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30 July 2014
By John Robison, Slot Expert™
Actually, neither. The result of each spin in the bonus is determined at the start of each spin, just like a regular spin.
If you know about the RNG, then you know that the result of each spin is determined at random without any outside influence whatsoever. Random events have streaks. You'll sometimes flip a number of heads or tails in a row when you flip a fair coin. A fair roulette wheel will sometimes yield streaks of one number, or odd/even or red/black.
Similarly, a slot machine can have streaks of results that are favorable to the player or streaks that are favorable to the casino. Streaks can even extend to banks of machines and even whole areas of the casino.
A friend of mine, on his first visit to Las Vegas, played a bank of Blazing 7s machines at Excalibur. The machines were hitting right and left and everyone was winning. He went back a day later hoping to hit it big again and the machines were not paying then. Nobody was winning.
I've had many similar experiences. I haven't been in Circus Circus for years, so I'm not sure if they still have this attraction. Fifteen or so years ago they had a rotating platform with high long-term payback machines on the slot floor. My first time on the turntable I won enough money to pay for my trip. I thought I had found my ATM in Las Vegas. When I played the machines again a few weeks later, they quickly ate all of the money I had allocated to them.
The bottom line: It's all random.
Assuming there's no bonus (like a progressive) that you are eligible for only by playing full coin, the long-term payback is the same under both scenarios. In both scenarios, you're also giving $20 in action each minute. Your expected loss in the long run is the same -- if you can really wait 30 seconds between spins when betting $5 per spin.
The one thing that is different between the two options is the volatility of the ride. When you bet $1 per spin more often, you're spreading the risk over more spins, so your ride will be smoother. You won't win as much per spin as when you bet $5 per spin, but you also won't lose as much.
In both scenarios, you end up in the same place. You can choose whether you want to take the relatively flat route or take the one that goes up the mountains and down into the valleys.
Send your slot and video poker questions to John Robison, Slot Expert™, at email@example.com. Because of the volume of mail I receive, I regret that I can't reply to every question.
23 July 2014My rebuttal to a statement that slots always hit on the last spin in last week's column generated a number of responses. Excerpts from some of them follow in this week's column. I like to read your column, but I also disagree with some of the things you report. Like the person who said that many times ... (read more)
16 July 2014Slot machines do hit on the last spin. And I hit most jackpots when I drop my bet from three quarters to one quarter. This is a fact. I've been gambling for thirty years and have seen this happen to me and other people too often. Please explain this fact. Also if a machine paid randomly, the casino would be gambling. ... (read more)
9 July 2014How long does it take a machine to get back into the paying mode? I was at Paragon Casino in Marksville, Louisiana, on Saturday night. I won some money on the X-Streem machine after staying on it practically for hours. It’s one of those that has three bonus jackpots at the top of the machine. ... (read more)