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’)

senior-playing-slots

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 About.com.  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 

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

Binbin

(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!” )

 

 

Buffalo Slot Machine Mania

Slot Machines – If you walk into any land-based casino, you’re likely to see several machines, and in some of the bigger venues you’ll find hundreds or thousands of them. But among all those one arm bandits, there have always favorites. Those that  have been popular include Double Diamond, Red White & Blue, Blazing 7’s, Wheel of Fortune, Megabucks, and Cleopatra.

There is a new most popular slot machine, and you can hear it across the casino floor, wild buffalo herds have become an iconic symbol in casinos around the world thanks to Aristocrat Technologies’ wildly successful Buffalo-themed slot machines.

“Buf-fa-looooooo”

“It’s insane how popular it is,” said Paul Riley, a London-based blogger for Gamingslots. “It seems to be everywhere now. At one time, you might see one here or there; now, it’s like casinos have their own Buffalo areas.”

Consider all the variations after the original – Buffalo Deluxe, Buffalo Grand, Buffalo Stampede, Buffalo Gold and the inclusion of these games on the Wonder 4, & Wonder Tower multiple game entries. Enter any casino and you’ll find them. Buffalo has been named the top-performing game for four consecutive years in the annual Goldman Sachs Slot Survey. But, why has it taken the top slot spot?

Ric Anderson of the Las Vegas Sun hints that it is a perfect balance between high and low volatility, saying, “Players say Buffalo strikes an almost perfect balance between the two. The game appeals to a broad range of players, from those who seek fat payoffs to those who are content simply to receive lots of spins. Buffalo’s formula tends to keep players at the game for lengthy periods, thanks to a bonus design that provides free spins.”

The game-play features that contribute to Buffalo’s popularity include:

• A bonus within a bonus. Receive three coins on the first three reels of the game and bonus spins are unlocked. Get more coins on those free spins and more free spins are awarded.

“One of the things players say they really love is the bonus retrigger,” said Matt Wilson, director of marketing and sales at Aristocrat. “They like the ability to accumulate more free games along the way.”

• Reel power. On many slot machines, symbols had to line up for players to win. Not so on Buffalo. As long as the correct symbols appear anywhere on consecutive reels, starting from the farthest left, there’s a payoff.

• Multipliers that multiply each other. When a 2x symbol appears as part of a winning spin, the win doubles. When a 3x symbol comes up, it triples. But when two or more 2x or 3x symbols pop up, they multiply each other to crank up the win by a multiple of six. It’s possible to receive three 3x symbols to multiply the win 27 times.

Paul Riley explains, “The wins are done in a way that they generally come in the bonus feature of the game,” Riley said. “When you hit the bonus feature, there’s almost like a punch-the-fist-in-the-air moment because there’s a good chance you’ll have a big win…….the game’s graphics and audio — such as a loud stampeding noise when buffaloes appear on the reels, and wild animal sounds like the eagle sound, are on par with the classic ringing noise of a slot machine.”

“Buf-fa-looooooo”

So, are we going to see soon from Aristocrat?

“We are thrilled to bring RELM XL to our customers,” said Jon Hanlin, Aristocrat’s vice-president of commercial strategy-gaming operations. “We introduced the new cabinet at Global Gaming Expo 2017, and the response was universally positive, both in terms of the cabinet design and in the games we are launching on RELM XL.”

The cabinet stands nine and one-half feet tall. It features an attractive mechanical wheel “topper” and unique 43-inch J-curved monitor with full touchscreen capabilities, classic reel symbols, stereo sound, and LED edge lighting. The cabinet also houses a physical bell that rings in celebration of a big win.

That’s where its Buffalo franchise comes in. Aristocrat’s first release of the new cabinet and technology includes Buffalo Thundering 7’s and Buffalo Inferno. Buffalo Thundering 7’s features traditional 7’s, bars, multipliers, large symbols including the Buffalo, and a wheel that gives players a spectacular big-screen stepper (three reel) experience.

Buffalo Inferno, designed for the higher denomination stepper player, features a mechanical wheel that delivers dollar values and a multi-level progressive.

