Schlesinger's Blackjack Attack--Revised, Updated, and Watching Racehorses . July 2004

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The Sixty Most Important Things I've Learned About Playing Slot Machines By Terry Murphy VP Pappy and Pro and College Football Stat Pattern Reports By Iskoe Show Factors that Affect the Spread Book Reviews By Howard Schwartz (Gambler's Book Shop)

The Sixty Most Important Things I've Learned About Playing Slot Machines

By Terry Murphy VP Pappy

"Blessed be the slot players for theirs is the hope of a better day dawning."

--Frank Scoblete

Slot machines are fun to play, but that fun comes with a price. Most of the people who play the slots will lose, and that will probably include you if you decide to play them. And if you can't accept that fact of casino life, then you are in for some un-fun-like times when you gamble. For the most part, when you play the slots, luck and luck alone decides who wins and who loses. Yes, there's a chance that you might hit a very large jackpot, but realistically, you have about the same chance of hitting your state's lottery. Even knowing all that, I still play them on occasion myself. Why? Because, like I said before, they're fun to play, and I like to have fun when I gamble.

With the help of gambling legend VP Pappy, here are some things that we've learned over the years about playing slot machines that may be of some help to you when you challenge the odds and try to beat these money-munching-monsters of financial mayhem.

--Terry Murphy

"If it wasn't for all the money I keep losing, this gambling thing could be a lot of fun."

--VP Pappy

1. All slot machines are random, and short of cheating, which could land you in jail, there's nothing you can do to alter that fact.

2. A typical 45 to 90 coin video display slot machine seems to have a better return than a typical 3-coin spinning reels game.

3. A computer chip inside a slot machine is generating random numbers all the time, even when no one is playing. So, even if someone did hit the jackpot on the very next spin on the machine you just left, it wouldn't mean that they hit "your" jackpot.

4. Most slot machines are set at 85-95 percent payback.

5. Play the single pay line machines only. I seemed to of had better luck on them over the years than the multiple line kind.

"Psychologically, the one element of the game that keeps the slot devotee tied to the machine is the possibility, no matter how remote, of hitting the jackpot. The promise of the monster, life affirming win, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, the philosopher's stone that can cure all their ills, pay off all their debts, and smooth the path of life forever, and ever, and ever."

--Gambling For Dummies

6. A casino can and will deny you a jackpot if they decide that a malfunction caused the win.

7. A change in the machine's pay back percentage can only be accomplished by physically changing the computer chip inside the machine and there must be a gaming board officer present to witness it. Although, in some states, all the casino has to do is file a written request with the gaming commission.

8. Today's slot players are the backbone of all casinos and they are babied, pampered, and highly sought after.

9. Push the spin button, pull the handle, or do both at the same time, it makes no difference in the outcome.

10. Most slot players play until they have lost all their money.

"Never get between a serious slot player and his or her machine. Slot players are much like the mother bear with her cub I once met mountain biking."

--Mark Pilarski

11. Nickel slots are usually set at 85-90 percent payback.

12. Five dollar slots are usually set at 95-98 percent payback.

13. Never play two or more machines at the same time. The odds are tough enough to beat playing just one, let alone more than one.

14. A player's card is used by the casino to keep track of your coin in and coin out so they can reward you for your play with comps and cashbacks.

15. The symbols on the reels of a slot machine is just there for show. Once you hit the spin button, the random number generator has already chosen the result before the reels come to a stop.

"Slot stuffers, by the large, don't want to be flustered by anything as philosophical as facts."

--Alan Krigman

16. If you have the time and the patience, sit at a spot that has a clear view of another bank of slot machines, especially a bank that advertises that their machines pay "up to 98%," or some other percentage. Watch and record in a notebook which ones seem to pay off more than the others and play those exclusively.

17. Although slot machines may look different, they all work essentially the same way.

18. Money management and discipline are the only tactics that can save you money in the long run.

19. It is more than likely that you will never hit one of those giant jackpots. Very few do. Look for machines that pay the most for the secondary wins.

20. Look for machines that have cherries, double and triple pay symbols.

"I can understand why players are scared of the new high-tech slot machines. Hell, I'm still scared of the old ones."

--VP Pappy

21. Winning at slots can be as simple as leaving the machine when you are losing, and staying when you are winning.

22.. Linked, progressive slot machines have a much lower pay back (80-85 percent) than non-progressive slot machines.

23. On the slots, you must set your win goals lower and take those small wins and leave, or at least move to another machine.

24. Never leave a machine on a winning streak. Set a loss in a row limit, then move on to a new machine.

25. Your bankroll determines what denomination machine you should play.

" Grandma, you don't have to cash out," I told her. "The credits will build up as long as you play, and you can play off those credits if you like." She smiled, almost guiltily then answered: "I like the sound."

