Pokemon Heart Gold/Soul Silver Voltorb Flip FAQ
Written by 'jayman7', March 15, 2010

===============================TABLE OF CONTENTS===============================
VF.INTRO - Introduction
VF.WHAT - What is it?
VF.RULES - The rules
VF.SAMPL - Sample game
VF.XROWS - Dead rows
VF.ANYZE - Analysis
VF.LUCK - Luck
VF.QUIT - Should I stay or should I go?
VF.SUMUP - Summary
VF.CALCS - Calculators
VF.COPYR - Copyright information

==================================INTRODUCTION=================================
[VF.INTRO]

So often on the messageboard, I see claims that Voltorb Flip is pure luck, that
you should just trade the stuff you can earn from Diamond/Pearl/Platinum, or 
worse, that the slot machines require more skill. Really? Slot machines 
requiring more skill than a logic puzzle? My job is to crack the mysteries of 
this rather addictive little minigame and help you to win, if not every time, 
then enough to rack up a bunch of coins.

==================================WHAT IS IT?==================================
[VF.WHAT]

The European Union has recently decided that the slot machines in Pokemon are 
no longer going to fly, causing it to be replaced by random coin dispensers in 
Pokemon Platinum - hardly any fun. But for Heart Gold and Soul Silver, every 
version outside of Japan now includes a new minigame: Voltorb Flip! It requires
no in-game money to play, so it's actually no longer a gamble of any sort. But 
you can't buy coins any more, so Voltorb Flip is the only way to amass them.

===================================THE RULES===================================
[VF.RULES]

The rules are as follows. There are twenty-five spaces in a five-by-five grid. 
Each space has a 1, a 2, a 3, or a Voltorb behind it. At the end of each row
and column are two numbers. One number gives the total of all the numbers in 
that row/column, and the other gives the number of Voltorbs. 

The first number you uncover, you win that many coins. For each successive
number you uncover, your coins are multiplied by whatever the number is. If you
hit a Voltorb, you lose all your coins for that round. The game ends when you 
have uncovered all of the 2s and 3s.

You can mark any space with the "Memo" command with up to four marks, looking
like a dot, a 1, a 2, or a 3. There's no penalty for marks and you can remove
them at any time.

If you win a game, you go on to a higher level with a better payoff. 

If you lose, then the game looks at how many numbers you uncovered (the Voltorb
doesn't count.) If that number is greater than or equal to the number of the 
level you were playing, you get to stay on that level. Otherwise, it drops you 
to the level that matches the number of panels, or level 1 if you didn't 
uncover anything.

You can also quit the round early. This counts as a loss, so you'll still be 
bumped back levels if you quit without enough panels flipped. However, you get 
to keep all your coins.

==================================SAMPLE GAME==================================
[VF.SAMPL]

This is a really simple game to start you off.

-----------
| | | | | | 5/0
-----------
| | | | | | 7/1
----------- 
| | | | | | 6/0
----------- 
| | | | | | 0/5
-----------
| | | | | | 8/1
-----------
 7 6 5 6 2 
 1 1 1 1 3 

Now, look at the first row. It's going to have no Voltorbs at all; the entire 
row is safe! However, it's also going to have all 1s, and 1s don't actually 
matter. But safest to fill them in so you don't forget, since you know they'll
never be Voltorbs.

-----------
|1|1|1|1|1| 5/0
-----------
| | | | | | 7/1
----------- 
| | | | | | 6/0
----------- 
| | | | | | 0/5
-----------
| | | | | | 8/1
-----------
 7 6 5 6 2 
 1 1 1 1 3  Winnings: 1

Five spaces uncovered, but you've only uncovered a single coin. We can do 
better. How about that third row? It also looks safe, but its total is not a 5,
but a 6. That means there must be a 2 in that row!

-----------
|1|1|1|1|1| 5/0
-----------
| | | | | | 7/1
----------- 
|1|2|1|1|1| 6/0
----------- 
| | | | | | 0/5
-----------
| | | | | | 8/1
-----------
 7 6 5 6 2 
 1 1 1 1 3  Winnings: 2

We're doing better. Now about that fourth row. Yeah, that looks dangerous. 
Switch to the Memo and mark all five spaces with a dot to help you remember not
to touch this row.

