CasinoCityTimes.com

Gurus
News
Newsletter
Author Home Author Archives Author Books Search Articles Subscribe
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Newsletter Signup
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
John Robison Archives
More Strategy Experts

Gaming Guru

author's picture
 

Ask the Slot Expert: Why Nevada allows the wheel on Wheel of Fortune

18 January 2017

By John Robison, Slot Expert™

Question: I've heard that Nevada has a rule that says an electronic version of a game must have the same odds as the live game. If that's the case, why do they allow things like the picking bonus on 88 Fortunes and the non-random wheel on Wheel of Fortune?

Answer: Regulation 14.040 Minimum standards for gaming devices subsection 5 states:

For gaming devices that are representative of live gambling games, the mathematical probability of a symbol or other element appearing in a game outcome must be equal to the mathematical probability of that symbol or element occurring in the live gambling game.

This regulation is the reason why you can trust video poker machines in Nevada. The probability of being dealt a particular card at a particular time on a video poker machine must be the same as the probability of being dealt that card under the same circumstances at a poker table. The chances of the ace of spades being the first card dealt from the deck are 1 out of 52 and the chances of getting the ace of spades as your first card on a video poker deal is also 1 out of 52.

I think live gambling game is the key phrase in the regulation. The odds on video poker must be the same as the odds on live poker. The odds on video keno and video or electronic blackjack, roulette, and craps likewise must be the same as those at the keno lounge and gaming tables.

What about the wheel on Wheel of Fortune? Doesn't it represent the Big Wheel game, so shouldn't the probabilities of stopping on a wedge be the same for all wedges?

Wheel's wheel differs from the Big Wheel in one crucial aspect. The player has no money at risk when Wheel's wheel spins. There's no way to lose on Wheel's wheel; every place where the wheel can stop is a win for the player.

Not so with the Big Wheel. The player has to make a bet to spin the Big Wheel and the player can lose depending upon where the wheel stops.

On Wheel of Fortune, the player isn't betting on the wheel. The wager is against the spinning reels. The wheel is used just to figure out what one winning combination is worth.

In short, the wheel is not the game; it's a bonus. The regulation does not apply to the wheel for this reason.

The regulation doesn't apply to the picking bonus on 88 Fortunes for the same reason. The bonus is misleading on this machine and others because the progressive you will win has already been determined by the software running the machine. Your picks are irrelevant. They do not determine the progressive you win. There's no way to win some of the progressives because they don't have three coins assigned to them.

Again, the picking bonus is not what the player is betting on. There's no way to lose when the player goes to the picking bonus. The player can only win.

Another reason the regulation doesn't apply to the picking bonus is because there is no live gambling game that is similar. Maybe one of the wacky table games at the cheapo casino in Vegas Vacation, but not at any of the casinos that I've visited.

The kiosk games at some of the locals casinos in Las Vegas are similarly misleading as the picking bonus on 88 Fortunes. At one chain, you pick one of six cards to reveal your multipliers for the day. Asking my friends and eavesdropping at the video poker machines, it seems that everyone gets 6x. There's the occasional 5x and 7x, and I think I even got 10x once, but 6x seems to be the most common.

Let's look at the chances if the values are truly random. If I get 6x, the chances are 1 out of 6. My friend also gets 6x, 1 out of 36. Another friend 6x, 1 out of 216. I overhear two people talking about both getting 6x and the chances of all of us getting 6x are 1 out of 7776. It sure doesn't look like the card we pick has any effect on the multiplier we get.

There are many entertaining ways to reveal a predetermined outcome, so I don't think sham picking games should be allowed. But again, the player has nothing at risk, the player can only win, so is there any harm done?

Finally, the wedge that stops under the pointer on Wheel of Fortune is determined at random. Each wedge is not equally likely to be selected, but the result is random.


Send your slot and video poker questions to John Robison, Slot Expert™, at slotexpert@slotexpert.com. Because of the volume of mail I receive, I regret that I can't reply to every question.

Copyright © John Robison. Slot Expert and Ask the Slot Expert are trademarks of John Robison.

 

Ask the Slot Expert: When does a Class II slot machine stop the bingo drawing?

11 January 2017
Question: Last week I went to a casino on Macau (I live in Hong Kong) to play 50 Lions. I got 24 lions mixed with diamonds on all lines. I love the game. I know that Las Vegas has regulations that the payback rate should be at least 90%. Do you have any information about the payback rate for slot ... (read more)
 

Ask the Slot Expert: Which video poker paytable is best

4 January 2017
Question: I have been going to Atlantic City for years. Most of the video poker machines that used to payoff are gone and replaced with penny machines. The casinos are beating the people and what is the casino control commission doing? Which in your opinion is the best video poker machine to play? Answer: Penny slots are taking up more and more of the casino floor. ... (read more)
 

Ask the Slot Expert: Do low top jackpots on slots hit more frequently?

28 December 2016
Question: I read your articles on 88 Fortunes. I hit the Major Jackpot recently at Mohegan Sun Pocono in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania. I was playing 68 cents and won $900 plus. I did not realize that I didn't have a shot at the Grand prize of $10,000 plus. I picked two Grands, two Major, two Minor, two Mini and then another Major. ... (read more)

Next 10 Articles >

  • Featured Articles

Hit Frequency, Reno, Atlantic City, Double Up

Hi there, Has there ever been any research done into what number of times a slot machine will pay "anything" during one hundred spins on the average? I have counted many times and find the average slot machine will pay roughly 16 times out of 100 spins. That includes winning a lowly cherry return to a bigger win. ... (read more)
 

Slot Machine Pay Off

Dear John, In reference to the reader's question about slot machines where you play for gold or silver tokens: In Las Vegas, many of the casinos have 25-cent slots that pay off a $10 jackpot with a $10 silver souvenir token. ... (read more)
 

Declare Your Independence from the Slots

On this Independence Day as we celebrate 226 years of independence from the tyranny of the British, consider making your own Declaration of Independence from the tyranny of the slot machines. You don't have to stop playing machines altogether. Just switch to playing video ... (read more)
 

Guide to Winning at Slots: The Best Number of Coins to Play

Every casino guide to gaming recommends playing maximum coins on all slot machines. And almost everyone who's written a book about slots also recommends playing maximum coins when playing a slot machine. I analyzed over 1,000 slot machine programs and I discovered that ... (read more)
John Robison
John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a slot and video poker columnist and has written for many of gaming’s leading publications. He holds a master's degree in computer science from the prestigious Stevens Institute of Technology.

You may hear John give his slot and video poker tips live on The Good Times Show, hosted by Rudi Schiffer and Mike Schiffer, which is broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoon from from 2PM to 5PM Central Time. John is on the show from 4:30 to 5. You can listen to archives of the show on the web anytime.

Books by John Robison:

The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots
John Robison
John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a slot and video poker columnist and has written for many of gaming’s leading publications. He holds a master's degree in computer science from the prestigious Stevens Institute of Technology.

You may hear John give his slot and video poker tips live on The Good Times Show, hosted by Rudi Schiffer and Mike Schiffer, which is broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoon from from 2PM to 5PM Central Time. John is on the show from 4:30 to 5. You can listen to archives of the show on the web anytime.

Books by John Robison:

The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots