The Casino – A Zoo Full of Slot Vultures

A Casino or Wildlife Preserve?

Ever look at the casino as a wild life preserve?  It can seem to be very similar. There are many different kinds of wild life in the casino preserve like:

  • The Blackjack Hoot Owl (Tells you the best way to play, whether you want to hear it or not)
  • The Slot Crow (Always complains loudly about the tightness of machines and how they never win)
  • The Strategy Dodo (doesn’t know how, doesn’t care to know how, and wants you to stop everything to lead them through whatever game it is they’re playing)

In the slot machine exhibit,there are many different species of slot players.  Some are quiet and keep to themselves.  Others expect everyone around them to be social, sharing their legendary wins, their misinformed superstitions, and giving their unasked for advice.

But one is genus in the slot exhibit is considered the most annoying and rude of all of them – the SLOT VULTURE, or the Scientific name “Aegypius Monachus Unum Armate Apparatus.” (Latin for ‘One Arm Machine Vulture’)


The elderly can be easy prey for the “Slot Vulture”

Anyone can see them, they are easy to detect, especially if your are in the slot machine pits. It only takes a  few minutes for the most aware casino visitor to notice them – circling around certain machines.

They seem to cunning and sly, but it’s easy to know what there intention is – THEY WANT YOUR MACHINE!

Maybe it’s their favorite, or maybe the limit progressive is getting close to the “must pay by” jackpot. Either way, I like to outwit the slot vultures around me. I try teasing them, like:

  1. making them think I was leaving, but, oops, just stretching.
  2. checking my wallet or email – EVERY TIME MY CREDITS WERE LOW.
  3. acting like I was calling someone to ask them to bring more money

Yes, the slot Human Slot Vulture is a conniving, rude and annoying animal, yet quite naive since we are quite aware of them and understand their animal-like intentions. Their normal habitat can be found in the slot machine area of any casino.

The following comparison is inspired by “Wild Birds Expert” Melissa Mayntz article “20 Fun Facts and Trivia About Vultures” found in Birding/Wild Birds Expert at  Notice the resemblances of the two species.

Territorial - "I am playing all these Machines!"

Territorial – “I am playing all these Machines!”

Fact 1. Vultures are relatively social roost in large flocks. Human vultures however are content to hunt alone or in very small groups, since they are very territorial once they sit down

Fact 2. Vultures prefer fresh meat but are able to consume carcasses that may have rotted so much as to be dangerous for other animals.  Human Vultures prefer fresh meat as well – we all know that the last human slot player made their new prey available and ready to eat, I mean Slot Machine and “DUE to hit.”

images (3)Fact 3. Vultures have excellent senses of sight and smell to help them locate food, as do the human variety.  Human vultures have keen eyesight to view slot players leaving seats even before the previous slot player has actually “vacated” the seat. This makes them much fun to play with by faking them out repeatedly.

downloadFact 4. Vultures have bare heads, often bare necks and relatively weak legs and feet. This similarity could explain the fact that less slot players are millennials and most slot players are “boomers” and older.

Fact 5. It is a myth that vultures actually circle dying animals waiting to feed. These birds are powerful fliers and will soar on thermals while they look for food, but when they locate a carcass, they will approach it quickly to begin feeding before other predators find it.  However, the human species tends to hover, and watch, even before the carcass, or player’s session, is dead – often feigning interest in their play to get in position to pounce on the next empty seat.

Now for the weirdest of all, and probably the most shocking:

Fact 6. Vultures urinate on their legs and feet to help cool off on hot days.  Did you know that most Las Vegas casinos have employees clean the seats in the early morning for this same reason!

Luckily, the human species won’t hurt you.  They usually just move on to their next possible conquest.

Share your annoying slot machine experience with NETimeGambling. Send us your story at

Have a great session, but be careful – it’s like a zoo in there!


(Please enjoy one of my most read rants “Stupid Human Tricks” here.  Sometimes I can’t help myself.  But as Tim Dressen in his book “Outsiders Guide to Las Vegas”) reminded me, “It’s my Blog, so I can post my opinion if I want to!” )



New Slot Machines, Part 1 – 5 Latest Licensed/Themed

While casino owners try to figure out how to get younger players gambling in their properties, a lot of attention is still turning to the current evolution of non-skill slot machines. Older machines are remade into different versions, like all those Buffalo slots, new models are still being produced, even with the casino industry’s lament over slot revenue decrease.

One thing they tend to forget – playing slots that don’t suck the bankroll’s life out of you quicker and quicker won’t bring more players!  And all the other fees introduced with less connection to the players expectations won’t bring players knocking down the casino’s doors either – but that’s another topic for another day.

Today we take a brief look at the Licensed / Theme Slot Machines newest slot machines you can find now in casinos across the country. These games feature licenses from famous movies, video games, television shows and comics, allowing you to enjoy your favorite franchises while playing.

Is it big business? – you bet!  Players tend to gravitate to licensed slots that incorporate the theme of a favorite TV show or movie. Eriq Gardner from the Hollywood Insider explains. “Ever since a Wheel of Fortune slot machine took the industry by storm two decades ago, manufacturers have been gravitating to licensed properties. That’s meant bonus income for Hollywood studios (and the stars, who get a piece of the action if their faces are used) that can range from $1 million to $20 million, says gaming analyst Todd Eilers. In all, casino gaming manufacturers spend up to $200 million annually to land rights to popular brands like The Big Bang Theory and The Simpsons because a recognizable image can make all the difference on a casino floor.”  He continues “…..Beyond royalty payments (even a contract that grants a few dollars per machine per day can translate to six figures annually for popular games), stars also benefit from a promotional boost. The licensing agent calls it “revenue-generating brand awareness,” particularly for personalities that have a presence in Las Vegas, like Britney Spears, Celine Dion and Cirque du Soleil (who all have branded games on the Strip): “Anyone with a Vegas residency needs to get into the space because there’s a natural association. How many people walk by a game and are reminded, ‘Oh yeah, I do want to see a Cirque show’? It’s not just free advertising — it’s advertising that someone’s paying you for.”

