The Ultimate Truth About Casino Players Cards & Slot Machines

players-clubIt amazes me to see people sinking their money into a machine with out having a card inserted in the card reader. I sometimes ask people why they don’t use a card and have received several different answers.  The other day, someone was spouting off every slot myth in the book – “teaching” everyone around him, whether they cared or not.  However, the biggest sin of this whole escapade was that he had taken out his card to “get a bonus” for nearly 10 minutes.  His bet was over $8.00 a whack!  Just think of the comps he missed out on due to his “Casino Paranoia.”  That was the most foolish thing he could’ve done.

All of the following was said to me one time or another and are completely false. An explanation of why is provided.  But some slot players build their play on suspicions and conspiracy theories.  I still hear about the “switch upstairs” – you know, the one that changes the machines from paying out to completely cold.Plainridge Casino Floor

“I don’t play enough to earn anything.” You would be surprised to see how quickly points can add up.  Take advantage of multiplier days to increase your points and tier status.

“When I use my card the machine knows and doesn’t pay off.”  There is no connection between the card reader and the slot machine. There is NO WAY that using a card will affect the way a machine pays. They are two separate systems.

download (4)“I don’t want to give out my address to the casino.”  The casino cannot send you any promotions if they don’t have your address.  Some high rollers without their players club card at tables so they stay anonymous.  But as face recognition software gets better, even that may become difficult.

“I take my card out and I get a bonus – explain that!” Again, there is no connection between the card reader and the slot machine. There is NO WAY that using a card will affect the way a machine pays.

“Playing with your slots club card decreases your chances of winning.” The theory is that the casinos want you to win less in order to recoup the perks and rebates that you receive from playing with the slot machine club. The reality is that the amount of money returned is negligible, and the casinos don’t mind paying it.  Your perks depends on your theoretical value.  Click on the following link to see a previous post explaining Average Daily Theoretical.

“When I use my card, I never win. The machine knows and it doesn’t pay off.” Although a very interesting and popular myth, this is absolutely false. The notion that using a casino club card lowers the odds of winning is a big misconception, and quite frankly illegal.  Remember, the players club software is a different system and does not have a connection to the Random Number Generator working in the machine.

download (5)“The slot machine can tell the difference between playing maximum and minimum.” That’s why I take out my card when I change my bet.”  The number of coins played has no effect on whether or not the winning symbols will line up. It only determines how much you will win or lose. Many players will vary the number of coins they play per spin because they believe there is a pattern that can make them winners. Some players will even cash out during their playing sessions so the machine will “Think” a new player has started playing. Slot machines are computers and there is no way they “know” when a new player starts playing. The RNG is continuously running and is used to select the next win or loss. It is not linked to the to the coin receptor so varying your coins or cashing out and starting again will not help you win.  However….know the machine you’re playing.  Some extra bonus symbols are added, or some winning combinations are not available at certain denominations.  Still, not connected to the players card.

AND FINALLY

“Using a player card enables the casino to report my winnings to the IRS.” The fact is, it makes no difference. If you win $1,200 or more they will report it either way. If you have a net losing year, which you probably will, at least the casino will have evidence of it. Such annual win/loss statements may be used as evidence to declare offsetting loses to jackpot wins.

Play sensible, play with knowledge, and play with your Players Card in the card reader.

Binbin

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.

 

15 Ways to Improve Your Slot Machine Etiquette

As with most behavior in public spaces, behaving properly usually helps provide a better experience for you and for those around you.  No where in the casino could that be true than the winding rows of slot machines, where, at busy times, you could find yourself shoulder to shoulder with a variety of others.

Slot Machines

There’s a lot of slot machines to choose from out there!

To some, how “best to behave” is another way people try to harsh one’s happiness.  Alas, that usually is just nonsense from those who only want to do what they want at whatever expense there is to the rest of us, as if they are more important, more entitled – special.

The following also relates to playing video poker.  With either machine, while we enjoy the solitary play, one vs. machine, or want to make new friends while playing, consider the suggestions below.

Slot Machinr / Video Poker Etiquette.

  1. Slot machine etiquette teaches that you should never touch the slot machine of another player. You should also not lean on their chair or shoulder as this motion could cause them to jerk and hit the wrong button concerning denomination or number of credits.
  2. Slot machine etiquette allows a person to play two slot machines that are right next to each other as long as the casino is not overly crowded. There will be times in which people are waiting to sit down that a slot attendant might ask a player playing two slot machines to end one of their sessions.