“Buf-fa-looooooo”

The next slot in the Slot Machine Hall of Fame.

Binbin

Video Poker – When To Play Fast

Video poker is not like slot machines – there is skill to it. It’s knowing the probability of the dealt hands, memorizing the strategy and holding what gives the best advantage for the best winning hand.

Video Poker machines often have a button where the player can set the speed of the cards dealt. Mostly, it is about where your comfort level is with your speed of play, but there is a reason when playing as fast as you can is suggested, as long as it’s accurate perfect strategy.

One time, I sent a question to noted Video Poker Expert, Bob Dancer.  For great software to practice your Video Poker Play, go to bobdancer.com. I asked him, “When do you suggest to play as fast as you can?”

His answer – “Always.”

From his stand point, it was the correct answer.  However, he insists on only playing advantage games – full pay, or very close to it. That means he plays games such as:

  • Jack or Better – 9/6 **
  • Bonus Poker – 8/5 **
  • Double Bonus – 10/7 **
  • Double Double Bonus – 10/6 **
  • Full Pay Deuces Wild – 9(StrFl)) /5 (40faK)
  • NSUD (Dueces Willd) – 9(StrFl)) /4(40faK) / 4 (FH)

** Please note – The first number = payout for Full House, second number = payout for Flush in these games

 

Jacks or Better best paytable (called 9/6 because of the full house and flush pay out). Notice the jump in pay out from 4 to 5 coins.

These games are seen as full play because they have a pay out of 99.7% to over 100% with perfect strategy. Because Mr. Dancer plays perfect strategy on full pay VP, his answer is correct – full speed ahead always.

Playing Video Poker as fast as one can should only be played when the player has the advantage, as in the above VP paytables. For more information about which games are FULL PAY, go to vpFREE2 and the Wizard of Odds.

But, the rest of us have a few considerations that many advantage players don’t. Consider these:

PRACTICE

Whatever video poker game you play, you need to practice, and practice. Advantage players can play over 15 hands per minute. They only play full pay VP, and learn to minimize the time for each deal/hold play. Practice teaches AP’s what patterns of cards to memorize for whatever strategy is needed, no matter in what order the patterns are in on the deal.

Playing full pay VP also needs a technique that alleviates excess movement.  I average 400-600 hands if needed by using my left hand for the holding of cards and my right hand for the deal/draw.  By rolling my left hand slightly, I can hold whatever button is needed without looking down, keeping my eyes on the screen.

LACK of FULL PAY VIDEO POKER

No matter how good, or how fast you play video poker, the fact remains that full pay options are increasingly hard to find. Many casinos offer playable (like 8/5 JOB or 9/5 DDB) to incredibly bad (6/5 JOB, 7/5 DDB).  The only full pay video poker in New England can be found at Mohegan Sun – 9/6 JOB.

SPEED CAN KILL (your Bankroll, That Is)

Since most casinos in the country don’t offer full pay VP, playing fast is not a template for success. Playing any casino game – slots, tables, VP – with a higher house edge should be played accurately first, speedily second.  Playing slow can be a friend to your bankroll. Besides, if you play fast and make mistakes – don’t play fast.  Unless you are playing full pay VP, there is absolutely no reason to speed.

ACCURACY IS #1

The primary strategy is knowing the optimum strategy for the game you are playing.  Even with JOB (Jacks or Better, remember?) basic strategy, or the cards you hold, is different depending if the pay table is 9/6 or 8/5.

BOTTOM LINE

Jerry “Stickman” wrote the following in his post “How Fast Should You Play Video Poker?” in Casino City Times.

“First and foremost, if you are playing a machine where the house has the edge, you are best off pacing your play. The more you play, the more you will lose. Sure you may hit some big winners, but the more you play, the more the house will take your hard earned money. So if you don’t have an edge (including slot club points and possibly comps), take your time playing. Don’t rush to give the house any more money than you must. Only play as fast as you can be accurate. When playing with an edge, Wyatt Earp probably said it best when he quipped, “Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything.” Don’t get killed. Make sure you are playing correctly.”

Now, go get that Royal Flush!

Bin