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Best of John Robison

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Are jackpots set to hit at certain times?

17 March 2008

My wife and I have debated this for years. Could you settle it for us?

On a regular slot machine, or any machine for that matter that permits you choose the amount of coins to bet, is the jackpot any more likely to come up betting one amount as opposed to another?

For instance, I bet 20 coins on a nickel slot that allows you to play up to 100 coins. I hit the jackpot (10x-10x-10x, an IGT 10 times pay machine) for 80,000 nickels, $4,000. I think that if I would have been betting 100, I would have hit 400,000 nickels, or 20 grand. My wife says no way, because the machines are set to hit at different times depending on the amount you play. In other words, the 20-coin jackpot was ready to hit, but perhaps the 100-coin jackpot would not have it? Do they REALLY program that way?

Thanks and happy gaming,
Kevin

Dear Kevin,

Let me start with your last question first.

No, they don't program machines that way.

The software running the machine uses numbers from the Random Number Generator (RNG) to determine where the reels are going to stop. The RNG doesn't care — or know — how many coins were played on a spin. The RNG runs continuously, even when the machine is not being played, so how could it be tied to the number of coins played?

The results of a spin are determined at random. Jackpots are not set to hit at certain times.

Turning to your hypothetical, if you had the Spin button at the exact same moment and had bet 100 coins instead of 20, you would have won $20,000 instead of $4,000.

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 reply to every question.

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