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Best of Frank Scoblete

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Mission impossible

9 August 2016

Except for some banking slots, which I wrote about a little over a year ago, slot players are fully aware that they face a bleak future. The casino will have edges over them of between 17 and 2%. Those edges ranging in the 17% category will usually be the giant progressives with monster jackpots. Those 2% machines will probably be the standalone machines in the higher-denomination range, meaning high-roller territory.

Put in slot parlance, a 17% house edge means an 83% payback; a 2% house edge means a 98% payback. Translated into money, an 83% return means a player’s expectation is to lose $17 for every $100 played; a 2% house edge means the player’s expectation is to lose two dollars.

So why would players choose those high house edge machines? Okay, first most of these machines will probably come in at around 86-87%; still, those are big percentages to overcome. The lure of the progressives is quite simply that a player’s whole life can change with one big hit. The fantasy of hitting such huge amounts is enough to draw many slot players to these machines.

You hit a 20 million dollar jackpot (more or less) and everything in your life will go in a different direction, at least economically. You can buy the car you always wanted, the house you want, even pay for the incredibly escalating college costs for junior and junior miss. (Is junior miss a term that is ever used anymore?)

What is the probability of hitting those monster jackpots? Megabucks is almost a 1 in 50 million chance. Those are tough odds to overcome. Certainly some people hit these jackpots – I am guessing a person with average intelligence could, over a reasonable amount of time, memorize every name of the individuals who have won such jackpots. I am also guessing that an actor memorizing a lead role for a Shakespearean play will memorize more words.

So winning millions is a nice dream and nice fantasy that you can toy with as you plan your trip to the casinos, but the likelihood of achieving such a dream is the equivalent of being in the movie Mission: Impossible. In the movies, a “mission impossible” is usually resolved by the end with the heroes invariably winning. In the real world, a “mission impossible” ends with the hero (meaning you!) losing the big one. In the real world, you are in the novel The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway, where the protagonist loses the big fish.

Now, for 25-cent players playing full coin or one-dollar players playing full coin, you will be meeting edges somewhere in the 7% range, or around a 93% return. [NOTE: When you read the Strictly Slots return percentages for various denominations, these percentages include the progressives and the standalone machines. So you will always get a better deal on the standalone machines at any given denomination.]

With machines returning around 93%, you are in “mission unlikely” as opposed to “mission impossible.” So what is so unlikely? The unlikely situation is going home a winner over any extended period of time. True, tonight you can be a winner; and the next day too but chances are sooner or later the house edge will grind you down and you will be losing in your slot playing career.

I don’t think many slot players are ignorant of that fact. Indeed, casino players of all games, be they playing slots, video poker and assorted table games are aware that the house edge is extremely difficult to overcome over any decent period of time.

Yes, a player could go to a casino for the first time, make a bet, win that bet, stop playing and never return. He would leave when he was up, the mantra of writers who don’t realize almost no casino gamblers can do such a thing, at least over any period of time. Casino players like to play; that’s why they go to casinos in the first place. Sometimes I wonder if casino players actually like playing so much a loss is taken in stride.

So what’s my astute advice about playing slots in a rational way to change “mission impossible” to “mission unlikely”? I’d avoid those progressives or, at the very least, only give a small fraction of your playing money to them, say about 10-20%. I know progressives give players “dream time.”

Stick with the standalone machines. These are your best bets for coming home with some money. Dreams are fine, but you do want a good chance to win now and again. Those progressives just don’t lend themselves to any kind of regular wins.

What makes slot players overlook the inevitable long-term losses is the fact that the sheer joy of playing makes most of them take it one moment at a time. I guess the true theme for slot players is live for today, tomorrow will take care of itself.

Frank Scoblete’s latest books are "I Am a Dice Controller: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Craps," "Confessions of a Wayward Catholic" and "I Am a Card Counter: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Blackjack." Available from Amazon.com, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, and at bookstores.
Recent Articles
Best of Frank Scoblete
Frank Scoblete

Frank Scoblete is the #1 best selling gaming author in America. His newest books are Slots Conquest: How to Beat the Slot Machines; Everything Casino Poker: Get the Edge at Video Poker, Texas Hold'em, Omaha Hi-Lo and Pai Gow Poker!; Beat Blackjack Now: The Easiest Way to Get the Edge; Casino Craps: Shoot to Win!; Cutting Edge Craps: Advanced Strategies for Serious Players; Casino Conquest: Beat the Casinos at Their Own Games! and The Virgin Kiss.

Frank and Casino City Times columnist Jerry "Stickman" teach private lessons in dice control. Frank's books are available at Amazon.com, in bookstores or by mail order. Call 1-800-944-0406 or write to Frank Scoblete Enterprises, PO Box 446, Malverne, NY 11565. Frank can also be reached by email at fscobe@optonline.net.

Frank Scoblete Websites:

www.goldentouchcraps.com
www.goldentouchblackjack.com

Books by Frank Scoblete:

> More Books By Frank Scoblete

Frank Scoblete
Frank Scoblete is the #1 best selling gaming author in America. His newest books are Slots Conquest: How to Beat the Slot Machines; Everything Casino Poker: Get the Edge at Video Poker, Texas Hold'em, Omaha Hi-Lo and Pai Gow Poker!; Beat Blackjack Now: The Easiest Way to Get the Edge; Casino Craps: Shoot to Win!; Cutting Edge Craps: Advanced Strategies for Serious Players; Casino Conquest: Beat the Casinos at Their Own Games! and The Virgin Kiss.

Frank and Casino City Times columnist Jerry "Stickman" teach private lessons in dice control. Frank's books are available at Amazon.com, in bookstores or by mail order. Call 1-800-944-0406 or write to Frank Scoblete Enterprises, PO Box 446, Malverne, NY 11565. Frank can also be reached by email at fscobe@optonline.net.

Frank Scoblete Websites:

www.goldentouchcraps.com
www.goldentouchblackjack.com

Books by Frank Scoblete:

Golden Touch Dice Control Revolution!

> More Books By Frank Scoblete