-----------
|1|1|1|1|1| 5/0
-----------
| | | | | | 7/1
----------- 
|1|2|1|1|1| 6/0
----------- 
|0|0|0|0|0| 0/5
-----------
| | | | | | 8/1
-----------
 7 6 5 6 2 
 1 1 1 1 3  Winnings: 2

Now turn your attention toward the first column. It only has one Voltorb in it.
Wait a minute, you already know where that Voltorb is; it must be in the fourth
row! And it has a total of 5 yet to be uncovered among two spaces, so one MUST 
be a 2 and one MUST be a 3 (there aren't any 4s, so those are the only two 
possible numbers that add up to 5.) Uncover those two unmarked spaces.

-----------
|1|1|1|1|1| 5/0
-----------
|2| | | | | 7/1
----------- 
|1|2|1|1|1| 6/0
----------- 
|0|0|0|0|0| 0/5
-----------
|3| | | | | 8/1
-----------
 7 6 5 6 2 
 1 1 1 1 3  Winnings: 12

The other columns are also safe for the same reason - except that fifth one - 
so let's finish off those as well.

-----------
|1|1|1|1|1| 5/0
-----------
|2|1|1|3| | 7/1
----------- 
|1|2|1|1|1| 6/0
----------- 
|0|0|0|0|0| 0/5
-----------
|3|2|2| | | 8/1
-----------
 7 6 5 6 2 
 1 1 1 1 3  Winnings: 72

And, actually, that wins the game right there. "What about that last one in the
fourth column?" you ask. Well, it's a 1, and those don't matter. You only need 
to clear all the twos and threes. But for the record, here is the completed 
grid:

-----------
|1|1|1|1|1| 5/0
-----------
|2|1|1|3|0| 7/1
----------- 
|1|2|1|1|1| 6/0
----------- 
|0|0|0|0|0| 0/5
-----------
|3|2|2|1|0| 8/1
-----------
 7 6 5 6 2 
 1 1 1 1 3  Winnings: 72

===================================DEAD ROWS===================================
[VF.XROWS]

I want you to pay close attention to that last column in the sample game. 
What's in that last column? Just 1s and Voltorbs, things you don't need to - or
don't WANT to - clear. This is a dead row; one where all the uncovered spaces 
are 1s and Voltorbs. NEVER touch any space in a dead row, unless you are 
ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that the space is a 1 - and even then, only open it so that 
you can more easily see that it is a 1, or have more open spaces so you get 
bumped back less when you lose.

How can you discern dead rows? Well, take the numbers by that last column: 2/3.
Add them and you get 5, the number of spaces in that column. Now look at the 
first row and fourth row: 5/0 and 0/5. Did either of those rows contain 
anything that added to your winnings? Nope, just 1s and 0s, and if you add 
their numbers, you get 5. Add any other row or column's numbers, and you'll get
bigger numbers. That's your ticket. Any row where the two numbers add to five 
is dead, and thus has nothing you care about in it.

But even a row with good numbers can be considered dead, so long as all the 
good numbers are already revealed. Take this row:

-----------
| |2| | | | 5/1
-----------

Let's think about this. There are four spaces with numbers in this row, one of 
which has already been revealed. The numbers add to 5, and the one that has 
been revealed is a 2. The only possible things in the four remaining spaces of 
this row are three 1s and a Voltorb. This row's total is 6, not 5, but this row
is effectively dead already.

Until you get the hang of it, you can use this simple mathematical formula to 
find the dead rows. Don't worry, there's no time limit to Voltorb Flip.

If the following is true, then you can treat the row as dead:

S + V - 5 = A + (2 * B)

S = Sum of the numbers in that row (as seen next to the row)
V = Number of Voltorbs in that row (as also seen next to the row)
A = Number of 2s that have already been revealed in that row
B = Number of 3s that have already been revealed in that row

The number of 1s revealed already is irrelevant. Also, notice that 3s count 
twice in the formula, while 2s count once.

It may be useful to mark everything in a dead row with the dot and "1" marks, 
to show that 1s and Voltorbs are all that you will find in that row, and to 
remind yourself not to click on those spaces.

It's not that dead spaces don't matter - it can be helpful at times to work out
which are the Voltorbs and which are the 1s. But, as said before, do NOT click 
on any dead space unless you're SURE that it's a 1, because hitting a Voltorb 
won't help you in the slightest.

