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30 years of sound advice

By Frank Scoblete


I wish I could say that I did an exhaustive scientific survey of slot players and that my opinions in this column reflect such an amazing survey. I wish I had dozens of people working for me all over the country for a long enough period to nail down my thesis which I am about to give to you.

I don’t.

Except, what I am about to set out for you is correct as it is based on my 30 years of intense watching of slot players all over the country and with my personal discussions with scores of them about how they play their machines. So, I think I am right about everything in this article.

As my wife the Beautiful AP says, “Scobe, when you think you are right then, no matter what, you are right.” Right! See, I am right.

The problem with many slot players is the fact that many of their plans of play fall by the wayside once they get into their unplanned pattern of play. Here is how much of that goes:

You will see that many slot players open their attacks in a slow and methodical way. There is no hurry. They have plenty of time to maybe hit it big. But something happens fairly soon (and sooner if the player enjoys a drink or three); the speed of the play begins to increase. A player that may have had a mere six decisions in a minute is suddenly playing eight, 10 or 12 decisions and maybe even more on machines that allow upwards of dozens of decisions.

As time swiftly passes the slot players now match time’s speed. They no longer think that a great idea is just to win; no, one must face so many decisions that one must win, right? This thought might not even be fully formed in the slot players’ brains but it is driving them to play almost recklessly.

I met a woman in Las Vegas who played so much she missed a whole day as she played through it.

There is a certain numbness that can overcome even veteran slot players; the numbness of too much play. Much like a drinker who softly tastes his first drink and by the eighth is essentially sloppily guzzling the booze, which is now dripping down his chin; you see, in the numbed state each slot decision is not as important as it was long, long ago when the player started the attack on the casino treasury.

Play! Play! Play! is the new mantra.

Some players even go to playing two machines. I once saw a player play an entire aisle of dollar and five-dollar machines; all at full coin!

So here it is. The amount of time you spend at a machine dictates how much you will lose over time. Each decision you face adds money to the casino edge’s hungry stomach. You can’t escape that fact over time.

What should you do? Here are some pieces of advice:

■ Decide on what you want to play in a session and only bring that amount of money with you (okay to have a little more for tips to the drink servers).

■ Ignore all machines that jack up the number of decisions against you. Yes, no 100 coin machines. You are far better off playing machines that are traditional or close to traditional.

■ (Here comes the hard one!) Only play one credit / coin on a machine at a time. What? Aren’t you supposed to play full coin to get the most out of the jackpot?

Full coin is necessary at video poker and at progressive machines such as Megabucks but here is the big BUT – you shouldn’t bother with those monster jackpot machines because the house edges on those are the highest in the slot world.

Your long-term losses will be far, far (add a few more “fars” here) greater than you can imagine. Facing a machine that keeps 15 cents per one dollar wagered is far, far (far, far, etc.) worse than playing a machine that only keeps about seven cents by returning 93 percent of what’s played in them.

■ Do not play any progressive machines at any denomination. These are bankroll eaters.

■ If you can, only play machines that have equal distribution such as $200, $400, $600 as there is no benefit whatsoever to playing full coin and thus you won’t fall for such a temptation.

Even on machines that reward full coin – let us say three – you are tripling your bet to win how much more if you hit a jackpot? Not much. Almost three times the losses for full coin as opposed to one coin. If you play three hours, you will reduce your hit by almost two thirds by playing one coin! Those are big numbers.

■ Slow down the speed of your play. If you wish to play a minute, then only play 45 seconds – check that on a watch or count it in your head. Doing this will cut down how much you dump into the machine over time. So you just count off those 15 second before you play again.

■ Give yourself a deadline for when to stop playing. “I will only play four hours today.” Then at four hours, you must quit whether you are ahead or behind.

■ Keep the alcohol consumption to a small (or no) amount. A drunk driver will often drive fast; a drunken slot player will also play fast. Bad all the way! Think of it this way: If you wouldn’t drive because of how much you drank, then don’t play either.

You can have plenty of fun playing as I am suggesting. Give it a try.

All the best in and out of the casinos!


Visit Frank’s web site at His books are available from, Kindle, e-books, Barnes and Noble, and at bookstores.

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