CasinoCityTimes.com

Gurus
News
Newsletter
Author Home Author Archives Author Books Send to a Friend Search Articles Subscribe
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Newsletter Signup
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Recent Articles
Best of John Grochowski

Gaming Guru

author's picture
 

Determining paybacks at slots and video poker

20 March 2016

QUESTION: You and others have written that higher-denomination slots pay more. How do you know that?

Also, does that apply to other machine games, too? Do higher denominations pay more on video poker, video blackjack or video keno?

ANSWER: We know that dollar slots pay more than quarters which pay more than pennies — with other denominations also falling into line — because of revenue reports published monthly and annually in jurisdictions across the United States.

Regardless of whether you’re looking at New Jersey, Nevada, Mississippi, Illinois or any other state that publishes its figures, the message has been consistent for decades: Higher-denomination slots yield a higher payback percentage.

That doesn’t mean everyone should rush out and play dollar slots. Despite higher payback percentages, average losses are greater on high-denomination machines because you risk more money per wager.

The situation in different on video poker, video blackjack and video keno. In commercial casinos in the U.S., there’s an equal chance of each card being dealt in the card games, and an equal chance of each number being drawn in keno.

In all those games, we can see which is the higher-paying game by looking at the pay table or rules. In video blackjack, if all rules are equal except that one machine pays 3-2 on blackjacks and the other pays only even money, then the machine that pays 3-2 will have the higher payback percentage. That’s true regardless of coin denomination – a 25-cent game with the 3-2 rule will pay more than a dollar game with an even-money rule.

In video poker and video keno, you can check the pay tables. If all other returns are standard, a 9/6 Jacks or Better game, where full houses pay 9-for-1 and flushes 6-for-1, will pay more than an 8/5 Jacks or Better game.

In video keno, if you’re playing six spots and returns are two coins for three hits, eight for four hits, 80 for 5 and 1,650 for six, that game will pay more than another that has the same pays on four, five or six hits, but only gives you back one coin for three hits. The coin denomination doesn’t matter. The game with the better pay table is the higher payer.


QUESTION: In table blackjack games, the dealers fan out all the cards when they change decks, and you can see all the cards are there. There’s no way to do that in video games. What’s to stop the casinos and game suppliers from tinkering with the odds by using only three aces per deck instead of four, or adding a few extra 5s?

ANSWER: It’s up to regulators and gaming labs to protect players’ interests.

As with all electronic casino games, the display we see on the screen is a user-friendly interface of the game that’s really being played internally, with a random number generator selecting numbers that then are mapped onto cards.

Nevada regulations require games that depict playing cards to offer fair odds, so the odds of the electronic game are the same as if you were playing with physical decks of cards. Other states don’t have to adopt Nevada’s regulations, but Nevada is the trend-setter.

You and I can’t see inside a machine, look at its programming or watch random numbers being run to determine whether the same proportion of random numbers are assigned to the ace of spades as to the 6 of hearts. All we can do is trust that the regulators and labs have done their jobs and know that the games live up to the fair odds regulation.
Recent Articles
Best of John Grochowski
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, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

> More Books By John Grochowski

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, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

The Craps Answer Book

> More Books By John Grochowski