The Latest Licensed Slots

The Mariah Carey video slot is a five-reel casino slot machine with one of the brightest cabinet displays on the gaming floor. The whole machine is decked out in a purple and neon blue color scheme designed to attract attention. You’ll also get to enjoy plenty of her songs during play, with various videos of her performances appearing during special features. Carey fans will probably enjoy, but if she turns your stomach, this probably isn’t for you.  For all the fanfare, this should be a quick visitor to the casino floor.

Elvira – Aristocrat helps to celebrate Elvira’s 35 years as America’s favorite sultry but spooky icon. This is a high volatility game with seven possible bonuses, including rolling reels, the “Boob Tube Pick Bonus,” “Elvira’s Big Wheels,” and Double D Vision 3 with jiggling boobs as the symbols stop. Full of innuendo, it’s fun but isn’t good for a long play – even though it has many “entertaining” features.

National Lampoon’s Vacation, made by Scientific Gaming, features the comical characters and hilarious footage from the comedy about the classic American family road trip. Included in this game are a host of comical and engaging game features such as a wheel bonus which awards credits, a 2x multiplier or sends the player on an adventure into the Walley World free spins feature or the Griswold family vacation bonus. The vacation bonus awards credit prizes or the opportunity to play one of six bonus games, such as the vibrating bed bonus, skinny dipping bonus, jump the rail bonus and the auto bonus, all based on signature funny scenes in the movie.  This slot machine seems to be a lot of fun and should be a hit on the casino floor.

Three Amigos & Three Amigos Ride Again is an entertaining new game based on the 1986 hit American comedy, The Three Amigos!, featuring the hilarious characters—Lucky Day, Dusty Bottoms and Ned Nederlander. made by Ainsworth, the latest version “Rides Again” slot includes eight free games with multipliers, reveal symbols and retriggers. At the beginning of the free games, five wheels spin to reveal a feature enhancement. The game also has 10 free games with multipliers and held wilds with bonus retriggers as well as a Progressive Piñata feature.  Max bet will access the progressive jackpots.

Sienfeld – Five HD video screens, wide-area progressive, numerous bonus features such as the Soup Nazi, and the Festivus Bonus which uses IGT’s Motion Gesture Technology, first seen in the Willy Wonka machines of the same cabinet.  Featuring the four main characters of the sitcom, it looks like a lot of fun.


AINSWORTH GAME TECHNOLOGY – King Kong, King Kong Skull Island, The Magnificent Seven Reloaded.

ARISTOCRAT TECHNOLOGIES – Tim McGraw, Game of Thrones II, The Big Lebowski, The X Files, Candy Land, My Cousin Vinny

EVERI HOLDINGS – Penn & Teller, Casablanca, Underdog, Casper the Friendly Ghost,

GAMECO – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

IGT – The Voice, The Ellen DeGeneres Show Sharing the Love, The Goonies,  Baywatch 3D, Betty White.

SCIENTIFIC GAMES – The Bachelor, The Godfather, Johnny Cash


“Millennial Obsession” Casinos Ignoring Previous Generations

Where would we be without selfies & photo-bombs? Maybe doing something useful or not annoying others?

I’m already tired of hearing about it – millennial this and millennial that…..

Hey Casino Industry – the “boomers” and previous generations are still out here filling your pockets. The least you can do is multi-task and make all of your visitors happy.

What generation do you fall into?

What generation do you fall into?

What generation do you fall into? What generation do you fall into?
Recent articles by Phillip Marcelo from the Associated Press and Daniel Smythe of WPT Magazine were informative and entertaining,. with many great points concerning ways casinos are trying to lure the 20-35 year olds into the casino. A 2015 article by the Wash­ing­ton-based Mar­keting Re­search Asso­ciation suggesting current versions of slot machines are “widely viewed” by millennials as “antisocial, non-intuitive and generally boring.” Ok, I get that. Many Gen X’ers felt three reel slots were the same way.

In their articles, they basically listed the many ways the industry is changing to cater to that generation born between 1984 and 2004. Well, consider these:

80 years old!

Fact #1 – 70 IS THE NEW 40! – Boomers are living longer and are more mobile and interested in leisure activities that any generation before it. “65” is not drop dead age any more, “65” and way older now means “what would I like to do to enjoy my life” age! We’re here, we love GOOD gambling, slots, REAL table games, and great entertainment. We are the ones filling your upscale “hoity, toity” overpriced restaurants. We’re also the ones bringing our family, our grand-kids, and our work buddies to see concerts, eat donuts, breakfasts and buffets. Unless you start changing out all the slots for comfy chairs, social media areas and the “oonce, oonce, oonce” of DJ’s all over the place, we’ll still visit. By the way, that’s GOOD gambling, with GOOD odds, Friendly “live” Human dealers, and GOOD Dining & Entertainment options.

Fact #2 – SHOW ME THE MONEY! – Isn’t this younger generation that you’re banking on the one that has benefited the least from the country’s economic turn-around from the 2007 recession? Isn’t this the next generation to owe more in college loans than any previous generation? Isn’t this the generation that has less money in their pockets for leisure activities, like gambling? Give them what they want and enjoy the most – clubs, drinks, entertainment and social opportunities. Stop overhauling the casino for those who won’t go in it in the first place.