--Anthony Curtis

26. Slot machines are not fixed to cheat you. They are set to pay out a certain percentage over a long period of time.

27. If you have no discipline, no money management skills, and just can't stick to those win/loss limits, then you will most likely lose almost every time you play.

28. Today's modern computer-chip slots could have as many as several billion different combinations on a typical machine.

29. If a casino does have loose machines, they "may" be near the entrance, near the cages, on the ends of aisles, on carousels, or any place where people congregate.

30. Other than casino execs, who decide on machine placement, no one working at the casinos know where the loose machines are, or even if there are any.

"They sit there, all bright and shiny, with their left arm pointed to heaven, of all places, pleading with you to fill their stomachs with your silver dollars, quarters, anything."

--John Patrick

31. A slot machine will pay out at the same percentage whether its day, night, a weekday, or a weekend.

32. There is no system for winning at the slots, only a way to make your monies last longer to give you a shot at luck.

33. Playing today's new video slot machines, you get the same percentage of payback whether you bet one coin or 90.

34. An empty slot machine during busy hours "could" mean that e

veryone who has played it has lost and moved on.

35. There is no such thing as a slot machine that is overdue to hit.

"A drunken monkey can be as successful at slots as a sober Einstein."

--Bob Dancer

36. In most casinos, only a few slot machines will be programmed to return in excess of 95%.

37. It is highly unlikely that you will ever play a slot machine long enough to experience the theoretical payoff percentage.

38. If you are fortunate enough to hit a large jackpot, under no circumstances, play it again until you are paid off. In fact, stand up, back off, and wait for an attendant.

39. Most of the machines in the big casinos are tied to computers where executives can look at a readout any time they want, to check out a machine's behavior.

40. If you are playing on a progressive machine, and you are either winning or losing a little, don't leave! Stay as long as you can. This is, temporarily at least, a good machine!

"It's really stupid and embarrassing to keep pleading with a slot machine as if it were alive and could actually hear me. I'd stop doing it but I'm afraid I'll make it angry and it won't give me a win."

--VP Pappy

41. Finding the loosest machines in a casino is the key to winning. How to find them, is the dilemma.

42. Even if you did somehow manage to find the casino's loosest machines, and if you played them millions of times, you would still eventually go broke, only slower.

43. Sometimes the maximum number of coins in a lower denomination machine doesn't pay back as much as a single coin in a higher denomination.

44. When you choose to play the slots, you must be prepared psychologically, to lose all your gambling stake.

45. Make it a habit to always hit the cash out button when you leave a machine, even if you are sure that you have no credits left.

"Look, you know you want to hit. You're due to hit. You need to hit. I promise, I'll take you out of here. I'll polish you. You're a good machine. HIT NOW!!!"

-- Mellisa Raimondi

46. It's been my experience (or maybe my imagination?) that the tightest machines are placed around the table-game pits, with the end machine, the one facing the pits, the worst.

47. All slot placement decisions have been made with a single thought in mind: encouraging more slot play and increasing the slot play of the people currently at the machines.

48. Never play the four and five coin slot machines. The percentages are no better, and you will just lose your money faster.

49. In a typical bank of 12 slot machines, the probable placement will be something like this: One loose, three tight, and the rest midrange.

50. One of the most important things you can do to get something back of value from a casinos, is to join their slot or player's club.

"Question: "What's your favorite game?"

"The new slot machine with monkeys and bananas that goes bloop, bloop, bloop!"

--Wendy Liebman (comedian)

51. Don't get locked into the financial insanity of thinking "Jackpot! Jackpot! Instead, think, " Small win! Small win! Small wins are good! Like a bird building it's nest, twig by twig, so must you build your bankroll, small win by small win.

52. If you play with credits using the bill acceptor, put in a single $5 or $10 bill, and when you double your money, or lose your credits, move on.

53. Keep an eye out for the banked bonus slots (Piggy Bankin, Wild Cherry Pie, Buccaneer Gold etc.) that have a high bonus that someone has abandoned. Play one coin at a time only until you get it, or until you lose the amount of the bonus, then move on.

54. Build up a notebook filled with the best paying slot machines in each casino you frequent. Write down the type, serial number, location, and win/loss figures. Keeping a record is the only way to chart honestly how you are doing.

55. Talk to the other players and casino personnel about where the loosest machines could possibly be found. Although they may not know, there's no harm in asking, and every bit of information helps.

"It is not uncommon to see a lady in her bridal gown, married moments ago by a minister in full Elvis regalia, furiously working the slots with a Marlboro clenched between her teeth."

