Hot slots next to the chow line?

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Do casinos have a master plan for placing machines in key spots or are they just randomly placed? For example, do slots near a buffet pay better? They seem to get a lot of play. Sarah D.

A great cork-popping question, Sarah! Now, repeat after me: Nothing in a casino is randomly placed; there is no tried and true area for the “hot slots.”

All slot managers handle the placement of their machines on the casino floor differently-each according to the dictates of their own theory. I have never met two casino executives in total agreement on their slot mix. For example, some will put loose slots close to the buffet, so once the patron licks the mustard off his mustache, he can’t wait to get back among those happy whoops and squeals of the newly rich-and the manager makes that a very short path.

And some do just the opposite, wanting to snag every dime of every customer waiting in line, reasoning that after their feeding frenzy they’ll just stumble unprofitably to their rooms for a siesta.
Held to each individual slot manager’s secret criteria, every slot machine needs to produce its weight in gold to hold its placement in the slot lineup. Otherwise, they’re 86’ed. Far more frequently than are the managers.

The big 6 and roulette seem similar to me in how you play them. Like roulette, you simply bet which number will come up. Are the odds the same? Cindy B.

If the Big 6 looks and feels like roulette, it is. Developed by the French, roulette is in fact based upon the big 6 wheel. The big 6 is called just that because there are 6 different payoffs to allure you. There are 23 $1 dollar slots, 15 $2 dollar slots, 8 $5 dollar slots, 4 $10 dollar slots, two $20 dollar slots, and both a joker and a casino slot that pay off 40 to 1.

All similarity ends, however, when it comes to the house edge. The house advantage is more than 14% for the $1 slot, and above 24.5% on the 40 to 1 wagers. Comparing that to the roulette table, where the house edge is 5.26% on a double zero game and 2.75% on the single zero layout, you’ll see the big 6 as a somewhat curiously tolerated pickpocket.

If the house has no edge on an odds bet, then why does it offer a wager with no casino advantage? Gary G.

Although the true house edge on the odds wager is zero, zippo, a goose egg, you must still combine odds with a pass line bet. Meaning, you must have two bets working on the layout, the original pass line wager, and the odds bet to take advantage of the freebie the casino is offering you.

As a rule, the greater your odds wager, the lower the casino’s advantage. Single odds reduce the house advantage to 0.85%, double odds to 0.61%, triple odds to 0.47%, five times odds to 0.32%, and 10 times odds way down to 0.18%.

Gambling thought of the week: “Today is Halloween which would be every card counter’s favorite holiday if you could get away with wearing a mask. Oh, what a joy it would be to hear a floor man muttering into a phone, “I think Batman is counting.” Barry Meadow, Blackjack Autumn

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