Fact #3 – It’s about money! News Flash! Many casinos are worried about slot revenue, but not necessarily worried about the players. Since corporate America took over the gambling industry, their concern is making a profit, (as all capitalists do). After the conditions of state regulations, payment agreements, financial support to neighboring communities, and taxes, the casino bean-counters still need to show a profit. The number of people of any generation visiting casinos isn’t dwindling, it’s increasing, ever since 2007. The problem for the casino industry is that the path of the money invested into a casino is changing and much more diverse. Casinos (and states that work with them) can’t depend on the gambling revenue anymore, so they’re panicking. Changing the gambling options in a casino is like Nike making a shoe for everything – hiking, cross-fit, cross training, walking, running…. some will buy it, but most will look for the best shoe that suits them for their particular interest and ignore the compromised “one-fits all” brand. Diversity is important, but one big mixed hybrid won’t cut it.

Mohegan Sun Poker Room

The Mohegan Sun Poker Room in the Casino of the Wind.

Fact #4 – POKER INTEREST – the addition of Poker rooms in Casinos is not due to millennial interest in poker – it’s due to televised tournaments 5-10 years ago. You could find them any time of the day, on multiple channels. Then, due to federal pressure concerning online poker and it’s advertising, companies like ESPN chilled on their coverage. It dwindled, then experienced a resurgence again, which I believe can be attached to two things:

  1. the interest in Daily Fantasy Sports and
  2. more states that have increased legal online poker in their states.

Poker has always been in America’s blood – played as we know it since the Civil War and the introduction of the 52-card deck. To think it’s a young man’s game must make the Benny Binions of the world frown in disgust.

Video Black Jack with “live” dealer

Fact #5 – VIDEO TABLE GAMES – casinos are introducing “Video Table Games” with lower limits for Millennials so they can socially gamble as a group spending less money. But who’s kidding who? How about these reasons for casinos introducing these games:

1. It costs the casino less not having to pay for an employee to deal
2. The odds are usually stingier – especially craps, where odds bets amount are limited to 2X, and blackjack with some BJ paying even money.
3. It lures novice gamblers to spend their money while not knowing basic strategies and betting high house “sucker” bets.

The bottom line of this post is that while casinos are trying to look ahead and be relevant for the newest generation of gamblers, don’t forget the rest of us, because we are still your bread & butter. Casinos are many things to many people of all ages. Consider us all as clients for a return visit.


6 Crucial Habits for Slot & Video Poker Players

senior-playing-slotsIf you love to play slots at your casino of choice, then you love the excitement that precedes that first pull. You spot one of your favorite machines, it’s open and calling you to join in. You rush to it like a long lost friend. But in the rush to play, many players forget to be mindful of certain important events that precede that play – there are things you need to check before that first push of the button. So many slot players get caught up in the excitement of playing, the anticipation of winning or even the disappointment of a losing session, that they forget the following checklist before they play. Forgetting any one of the following items could cost you money and/or comps. Remember this Pre-Play Checklist

1. Get a Rewards Card

MLife Rewards Club of MGM

MLife Rewards Club of MGM

It’s free. It reduces the casino edge by earning comps on dining, shows, and giveaways. That free hotel room might not feel free with losses, but if you’re going to play, get something for it, no matter how little you may play. And, always get two cards. How many times do you lose your card or forget it in a machine? Lots! Before you regret sitting at that favorite machine and finding your card is missing, always ask for more than one card at the rewards desk.

2. Check the Game Denomination

Have you ever played a penny slot machine, only to realize it was a dollar, not a penny? It happens when slot and video poker players mistake the basic denomination of the machine. Be sure you’re spending the correct amount you intend for your bankroll.  Some machines have denomination options, like nickel, quarter, or dollar video poker.  Be careful on these machines after you have chosen which game to play – you still may have to check and choose the correct denomination for your play.

3. Check Your Players Card

Being More Careful with your Players Card is just one of the things to be careful with in the casino

If I only had a dollar for every time I made a player aware that their players card needed to be re-inserted, I could double my bankroll. Before you play, insert your card and wait to see that it registers your name. If it starts blinking, take it out completely and try it again. Some casinos, like Mohegan Sun, only process one event at a time.  If you love to put in your money or TITO at the same time as the card, the card usually doesn’t register. Take your time and insert one, then the other.

By the way, don’t be a “conspiracy Charlie” (or Charlene) concerning what the card does. It is not connected to changes in denomination, it doesn’t change payoff percentage because “it knows you won” and it doesn’t hold back jackpots. Don’t play without your Card, it’s the only way you can earn comps these days with the new casino players clubs. Most casinos only comp you only according to the playing data registered by your card.

4. Be Sure Your Money or TITO Ticket registers in the Machine

Ticket In, Ticket Out! TITO

Ticket In, Ticket Out! TITO

Sometimes in your rush, you have trouble with your money or your ticket. One trick is to use a machine next to you if you have trouble. Some slots just have trouble reading what you add. Use that machine to get a fresh TITO Ticket.

5. One Last Check – Money in, players card registering, the denomination is correct. Ready to go.

6. Leaving the Machine

Before you leave that machine, win or lose, follow these easy quick Habits for Leaving the Machine. This habit will stop leaving your players cards in the machine as well as your money.  Yes, it does happen!  And there are people in the casino watching for just that mistake.  It only takes a moment with you looking the other way to happen someone snatch your ticket without you noticing.  It happened to me one morning at Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas, it can happen to you, too.

When cashing out, get in the following habit:

  1. Push cash out button.
  2. Right hand takes card
  3. Left hand positioned at TITO dispenser.
  4. Check for both in hand before leaving.