--Rob Wiser

56. If you want to keep your losses down while wait for luck to happen, play the two-coin machines only.

57. Keep up to date when the casinos have those bonus days: like when they give double-or triple-points. Play on those days only.

58. Generally, the loosest slots will be found in the Las Vegas casinos.

59. Keep the promises you make to yourself. Leave when you reach your win or loss limit.

60. And finally, my absolutely best advice is to buy some video poker software, learn how to play video poker perfectly, and forget the slots altogether. Video poker has a much higher return.

"Slots have no memory. They are a mindless collection of metal, silicon and plastic. They don't know whether they have hit a jackpot on the previous play or haven't paid off since Reagan was in the White House."

--Lou Krieger & Arthur Reber

You put your money in, the reels spin, and you take your chances at fame and fortune. What could be simpler? That's the allure of slots, and that's also the trap. It's one of the few gambling games that I know of where just staying even is almost as hard to do as winning. I sincerely wish all of you the best of luck, because without it, you're doomed to defeat.

"He who wins, and runs away, will live to gamble another day."

--VP Pappy


Pro and College Football Stat Pattern Reports By Iskoe Show Factors that Affect the Spread

Book reviews by Howard Schwartz (Manager of the Gambler's Book Shop in Las Vegas)

Andy Iskoe, who’s been analyzing pro and college football teams for more than 20 years, has his 2004 Pro Football Statistical Pattern Report (19 pages, 8x11 stapled, $10) and companion work. the 2004 College Football Statistical Pattern Report (16 pages, 8x11 stapled, $10) ready with plenty of time for serious or beginning researchers to do their homework before the season begins. The pro version studies almost 4,000 games in a 16-season span. The college edition examines almost 10,000 games for 16 seasons.

As example, the pro  report shows you why a team that rushes for more than 150 years yet allows the opponent less than 100 yards rushing has a chance of covering over 82 percent of the time. In addition, Iskoe’s research shows teams which rush for more yards than they allow their opponents to gain both rushing and passing have a record versus the line of almost 94 percent. “There are not many more indications of dominant performance than in this category,” Iskoe emphasizes. He says it may be a rare occurrence over the 16 seasons studied, but it “still averages about one occurrence per week.”

For those who want to examine either pro or college patterns in four-year increments, Iskoe makes it simple to follow in charts--so you may compare if a trend is on the increase or decline.

The book explains how to apply box score statistics and angles to possibly project how a team will perform the following week. For an aspiring handicapper who wants to save much time gathering and analyzing statistics in search for a methodology, Iskoe’s work is invaluable. Foe the occasional bettor who questions whether or not a solid defense outranks a wild, wide-open offense, here too, Iskoe’s work cuts to the chase.

Football magazines are now arriving at Gambler’s Book Shop. Two new arrivals are Street & Smith’s Pro Football Preview ($6.99, 200 pages). Regular season schedules, rosters, including birthdays, jersey numbers, years if NFL experience and their college are included. Projected starting lineups, 2004 draftees; off-season additions; how much it will cost you to attend a game including cost of food and beverages are also listed.

There is a six-page section devoted to the Canadian Football League (no schedules, rosters or statistical material included here). There are statistics and a 2003 season recap in this magazine for the NFL and a six-page section for fantasy league players to get a quick preview. There are no pointspread results in this magazine.

Pro Football Weekly’s Preview 2004 ($6.99, 196 pages) magazine is also on the store’s shelves. For those who want the results and what the spread was and if a team covered or not, it’s here. There are no over-under results though.

The magazine offers a three-deep chart for offense and defense; projected rosters with jersey numbers, no age or birth dates; name of school and number of years NFL experience, plus how many games played and started in 2003.

A strength of this magazine is in showing how each team did game by game in regard to statistics, also comparing their performance to their opponents in regard to rushing or passing. For fantasy league players, you can see how rushers, receivers and passers did game by game.

A unique chart showing how each NFL team, ranked in dozens of categories compared to all other NFL teams is included. This includes third and fourth down efficient; field goal percentage; number of times quarterback sacked and average number of yards gained in passing plays. 06/04

(The books mentioned here are available from Gambler's Book Shop, 630 South 11th Street, Las Vegas, NV 89101. Call l-800-522-1777 from 9 to 5 Monday through Saturday Pacific time to order, using only MasterCard, VISA or Discover card (no Amex accepted). You may order through the store web site at and view the store's 1,000 books, videos and computer software. You may also call or write and ask for the free 80-page catalog to be sent to you. The store, founded in 1964 by John and Edna Luckman, is located about two miles from Downtown Las Vegas, and the same distance from where the Strip begins, a block west of Maryland Parkway, just off Charleston Boulevard.)