Introduction to Las Vegas Visit
Slot Machine Tips. 1.) ALWAYS INSERT YOUR SLOT CLUB CARD. Using your card can increase the payback of the machine you are playing by as much as one percent. 2.) PLAY ONLY WHAT YOUR BANKROLL CAN HANDLE. You will need to have an estimate of the cost per hour a. Nevada Payout Return Limits. Nevada state gaming regulation #14 places a minimum legal limit on.
In June of 2019, 3.6 million people visited Las Vegas. Perhaps you were one of them? Or maybe you’ve yet to have your first Las Vegas visit. Whether you’re a frequent traveler to Las Vegas or a newbie, you want to be better prepared at playing slots in Las Vegas
Good for you! Preparation is key. A little can go a long way, especially when it comes to your hard-won cash. In this post, I’ll start with seven secrets to winning on slots during your Las Vegas visit.
This article has the following sections:
- Introduction to Las Vegas Visit
- Nevada Payout Return Limits
- Know Your Nevada Gaming Stats
- Check the Most Recent Payout Return Statistics
- The Many Wonderful Las Vegas Gambling Podcasts
- Downtown Versus the Strip
- When to Visit and When Not to Visit
- Candidate Winning Slot Machines in Las Vegas
- Summary of Las Vegas Visit
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This audio contains commentary not found anywhere else!
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1. Nevada Payout Return Limits
Nevada state gaming regulation #14 places a minimum legal limit on payout returns for slot machines. This minimum payout limit is 75%. Further, this lower limit applies per wager.
“All gaming devices must: Theoretically pay out a mathematically demonstrable percentage of all amounts wagered, which must not be less than 75 percent for each wager available for play on the device.”Regulation 14.040: Minimum standards for gaming devices
What does this 75% minimum mean? Does it mean the player gets back 75 cents if they make a $1 bet on a slot machine? No, it doesn’t.
What it means is that the statistical average is at least a 75% return over many, many bets. The additional use of the words “per wager” in Regulation 14 means the slot machine must never be set less than an average 75% return.
For example, an unscrupulous casino operator might set a slot machine to have a 70% return for some time, then later set the payout return to 80% for an equal number of bets. Such a setup would also result in an average 75% return over both periods combined, but wouldn’t meet Nevada’s legal requirement
Another close examination of the regulation shows something missing, which is well worth noting. What’s missing? There’s no mention of a maximum legal limit, which some states have put in place
Without an upper legal limit on payout returns, casino operators in Nevada can offer the occasional slot machine which, on average, wins. Of course, casinos would lose money on slot machines set up this way. But, there are still good business reasons to do so.
I go over these reasons in How to Win at Slots in Older Casinos Built Before 2012. Suffice to say now, Nevada gaming regulations make doing so legal. Two questions naturally follow:
- Do Las Vegas casinos set up the occasional slot machine to be winners?
- How can a slots player find these winning slot machines?
The answer to the first question is yes. Casinos often decide to set up an occasional slot machine to win for promotional purposes. It’s a silent casino promotion because casinos choose to do this on slot machines situated to be easily visible to passersby.
It’s also worth noting that, like any business activity, it’s on a careful budget. Casinos can’t afford to do this often because, like everyone else, they are on a budget. But they do it. I know because I’ve found them before. Is unibet trustworthy.
Later in this post, I’ll share some recent experiences from my fan base regarding candidate winning slot machines in Las Vegas for your consideration. But knowing they exist, and why they exist, is a necessary first step to finding them.
2. Know Your Nevada Gaming Stats
The Nevada Gaming Control Board and the Nevada Gaming Commission regulate the gaming industry in Las Vegas. This state gaming commission’s website is both thorough and comprehensive. The site offers several useful resources, but let’s consider the other side of payout returns: Actual payout statistics.
Legal limits and reported statistics are like the difference between a plan of attack and an actual battle. Remember the adage, “No plan survives contact with the enemy.” Or, in more normal circumstances, having a budget isn’t the same as paying bills.
In terms of slots gameplay, we know that Nevada gaming regulations have set a minimum payout return limit of 75% per wager on their gaming machines. That’s the law. But what happened? How did it work out in the real world?
Some states, including Nevada, do more than define a theoretical payout return limit. Nevada provides comprehensive payout return statistics. Each year, I review these actual statistics in Nevada Slot Machine Casino Gambling.
Rather than repeat myself fully, I’ll point you toward the Payout Returns in Nevada section of the Nevada post just mentioned. For now, I’ll say Nevada provides actual payout return statistics by:
- State region, including Downtown Las Vegas versus the Strip
- Slot machine denomination, including most common amounts but also multi-denomination, Megabucks, and other
- Duration, including the current month, last 3 months, and last 12 months
- Casino revenue range, including all casinos, over $1B, $1B to $12B, etc.
