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Best of John Grochowski

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Those deadly days

13 March 2016

QUESTION: In one of your articles you wrote about "deadly days." You're so right, there are days, no matter what we play, we don't win a quarter. And the more we lose, the more we put into those machines until every dollar is gone. We're just unable to stop playing on those days! Why and how does that happen? How do you avoid those "deadly days"?

You also talked about "standalone” machines. What are standalone machines? They all seem to be in lines or carousel circulars on Atlantic City casino floors.

ANSWER: On the deadly days topic, there's no real way to avoid it, other than to set loss limits and quit when you hit them. Hot streaks and cold streaks both grow naturally out of the odds of the games. It has to be that way. Without the possibility of fast losses, casinos couldn't offer the possibility of big wins.

I used to hear from a player who insisted the real key to winning was to quit when ahead. He claimed there was always a point in the day when you were ahead, and that was the time to get out.

I told him that was wildly impractical. If I came to a casino for a day, and won my first bet, was I going to quit when I was ahead? Of course not. I came for the day, not to make one bet.

Some of my biggest wins have come after I already was ahead. One memorable day about 15 years ago, I drew a royal flush on a quarter video poker machine early in the day, then an $8,000 royal on a $2 video poker game at night.

Should I have stopped after my morning win? I think not.

Besides that, it just isn't true that there's always a point at which you're ahead. Sometimes you lose your first several bets and never catch up. Over time, the odds of the games you play will hold up and the house will take its percentage. Trying to time your exits for points when you're ahead can't change that.

As for "standalone," that's a term used to describe progressive slots where the jackpot builds on individual machines instead of being linked to several machines. If you see a bank of several machines of the same type, and each one shows a progressive jackpot at a different amount, they're standalones. If the all show the same amount, they're linked.

On standalones, a proportion of each bet goes toward building the progressive jackpot on that machine alone. On linked progressives, a proportion of each bet goes toward building the jackpot on all machines on the link.


QUESTION: This happened to me on three different slot machines in one evening. I put $20 in, and got to the bonus right away. I had a couple of other wins and got ahead $10 or $15, then the machine just quit paying off and I lost money.

That got me thinking. Do machines pay off early to keep you there, then quit paying when they have you hooked? Three times in a row!

ANSWER: No, you just had a day of coincidences. If you’d plot it out over a long time, you’d see you’re just as likely to win – or lose – early, late or in the middle of a session.

The random number generator doesn’t know who’s playing the game, nor does it know how long you’ve been on the machine. It keeps generating numbers even when the game is not being played. The duration of your play has no effect on the numbers being generated.
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