Where did Bugsy hide the FULL-PAYS?

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I have experienced what you state about two machines sitting next to each other with different payouts, such as 9/6 and 8/5,  and so on. My question is when a nickel machine lists 9/6, and a quarter machine also lists 9/6, does the player on the nickel machine playing five nickels get the same payout odds as he is getting for a quarter machine? Red D.

I haven’t seen a true, “full pay,” 9/6 Jacks or Better nickel machine since Bugsy Siegel opened the Flamingo. Okay, I’m a bit off on the timeline in that I wasn’t born yet, and Video Draw Poker didn’t appear until 1979, but truth be told, it’s been many, many moons since I’ve sat in front of one.

Shrewd video poker players understand the difference between full-pay and partial-pay machines. The full-payers shell out the maximum for each winning hand; the partials don’t. For instance, if you can find a full-pay Jacks or Better nickel machine that pays 9 coins for a full house, 6 for a flush, and 2 for two pair, you can expect a return rate, if each hand is correctly played, of approximately 99.5%, making it an attractive machine to be playing on. Possibly, Red, that 9/6 nickel machine you speak of may return 9-for-1 on a Full House, and 6-for-1 for a Flush, but it probably is considered a partial-pay machine because the machine only pays 1-for-1 for two pairs.

As to your question, Red, all things being equal, the nickel paytable looks like this, Royal flush 250-for-1; Straight Flush 50-for-1; Four of a kind 25-for-1; Full House 9-for-1; Flush 6-for-1; Straight 4-for-1; Three-of-a-Kind 3-for-1; Two Pair 2-for-1; pair of Jacks or Better 1-for-1, yes, the payout odds would be exactly the same on a similar quarter machine. Otherwise, just by getting paid even money on two pairs, you’re giving the house an extra five-plus percent on your play.

Won’t the dramatic drop in slots play at casinos due to the economy also dramatically drop the payouts, since the number of spins is greatly reduced?  If so, doesn’t this increase the house edge well above the already sinful double digits they now enjoy? N.D.

Since each yank of the handle is a random independent event, no matter if it’s the first or the kazillionth, the percentages of “house edge,”  and of payout to you, would remain the same. The casino “hold,” what the casino anticipates to be its win, would also be unaffected. The “hold” percentage is nothing more than the ratio of coins the casino keeps to the total coins inserted, which is measured over an eight hour period, then by the day, month, quarter, etc. For example, if a slot machine in a particular casino has a payback of 92%, the expected casino hold on this game is 8%, and that wouldn’t change due to lack of play.

What changes, if there is a downturn in action, would be the casino “drop”. Also known as the Gross Casino Win, the casino drop refers to the total amount of money collected by the casino from any one — or from all — gaming machines, whether in cash, coins, or both.

Since the actual total value of all money received by the casino from all players, all games combined, has been reduced significantly during this current economic decline, the casino drop is reduced, but not your chances of winning.

Gambling Wisdom of the Week: “The lamb that thinks he’s a lion is the mother’s milk of gamblers.”  –Pat Bush, How to Win the World Series of Poker

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