Now, go get that jackpot.


PAC-MAN Battle Casino Slot – Back to the Future

What’s new is old and what’s old is new again.  To try to get the millenials into the casino, the gaming industry is trying everything and  anything, including bringing PacMan back to a whole new generation of gamblers.

Gamblit vending areas at G2E in Las Vegas 2017

Skill-gaming pioneers Gamblit and Japan’s Bandai Namco, who owns the rights to the legendary arcade game character, have bonded together to bring PacMan to the casino floor.  After a very successful unveiling at the G2E this past week, it is scheduled to be rolled out to casinos in early 2018 in the latest bid to woo millennials with the joys of skill-based gambling.

PAC-MAN Battle Casino pits two to four players for against each other to play for cash prizes, while employing a similar financial and mathematical model to traditional slots.  It cannot be played alone, which is one point against. Unlike slots, however, Gamblit games are designed to be sociable and more in tune with the games the millennial generation likes to play.  This game looks like a new age coffee table.

Gamblit’s PacMan

According to, “What makes Battle Casino unique is that it’s one of the first instances of skill-based video game gambling. While slot machines have adopted video displays, they’re still mainly games of chance. Success in Battle Casino is entirely dependent on one’s skill as a Pac-Man player.” Based on what we already know about this new player-versus-player gambling machine, will it lead the 20-somethings into the casino, or will it entice the already gambling baby-boomers. Time will tell. continues, “The player’s job of controlling Pac-Man has not changed, either. That yellow, 2D circle must be maneuvered around the classic game board, chomping on dots and evading those vibrant, computer-driven ghosts. Delectable fruits appear center stage to boost a player’s score, while swallowing up a power berry allows Pac-Man to gobble up his spectral rivals.”

Pac-Man Skill Gambling Game

Courtesy of Gamblit &

So, do you think you’ve still got what it takes to devour dots, berries and ghosts better than your friends. Are you good enough to take home the cash pot?

I guess we’ll have to wait until next year to find out.  In the mean time, try iGaming’s Asteroids in Mohegan Sun or Pharaoh’s Secret Temple and Nothin’ but Net at Foxwoods by GameCo.



7 Tips For Slots & Video Poker Players – Gambling Mindfully

The notion of mindful living – being attentive, aware, or careful of things such as kindness, etiquette, eating, and even gambling – has come to the forefront of recent research.

Solitary gambling is a style that some people prefer.  Slot players, video poker players, video keno players – basically any machine casino game play – prefer different expectations from their gambling.  The need for social interaction isn’t necessarily a criteria for a good time. When gambling alone, it is easy to lose one’s self, so being mindful, or in the moment, can become very important.

Video Poker Machines at Mohegan Sun

Video Poker Machines at Mohegan Sun

Stadium gaming has given some players who prefer solo gaming a chance to play games such as roulette, blackjack and baccarat, getting a social element without the intermingling involved and the ability to play different table games without moving tables. Electronic gaming has even made boisterous team-like games such as craps accessible to the single player.

Group electronic table games

Zindel Segal, a Distinguished Professor of Psychology in Mood Disorders at the University of Toronto Scarborough, has researched mindfulness in a way to transcend to solitary gambling.  His research can be taken to suggest that automatic routines, habitual patterns, and favorite games play into the solitary gambler’s play. Patterns of negative thinking, such as “tight machines,” “low casino payoffs,” and casino superstitions can slip into the players awareness, changing the “in the moment” enjoyment. He suggests seven ways that I believe gamblers can transcend those negative thoughts.  Here’s how:

  1. Living on “automatic pilot” (rather than with awareness and conscious choice). This brings to mind the awareness of your bankroll.  Continuous playing on a slot or other machine without a stop limit, or taking a walk for a break can mindlessly cause over-betting your bankroll and gambling beyond one’s means.  NETG SUGGESTION – be aware of time and money played.  Keep a log, and bring only the money for that session. While playing , set a loss limit.

    A Simple Casino Log for winnings & Losses

  2. Relating to experience through thought (rather than directly sensing).  This brings to mind the many times gamblers tend to remember events such as re-occurring close bonuses in slots, re-occurring cards or patterns in video poker, table game card repetition, or even player snafus.  The reality it we tend to be aware of certain parts of experience, not the whole.  Obsessing over the pair of 6’s that next gets a third can cause thoughts of casino cheating or fixed outcomes.  NETG SUGGESTION – be aware of the science, the need for fairness with gaming commissions, how RNG’s work and casino house edge.
  3. Dwelling on and in the past and future (rather than being fully in the present moment).  “I never win at XYZ casino.”  That’s the past talking, because we constantly want to see a cause and effect to base our next action by. On the positive side, this includes going back to a particular machine that you won on previously.  NETG SUGGESTION – remember your success on the next play’s outcome  is not dependent upon the previous play. Every bet placed is an “in the moment” event, with not connection to your previous bet.
  4. Trying to avoid, escape, or get rid of unpleasant experience (rather than approach it with interest).  Going to the casino to gamble is not a good thing to do when you are angry, upset, or in an altered state. NETG SUGGESTION – Gamble when it is your primary interest to do so, and you have calculated your sufficient bankroll. When gambling is your secondary thought or reason to go to the casino, maybe that’s not the time to go in the first place.
  5. Needing things to be different from how they are (rather than allowing them to be just as they already are).  Chasing wins can be catastrophic to your finances.  When losing, accept what’s happening, play to only your bankroll, or even call it a day.  It can turn in an instant – but the house edge will always play a big part in your continued play.  NETG SUGGESTION – accept the results as part of gambling.  The casino is there to make money while entertaining you – but they don’t owe you anything.  Fight the good fight, but don’t let recent trips or event recent losses in that session wreak havoc with your emotions.
  6. Seeing thoughts as true and real (rather than as mental events that may or may not correspond to reality). Understanding the science and mathematics involved in gambling is the first step to perception problems.  The gambler’s fallacy is the belief that the chances of something happening with a fixed probability become higher or lower as the process is repeated. The idea that a machine is “due to hit,” or is “hot or cold” is a human perception in an in an extremely small amount of time.  Correct assumptions of that particular machine can only be expected over long-term play, something none of us have the time to do with one machine.  NETG SUGGESTION – Accept the science & math in slot machines with the Random Number Generator.  Acceptance is the key!
  7. Treating yourself harshly and unkindly (rather than taking care of yourself with kindness and compassion).  “shoulda, coulda, woulda” – these are the things we tend to be ourselves up over during a session.  “I coulda moved to another machine,” “I shoulda taken a break,” “I woulda had a better day if I had studied mt Video Poker strategy more.”  NETG SUGGESTION – Take the experience as a learning one.  Remember, the best plans for your casino visit still might go awry because of house edge, many casino visitors, availability of your “favorite machines,” and on & on.  Remember the things you could have changed, accept the things you couldn’t – and don’t beat yourself up in the process.  But if it concerns spending more money than expected, and that becomes a pattern, re-assess your need to gamble.

