Progressive Slot Machines – Stand-alone

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.

STANDALONE PROGRESSIVE SLOTS

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.

SUGGESTION #1 – KNOW THY MACHINE

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.

SUGGESTION #2 – ABOUT THAT “MUST HIT BY” 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.

ONCE UPON A TIME….

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.

Binbin

 

Your Bankroll is $250 – What New England Casino Would You Visit?

“If you had a limited budget/bankroll of say $250 to gamble with which New England casino would you choose and what games would you play and why.”
BankrollSomeone asked me this interesting question a few months ago and I keep revisiting it in my mind. But I couldn’t take that question for face value….. oh, noooooh……I needed more info, some criteria to base my opinion on.
So, I came up with two different players, both variations of myself: 
  1. Player 1 (we’ll call him Rob) is inexperienced, has no particular affiliation to any New England Casino, but has a players card from them all.
  2. Player 2 (we’ll call him Bin) favors a few, has been playing for years and also has played at the all with a players card from them all, but favors two.
  3. Both players, amazingly, know how to play table games, video poker and likes playing slots in the same way.  Favorite table games include Pai Gow Poker, Craps & Blackjack in that order.
Seeing both players are me in this fantasy, a few personal notes are needed. I like to play long periods of time, as well as short daily bursts ( which is not good for my Average  Daily Theoretical ).  Games that provide solace individually are preferred, but on some occasions I prefer the camaraderie of the tables.  In this instance, my goal is to play as long as possible on a bankroll of $250 and consider myself a low to mid-roller. One last part of the criteria is important in the comparison – I own a worm hole to transport me to any of the eight casinos instantly.
So let’s begin.

Rob (Player 1)

In my alter-ego #1 Rob, I don’t favor one New England Casino over another and consider each to have it’s advantages and disadvantages. But where to play…….hmmmmmm…..
With no affiliation to any casino, even casino Rewards Clubs outside of New England, playing for comps is secondary to playing long and winning big, and food options are also a priority. So I would play at:
#2 – MGM Springfield – Depending what you play, this property can be  a lot of fun. The slots are new and plentiful.  The newest slots are all around you.  But first I would go to the craps table.  Midweek, you can find $10 craps tables, not the best for a $250 bankroll, but playable. The MGM craps tables include the “All Tall, All Small” bonus which is not offered anywhere else in New England. Plan B would be slots, slots, slots.  I would only play video poker at the bar since the paytables are terrible and no blackjack – $10, $15 tables are 6/5 on a blackjack.  $25 tables have 3/2 blackjack, but that’s too high for a bankroll of $250. But the ambiance, the non-smoking, and its few dining options are really good.
#1 (preferred) – Foxwoods. “The Wonder of It All” – I would either go directly to the Asian Gaming area in the Rainmaker Casino and play $15 Pai Gow Poker, or play some $5 craps in the Cedars Casino ( beware, odds bets now have a 5X limit instead of 10X) . If that didn’t work out, two possible plans with what was left – play bar top machines with Double Super Times Pay with decent pay tables at $.05 for Triple-Play & Five-play in either the Cedars Casino or the Racebook, both with a good bar with great service.  Or, I would play slots in the Cedars Casino which has some of the best and newest machines, with old favorites like Cashman scattered around.  Cedars Casino also has stadium gaming.  Of course the dining options at Foxwoods are immense.

Bin (Player 2)

Only one choice for Bin – Mohegan Sun.  Why?
A. Best gambling odds.
Full-Pay JOB Video Poker, with 9/6 Double Double Bonus available also.
$15 Pai Gow Poker tables
$5 Craps tables
The largest assortment of slots in the East Coast.
B.Amenities
Best New England Player lounges.
Great Spa
Point Promotions – 2X (Momentum & Status), 3X (Status), Status Mayhem of 2X-5X
Leap Level Parking (that’s my tier lever – 3rd out of 5)
Entertainment options and offers.
C.Dining options – especially best at the low to mid dining cost.
D. Mohegan Sun Players Rewards – while I don’t consider an easy Rewards Club to work with, Mohegan Sun is close to me, and so we invest our dollars in Momentum.  It does include other casinos Mohegan Sun Poconos & Resorts in Atlantic City.
E.The Property – Mohegan Sun’s three casinos, design, tribal decor and spaciousness is comfy – that’s the only way to describe it, besides beautiful, unique, and awesome.
So, those are the New England Casinos that Bin & Rob would be the happiest with a bankroll of  a $250.  It might be different if the bankrolls were $100 or $1000.  But, that’s for another post.
Remember, “when Gambling, Embrace the Math, Not the Myths.”
Binbin, Bin, & Rob

Tiverton Casino Hotel – Our Last Summer Trip Report

It’s been a summer of casino visits and openings.  First, we started with both Maine casinos, investigating the new Oxford Hotel and Ox Pub. Then, two trips to AC to check out two new hotel/casinos on the Boardwalk – Hard Rock & Ocean, staying at each as well Borgata. Then a two night stay at MGM Springfield.

