Issue 205
August 16 - 22, 2004
Volume 4
page 3

Ask the Slot Expert: Play on the Main Floor or in the High Limit Room
By John Robison

John, your August 5th article on slot "loss limits" is confusing!

Let's say you start with $40 and you set a loss limit of the whole thing. You play and hit a nice payoff and you have $120 on the machine. You raise your loss limit to, say, $50. If your credit meter hits $50, you cash out with a $10 profit. Your good luck continues and you now have $200 on the machine. You raise your loss limit to $100. You continue to play, but Lady Luck has left the building and you have only $100 on the machine. You cash out a nice $60 profit.

If I have 120 on the credit line and allow it to go to 50, I have lost 70 credits and not 50! The other example appears to fit.

Enjoy your articles.


Dear Dean,

You're right. The terminology was confusing. Instead of loss limit, I meant to say "quit point". Let me try again:

Let's say you start with $40 and you're willing to risk whe whole thing. You set an initial quit point of $0. You play and hit a nice payoff, and you now have $120 on the machine. You raise your quit point to, say, $50. If your credit meter hits $50, you cash out with a $10 profit. Your good luck continues and you now have $200 on the machine. You raise your quit point to $100. You continue to play, but Lady Luck has left the building and you have only $100 on the machine. You cash out a nice $60 profit.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,

I used to patronize Trump Marina in AC, mostly because of their promotions, But I stopped because of the tight slots. They have recently advertized that they have loosened up.

Your comment?


Dear Tim,

I haven't been to Trump Marina in quite a while. It used to have a good selection of high-paying video poker, but those machines gradually disappeared over the years.

New Jersey releases slot payback figures by casino, so we can compare their current paybacks with past figures.

The latest numbers I have available are for May, 2004. Here's a comparison with the paybacks reported in April, 2003:

  • 5-cent: 90.1 vs. 89.8 -- increase
  • 25-cent: 91.8 vs. 91.7 -- increase
  • 50-cent: 92.9 vs. 92.0 -- increase
  • $1: 93.4 vs. 92.8 -- increase
  • $5: 96.1 vs. 94.8 -- increase

It looks to me like they have indeed raised the average paybacks on their machines. You'll never know the difference on nickel and quarter machines, though, and it will take a year's worth of spins to feel the difference on the higher denominations.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,

"According to the American Casino Guide (, West Virginia's slots (they call them Video Lottery Terminals, but if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, let's call it a duck) by law must pay back between 80% to 95% and the maximum bet is $2. The machines at Charles Town pay back about 91%, the same as at the other race tracks."

After reading the above excerpt in your Casino City Q&A, I have to mention that I just returned from my first trip to Charles Town, and they had (at least) one carousel of $5 slot machines. They also had 3-coin dollar slots. Have they changed the rules on the $2 maximum bet, or is the American Casino Guide behind the times? (You can also play much more than that on the multi-line 25-cent video reel machines.)

It does look like West Virginia has changed its slot rules.

Steve Bourie does an incredible job keeping the American Casinon Guide up to date, but it is updated only once a year. I'm sure the new edition will have the current situation.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,

What is the difference in playing a $5 slot machine that is out in the main casino floor as opposed to one that is in a separate high roller room? Which would offer the beter odds?

Thank you for your response,

Dear Linda,

Probably the only difference between playing a $5 machine on the main casino floor and playing a $5 machine in the high-limit room is that you don't have to deal with lookie-loos gawking at you playing $5 or more per spin.

Some people may argue that the slot director would order a higher payback percentage for the machines on the main floor so many players can get excited seeing high-limit machines hitting. But that's hit frequency, not payback. A high hit frequency machine can have a low payback. Most slot directors today order roughly the same percentage payback for all of their machines in a particular denomination. There's probably very little if any difference in payback between machines on the main floor and machines in the high-limit room.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,


I have been going to Biloxi for a few years now. And recently to the Silver Star/Golden Moon in MS as well. I find nowhere do we get as good a service and comps as we do at the TREASURE BAY CASINO/Hotel. I am baffled as to why at Beau Rivage I have 600 points on my card and can't even get a comp for dinner/email discounts, or coupon mailings till I have a thousand! THE same seems to be for all those bigger casinos and the indian reservation. But at least the indian reservation makes the trip worth it in some ways, coupons for cash, incentives on hotel, but no one else even bothers. WHAT is wrong with these guys?

Just the NICE TREASURE bay has done anything worth bragging about for us. I have always been treated there as good as the high rollers I feel. And have always left there feeling like I invested my losses in my hotel rooms and comps for future come backs and stays. They are the only reason we have been to Biloxi so much since our first stay there. They went out of their way for us on many occasions and we don't usually have a hundred to lose for each of us. My friend does table games and gets more free room offers, but she tends to spend more than I do on a trip as well.

She seems to think she wins more at the table games as well. But I do like the slots, just wish I could hit more than a hundred or hundred and eighty dollars which just about breaks me even for a session. LOL. Have seen many others win though. And hear more bells going off at two to three in the mornings it seems.

I just wanted to let you know there is not enough information printed about the gulf coast and they are getting more casinos all the time. Even thought about putting what I know into a book of information and selling it to help pay for my car repairs. Any suggestions on how I should go about it? But like I said TREASURE BAY is the only one I have had good luck with comps with.


Dear Kathy,

You can either try to publish your book yourself or have a publisher produce it. The advantages of using a publisher is that you have access to their editors, artists, and publicists. You have more control when you self-publish, but you also have to do all the work yourself.

First, I suggest getting your book about 75% done. Then you can shop it around to publishers or start investigating print-on-demand services while you complete the rest. Keep in ming that you can also skip publishing completely and distribute it as an electronic document.

Best of luck with your venture,

About the Author

John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a video poker columnist and writes for many of gaming’s leading publications. He holds a master's degree in computer science from the prestigious Stevens Institute of Technology.

You may hear John give his slot and video poker tips live on The Good Times Show, hosted by Rudi Schiffer and Clyde Callicott with Frank Scoblete, which is broadcast from Memphis on WMC 790AM Saturday morning from 9:30 to noon Central Standard Time. John is on the show from 10:30 to 11:00. You can listen to archives of the show on the web anytime.


Of Related Interest

John Robison has written a number of books including "The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots", which explains the secrets of today's new slots--how they work, what they pay, and how to play 'em! The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots is packed with powerful information on choosing a machine, payout percentages, slot myths, the value of systems, taxes on jackpots, tipping, using slot clubs, and more. Included are strategies for Double Diamond, Wild & Loose, Wild Cherry, Red White & Blue, Sizzling 7s, Blazing 7s, Wheel of Gold, Ripley's Believe It or Not, Price Is Right, Scrabble, Megabucks, Wheel of Fortune, Millionaire Sevens, and almost any machine on the casino floor. Use the Slot Expert's tips to last longer and have more fun playing today's most popular slot machines.


Friday Night Fever Weekly Slot Tournament
Sam's Town Tunica, Robinsonville, MS
Every Friday night
Registration: $20.00
Call 800-456-0711 for more information

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Boulder Station, Las Vegas, NV
Every Saturday
Registration: $25.00
Call 702-432-7777 for more information

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