    Territorial – “I am playing all these Machines!”

  3. Slot machine etiquette frowns on those people that pound the buttons on a slot machine rapidly for good luck. Also, many casinos will frown on this since this wears the slot machines out over time. Plus, this is just distracting to other players around.
  4. If you are going to watch a person play a slot machine, do not sit in the chair next to them unless you plan on playing yourself. This takes a seat away from someone else. Slot attendants will usually be quick to ask you to please move. This is a true no-no of slot machine etiquette.
  5. Understand the rules before you sit down. Is the slot machine progressive? Is it a community game involving other players? How do you get the bonus(es)? Take time to watch the game from afar or how about this – check the menu and actually read the game rules and pay table! Don’t be lazy and expect others to teach you on their time.
  6. If someone has leaned their stool or chair up against the slot machine, this usually means they haven’t finished playing it. Usually the person playing the slot machine has just went to the bathroom or to get a drink. Even if they haven’t got any money in the slot machine, by leaving their chair or stool leaning up against it they are stating that the machine is in use, so don’t think that you can just go up and play.
    If you’re that person, as an act of courtesy, you must not leave the slot machine reserved for several minutes. Get back to the machine immediately. (of course, casinos will favor high rollers and shut down a machine for hours)
  7. Playing multiple slot machines or video poker machines simultaneously is not encouraged whether the casino is crowded or not. But, it is more tolerated when the casino isn’t busy. Besides, it does not improve your odds to play more than one machine at a time. Give someone else a chance to play.
  8. There are times that some players have forgotten their players card within the slot machine. When you found this out, it is a practice that you must put the card on the top or to the side of the machine where the previous player can easily see and get the forgotten card.
  9. Do not watch others play over their shoulder if they do not know you, that’s just creepy !!!! In small casinos it seems to be accepted to do that once your money runs out…just wander over and watch a total stranger play. Like I said – CREEPY!!
  10. Don’t be a slob! – Ashes, spilled drinks, coughing without covering, sticky hands from food – these are just some of the things that annoy your fellow players. (Suggestion – always have hand sanitizer when playing.  It comes in handy)

    Drinks, cigarettes – what a mess!

  11. Don’t share your superstitions, myths, or ignorance of how these machines work with those around you. Denomination, rhythm, which buttons to push, whether your rewards card is used or not – these are all just ignorant nonsensical notions of those players who just want attention.  Ig
    nore their suggestions.  The random-number-generator runs the machine, period.
  12. If you need to use the restroom, put your service light on.  As long as you are not taking a 15 minute break, slot attendants are around to help you out in this area.  DON’T ASK THE PLAYER NEXT TO YOU TO WATCH YOUR MACHINE!  Let them have their fun without feeling like a hostage until you decide to come back. My response to strangers who ask is “No, thank you.  I don’t know how long I will be here.”
  13. Wash your hands frequently, especially when using the restroom facilities. (Gentlemen, and I use the term loosely, WASH YOUR HANDS!)
  14. Don’t “hover” over a machine you want to play.  Some people watch a person’s credits and watch until the player is done so they can “POUNCE!”  If I feel that kind of pressure from someone, I will use my phone, check my wallet, stand and stretch – basically anything to waste time to let them know that no kind of predatory pressure will make me succumb to their creepiness.
  15. That brings us to the last point when it comes to behaving properly at the slot machines – tipping.

    Service with a smile? – Tip!

    When to tip? While tipping is a personal decision there are certain times where it’s customary to tip. For example, when you’re receiving a jackpot payout that a floor attendee must help you with, it’s customary to tip them (Granted, if the service is lousy and the attendant is incredibly slow to pay you out or perhaps not professional, you can think twice about tipping.) The rule of thumb is usually to tip around .5 – 1% of the jackpot amount, make sure to keep this in mind when working on your bankroll management budget.  Concerning beverages, yes they are free in many casinos, but tip the staff as you would in a restaurant. Again, if the service is lousy, don’t.  But if you especially make a specific request, be sure to tip.

Unlike some table games, slot machine etiquette is pretty easy to comprehend. With a little respect towards fellow gamblers and adherence to the golden rule, you’ll be able to improve the experience of other players, as well as your own. Use common sense, and be courteous to those around you.
That basically covers it. Bottom line is have fun, stay healthy, enjoy recreational gambling – but not at somebody else’s expense.

Binbin