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Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

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Are machines in a progressive bank independent?

12 March 2007

Hi, John!

I would like to thank you for the many polite answers to the often repeated same questions. Apparently, no one wants to believe that predicting when a slot machine will hit is next to impossible, that machines do not have their chips changed out overnight, that the payout on a machine is not determined over the period of a few hours (or even a few days) . . . you get the picture. We all think our experience is somehow unique, huh? When we're winning it is our skill, and when we are losing it is a conspiracy!

With that said, I am sure you have answered this question, but I have not been able to locate it. When playing video poker on a machine in a bank of in-house progressive machines where the payout table is the same on all of the machines in the progressive bank of machines (of course), is each machine independent or are the machines all working from the same imagined deck? Is there one chip controlling all the machines, or is each machine dependent on its own? I know this is not worded correctly, but I am assuming you get my drift.

Thanks again for your continued patience and information.

Sincerely,
Pam

Dear Pam,

Thanks for the kind words about my columns.

In Class III casinos, each machine determines its results independently of any other machine in the progressive link. Each machine reports activity to the Progressive Controller, which calculates the new progressive amount based on the additional play on the machines. Each machine also reports to the Progressive Controller when it has hit the jackpot, so the Controller can send the current value of the progressive down to the display on the winning machine and the reset amount to the displays on all the other machines.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Hi, John,

I would love to make a suggestion to the know-it-alls who seem to write in to you. If they are so determined that they are right, why bother reading you at all? There are always going to be those who want to take the fun out of gambling by reading more into it than there is. I feel sorry for them because they are so busy trying to figure out the machine that they forget what they came there for!

I play slots and video keno/poker only, all kinds of denominations and combinations. The only consistent thing I do is play all the lines on a machine. I have been going to Ceasars Indiana for about eight years. Like everyone else, I have my favorites and play them more often than the others. On a recent visit I headed to my one of my favorites and it did nothing, I couldn't even get a payback. Later in the day, I went back to that same machine and it hit like crazy!

My mother sat down on a GameKing and hit a royal, while waiting for it to add up, she moved to the next machine and it DEALT her a royal on the second hand. Now what are the odds that you would hit two royals back to back? RANDOM!! Anyone who plays should realize that it is just the luck of the draw, if your timing and the RNG are in tune with each other, you win, if not you don't.

Just thought I would throw in my two cents worth!! Keep writing, I enjoy reading what you have to say.

Angie

Dear Angie,

I don't have a problem with people who think I don't know what I'm talking about when I tell them their theories about how slots work are wrong, as long as they're willing to try any experiments I might suggest to test their theories.

A few years ago, I got drawn into a lengthy, private correspondence with someone who would not believe that probabilities remain constant in a game like roulette. Basically, he argued that a number could be due to hit if it hasn't appeared as frequently as we would expect given the number of spins. He refused to try any of the simple experiments I suggested. His only interest was in arguing with every statement I made in my replies. I'm sorry that it took me two weeks to realize that the only outcome he would be happy with was my accepting his theories and he was never going to try any of the simple experiments I suggested that would disprove his theories.

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