I hope this has been helpful.  It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of the casino.  Just walking in can give you a boost of adrenaline, sending those endorphins screaming for excitement.  But try to be in control, in the moment.  Being mindful in life can mean being mindful in your gambling.


Special Thanks to Professor for permission to use his research for this post.

Zindel Segal is Distinguished Professor of Psychology in Mood Disorders at the University of Toronto Scarborough. His guiding professional intention is in using empirical data to advocate for the relevance of mindfulness-based clinical care in psychiatry and mental health. He has carried on a longstanding and valued collaboration with John Teasdale and Mark Williams devoted to the proposition that offering training in mindfulness meditation to formerly depressed people can address relapse triggers and support long-term recovery. Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy—the program developed through this work—has now been evaluated in over 10 studies worldwide. He also serves on the Advisory Board for which offers a digital platform for MBCT.

Slot Machines & Standalone Progressives

I hope I’m using the term “wongable” correctly. It means there’s a point in gambling, usually referring to blackjack card counting, where it is a good idea to play a game with a higher EV according to certain rules or progressions in the game.

With slot machines, no matter what someone tells you, slot machines “hit-ability” cannot not be determined due to the Random Number Generator. But, in blackjack, deep penetration of the shoe causes the EV to rise in favor of the player, especially card counters.

With slots, we play without the sure knowledge of its pay out percentage.  It would be great if we could, especially with progressive slots.

A progressive jackpot game is one in which the size of the top jackpot grows with every spin of the reels. Before choosing a progressive slot machine, players need to be aware of the fact that playing such a machine is not the same as playing other slots. A certain portion of every bet is accumulated to form the progressive jackpot. In standalone progressives, the jackpot point is reset at a certain amount once the jackpot is hit.

There are 3 kinds of progressive slots:

IGT’s Hot Shot is an example of a “Local” Progressive

  • Standalone progressives – A standalone progressive jackpot only grows when you play that individual machine.
  • Local area progressives – A local area progressive is networked with a group of other slot machines within the same casino. Play on any of those machines causes the jackpot for all those games to grow. If the jackpot is hit on any of those machines, the jackpot on all the machines resets to its starting point.
  • Wide area progressives – Wide area progressives are the games that are networked across multiple casinos. These are the games where the jackpots get high enough to compete with lottery games. The biggest example of a wide area progressive is Megabucks. The jackpot for this game starts at $10 million and grows until it’s hit. The jackpot has grown to over $30 million on at least 2 different occasions.


A standalone progressive slot machine has a jackpot ticker on the game, but only bets placed on that specific machine feed the jackpot. This was, at one time, the only kind of progressive slot machine game available, but most progressives feature multiple machines that are linked together. Still, so many standalone machines were manufactured that these games are still easily found in casinos throughout the world.

Quick Hit Slot Machine

The very popular “Quick Hit” Slot Machines can be standalone or hitched together in a group as a local progressive.

These days, standalone progressives can be found produced by all of the major slot machine makers. With any progressive slot, it’s important to understand that a percentage of all the money played into the machine is considered in the payoff. This means that the actual payback percentage will be less on the other winning symbols and in some case the payback percentage on the Progressive machines will be less than other machines in the casino.  The higher the progressive amount (as in wide area progressives), the lower the payout percentage.

For this reason, while standalone slots won’t usually pay that “life-changing” jackpot, they can also keep you in the game longer than larger progressive slots. As already explained above, a certain portion of every bet is accumulated to form the progressive jackpot.


So many people, when playing progressive slots, don’t want to be aware of that machine.  There are many differences in progressives.  For example, some (most Wide area progressives) machines need to have the maximum bet played to qualify for winning the progressive jackpot. In standalone progressives, the jackpots are possible at any wager, but there are exceptions.  You must read the machine’s info to know if you are wasting your money. It’s like playing video poker on 4 coins instead of 5.  By doing so, you take away the chance of the inflated Royal Flush payout and diminish the % by 2%.   A player is permitted to make any other bet than the maximum one, but on slots that only payout the progressive with MAX BET, this will bring them only a small part of the progressive jackpot.


The popular IGT “must hit by” feature on “Pirate Ship”

These machines reset at certain amount every time it’s hit.  It then begins to slowly build to a set point, chosen by a second RNG (thanks to John Grochowski for that info).  It may go all the way to the “must hit by” point or hit anywhere in between.  On these machines, max bet is not needed, but a larger bet will make the amount grow quicker.

