Graeme Minney from Chesham Bucks
I was "addicted" to this type of machine in the mid 60's - my other passion was playing Rock & Roll music. 3 of us from the band used to meet at a local cafe every Saturday morning - which was run owned / run by a rather strange old Yugoslavian guy called Alex - Alex Cafe, Lower Ford Street, Coventry. The Cafe was demolished years ago - and I guess Alex will be long gone too.
We each had a half crown - changed it for sixpences and therefore had a minimum of 15 games between us.
Alex used to "pay out" on 21 or more replays - and the trick was that one of us would keep him talking and the other 2 would concentrate on the game. We used to play in rotation - to keep our nerves steady !!
The one who was keeping Alex "busy" and not playing the game would be shouting out the numbers to the one who was playing the game.
We always played the "Big Show" machine - and, I guess like many, soon found some lines easier to win on than others. We each had our favourite lines - for me it was always 1 - 19 - 24 - 20 - 8 because if you kept the ball on the left hand side of the table you stood more chance of scoring !!
On two occasions, I scored the fabled "5 in a line" using those numbers - which got Alex a bit narked to say the least.
My pals, Nicky & John were also consistent scorers - and so we usually went home with more money that we came out with. Alex didn't seem to mind too much - he was very interested in our Rock band. We used to play the Pub / Club venues in the Midlands. On the occasions we played at church halls - Alex would come along and sell soft drinks to the revellers.
There was another guy called Ronnie who always played the other bingo machine in the cafe - and he seemed to spend all this time literally shovelling sixpences (10 shillings worth at a time) into this machine with clearly no idea how to win on it !!
So taken overall, Alex certainly did not loose money on these machines.
Now at 54 years of age - and with the family commitments reducing - I can pursue purchasing one of these marvelous machines - they are just so much better / more fun that computer games.
My son in law has an MSc in Computer science - and he fully agrees with this view. He actually got banned from playing the pinball machine (one of the modern flipper types) at Essex Uni because of the number of repays he scored - meant that nobody else could get on the machine - so it took very little money !!