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Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

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Am I due to win?

7 August 2006

Hey there,

I think you remember who this is once again. Steve? Pissed away literally thousands at Harrah's back in 2003 and 2004? They evicted me from speaking my mind through e-mail?

Anyway, here I am again... You know what? I bet you anything that it is a fact that the more spins you go through without hitting a jackpot, the better your chances of hitting are for next time. I have still, STILL been trying to hit, only this time been much more careful so as to not piss away all that I came in with. I've managed my playing money a lot better. If my past self were here beside me, the me from back in 2004 when I pissed away all that money from bad money management, I'd probably want to take a bite out of an apple, chew it, and spit the chunks in my face, just like that WWE wrestler Carlito had done on WWE Monday Night RAW in the past. He made his debut in October of 2004. I got evicted from Harrah's in March of 2004. You NEED a financial plan, and a good gaming strategy when you play.

My question for you this time is this, do you honestly think the slots are so random that your previous results don't increase or decrease your chances of winning big the next you play?

If you believe that, then either:

  1. You spend more time playing table games and very little time playing slots because you don't see how previous results DO effect your current results, or
  2. You just don't look at the individuals odds and you're instead too wrapped up in how the RNG works. Yes, the RNG may generate random numbers, BUT THERE'S STILL ODDS!

There's not a man on the face of this who ever did or will go through literally 500 spins in a row without a single win at a slot machine unless it's rigged or hit 5 jackpots in a row, again, unless it's rigged to do that. The odds are so astronomical that it's a real true, simple sense, simply impossible for either of those two fantasy results to happen unless the machine's rigged to do so.

Lightning never strikes in the exact place two times in a row on an open green field, but will if there's a device there designed to attract lighting, like one of those lightning arrestors or whatever you call them. MORAL IS, UNLESS IT'S RIGGED THE ODDS ARE TOO ASTRONOMICAL FOR 100,000 TO 1 SHOT TO HAPPEN TWO TIMES IN A ROW.

I've still been playing. I now have reverted back to quarter machines, and why you ask, because I know for a fact that i'm getting more and more spins to better my odds for a jackpot later on. And in case I accidentally hit, it'll be at least a $1,250 win, something to still be big enough to be happy with once and for all. If not, I then later on up the ante to 50-cent machines and even dollar machines again. If I still haven't hit after so many spins from 50 cent and quarter machines and now I'm playing dollar machines, I'll be so due for a jackpot that I KNOW I'll hit sometime soon. Just like craps, that 12 craps must hit sooner or later.

And maybe if I hit, maybe I'll apologize for winning all that money from them. Maybe I should send them a sympathy card promising to give them all that money back later on. Or maybe I should feel bad and start crying my eyes out because I just made them lose $10,000 in the form of a $10,000 jackpot. I'M BEING SARCASTIC JUST SO YOU KNOW. Point is, I WILL hit. I've played for nearly four straight years without hitting yet there are lucky sobs who hit on their first night.

Reply back if you want, I'm just telling you that I've learned so much from experience playing those horrible machines that for people to say every spin is random is a crock.

Why does the game of craps always have a slight mathematical edge over the player?, Because after the previous player sevened out, the goal is for this new player to hit a seven to win and not hit a 2, 3, or 12 instead and lose. A seven was just rolled, the odds of hitting a seven again before a 2, 3, or 12 along with either hitting a point but trying to repeat that point again before a seven is what makes the odds SLIGHTLY favor the casino. Hitting two dice outcomes in a row is less likely than some other dice outcome. That's how the casino has the mathematical edge over the player, but the odds of two sevens in a row at craps is unlikely.

Steve

Dear Steve,

Let's start with your craps example. Have you ever looked at how the house edge in craps is calculated? It has absolutely nothing to do with a odds changing during a roll or from one roll to another. It has everything to do with comparing the probability of an event happening and the payoff for that event.

I don't doubt that you've played the machines quite a bit, but I do doubt that you learned anything from the experience. This is not a dig at you, however. Players really can't learn that much from playing machines. Because the pool of outcomes is so large, it takes more play than people are able to give or observe to draw any valid conclusions.

The example I always give to illustrate a multi-faceted event that can drive people to draw invalid conclusions is the movie Titanic. It's a very long movie with distinct sections. If you saw only the beginning of the movie, you'd think it was an adventure. Only the middle, a love story. And only the end, a disaster flick. The only way to get a complete picture of the movie is to see all 3+ hours of it.

Another reason it's difficult to learn anything from slot play is because players don't track results. Instead they report their impressions of how things work and then forget events that tend to disprove their conclusions while remembering events that support their conclusions.

You've fallen into a trap known as The Gambler's Fallacy. You say that the more you play, the more likely you are to hit.

This is absolutely, positively false. You are no more likely to hit a jackpot on a machine after 1,000 non-jackpot spins than you are on your first spin. The odds are the same on every spin.

I do believe the slots are random and that previous results do not influence future results. Yes, there is the RNG and there are the odds — but the odds don't change while you're playing a machine. And there's no way for other machines to know that you are due and they should reward you.

Before you say that there is a way — the players club card — let me say that the slot club system does not affect the results on the machine one bit. It is only used to capture the results of your playing sessions.

I don't know what prompted all the talk of rigged machines. Yes, it's not likely that an event with odds of 1 out of 100,000 will happen twice in a row, but it is possible. But if we played gazillions of spins on a machine, it just might happen.

And even if it does happen without gazillions of spins, that does not necessarily indicate the machine was rigged. For example, if you could look at the technical documentation for linked progressives, you'd see an acknowledgement that because it takes a certain amount of time for a jackpot hit to be communicated to all machines in the system, it is possible — though very unlikely — that someone could hit the jackpot and then another player hit before his machine has received the jackpot hit machine and reset the progressive amount, and that both players were entitled to the full progressive amount.

Unlikely events do not happen frequently. Even less frequently do they happen twice in a row. But if they do happen twice in a row, it's not proof positive that something is amiss.

Finally, I'm a firm believer in money management, but only in the sense of ensuring that you have sufficient funds to play for the length of time you want to play.

I think your plan of moving up in denomination is bankroll suicide. First, you are not more likely to win at the higher denomination because of whatever happened at the lower denomination. In addition, if you move up after losing, you're playing with scared money. Players playing with scared money usually make poor decisions.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Send your slot and video poker questions to John Robison, Slot Expert, at slotexpert@comcast.net. Because of the volume of mail I receive, I regret that I can't send a reply to every question. Also be advised that it may take several months for your question to appear in my column.

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