Finally, our last quest was to visit Tiverton Casino Hotel.

Rendering – Tiverton Casino/ Hotel.

We will stay over another time.  This was just a quick look the weekend of its opening. And I’m glad we did.  I would characterize it as a cute “boutique” casino & hotel. It’s not big, but well done with some things I haven’t ever seen.

Hotel – Courtesy NETG

The first positive was that there IS underground parking.  From previous renditions, I thought there was only uncovered parking in front of the casino.

Hotel Lobby – Courtesy NETG

The entrance was nicely done, with the hotel lobby and hotel entrance directly to the right. The place is bright and welcoming. But the real star, the only on of its kind in New England, is the iPourIt Wall. iPourIt recently installed a 26 tap self-serve beer wall!  This is really cool – here’s how it works.

iPourIt Wall – Courtesy NETG

  1. Go to the Center Bar, get special Tiverton iPourIt card, which you keep and is connected to your credit card.
  2. Hold the card against drinking choice, a green light shows up
  3. Then, just pour

It’s that simple.  You can pour up to 32 oz. before returning to center bar to do it all again.  You can pour as much or as little wine or beer as you like. A group of 4 small beer glasses are available for beer flights.  The beer and wine selections are fantastic.  The Newport Craft Brewing Frosty Freeze Stout and Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale were tops.  The also have craft IPA’s, as well as familiar names like Blue Moon and Dogfish Head. There is a small area to sit, drink and listen to music.

Thanks, Mackenzie! Great Job! – Courtesy NETG

Thanks to Mackenzie, the beverage manager for her great explanation and discussion about iPourIt.  I know its a nice new casino, but who needs gambling with this?  and yes, you can bring your beverage back to your favorite slot or table game.

Here’s the rest of our report:

 GAMBLING

Casino feature’s 32 table games and up to 1,000 slot machines, 18 Hybrid stadium gaming stations for baccarat, roulette & blackjack.

Stadium Gaming – Courtesy NETG

Table games (with lowest minimums noted) include Blackjack ($15, $25, $50), Roulette ($10), Baccarat, Three Card Poker ($15), Craps ($10), Spanish 21, Let It Ride, and Pai Gow Poker. (although 1 baccarat table was the only Asian game choice open at 10:00 on a Sunday)

Comfortable space – Courtesy NETG

It feels more spacious than MGM, with more space in the slot aisles. Similar to MGM Springfield, they offer the latest in slot games, only 40% less than Springfield.  Thew difference is that MGM Springfield is a destination resort where Tiverton is a boutique convenience casino/hotel.

If I thought the video poker wasn’t playable in Springfield, the VP at Tiverton, like its parent casino Twin River, is pathetic. Twenty machines at the quarter denomination, JOB is 7/5, Bonus is 6/5, DDB 8/5.  There are deuces vp in the old VLT’s from Twin River’s early days of slots, but pay tables are still questionable. (Royals are 2000 credits)

From those days of old, there are 19 VLT – Power Station Classics – to the right of the self pour beer and wine station.

Bonus slot play is property specific, so even though points can be earned together at both TR & TIV, slot play offers can only be played at property offering it.

Yes, that’s all of the racebook! – Courtesy NETG

Rewards desk is immediately left after entering. Racebook is very small – 12 seats.

Ample restrooms throughout along the perimeter.  And yes, they have cool hand blowers on each side of the faucet at each sink (see image below)

Smoking is allowed, with the exception of a small non smoking area next to the food court.

Non Smoking area – Courtesy NETG

But the smoking is not as big of a deal at this property due to 18,000 vents in the floor giving the casino a ventilation system that blows in fresh air from vents on the floor.

18,000 Vents to recycle air. Courtesy NETG

There is a VIP lounge for top level players, but wasn’t open yet. 6 high limit slots are outside the entrance.

VIP – Courtesy NETG

Entertainment will include DJ’s and small groups on the stage behind Center Bar

Stage (above) & Center Bar – Courtesy NETG

Dining includes two fine dining- Trattoria Romana, and Tuscan Chophouse.The fast-food options are Mooyah, which serves burgers and fries, Pie Five Pizza Co., and Jacky’s Galaxie Sushi Bar. There’s also a Dunkin’ Donuts near the entrance of the hotel.

Food Court – Courtesy NETG

It was a quick trip, but we will be back. It was comfortable, but not very large. Next time we’ll stay over, play some table games and pour our own brews – all the more reason to try their hotel!

Binbin