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Best of John G. Brokopp

Gaming Guru

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More "Smart Slot" Tips

9 April 2003

When it comes to playing the slots there really is no strategy. How can there be when the odds of the game are stacked against players? No matter what you do, you are destined to lose over the long run in a direct proportion to how long, how often, and how much you play.

Every slot player is bound to “get lucky” once in a while. It’s knowing how to take advantage of luck and how to properly manage your money during both hot and cold streaks that separates smart slot players from the players who fall victim to casino marketing propaganda.

Last week I offered some general tips about how to be the best slot player you can be. The tips cannot help you win but they can help you when you do win. Today I will delve into specific tips for playing video poker and the multi-line video slots.

Video poker is in a class by itself in the genre of “electronic gaming devices.” Unlike their traditional reel and video slot cousins, long-term success on video poker is dependent upon strategy to a large degree, although there is no doubt luck also comes into play. Just as in kitchen and poker room games, if you are not dealt the cards there’s not much you can do.

Learn basic poker strategy before you play video poker. You can make a real science out of the game by learning the variations in strategy depending on the game you are playing and the pay table you are working with. As with all games in which strategy is a factor, you can make video poker as simple or as complicated as you wish.

Jackpot hands in video poker are few and far between. I define a jackpot hand as any four-of-a-kind, premium fours-of-a-kind (aces, deuces, threes, and fours) a four-of-a-kind with the “kicker”, straight flushes, and, of course, the royal flush. Whenever you are fortunate enough to hit a jackpot hand, cash out IMMEDIATELY, put the proceeds aside as your cash reserve, and continue play with another twenty dollar bill.

Cash in the form of credits in the machine is just too easy to gamble away. Do yourself a favor and take your jackpot winnings as soon as you get them to eliminate any temptation. If you find yourself having to dip into those winnings later in your playing session, always make sure you preserve something to take advantage of your good fortune. It doesn’t come easy.

As for those multi-line video slot games, we’re dealing with a different kind of slot “animal” here. In many cases, this animal has a voracious appetite for player’s money in regards to the high “hold” percentage, particularly in the nickel and dime denominations.

There is no doubt the games are fun and exciting to play. They add a dimension of interactive interest that the traditional reel slots just can’t match. But there is a price to pay for the entertainment value that players derive from these new machines and it can really wreak havoc with your bankroll.

The insidious nature of multi-line video machines is the number of coins you can play. When you are talking about 27, 45, 90, and even more coins per play, even nickel machines can eat up your bankroll in a jiffy. Couple this with the high casino hold on the nickel and dime units, generally around 10 percent (roughly double the hold on dollar machines) and you have the makings a casino goldmine and a player shaft.

One solid tip I can offer you involves the buttons on the machine which players hit for the number of lines they wish to play and the number of coins they wish to play per line. On many machines the coins-per-line button will jump from one or two coins per line all the way up to 10 or 15. Players are intimidated into thinking there is no “in between”. But if you look at the bottom of the video screen itself, you will see a “touch screen” option that will allow you to select as many lines and as many coins per line you wish to play. Exercise that option. Don’t play more than you really want to play.

Finally, as is the case with all slot and video poker games, ALWAYS cash out a jackpot. If you are fortunate enough to win a hundred dollars or more from a twenty-dollar investment, take the money and run. Put it in your pocket and start out a fresh playing session with a new twenty-dollar bill. Learning how to preserve profits and take advantage of good fortune helps makes you the best and smartest slot player you can be.

John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp
John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp