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10 February 2016
By John Robison, Slot Expert™
Answer: Thanks for the kind words about my column.
The same PRNG (pseudo-random number generator) function is used whenever the program running the machine needs to determine an outcome. The PRNG function just generates a stream of (pseudo-)random numbers. It's up to the program to do something useful with the numbers. It could use them to pick which cards will be dealt during a hand of video poker. It could use them to determine where reels will stop. It could use them to determine where the Wheel of Fortune will stop. It could use them to determine which bonus game you will play. It could use them to assign bonus amounts to fish, cars, gift boxes, whatever.
Because the PRNG function just generates numbers (and not symbols or cards or something concrete), the stream of numbers from one function can be used for many different purposes.
Answer: That's a good point. I just short-circuited a few awards this past weekend for the exact reason you described.
I usually avoid video poker gimmicks (e.g., Dream Card, Split Card, etc.) like the plague. The extra bet you have to make to enable the gimmick is just money down the drain until the gimmick pays off. It seems like most of the time the extra money you win from the gimmick doesn't cover the extra bets you've made. Furthermore, these gimmicks increase volatility.
I usually avoid those games, but I do like to play them for low (penny or nickel) stakes once in a while. And one gimmick that isn't too bad is Super Pay. At least I think that's what it's called. You make an extra credit bet to enable larger payouts on four-of-a-kinds. This gimmick isn't bad because you have to bet only one additional credit, not double the max bet on a hand. I've only seen this gimmick on multi-hand machines.
I was playing nickel, three-play Super Pay Bonus Poker last Saturday. I hit four twos, which takes long enough to award that it draws attention. A man who was playing a few machines down from me asked me what I hit.
Now, there's was nothing besides curiosity in his question. Nothing nefarious. It was nickels, after all, so my good fortune amounted to a couple of sawbucks. Still, rather than call attention to myself when I hit quads again a few times, I cut short the awarding process.
There's no way to avoid advertising your good fortune when you hit a hand pay, although on some machines hitting a key will silence the music. Of course, hitting a key won't unlock the machine.
A few days ago I was playing a triple play machine in a high-limit room. A couple of times while I was playing, I heard the annoying music of an IGT video poker machine waiting for a hand pay -- and tax form. The music was playing again when I was leaving, so I investigated. A man was playing $5 video poker. I didn't get close enough to see what paytable he was playing or what hand he hit, but at $25 a hand on a bonus paytable, you'll get a tax form for many quads.
Answer: I wonder how many people had the same reaction I had -- over 700 spins and she won only $400!
At the end of my free-spin marathon, one of the spectators asked me how much I won. After I said it was only $200, a lady who had been watching the spectacle said, "On a 50-cent bet. That's pretty good."
Congratulations to your wife on her good fortune. On a 60-cent bet, winning $400 is pretty good.
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.
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