Confessions of a slot sinner
By Frank Scoblete
If I were still in Our Lady of Angels Catholic Grammar School in Bay Ridge Brooklyn and the nuns, led by my nemesis Sister Jerome Drake, would drag us over to the church for a serious bout of Confession, I’d be in great trouble now.
I would have to confess my (many) sins to Father Sullivan, a mean little man who enjoyed scolding us and informing us if we kept doing what we were doing we’d go to Hell. If you don’t know what Hell is—well it’s hellish.
The nuns brought the girls to Father Eckert, a nice guy who didn’t speak much English, being German you see; a man who gave out almost no penance as the girls (in Sister Jerome Drake’s considered opinion) did not have the drive to be sinners—unlike “you boys who are beasts.”
I am long past those days—these events happened almost 58 years ago—but I am a sinner now as well. I am a slot sinner. I own up to it.
Here would be my confession to the brutal Father Sullivan: “Bless me father for I have sinned. I don’t know how long it’s been since my last confession but this confession is a big one. I am a slot blasphemer.
“Yes, I have written several strategies that almost all gaming writers probably think are nuts. I own up to these strategies and I will not take them back.
“You see I tell slot players to ignore those big inter-casino-connected progressive slot machines such as Megabucks. Forget Wheel of Fortune too; and you can also forget any progressive slot machine. Short of winning the jackpot your losses will be immense as these machines have almost 15 percent house edges.
“I know this bursts the bubbles of many slot players who dream the (almost) impossible dream of hitting it big. Your chances, for example, of hitting Megabucks are about 50 million to one.
“Father, I tell slot players to look for machines that are in-house non-progressive ones, hopefully with payments that go up in direct relationship to their single coin pays. The jackpot would be something such as this: 400, 800, and 1200—all increments of that 400.
“Play just one coin in these machines.
“But my biggest blasphemy is—I dread to say this Father Sullivan because I know you’ll say that Hell awaits me—to recommend that slot players only play one coin on all traditional-style reel machines; yes, yes, even machines that offer a bigger jackpot on the third coin such as 400, 800 and 1,600.
“Yes, I am sticking with that idea as well. Why? Because the percentage increase on those full-coin jackpots is not so great that it merits playing three times the money.
“Let me defend myself. If you are playing three credits in a reel machine, or any machine that accepts three credits, you might put through $8,000 by playing four hours in a single day. If the return on the machine for full coin is 90.15 percent, your expected loss is about $800 on a dollar machine.
“Get to the point kid,” says an irritated Father Sullivan. “Time is running out for you.”
“But if you play just one credit, you spend about $2,667 per four hours and even if the machine is now keeping 10 percent, your loss is only about $266. You see that?”
“No,” says an irritated Father Sullivan.
“You save about $534 per session this way. The reduction by a small percentage playing my way allows you to save a tremendous amount in expected losses. You see that, right?”
“My son,” says a disgruntled Father Sullivan. “The burning pits of Hell await you where the Devil himself will bang you over the head with a Triple Diamond Machine and make you eat the metal and plastic of a Megabucks machine and take your…”
“Okay, I hear you but I want slot players to know there are other ways to approach the games. That these ways do allow you to keep more of your money.”
Father Sullivan stares at me (I can see him through the screen that separates us), then he says: “You have lost your way young man. Your penance is to say forty thousand Hail Marys and ten thousand Our Fathers and then never give your stupid advice again.”
“Son,” he says mournfully, “Sister Jerome Drake is right. You are a beast and worse—you are a slot blasphemer; the worst kind of sinner. Be gone and change your ways. Oh, and stay away from the girls.”
Dear readers, I think I am right in my advice. If I am here to help individuals find the best way to play their hard-earned dollars by allowing them to still have fun but keep things contained then I am right.
And what of Father Sullivan’s advice? Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn (which I will be).
If you are playing three credits in a reel machine, or any machine that accepts three credits, you might put through $8,000 by playing four hours in a single day. If the return on the machine for full coin is 90.15 percent, your expected loss is about $800 on a dollar machine.
Frank Scoblete’s latest books are “Confessions of a Wayward Catholic, I Am a Dice Controller: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Craps” and “I Am a Card Counter: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Blackjack.” Frank’s books are available on Amazon.com, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, and at bookstores.