While past statistics never predict future behavior, a truism from the study of statistics, we can look at the available actuals to see if we can spot business trends.
Maybe, just perhaps, we can find a slot machine denomination with the best odds of winning last week. And perhaps they still have high odds this week.
Why? Because, in general, casinos are businesses as described and slots aren’t table card games. The odds of winning at table card games can’t change unless someone cheats or the game rules change.
Slot machines are electronic devices. Yes, they have random number generators – but RNGs are adjustable as a tool by the casino operator trying to control their financial performance metrics finely.
3. Check the Most Recent Payout Return Statistics
Before your next trip to Las Vegas to play slot machines, visit the Nevada Gaming Commission’s website. Under Statistics & Publications, you’ll find an entry for Gaming Revenue Report with PDF files available for download.
At the time of this writing, the most recently available monthly gaming revenue report from Nevada is for June 2019. These reports include the gaming statistics for slot machines, table games, and sports betting. Further, the left-most columns are for the most recent month with the remaining columns for a combined three months and twelve months.
Page 1 is a state-wide summary. Since we are discussing a Las Vegas visit, we need to find two specific state regions in the report: Downtown Las Vegas and Las Vegas Strip. Both are situated in Clark County.
The gaming revenue statistics for downtown Las Vegas begins on page 8:
- Page 8: All downtown Las Vegas casinos combined
- Page 9: Downtown Las Vegas casinos with over $1 million in gaming revenue
- Page 10: Downtown Las Vegas casinos with $1 million to $12 million in gaming revenue (none currently exist)
- Page 11: Downtown Las Vegas casinos with over $12 million in gaming revenue
The gaming revenue statistics for the Las Vegas Strip are on pages 12 through 17:
- Page 12: All Las Vegas Strip Area casinos
- Page 13: Las Vegas Strip casinos with over $1 million in gaming revenue
- Page 14: Las Vegas Strip casinos with $1 million to $12 million in gaming revenue (none currently exist)
- Page 15: Las Vegas Strip casinos with $12 million to $36 million in gaming revenue
- Page 16: Las Vegas Strip casinos with $36 million to $72 million in gaming revenue
- Page 17: Las Vegas Strip casinos with over $72 million in gaming revenue
Since the format is common on all these pages, let’s review how to read and understand one of them: Page 8 – All Downtown Las Vegas Area casinos combined. The current month columns are:
- Number of Locations
- Number of Units
- Win Amount in 1000s of dollars
- Percent Change from the last month
- Win Percent
Note that Nevada reports the Win Percent for the casino, not the player. In most other states, this percentage is the casino hold percentage or Hold%. Subtracting it from 100% provides the percentage of winnings retained by the player. Further, negative numbers are in parenthesis.
The lowest casino Win Percent, i.e., highest player return, in June 2019 was the $25 denomination slot machine with a negative 7.57 Win%. There were nine of these slot machines at three locations with an overall monthly player return of 107.57%
Why so high? Quite likely, someone won big on one of these $25 denomination slot machines. That big jackpot pushed up the overall monthly average on all nine machines with this denomination in the downtown area.
Looking on the same line under the 3-month entry, it was 100% minus 4.77% equals 95.23%. The 12-month average was even smaller, at 92.44%. This abrupt change indicates playing $25 denomination in downtown Las Vegas is not the advantage it might otherwise appear.
Otherwise, slot machine denominations with the highest-to-lowest player returns for June 2019 in all casinos in the downtown Las Vegas area were:
- Multi-denomination: 100% minus 5.44% equals 94.56% return to the player
- 25-cent quarter slots: 100% minus 5.49% equals 94.51% return to the player
- 1-dollar slots: 100% minus 5.59% equals 94.41% return to the player
- 5-cent nickel slots: 100% minus 5.75% equals 94.25% return to the player
- 5-dollar slots: 100% minus 7.49% equals 92.51% return to the player
- 1-cent penny slots: 100% minus 11.03% equals 88.97% return to the player
- Megabucks: 100% minus 14.02% equals 85.98% return to the player
I understand that this is a lot of statistics. But consider what we learned even with this simple research of statistics from downtown Las Vegas casinos for June 2019:
- The worst payout returns are on Megabucks
- The second-lowest payout return is from penny slots
- The third-lowest payout return is from $5 and $25 slot machines
- The best returns, all very similar, are nickel slots, dollar slots, quarter slots, and multi-denominational slot machines
A further detailed analysis would be to perform the same straightforward payout return study on downtown Las Vegas casinos separated into three ranges of gaming revenue.
