchcraps.com or www.goldentouchblackjack.com or call 1-800-944-0406 for a free brochure. You can contact Jerry "Stickman" at stickmanGTC@aol.com.

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