A free cheat-sheet for those seasoned moments

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For those of us senior in age, sometimes it is very difficult to figure out how much money we have won when dealing with credits. For example, 850 credits are how much in nickels? With your math expertise, I was wondering if you could share some tips on how to figure credits into nickels. Mildred K. Detroit, MI

Mildred, you make the most flattering mistakes. When Sister Cyrilla was doling out her math tips, I was either doodling the 65 Ford Mustang grill or daydreaming about Donna Davis. Therefore, because I was only in math class physically, I decided to produce a hand-held laminated card called the “Credit Converter” to use as an aid in the casino for those of us fuzzy at math. It figures credits to cash in both nickels (850 credits = $42.50) and quarters instantaneously. To get one, Mildred, and for any other of you readers who nodded off in fifth grade, just send a self addressed stamped envelope (SASE) to: Deal Me In, Credit Converter, P.O. Box 1234, Traverse City, MI 49685

My husband and I have found through the years that casinos are great fun, and we are fortunate enough to budget a monthly trip. Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose. Notice I used the term “budget.” As anyone who goes to casinos must know, the “Wheel of Fortune” machines are extremely popular and often impossible to get on. I have decided that if I cannot play ’em, I might do well to invest in them. Could you please tell me who is the manufacturer and which exchange they are on? Nancy A. Rochester Hill, MI

The greater part of the lucrative slot business has been the exclusive territory of one manufacturer, International Game Technology IGT (NYSE: IGT). So dominant is IGT, that of the current 20 top-earning games in the nation, IGT has 19 of them. One of their bread-and-butter machines is the Wheel of Fortune. Many believe that Wheel of Fortune is destined to be, if not already, the most popular slot machine in history.

For those not exposed to the Wheel of Fortune machine in their gaming jurisdiction, the game is a hybrid of Anchor Gaming’s “Wheel of Gold” slot machine and the television show Wheel of Fortune. The video slot is a nine-line, 45-coin (bets up to five coins per line) machine resembling the popular TV game show. It even uses the show’s actual music, but there’s no Vanna White standing next to it flipping letters. Shucks! Payback percentages range from 89-94%, with the average hit frequency of 50%, i.e. a hit of some kind every other spin.

The primary symbols on the reels are your traditional fruit symbols and prize images from the television show, like a car, diamond necklace, etc. The wheel is the same as the original Wheel of Fortune minus “LOSE A TURN.” The maximum coin win is 50,000 credits.

Though IGT’s 52-week range (17.75 – 35.6) is impressive, it is up to you, Nancy, not me to decide about your investments, I slept through Business 101 in college (see question above) to both research and crunch the numbers to figure if IGT is a company that fits in your portfolio. For more information about International Game Technology, go to their web site at http://www.igt.com.

Gambling thought of the week: “Gambling itself will only end when human nature has changed completely and there are no more bets to win.” -Harold S. Smith Sr., I Want to Quit Winners

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