I’ll save this further analysis for another time. We’d need to run down the monthly gaming revenue for each casino, likely from their casino operator’s financial reports filed with the Security Exchange Commission.
4. The Many Wonderful Las Vegas Gambling Podcasts
So far, I’ve talked about gaming regulations and gaming revenue reports available from the state of Nevada. These topics were based on official information from the government. But, that’s not everything we have. There are also people like you
More specifically, there are people like you that have enjoyed Las Vegas so much that they started a podcast about it. There are more than a few such Las Vegas gambling podcasts. In preparation for your next Las Vegas visit, start listening to them to learn a lot of tips and tricks from these Las Vegas experts
Each show is more-or-less available anywhere you find podcasts. Some shows are former or current radio shows which distribute as a podcast so, again, look for them wherever you find podcasts.
If you’ve never listened to a podcast before, you might wonder how to start doing so. Here’s how. There
Those linked images go to my podcast show at those sites. After subscribing to my show, of course, use their search tool to find any of the following podcast show names:
- Five Hundy by Midnight
- Vegas Never Sleeps
- 360 Vegas
- You Can Bet on That
- Gambling with an Edge
- Vegas Confessions Podcast
- Vital Vegas
The longest-running Las Vegas gambling podcast is Five Hundy by Midnight: The Original Las Vegas Podcast. They’ve been at it since January of 2005 providing weekly episodes since then. At the time of this writing, they are up to episode #702. The hosts are relatively focused on Las Vegas news stories.
Vegas Never Sleeps by Steven Maggi is a former radio show now distributed as a podcast. He’s been broadcasting since 2008. His show is mostly thoughtful interviews with various Las Vegas entertainers and others. I was one of those other interviewees in March of 2018.
360 Vegas is a popular podcast about all things Las Vegas. They also host an annual meetup called 360 Vegas Vacation. The 2019 event, Twitter hashtag #360VV9, is on September 1-3, 2019. At the time of this writing, it’s still about a month away.
Gambling Podcast: You Can Bet on That, a podcast for the recreational gambler, is hosted by Mark and Dr. Mike. They have great chemistry and produce a fun and friendly show. While they are physically located in San Diego, they are so near Las Vegas and visit so often that they often talk about it.
Gambling with an Edge is a weekly live radio show in Las Vegas found afterward as podcast episodes. It’s hosted by Bob Dancer and Richard Munchkin of video poker fame. They interview professional gamblers, authors, and casinos insiders.
Vegas Confessions Podcast is all about the casino and gambling lifestyle. The three hosts are often in Las Vegas. They cover Las Vegas topics as well as gambling superstitions, casino games, food reviews, trip reports, and more.
Last but certainly not least is Vital Vegas by Scott Roeben. His blog, twitter feed, and podcast are incredible. He loves Las Vegas. Here you’ll find essential Las Vegas news, tips, deals, and (as he says) WTF. In my opinion, out of all the Las Vegas podcasts I mention here, pick Vital Vegas. You won’t regret it.
None of these podcasts have paid me to promote them in this blog. I like to listen to them and thought you might find them useful in preparing for your Las Vegas visit
I should further note that this is not a comprehensive list of Las Vegas podcasts. For instance, I haven’t yet listened to the Faces and Aces Las Vegas podcast. Again, the podcasts listed are merely those I have discovered and enjoyed over time.
5. Downtown Versus the Strip
Las Vegas is famous for the Strip with its world-famous mega-resorts, shops, five-star dining options, and entertainment venues. But there is also the smaller and lesser-known historic downtown Las Vegas with its venerable casinos, museums, and zip line.
Comparing the Strip to Downtown is like comparing apples and oranges. Each location is a unique experience with different options. At a high level, I could perhaps best describe Downtown as where many locals go while the Strip is where out-of-towners tend to be
How do I know this? Because of reported gaming revenue for the two areas. For 2018, the Las Vegas Strip had $6.6 billion in annual gaming revenue. Also for 2018, Downtown Las Vegas had less than 10% of that annual gaming revenue or $650 million
The Strip has big casinos, big acts, and big everything else. Again, it’s world-famous and hardly a secret. Downtown Las Vegas is known as Old Vegas or merely Fremont Street. For many visitors, Old Vegas is the secret worth sharing.
Old Vegas is more than one secret. It is perhaps as many as 15 secrets, all by itself. In advance of your Las Vegas visit, consider reviewing this post from The Crazy Tourist, 15 Best Things to Do in Downtown Las Vegas.
If you are staying on or slightly off the Las Vegas Strip but want to visit downtown Las Vegas or vice versa, how do you get there? How far apart are they?