So anyway, let's take this grid:

-----------
| | | | | | 4/1
-----------
| | | | | | 9/1
----------- 
| | | | | | 1/4
----------- 
| | | | | | 6/1
-----------
| | | | | | 6/1
-----------
 6 5 6 6 3 
 2 1 1 2 2

Can you see some dead rows? That first row and the third, in addition to the 
last column, each add up to five. Again, I'd mark dead squares with Voltorbs 
and 1s, but for this ASCII diagram, let's put in Xs instead:

-----------
|X|X|X|X|X| 4/1
-----------
| | | | |X| 9/1
----------- 
|X|X|X|X|X| 1/4
----------- 
| | | | |X| 6/1
-----------
| | | | |X| 6/1
-----------
 6 5 6 6 3 
 2 1 1 2 2

Right there, we've narrowed the number of spaces we need to worry about from 
twenty-five to twelve; over half are out of our way! 

====================================ANALYSIS===================================
[VF.ANYZE]

From the above grid, hopefully anyone can see that the best place to move 
forward is the third space in the second row; high totals and low Voltorb 
counts in both directions. So when you hit it, you get:

-----------
|X|X|X|X|X| 4/1
-----------
| | |2| |X| 9/1
----------- 
|X|X|X|X|X| 1/4
----------- 
| | | | |X| 6/1
-----------
| | | | |X| 6/1
-----------
 6 5 6 6 3 
 2 1 1 2 2  Winnings: 2

A two. We've got some winnings already! But where to go next?

"It's all luck!", some might whine, "There's no way to know which square is 
safe!" Actually... no! If you look closely, there are two spaces that are 
absolutely safe and not only cannot contain Voltorbs, but must contain at 
least a two. Why? Which two? Allow me to explain.

Let's go back to that formula from before:

S + V - 5 = A + (2 * B)

This is what it looks like when a row is dead - when every 2 or 3 within the 
row is revealed. And is that not our target? So now you want to look at it a 
little differently. The 9/1 row produces 9 + 1 - 5 = 5 on the left side of the 
equation. A 2 has been revealed, so you need four more "points" to make them 
equal. Remember, a 2 counts once, and a 3 counts twice. There are three 
unrevealed numbers in that row. To get four points, then either you need a 3 
(two points) and two 2s (one point each), or two 3s. (Four twos provides enough
points, but it is not an option, because there are only three numbers left.) So
again, you need at least one 3, and then either two 2s or another 3.

Now take that 5/1 column. 5 + 1 - 5 = 1. You need 1 "point" in that column. 
But... 3s are worth two points, so you can't have a 3 in that column at all! 
That second space, therefore, must be no greater than 2. And, naturally, that 
last space cannot contain any useful numbers (it's dead). The 6/2 columns can 
contain 3s, however (6 + 2 - 5 = 3).

If the row contains a 3 and two 2s, you know where they must go - the dead 
space can't contain any useful numbers, so there are only three open spaces. 
And if it contains two 3s, then they must go in the 6/2 columns (since, 
remember, the 5/1 column can't contain any 3s.) Both possibilities have safe 
first and fourth spaces (though we're not ENTIRELY sure on the second). Those 
spaces can't lose, so let's hit them!

-----------
|X|X|X|X|X| 4/1
-----------
|3| |2|3|X| 9/1
----------- 
|X|X|X|X|X| 1/4
----------- 
| | | | |X| 6/1
-----------
| | | | |X| 6/1
-----------
 6 5 6 6 3 
 2 1 1 2 2  Winnings: 18

... And they're both threes. Also, remember the formula. 9 + 1 - 5 = 5, and 
1 + 2*2 = 5, so the row is dead and the second space is no longer important.

-----------
|X|X|X|X|X| 4/1
-----------
|3|X|2|3|X| 9/1
----------- 
|X|X|X|X|X| 1/4
----------- 
| | | | |X| 6/1
-----------
| | | | |X| 6/1
-----------
 6 5 6 6 3 
 2 1 1 2 2  Winnings: 18

======================================LUCK=====================================
[VF.LUCK]

Let's face it, no matter how good you are, sometimes, you just don't have 
enough info and have to guess. But just because you're guessing, that doesn't 
mean you can't tip the odds in your favor sometimes.

-----------
|1|1|1|0|1| 4/1
-----------
|3|X|2|3|X| 9/1
----------- 
|X|X|X|0|X| 1/4
----------- 
| | |2|1|X| 6/1
-----------
| | |X|2|X| 6/1
-----------
 6 5 6 6 3 
 2 1 1 2 2  Winnings: 72

From a glance, all you know about those four spaces is that two of them are 
twos, and the other two are AT BEST 1s. But let's look at it a little closer.

First of all, the fourth and fifth rows have the same numbers, and both have a 
2 revealed. However, the fourth has a 1 revealed, and the fifth doesn't. 
Doesn't seem like much, but right now, you can take any extra info you can get!