But how much quicker?  Here’s my suggestion – If it’s close, to the “must hit by” amount,  jump on it.  But when I say close, I mean VERY close.  Here’s an illustration of how slowly the jackpot on these machines grow.


Ainsworth Rumble Rumble Progressive Slot Machine

Ainsworth Rumble Rumble Progressive Slot Machine

One summer, my wife and I stayed and played at Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas.  There was an Ainsworth “Rumble, Rumble” standalone progressive penny machine – lowest bet was 50 cents, highest $2.50.  It had to hit by $500 and when I sat down, it was at $491!  So I played, and I played – for two days it seemed I was the only one playing.  It reached $495, $497, still didn’t hit.  We figured out that every $5 in caused to Jackpot to move 1 PENNY!!!!  That’s right, ONE CENT!!!!  It hit after $498.  I had lots of good play at $1 & $2 a pull – I still lost money, but not much for two days of play.

Moral of the story – don’t expect it to hit, and if you are in it for the jackpot, make sure you have a large bankroll and you are already close to the Jackpot.  These Jackpots don’t grow quickly, but can hit on any wager.

As you walk around the casinos, see if you can spy these standalone progressive slots and compare the jackpots.  It not only is smart when playing these type of progressive machines, but it may dictate how smart of a wager you will bet.

That’s all for now.



Old Slot Machines – Where Do They Go?

The Liberty Bell was the first variation of the modern mechanical slot machine. Pictured above is creator Charles Fey

Those of us who play slots, and have been since the beginning of our recreational gambling, have had favorites that we loved to play.  I would travel to different  casinos around the country looking for them in joints that were old enough to have had them in inventory.  But, then there is the disappointment when we can’t find them anymore.  Miguel, our Rhode Island correspondent, could probably tell you where every “Hot Hot Penny” 5-reel slot is

Some slots have been on the casino floors for years, such as Bally’s “Hot Hot Jackpot.”

, or was, in New England, Atlantic City and Vegas casinos.  I am constantly on the prowl for Aristocrat’s “Betting Zoo” Cashman machine.

Of course, we all know why some slots stay for a few months, and why some machines stay in the casino floor inventory for years – money.  It it continues to make money, it stays – if not, bye-bye one-arm bandit.

We also know of those favorites that are on their last leg – the monitor is blurry or dis-colored, buttons have been replaced over and over, or the sound is non-existent.

So, as years go by, new slots take the place of older machines on the casino floor.  It begs the question, “Where Do the Old Slot Machines Go?”

Mark Pilarski of Vegas Master says, “Sadly, many of the beautiful, much-loved slot machines of yesterday are no longer with us.

Playing the Slots at the Taj Mahal, Atlantic City – early 90’s

Casinos want to squeeze as much out of a slot machine as they can, so many old slot machines which have been removed from the casino floor are sent off to the workshop to be dismantled and used for parts, or otherwise sold as scrap.”

Jawa in Star Wars.

Scrap?  Oh no, pictures of  Star Wars “R2D2” captured by Jawa come to mind, being sold with scrap in the original Star Wars in 1977.

But not all slot machines end their lives on the scrap heap, others are simply locked away in the basement of the casino.  I can see it now, as the vault opens, the whimpering of old slots can be heard  “pick me, pick me,” hoping to see the light of day in the casino one last time, only to have it opened up, or have it’s only arm ripped off for an aging slot still on the floor.  Oh, the horror…….

Double Diamond Slots, still popular today after all these years.

Casinos typically don’t get to buy as many new slots per year as they would like, so they end up hanging on to slots for many, many, years. They get taken off the floor by performance, so the worst titles are the ones that are coming off. By the time the casino gets around to getting rid of these, they are pretty much worthless to other casinos as they are very old and the title is usually unpopular.

Some older machines are sold.  Collectors buy them, or other casinos, especially on cruise ships or in North America, namely Caribbean Islands.  Some people buy them from collectors for home use. Only a few states, such as Arizona, allow for personal ownership.  And many of the newer machines with TITO technology (no coins) are not favorable for home usage.  Those with TITO have one problem for personal play – you need a gambling license to buy the paper for the tickets!

John Robinson, from Casino City Times, sums it up as follows:

“What a casino does when it’s finished with a slot machine depends on how it was acquired. If it was placed in the casino by the manufacturer on a participation basis (the casino and the manufacturer split the money won from the machine), the casino just asks the manufacturer to remove the machine. If the casino leased the machine, it asks the leasing company to take back the machine at the end of the lease. If a casino bought the machine, it sells it to a slot distributor or wholesaler.”

If you want to find a particular machine, just search for a used version of the machine on the Internet. Note that almost every state restricts private ownership of slot machines. You can find the restrictions for your state by searching on the Internet.

So, that’s where slot machines go after they have served their monetary purpose to the casino.  No slot Heaven, no Hall of Fame, just move along, you’re done Mr. Bandit.  Time is up.

Kinda sad?

NO! – They are just machines with a RNG that are played for our fun and the casino’s profit.  As Tim Dressen, of the popular Las Vegas Podcast “Five Hundy by Midnight” says, “Don’t get attached to things (in casinos, in Las Vegas) because change is bound to happen.”


That’s all for now.


Slot Machine Quiz – True or False

Can You Take the Slot Machine Truth Quiz and score 100?

I’m read that slots are not going to be prevalent as much in the next few years.  Millennials’ money is being sought, casinos are reducing the importance of their “bottom line,” and casinos are looking to offer more amenities, less gambling.  So, before the technology changes so much that this quiz is obsolete, let’s see if you would know about those one-arm bandits…….take the quiz below.  True or false!