Downtown and the Strip are about two to five miles apart. With light traffic on Las Vegas Boulevard, it takes 15 to 20 minutes to drive from mid-Strip to the Fremont Street Experience. This time applies to
Otherwise, there’s taking the bus, walking, rideshare services like Uber and Lyft, and taking a taxi. It’s a two-mile walk from the Stratosphere on the north end of the Strip.
6. When to Visit and When Not to Visit
Whether you visit the Las Vegas Strip, downtown Las Vegas, or both, winning at slots in Las Vegas means considering when to visit. This question has to do with the number of visitors in Las Vegas at any given time.
In 2018, over 42 million people visited Las Vegas. In June of 2019, 3.9 million people visited according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Bureau. Only 514,000 visitors, about 13% of the monthly visitors, were visiting in June to attend a conference.
Per month, most visitors are in March at less than 3.8 million while the least visitors were in February at 3.2 million individuals. Conference attendance is meager during December
What I’m trying to do here by digging into these statistics isn’t to examine the number of visitors in a month or a year in the city of Las Vegas. What I’m trying to dig into relates to experiences my fanbase has been having when visiting Las Vegas
What happens to them? Whether they are on the Strip or Downtown, they have been reporting that they win at slots on weekdays and lose playing slots on weekends.
Why? I can explain why, and touched on why above, but it hardly matters. This pattern exists, whatever its cause. And I want that you should know about it when planning your Las Vegas visit
I touched on why this is above, about casinos being a business with fine control over their payout return statistics for slots. This control is now daily due to technological advances in casino operating systems. At most modern casinos, central computers control slot machine odds of winning
As I have mentioned elsewhere, casino operators have been seeing an unprecedented number of casino visitors. To manage such large groups, casino operators needed to automate their casinos. Doing so allowed them to reduce their workforce while also providing them the ability to achieve their daily financial performance metrics
Both changes resulted in significantly reduced operating costs. However, automation means casinos can quickly adjust the odds of winning on all their slot machines. When would they need to do this
It’s a business decision. Casino operators universally decrease the odds of winning on slots machines during the weekends when hotels have higher occupancy. To keep some balance, they’ll also increase the odds of winning on slots during weekdays.
Nevada gaming regulations require a monthly revenue report from each casino. That’s a monthly report. Even if it was a weekly report, this difference in weekday and weekend payout returns is unnoticeable.
Both a weekly and monthly report shows the payout return average over their respective periods. Only a daily report would show the casino’s behavior of changing slot machine odds within a week.
But the Nevada gaming regulations don’t show daily gaming revenue reports. No state does. So, casino operators can do this without breaking any laws
Based on experiences shared by my audience, there are lower odds of winning on slot machines starting by 10 a.m. on Friday through around sunrise on Monday morning. Further, the same reduction occurs on significant holidays or whenever Las Vegas has more extensive than usual crowds of visitors
7. Candidate Winning Slot Machines in Las Vegas
Scott Roeben first mentioned the best slot machine I know about in Las Vegas. He runs the Vital Vegas blog, Twitter feed, and podcast. This slot machine is in Four Queens in downtown Las Vegas over by the cashier’s cage.
Scott posted a photo of this “Old Faithful” slot machine on Twitter along with its general area within the casino. It’s a 2-credit, $5 denomination Progressive Wheel of Fortune machine.
Being a $5 denomination slot machine, it’s high-limit. I don’t recommend playing high-limit slots unless you can afford the relatively large bankroll required to make 100 to 120 bets of $10 each. Don’t ever bet with any amount of money you can’t afford to lose
Remember, winning by luck isn’t something with which I can help you or anyone else. Instead, winning because you have an excellent plan is something with which I can and do help.
Thanks for reading so far into this rather long post with so much statistics. You deserve a reward. And so here it is
Less than two months ago, audience member James reported from the Four Queens Casino in downtown Las Vegas. Based on his experiences, they’ve set up their slot machines to provide a quick win or “taste” followed by no wins
The advantage play to use in response to this casino setup is what I call my “Five Pull” approach. For slot machines there, make only five bets before moving to another slot machine. If you win anything at all, move on without making any remaining bets.
Optionally, if you can, try to play slot machines not played for at least a few minutes or longer. Of course, finding an idle slot machine isn’t possible on busy nights at the casino.
I explain this specific winning strategy in detail in my blog article Winning Strategy 1: Only Win Immediately.
Summary of Las Vegas Visit
In June of 2019, 3.6 million people visited Las Vegas. Next month, you might be one of them. Whether you’re a frequent traveler to Las Vegas or a newbie, this post helps you be better prepared for playing slots in Las Vegas.
