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What Slot Players Want19 August 2000
It is no deep, dark secret that the gaming market is largely a slot player market. Just look at the advertisements in various newspapers and magazines that cater to the industry and you'll see that the direction and thrust of the casino advertising revolves around slots and the casinos' promotional agendas revolve around slot club points, special slot prizes, jackpot announcements and the like.
This only makes sense since more than 65 percent of the gross in Nevada and Atlantic City and 85 percent of the gross in Mississippi casinos come directly from those infernal machines.
Perhaps American players have seen the future and it is the machine. Certainly new and daring slots are arriving on the floor almost every day (at least it seems like every day). Most slots are geared towards people in the 40 and above age range. There is also no secret as to why that is so - the 40-plus crowd has more discretionary income. ("Hey, honey, let's go to the movies tonight," says he. "You know I only liked to go to the movies when Elvis was in them," says she. "Then let's go see Elvis at the local casino, my love," says he. "But isn't he...." laments she. "No, sir, he comes alive on the slots you see!")
Slot players have often been given short shrift by casino gaming writers. After all, what is there to write about a machine? You put your coins in, you pull the handle or press the button, and let nature or, rather, the machine takes its course. Simple.
In fact, reading and writing about slot machines is a fascinating enterprise. At least I find it so. Because I am not a mathematician or a computer programmer, I approach those machines the way the apes in Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey approached the godlike monolith. I am in awe.
I am also not alone. Slot players are not the dumb, lead-me-to-the-slaughter gamblers that many writers have portrayed them as being. Most of the slot players I have run across have logical reasons as to why they prefer the machines to the table games.
"I can have peace and quiet," says Edna Barnes. "I know the bells and music can be considered noise but it isn't people noise. I work with people all day at the hospital and I prefer to just be by myself when I gamble and not interact."
States Ernie Smith: "Where else can you play for a dollar and have a chance to win hundreds of thousands or, even, millions of dollars? Slots allow me to dream. Table games can't give you those 'it-will-change-your-life' dreams. Slots can!"
But not every slot player is fully aware of how the machines work, what they are designed to do, or how the casinos make their money from them.
States Vincent Schneider: "I don't know how they work. It has something to do with the reels spinning, I know that, but...How do they work? I guess you pull the handle and release the reels and they spin and stop and that tells you who won. How does the casino make its money? Beats me. That's how it's done. The machine beats me!"
Superstitions have developed throughout the country that have taken on the character of revealed truth.
"I know that the machines are programmed with a computer chip. This chip keeps track of how much the machine is giving out and when it gives out too much -- it closes up," states Macy Finn.
"Machines have hot and cold cycles built in," claims Albert Finn, "and you have to jump on the hot cycles and stop playing during the cold cycles."
"The progressive machines will only pay out the big jackpots to the first few coins that a person puts in them. If you put in more than maybe 50 coins, the machine locks out the progressive jackpot until there is a pause in the action when it activates it," says my Aunt Joan.
"Pulling the handle results in more wins. And never play the credit meter. Once the machine has your money inside it, it is less willing to give it back," claims Charles G.
"Never use a player's club card in a machine. The machine will keep more of your money because they know you're a regular player," according to Andrea Burns.
Oh, yes, superstitions abound. Misinformation is rife. Ignorance is not bliss. The blind lead the deaf ("Just follow the sound of my voice as we climb this dangerous mou -- ahhhhh!!!!") and people lose more money than they have to because they aren't savvy about the one-armed bandits.
And new machines are coming off the assembly line that would make Einstein sit up and take notice. There are now machines that will massage your feet, allow you to exercise as you gamble, allow you to fight beasts and dragons, or let you watch clips from The Three Stooges or play your favorite board games for real money. The innovations seem endless. Some machines are going to be so much fun to play that many players are going to forget why they are playing them - to win money! And while the innovations might be endless, I am sure that your bankroll isn't. No matter what the new machines can do, they are still there for one reason - to take your money. And you should be playing them in such a way as to give you the best shot to take the casino's money. Please don't lose sight of that.
In the spirit of this new age, as we confront the new millenium and as we confront these new machines, I am dedicating John Robison's and my services as a Knights of the Slot Table to battle the dragons of ignorance and superstition wherever we find them. In future articles John and I will dissect the machines, explain how they work, and what they can and can't do. We'll also give you some strategies to help stretch your fun but not your risk.
For more information about slots and video poker, we recommend:Break the One-Armed Bandits! by Frank Scoblete
Victory at Video Poker and Video Craps, Keno and Blackjack! by Frank Scoblete
Slot Conquest Audio Cassette Tape (60 minutes) with Frank Scoblete
Winning Strategies at Slots & Video Poker! Video tape hosted by Academy Award Winner James Coburn, Written by Frank Scoblete
The Slot Machine Answer Book by John Grochowski
This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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