The too good to be true electronic IHTD is still a work in progress

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Is there a way you can you tell if a slot machine is going to hit? Should I stay on my favorite machine if it’s not paying? Anna P.

If only we knew which slot was going to hit when, then we’d all be rolling in dough  — for one day; on the morrow, there’d be no more casinos.

Sorry, Anna, there’s no way to know when a slot machine is going to hit. The computer within chooses the results of each spin without regard for what has happened in the past or will happen in the future. It’s all random, Anna, so there’s nothing you can do to improve your chances of winning outside of carrying the foot of an unlucky rabbit.

As to how long you should stay on any particular machine, stay as long as you are having fun playing it. If you’re getting discouraged because a machine’s not coughing up enough money, get up and move along. There is just no way of knowing whether the machine is going to be tight or charitable.

Nonetheless, even though each spin is random, if you’re not having fun, there’s no sense chaining yourself to a cold machine, even if it’s your favorite. Reason being, the longer you stay on any slot, the more time the machine’s built-in mathematical advantage has to work you over. Time always works on their side, and they have a mathematical edge on every slot. If you’re taking a breather, or just moving from one machine to another, there is no way for the casino to eat away at your bankroll.

Oh, and don’t forget to use your slot club card every time you play. Casinos offer you the ability to “comp yourself” by using one of their player’s club slot cards. It is generally based on the number of coins you cycle through a machine, so you might as well get credit for all those nickels, quarters or dollars you’re inserting. Shop the casinos for comp value and just see how much you are worth to them.

With the large selection of machines the casino offers, which is the best video poker game or games to learn? Carol G.

The straightforward answer is simple, Carol. At the casino you frequent, play on the machine that has the highest paybacks, and use the correct playing strategy on that game.

Your favorite casino, Carol, actually gives you the opportunity when playing perfect basic strategy with a decent pay schedule, to reduce the house advantage to well under one percent.

In video poker, about 21% of the hands dealt are sure winning hands, so 79% are going to need help to develop into winners. It’s what you do with those 79% of the hands that makes the difference between winning and losing.

As to the video poker offerings, you’ll find a supermarket selection at all casinos, all having different paytables needing separate playing strategies. I recommend learning and limiting your play to two, maximum, such as any two of Jacks-or-Better, Deuces Wild, or Joker Poker.

There’s no need to become a connoisseur of Louisiana Jacks or Gator Poker if it’s not offered at  the casinos where you play. Focus on but two games, but stay alert . You don’t want to forget which machine you’re playing and start using the strategy intended for the other.

Gambling Wisdom of the Week: “If you must play, decide upon three things at the start: the rules of the game, the stakes, and the quitting time.”  ~Chinese Proverb

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