When it comes to winning with slots at someplace you’re not as familiar with as your local casino, preparation with a little thought is the key to a successful trip.
Join our Nevada slots community, a private and closed Facebook Group, for more advice from fellow lovers of slots and Las Vegas
Related Articles from Professor Slots
Other Articles from Professor Slots
- Previous: Online Resource: A State-By-State Slot Machine Casino Gambling Series
- Next: Why You Need to Start a Recreational Gambling Podcast
Have fun, be safe, and make good choices!
By Jon H. Friedl, Jr. Ph.D., President
Jon Friedl, LLC
Introduction to Car Playing Slots
On August 31 of 2014, at the end of an amazing 9 months in which I won 90 taxable jackpots, I won a car playing slots at a casino. This is the story of how I won a car.
It is based on my notes and memories and was written only a few months afterward.
This article has the following sections:
- Introduction to How to Win a Car Playing Slots
- Long Promotion Periods to Accumulate Entries
- Ignore Car Promotions at Your Cost!
- Ask Questions Beforehand!
- In the Players’ Lounge During Boring All-Day Events
- Round 2 – Spinning a Big Wheel
- Being Ready to Win
- Remembered After Having Won
- Paying Those Pesky Income Taxes
- Learn to Comfortably Spin a Wheel, Just in Case
- Summary of How to Win a Car Playing Slots
Keep Reading … or Watch Instead!
Or … Listen Instead!
Find my podcast wherever you listen to audio!
Long Promotion Periods to Accumulate Entries
While at a local casino during the second year of my return to gambling, I’d noticed a few posters on the big finale of a casino promotion I’d only been vaguely aware of.
It was a multi-month promotion with several end-of-month giveaways such as cruises and other trips, including a car giveaway as a finale at the end of the promotion.
But, being new to promotions and the need to pursue anything and everything of interest as another way to earn income for gambling profit, I had barely noticed a mail flyer, players club emails, and other mentions of it during prior visits to the casino.
My first assessment of this three-month-long promotion was somewhat less than favorable. While cruises or trips to Las Vegas can indeed be wonderful, I’d recently returned from another casino’s complimentary gifts of a 7-day cruise to Alaska and a
To be more precise, I wasn’t particularly interested in more trips which this promotion seemed to be offering. I became slightly interested in this promotion when I learned the grand finale was the drawing for the luxury car I’d noticed was on display in the main entryway of the casino. Yes, I began to realize, that was very interesting indeed.
Ignore Car Promotions at Your Cost!
I’d been puzzling over the Mercedes-Benz located in this casino’s entryway for some time. I remembered seeing another such car there a few months back, but it eventually went away. Then, I was still assessing that casino and hadn’t yet played there much, so apparently hadn’t been on the mailing list for that prior car giveaway.
This second car I did see. And, I wondered what event it went along with. Over several visits to the casino for mostly other reasons, I eventually learned more about the event.
It was to be the grand finale drawing for the three-month-long promotion for trips that I’d been hearing about, formerly assessed as not something I was interested in, then subsequently ignored.
How To Win Playing Slots In Las Vegas
The luxury car on display was certainly a very fine automobile but, as it happened, not at all the sort of vehicle I prefer. As a result, I had no idea how much it was worth. I took a photo of it one day so I could try to study its features. Perhaps online I’d find the same model car, and get an idea of the features such a car model might typically offer?.
It was a simple matter to go online to the manufacturer’s website to “build” a late model version of that brand and model car along with the vehicle features I could identify in the photo I’d taken.
Doing so provided the purchase price of such a vehicle, which I felt was a good start on what I needed to know. For, if I won such a car, hypothetically speaking, wouldn’t I want to know how much I might receive for this “used” car?
As most people already know, many new cars depreciate a tremendous amount as soon as they are driven off the dealership’s lot. This luxury car was no longer on the lot and, I had to assume, should be considered as a used car with a mileage of 10 or so miles.
Therefore, I went online again to find out how much such a car would be worth “used” with only a handful of miles on it. As a result, strictly in a “just in case” scenario, I now knew the purchase price of that model vehicle as well as what I, myself, might be able to get for it.
Over time, the three-month-long promotion for trips, cruises, and finally a luxury car began to approach its end. Its last day was August 31, the day of the big drawing for the car. I happened to be to the casino the night before, a Friday when the casino had seemed rather lively.
There were lots of people there, including the boss of all the hosts I’d been getting to know during my visits. I shook her hand, she said she’d been hearing about me, and was happy to finally meet me. So, that was a nice little meet-and-greet.