Also, that first column is down by two (1+3=4, but the row contains a 6). The 
third square down is dead, so it can't contain a 2, and since the column needs 
a 2, it can't contain a 1. So in the spirit of taking-what-you-can-get, let's 
remove the "1" mark from that space in the memo.

-----------
|1|1|1|0|1| 4/1
-----------
|3|X|2|3|X| 9/1
----------- 
|0|X|X|0|X| 1/4
----------- 
| | |2|1|X| 6/1
-----------
| | |X|2|X| 6/1
-----------
 6 5 6 6 3 
 2 1 1 2 2  Winnings: 72

So between those other two spaces, one must be a two and the other a Voltorb.

But take that second column. It only has one Voltorb. And that that third row 
has FOUR Voltorbs within - only one of them is a useful number. We're not sure,
but in that second column, you're more likely to hit a 1 than a Voltorb in the 
two open spaces.

So the fifth row has more hidden 1s than the fourth, and the second column has 
more hidden 1s than 0s, while the first column ONLY has a zero and the two you 
need. It's a gamble, to be sure, and you could quit and stay at the same level,
but let's be honest: the odds are on your side, and if you find those twos, 
you'll quadruple your winnings! So hit the space, and you get...

-----------
|1|1|1|0|1| 4/1
-----------
|3|X|2|3|X| 9/1
----------- 
|0|X|X|0|X| 1/4
----------- 
| | |2|1|X| 6/1
-----------
| |1|X|2|X| 6/1
-----------
 6 5 6 6 3 
 2 1 1 2 2  Winnings: 72

Not a Voltorb! Lucky you! And now where the twos are should be obvious:

-----------
|1|1|1|0|1| 4/1
-----------
|3|X|2|3|X| 9/1
----------- 
|0|X|X|0|X| 1/4
----------- 
| |2|2|1|X| 6/1
-----------
|2|1|X|2|X| 6/1
-----------
 6 5 6 6 3 
 2 1 1 2 2  Winnings: 288

A winner is you!

=========================SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO?=========================
[VF.QUIT]

To "quit" or not to "quit"? That is the question. If you haven't uncovered 
enough panels to stay at the current level, don't even consider it! You're not 
likely to have enough winnings to matter, and you certainly don't want to drop 
back in levels! Later on, though, it's a better question.

At the end of a round, the only unsure positions you'll ever have to face will 
have - at the very least - a pair of twos (a pair, because it's easy to see 
where a single two belongs if that's all that remains.) Two twos will quadruple
your winnings! If you're stuck on a 50/50 chance for the last two numbers, I 
say go for it; you'll win more by guessing correctly than you'll miss out on by
guessing wrong, the odds are the same, and you won't get knocked back any 
further either way. However, there are those who recommend quitting under these
circumstances, as it's safer. It's up to you, though, and I certainly won't 
twist your arm. 

Keep in mind that, should you completely quit out of the game, you drop to 
level 1 regardless of where you were, so save that option for when you're 
really ready to stop playing.

====================================SUMMARY====================================
[VF.SUMUP]

- Always open rows with 0 Voltorbs.

- When the total and the Voltorb count next to a row total 5, that row is dead.

- T + V - 5 = A + (2*B) - This is your target. Once this holds true in a row, 
that row is dead.
T = Total, V = Voltorb count, A = the number of 2s, B = number of 3s

- Unless you're absolutely certain that a space in a dead row is a 1, NEVER
click on it.

- Use the memo to mark dead spaces and spaces you know must be Voltorbs.

- If you're unsure, go for non-dead spaces with high totals and low Voltorb 
counts in both directions when possible.

- If you're still unsure, go for the non-dead space least likely to be a 
Voltorb.

- I recommend playing through to the end of a round, not quitting early.

- Don't be discouraged if you lose. It happens sometimes. The game requires 
luck at times, but not as much luck as some people will tell you.

==================================CALCULATORS==================================
[VF.CALCS]

If you're still confused, never fear. There exist calculators that help you 
solve Voltorb Flip on the Internet. There are many, and I will choose not to 
play favorites, but I recommend picking one that tells you the exact 
percentages of every possibility in each square, since calculators that don't 
do so have a bad habit of recommending squares that I would not.

=============================COPYRIGHT INFORMATION=============================
[VF.COPYR]

Copyright 2010 by 'jayman7'
This may be not be reproduced under any circumstances except for personal, 
private use. It may not be placed on any web site or otherwise distributed 
publicly without advance written permission. Use of this guide on any other web
site or as a part of any public display is strictly prohibited, and a violation
of copyright.