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Best of Donald Catlin

Gaming Guru

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Slot Answers

3 September 2005

As you have probably gathered from reading my columns, I am not a slot player. As a result, I try not to dole out advice on something with which I am not that familiar. Oh yeah, I know how they work, I know what a par sheet is, I know what an RNG is, and so on. But I don't have that gut instinct about this game or that game because I really don't pay that much attention to them. That having been said, I do know that there are a whole lot of people out there who do enjoy playing slots and have lots of questions about them. As well they should. There is a wealth of misinformation that surrounds slot machines. From the outright frauds who sell schemes for beating slots, to the myths involving celebrities playing them, to the hot and cold machine belief, to the concept of machines being due and so on; there is a lot of confusion out there. But that need not be.

Bonus Books has recently published an updated second edition of John Grochowski's excellent book The Slot Machine Answer Book. The information in this book is both accurate and up to date. Plus it is interesting and entertaining reading. In this book you'll find ten chapters that John calls Reel Spins. John starts with definitions in Reel Spin No. 1 and then moves on to other topics. Among these are Myths and Legends in Reel Spin No. 3, How They Work in Reel Spin No. 7, Narrowing the Edge in Reel Spin No. 8, Slot clubs in Reel Spin No. 9 and so on. The format of the book is that of question and answer. John poses questions that many slot players wonder about and then in a separate section of the chapter gives very detailed answers to them. No matter how much you think you know about slot machines you can learn something from reading this book.

Let me tell you a secret. John plays the slots. No, he is not an addictive slot player. John is a bright guy and he knows all about what games are good, what games are not, proper strategy for playing various games, and so on. In spite of this though, John plays the slots. How do I know this? Let me tell you a story. John and I were both speakers at Frank Scoblete's Gambler's Jamboree that was held at Casino Windsor this past May. We had finished dinner together and were planning to shoot some dice. I had an errand to run and told John that I would meet him in the casino near the dice tables. When I got to the casino I spotted John and as I approached him he said to me: "Guess what? I just played some $1 Double Down Stud while I was waiting for you and won $1000." Now Double Down Stud is not the best Poker-type machine to play and John knows it. But it is a fun game to play, it was near the Craps tables, and John figured he'd toss in a few coins while waiting for old slowpoke Catlin. Turned out to be a good decision didn't it?

The point is that John is very familiar with all sorts of slot machines, occasionally plays them to get a feel for them, and has written a dandy book about them. I know that if you buy it and read it you'll not only learn a lot, but you'll also enjoy the learning experience. By the way, John has three other answer books also published by Bonus and they are worth the read as well. See you next month.

Donald Catlin

Don Catlin is a retired professor of mathematics and statistics from the University of Massachusetts. His original research area was in Stochastic Estimation applied to submarine navigation problems but has spent the last several years doing gaming analysis for gaming developers and writing about gaming. He is the author of The Lottery Book, The Truth Behind the Numbers published by Bonus books.

Books by Donald Catlin:

Lottery Book: The Truth Behind the Numbers
Donald Catlin
Don Catlin is a retired professor of mathematics and statistics from the University of Massachusetts. His original research area was in Stochastic Estimation applied to submarine navigation problems but has spent the last several years doing gaming analysis for gaming developers and writing about gaming. He is the author of The Lottery Book, The Truth Behind the Numbers published by Bonus books.

Books by Donald Catlin:

Lottery Book: The Truth Behind the Numbers