One of the hosts that I was getting to know during my visits, Amanda, had taken that opportunity to introduce me to her boss, also asked if I’d be visiting the next day to participate in the car giveaway. With no real interest at that time, I said maybe I would stop by.
Looking back, that was when I really started thinking about changing my assessment of the promotion. Why would I? Because Amanda happened to mention that the number of entries for each player was based on their play for the last few months.
Also, there would be multiple opportunities to win, with 2 drawings each half hour over a five-hour stretch. Finally, the only players called would be those that had plugged their players’ club card into a slot machine within the previous half hour.
With those being the drawing rules that I knew about from Amanda, I had a few thoughts. First, I’d spent (and won, too) a lot of money at that casino in the last few months!
I began to realize that I seriously needed to reevaluate my assessment of this promotion. However, I had one question and one concern.
The question was, given the
My concern was, would it be more trouble than it was worth to own another car, especially one that didn’t particularly appeal to me?
Ask Questions Beforehand!
So, I went to the casino the next afternoon to ask my question and discuss resolving my concern with the casino hosts. All three hosts happened to be in their office, another clue it was going to be a big day!
Once I explained my question and concern, they told me that sliding my club card in the kiosk would provide the entries I’d have in the drawing. Plus, that instead of accepting the car, there was a cash option available if I chose to take that instead.
I have to admit, I admire the professionalism of casino hosts and especially of these particular casino hosts. I’ve noticed that hardly any question fazes them – they usually come right back with an answer for even the most ridiculous questions, like mine can be at times. They either know the answer outright or know just where to quickly look it up.
Armed with my prior research on the sellable value of the car, approximately $36,000, by the way, the $40,000 amount of the cash option, and my 174 total entries, I left the casino for a while to think about the situation. It wasn’t long before I turned my $500 car around and went back to the casino well before the first drawing for the luxury vehicle.
In the Players’ Lounge During Boring All-Day Events
Since I was so early, I brought a book to the high tier player lounge to wait for the first drawing at 5:00 p.m. Around 4:35 p.m. or so, I went out and plugged my rewards card into one of the main floor slot machines as required to be able to have my name drawn.
At the 5:00 p.m. drawing, I realized that I couldn’t hear announcements in the lounge. When I went out onto the main floor, I saw the names of the two people that had already been drawn.
With a bit of wandering around, I eventually found the location of the drawing itself just as they were wrapping up the paperwork for whatever those two people had won. Each had won a small non-taxable amount of cash, but not the car itself.
Apparently, unbeknownst to me despite my attempt at research, there was a secondary drawing of some sort after the initial names were announced. No one had won the car, just cash prizes between $500 and $1,500.
On my way back to the lounge for more book reading, I made sure to plug my rewards card into another slot machine so that I was eligible for the next drawing at 5:30 p.m.
Thinking about the situation in the high tier lounge, while making little progress reading a book, around 5:25 p.m. or so I decided that I needed to leave the lounge and head on over to the drawing location before the actual drawing of names. What was actually happening? What might I learn by watching the actual process?
In part, I wanted to learn the whole process from start to finish. In larger part, I had had a thought that if two names are drawn than whichever of the two individuals showed up first might automatically proceed with the secondary drawing.
See, I was not at all sure if that was how it worked, but the order of who showed up first might be important. I thought I might end up terribly disappointed with myself if I ended up being called but arrived after the other person called arrived ahead of me – who might then win the car.
That was not a pleasant scenario to imagine. There was only one car to win, after all. I would rather go first, despite the low odds of that being allowed if I was the second person called.
I think now is a good time to mention that advantage players have a certain perspective on winning. It is not quite true that they expect to win, but rather that they carefully consider scenarios where they take the best possible actions that lead to a win. I didn’t think I was going to win a car.
If anything, I had my usual high hopes and low expectations. But I carefully look at the situation and take precautions which might reasonably improve my odds of winning. And, that is what advantage players do – they try to find the advantage.
Round 2 – Spinning a Big Wheel
So, before the 5:30 p.m. drawing I went up to the open area near, but not too near, the promotion organizers preparing for the second round on their laptop computer and getting set to draw the next two names.
I remember that they glanced up at me, with a look like they were wondering what I wanted, and my responding with body language where I was trying to be casual by turning and looking around rather than staring at them intensely … and the big spinning wheel set up near them. Was that the second round…?
A minute or so later, they called my name. So, naturally, I went ahead and walked up to them. They asked if they could help me. Despite the apparent absurdity of it all, I told them they’d just called my name.
I can’t imagine what they must have been thinking but, again, these are a highly professional group of people. They asked for my government-issued I.D., confirmed my identity, then moved me over to the second round. It was indeed the spinning of a big wheel.