1. A cold machine is due to pay a jackpot soon.

2. Machines that pay better are put near the doors of casinos.

3. The odds change when the casino expects a large crowd

4. Penny slots are your best deal

5. Slot Machines are fixed to beat the player

6. There are ways to beat slot machines

7. Always cover all the lines – bet max lines.

8. If I leave the machine, and it hits a jackpot, I would have hit it if I had stayed

9. Casinos can change the payoff % with a flip of the switch or a technician opening it up briefly, doing whatever they do.

10. There is no link between the card reader and the RNG in the slot machine.

————————-The Answers————————-

1. False – depending on your definition of soon. If you are going to sit and play for the next month non-stop, you’d probably see some good hits.

Is This What Gambling In Massachusetts Casinos Going to Make Us Feel Like?

A psychological term known as the gambler’s fallacy pertains to this perception. The previous outcome has no impact on the next slot pull – it has no memory of previous games. The truth is, a cold machine is just a machine that hasn’t paid for a while, that’s all.

2 . False –  Once upon a time a machine or two was placed near a casino entrance that paid better (a long time ago.). However, today there is no need to entice you in to play like the old days, machines with higher payback % are strewn around the casino.

Row of one armed bandit slot machines in casino brightly lit

Modern casinos don’t put easy machines near doors or at the end of a row of slots. If they did, why would anyone play the tough slots? Want a higher paying slot, try bumping up in denomination – and even then, it’s a sure thing.

3. False – Nope it’s not done.  Do you know why?  They don’t have to. The casino edge is all around you – why pay more people extra to do all that when they’ll make money just leaving them alone? In fact, aside from frowns of the Gaming Control Board and the time to make all the changes, the crowds on weekends aren’t worth the effort – it’s busy most days at modern casinos.

4. False – Actually, the term penny slots is manufacturer magic.  penny_slotsIf you play, you know that there is a lowest bet on most “penny slots.” The latest don’t even give you a chance to play a penny under their certain limit.  Aristocrat has .25, .40 as their lowest bet. Under that, you just have to cash out!

But back to the question.  Even though you may be betting small, the sad truth is that overall, penny slots have the highest casino edge per spin of all slots. And, since the per-spin amount is higher than other slots, the total hourly cost of playing them is often higher than other machines.

5. True – of course! It’s called Casino Advantage. senior-playing-slots It’s not true that they are fixed to cheat – but of course they are fixed to win. The machines are designed to have a sizable house edge and the more you play, the more you spend.

6. False – unless you mean physically hitting the machine, which will probably draw some undesirable attention. No book, article or system is ever going to teach you how to win at the slots. There are smarter ways to manage your bankroll when playing slots, such as knowing the individual machine’s rules, or watching for random bonus machines getting close to being hit.  But even then, it’s just trying to play smarter, a sure-fire method to win.  Please, don’t waste you money or effort. The simple truth is that slot machines are a gamble – pure and simple. Enjoy them at your own risk – and simply as entertainment!

7. True – if you want to have the best way to maximize your bankroll and give yourself the greatest advantage at the luck of the RNG.  That doesn’t mean max bet, just max (50)  Some machines, such as “Quick Hit” and their many variations should be played with max bet – it’s like playing video poker on one credit.  It you don’t want to give yourself a chance for the better payoff, then that’s your decision.  Whatever floats your boat.  But, always MAX LINES.

8. FalseWheel of Fortunethat machine doesn’t know who is pushing the button or pulling the lever.
The random action of paying out does not depend on the amount of spins that have previously occurred – or the temperature of the coins or bill you put in, or the time between plays. It is the exact moment that the reels are spun that determines the outcome of the spin.

9. False. The slot machines have a computer chip in them that determines the pay back percentage. These are preset at the factory. In order for a casino to change the pay back, they would have to change the chip. th (49)In most jurisdictions there is paper work that has to be filled and submitted to the Casino Control Commission for each machine if the chip is changed. It is time consuming and the chips are very expensive. For this reason, it is more economical to decide on the pay back percentages before purchasing the machines and having the factory ship them with the proper chip.

10. True – There IS no link between the card reader and the RNG.mrrewards-927x282 By not using your player’s card you are denying yourself valuable comps and sometimes cash back from the casino.

How’d cha do?  The only good score is 100 – 10 out of 10.  If you got any wrong, look it up and learn to accept the science and technology involved.  It might make your experience, and your bankroll, better knowing the truth.


Slot Machines Innovation – Aristocrat “Fast Cash”

ARISTOCRAT TECHNOLOGIES has been making world-wide favorite slot machines for many years.  Their latest winner, “Fast Cash” is now sweeping New England’s casinos as the new preferred slot.

I remember seeing Aristocrat machines for the first time in Las Vegas years ago, imported from Australia.  But Aristocrat had its beginnings much earlier than the 90’s.  The company that most casinos have embraced today started in 1953. For a great history and timeline from Aristocrat Technologies, click here.

Fast Cash is a game-changing product because it operates in an under-served area of the market—small, rapid-hitting jackpots with meaningful wins.  Fast Cash is focused on delivering meaningful customer jackpots that hit much more frequently. With Fast Cash, the grand jackpot is vendor-funded, eliminating casino liability, creating a perfect situation where both players and casinos will love the opportunity to participate in rapidly hitting links at a lower price. The magic is in the additional 6th reel which allows for the jackpot possibilities.

Everything in Fast Cash’s design is about jackpots, catering directly to jackpot-chasing customers. Fast Cash delivers fast excitement with the opportunity to win multiple simultaneous jackpots with a rapid hit six-level linked progressive multigame featuring four of Aristocrat’s top performing games: Buffalo Deluxe, Miss Kitty, Timber Wolf Deluxe and Wicked Winnings II.