The big wheel, perhaps 6 feet or 2 meters in diameter, had 15 locations around its outer edge separated by long, thin posts sticking out along the rim. Two openings between pins had little Mercedes-Benz stickers. The remaining 13 openings had written dollar amounts in them, ranging from $500 to $1,500.
I saw all this at a glance, just before they told me to go ahead and spin the wheel. I asked, “Which way do you want me to spin it?” They said, “Either way is fine.” So, I did.
Now, we need to discuss the wheel, because of its importance to what happened next. I know something about spinning wheels. I mean, professionally speaking.
I’ve spun more than a few types and sizes of them, over the prior 9 years, during my 40+ hour per week aerospace engineering day job. Those at work were all motorized, but I’d always need to adjust the rotational velocity and acceleration values on its spin as needed for the job at hand.
As it happens, all the speeds and accelerations I use in my engineering career are within the range of what an individual can physically produce by hand. What I’m saying is, I have an excellent “feel” for spinning a wheel. The ability was about to be put to an interesting test – trying to win a car.
So, they told me to spin the wheel. And, carefully without worry and equally carefully without any thought other than to just relax, I grabbed one of the 6-inch posts sticking out of the edge of the vertical wheel and pulled it for what felt, in my professional opinion, to be just the right amount.
So, there I was, standing next to this very cute announcer, with nothing to do but watch the wheel slowly spin down as the 6-inch-long whisker at the 12 O’clock position rapidly clicked over each of the posts sticking out near the wheel edge.
Around and around the wheel turned, maybe 5 times altogether, each revolution going slower and slower. With what appeared to be about half a turn left, I could tell it was going to stop close to an opening with one of the two car logos.
It was still moving somewhat slowly when the whisker dropped off the peg and into the opening with the Mercedes-Benz logo. The whisker hit the next post and started to bend as usual as it started to slide up the next post. If it went over, it would drop into an opening with a small cash prize and definitely not a car logo.
Up against that next post, the long whisker continued to slide, with the wheel moving slower and slower due to resistance in part from the whisker pressing and sliding on the post.
With about 2 inches of whisker left before it would drop into the next opening, and with the wheel still moving slightly, the announcer looks at me and says in a disappointed voice, “Aw.”
Me? I wasn’t going to be distracted by someone else’s opinion. I had my own. I kept my eye on that whisker. I watched as that whisker rode up on the post until there was only about a quarter of an inch left before the wheel stopped turning. It had stopped before the end of the whisker was reached.
Such was the force of the whisker on the post, that the wheel then revolved backward slightly, with the whisker now firmly and fully in the slot with the car logo. Nobody said anything for a moment. The surprise in the air was palpable. I thought about speaking up but, in all seriousness, I definitely wasn’t going to be the first person to speak into that extreme silence.
It must have been only a second or two, even though it felt longer before the announcer (who had just said, “Aw” a moment ago) turned to me and said, “You’ve just won a car!” in kind of a stunned voice. I looked at her, and said, “I know!” That’s when it all started getting really busy, really fast.
Being Ready to Win
At this point, several things happened in rapid succession. I have to admit, I didn’t focus on much more than what was right in front of me. For instance, I have no idea what dollar amount, since the $500 to $1,500 prizes were all that were left on the wheel, the second person whose name was announced along with mine might have won. I never so much as noticed who that person was.
I was quickly moved off to the side by the organizers, to fill out paperwork and be asked questions by the promotion organizer. I remember my handwriting being truly terrible when filling out the paperwork because my hands were shaking quite a lot due to the adrenalin coursing through me I can only assume. I also remember two of my
The very friendly Amanda said she’d been having dinner at the buffet when she heard my name being called, and ran right on over.
The very delightful and always knowledgeable Jill appeared a short time later, then stood by giving nice, quiet, comfortable support. They were the only people I knew there when I won the car.
Before discussion of the payout method, the organizer asked if I’d like to have my picture
Again, I respectfully declined. At the time, I wondered where they were going to get a shirt. Was one of the organizers going to go without? Later I realized that they would probably have gotten it from the casino gift store.
The point of the prior paragraph is really an attempt to explain the intensity of the experience of winning a car or other expensive prize in a large promotion. To wit, much of the experience is rather surreal.
It seemed like a barrage of somewhat relevant and somewhat non-relevant questions. I just tried to answer each to the best of my ability. Some, due to my prior research, I was prepared to answer correctly.
The organizer’s other questions included if I would like the car itself, the cash award, or an equivalent in slot play?” I answered, as I’d planned, that I would prefer to accept the cash option.
I’m glad that I did plan my answer, as they tried to be very convincing that I might actually want the slot play instead. That would have been a terrible choice given the winning strategy for that casino didn’t require much bankroll.
Accepting the slot play there would have ended up either being wasted or effectively unused when it eventually expired. I quietly yet firmly replied, again, that my preference was for the cash option. Once they seemed convinced of this, they then asked how I would like to receive it.
Since they’d asked, I requested all of it in cash. However, to my surprise, that wasn’t something they were quite willing to do. Rather than press the issue, I suggested an alternative of a 50% cashier’s check and 50% cash, which was readily agreed to.
Here’s another gambling anecdote from that evening. While waiting for the cashier to bring the check and cash, Amanda offered to take my picture in front of the car in the lobby using my mobile phone’s camera. After we did that, we talked for a while about various things.
I remember she said that my winning the car couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. That might be the nicest compliment I’ve ever gotten. But, we also talked about my habits of wanting a cash payout. This is something I no longer do, by the way, unless I plan to play with it in a casino before leaving.
Amanda and I talked about why I wanted to have the full award in cash. Honestly enough, I told her that I liked those little brown paper bands wrapped around $10,000 in $100 bills. She seemed puzzled and asked what possible use might I have for them.
I told her in a straight-faced manner that I’d been collecting them over the last 9 months or so, with the intention of looping them another, once I had enough of them, to create a sort of arts-and-crafts string that I hoped to eventually wrap around my Christmas tree.
For my efforts, I was pleasantly rewarded with quite an unrestrained belly laugh from my host. And, along with her surprised laugh, she appeared quite speechless by the image I’d described. That conversation was nearly as enjoyable as winning a car.
Once the cashier and manager brought my $20,000 check and $20,000 in two brown-paper-band bundles of $10,000 each, I requested a couple of the casino’s security guards walk me to my old, beat-up $500 car before leaving the casino without spending any of the cash. Doing so was my third personal success of the night.
Remembered After Having Won
The next weekend, I was attending an exclusive dinner at another casino located near to the casino where I’d won the car. While waiting in line to be checked in for the free door prizes, I happened to mention to the people I was standing in line with, presumably gamblers themselves, that I’d just won a car the previous weekend. I was completely surprised when they then proceeded to tell me my own name.
Apparently, they’d arrived for the drawing later that previous evening to find that the car had already been given away. Their logic or assumption was arriving later in the evening than I was that no one would win the car until later in the evening when many logos had all been attached to the spinning wheel.
Oh, and they didn’t appear particularly happy with me for having won the car before they had had a chance to. Others seemed genuinely happy for me, though.
Paying Those Pesky Income Taxes
Be aware that winning a car, or taking the cash option for it, is not exactly the same as a taxable jackpot. The casino called it a promotional award, and no income taxes are taken out at the time of the win.
Instead, as I was informed and eventually proved to be true, an IRS Form 1099-MISC. for the amount would be received after the beginning of the next year, to be used when having annual income taxes prepared.
Having to pay taxes at the end of the year for winning a car is a
In fact, a lot more organizations would give away cars at their, say, charity events but for the fact that the individual that wins cannot usually accept a cash option – and now has a big tax burden.
Learn to Comfortably Spin a Wheel, Just in Case
I recommend developing spinning a wheel as a skill. It is simple to learn, really. Perhaps build one to spin regularly. Get a feel for how it spins, the amount of push it takes to turn it.
Also, make the resistance variable to get comfortable with how it feels to spin under a few different settings. Like when I won the car, spinning a wheel is occasionally a part of special events.
If a player can get instinctively comfortable spinning the wheel enough to be able to get it to land on one half or even one quarter of the wheel that they are trying to land on, the odds of landing in the opening of a specific prize during a casino wheel spin is 1/2 (50%) or 3/4 (75%) better odds, respectively.
Obviously, that’s a huge improvement to the odds of winning, an advantage play, unlikely to be achieved in simply any other way.
Summary of How to Win a Car Playing Slots
On August 31st of 2014, at the end of an amazing 9 months of slot machine casino gambling in which I won 90 taxable jackpots, each worth at least $1,200, I proceeded to win a car at a car at a casino.
This was the story of how I won a car, based on my detailed notes and memories, originally written down as presented to you only a few months afterward.
I’ve excerpted this story from a few pages in my 200+ page self-published e-book, Learning To Win. In it, I have shown you a circa-2014 casino environment at what I have taken to calling a newer-style casino.
The story explains how modern car giveaways are performed, or at least how they might be performed at a modern casino.
I hope you’ll take away with you one specific thought: Be ready to win!
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By Jon H. Friedl, Jr. Ph.D., President
Jon Friedl, LLC