The best feature of Fast Cash is that the jackpots can be won at any bet level.

The company was founded by Len Ainsworth, whose family maintains a lucrative stake in the company, but is now Chairman of a different gaming company, Ainsworth Game Technology, another Aussie up-and-comer in the American casino industry.

Mr. Cashman Slot Machine

Mr. Cashman Slot Machine by Aristocrat

The most well known Aristocrat games include Queen of the Nile, the Cashman series, Buffalo series and its linked jackpot themes, such as the Cash Express which place large progressive jackpots over a number of machines.

Check out Fast Cash where any bet can win a jackpot.


Slot Machines Systems – Four Players Try To Fake Out the RNG

First of all, let me apologize for the lack of posts recently – family business always takes precedence. While in Florida, I was able to get a few hours away and visit the Seminole Hotel & Casino in Immokolee.

Seminole Casino, Immokalee

Seminole Casino Hotel Immokalee is a Native American Casino in Immokalee, Florida and is open daily 24 hours. The casino’s 75,600 square foot gaming space features 1,300 gaming machines and forty-four table and poker games. The property has four restaurants and a hotel with ninety-nine rooms. It is one of six casinos operated in Florida by the Seminoles.

This post isn’t about that particular casino, but explains that the myths and superstions of slit players are universal.

Mr. Cashman Slot Machine

Mr. Cashman Slot Machine by Aristocrat

On this afternoon, I was mindlessly playing slots.  The man next to me was playing a slot manufactured by the Australian company “Aristocrat.” If you play the top set of buttons on these slots, you can actually play play a tune.  So this man would do this – every time, ad nauseum.  I couldn’t stand it any more and asked him, “why do you do that?”  He said, “I usually get lucky and win when I do – of course it’s not scientific, or anything…”. (No kidding!)

A second young man sat down after he left.  His secret, so he told me, was to stop the reels because he could stop them on winning combinations.  Genius!  Why didn’t I ever think of that?  Oh yeah, I did…….and immediately thought it was rediculous.

After he left, another gentlemen sat at the same machine.  Every time he won’t sizeable amount, he would apply the following ritual: cash out, take his players card out, put cash in (or another Ticket) put his card back in and start playing.  So I asked him, “why do you do that?” He said, “after a big win, the casino compensates for the win by going cold.  So I fake out the machine, clearing its memory of my play.”

One last interesting slot player had a simple strategy – beat the slot machine.  No, not by winning, but by physically beating the machine.  This gentlemen not only tried to “clear the machines memory,” when that didn’t work, he decided go all cage fighter on it striking buttons, screen, etc. mercilessly, I guess to clear its memory by giving it a concussion. For obvious  reasons, I didn’t ask this guy any questions.

The moral of this post is that slot machines don’t have a memory, they don’t breath, they don’t think.  Slot machines are not capable of reacting to the player.  The random number generator  treats every push of the button, or every pull of the lever, as an individual event, not connected to any previous or future event.  Each play is a single event all by itself, and the star of each event us the Random Number Generator.

John Grochowski - the Casino Answer Man

John Grochowski – the Casino Answer Man

The following day I was reading my gambling alerts and noticed the Casino Answer Man, John Grochowski posted a similar article called “Fooling the RNG.” John sums it up better than I. He says, “You can’t fool the RNG because the RNG doesn’t know how much you’ve bet. All it does is generate random numbers. Different programs then take those numbers and map them onto reels or reel images to show you the outcome. Other programming then takes the result, compares it to your bet size and pays you the appropriate amount……Any outcome can come at any time, and it’s futile trying to time bigger bets for payoff times as in the prime the pump or the step methods. It’s just as futile to try to fool the RNG by betting big early.”

Simply put, understanding the RNG is science, math, and acceptance in what it is – a machine. Betting systems just don’t work on machines.


Gamblers & Superstitions – If We Could Only Understand the RNG


RNG = Random Number Generator

Sometimes, I have got to share my experiences – more cathartic for me than anything.  But may we all learn something while I rant…….

Last weekend I visited Mohegan Sun, played though the morning until it got was just too busy.  Here’s a few experiences that morning that need yet another mention:

1) Lady to my left playing Buffalo Stampede next to me keeps taking rewards card out of machine, then in, then out… get the idea.  At one point she had it out for a good 5 minutes.  I asked why.  She replied, “Whenever I take it out I get the bonus.”  To which, I said, “You realize of course that the rewards card and RNG that runs the machine are two separate systems.”  She says “Yes, I guess.  But it just feels that it makes a difference.”  ok – and I just kept playing.

Unfortunately, all the time she played without the card, she was denying herself 2X points and tier points – a hefty promo for Mohegan Sun.

2) Man to my right playing Buffalo Stampede is slapping the machine buttons like it’s a wack-o-mole game.  He’s unhappy.  I get a random bonus, but not much of a return.  He barks toward me that the machine is programmed to do that – “I’ve lost $600 already on this machine.  I would know.”  The fact is, the more interesting bells and whistles on a slot machine, the more volatile it becomes.  So, since he spoke first, I just reminded him that “it’s just a random bonus separate from the randomness of the RNG, so the machine doesn’t connect the two events on purpose.”  Unhappy with my non-emotional, scientific approach, he lost the rest of his money in the slot quickly, and left in a huff.

Moral of the story – It’s a machine! There’s nothing personal about it.  The machine has no brain, no emotional attachment to who’s playing it and no spiritual karma to rub and coerce out it.


Enough said.

That’s all for now


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