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Are slot jackpots apportioned per coin played?

19 March 2007

Thank you for including my letter in your January 8 Q-and-A. My letter was about slot randomness and the $25 double diamond jackpot I had.

That occurred at Mohegan Sun, which as you know is a Class III casino. Do you think the techs were right about apportioned slot jackpots per coin-in, or are they confused, or just full of bull? Seems to me if I had the second coin in I still would have won... maybe they were just trying to comfort me.

Incidentally, that question from Barbara regarding players scribbling on pads - they may also be noting machine numbers of the slots they like or dislike. Or they could be noting information for the IRS, who has recently cracked down on us by demanding accurate records be kept of our play for tax purposes.

Thank you for the forum. Have fun!

Steve

Dear Steve,

Just to recap your original letter: Steve hit the jackpot on a $25 Double Diamond with one coin in. When he said he wished had had played the second coin, a slot tech told him that he would not have won had he played the second coin. Jackpots are apportioned in the programming — some for one coin, some for two — and this jackpot, he said, was for one coin.

In my experience, people well versed in electronics are not necessarily also well versed in programming or probability. I don't want to say the slot techs were full of bull. The casino employees I've spoken with have tried to do their best to explain how things work to the best of their understanding. The slot techs probably just misunderstood something they were told or read.

Most slot regulations require that the number of coins you play cannot affect the determination of the outcome. The number of coins played can only affect how much you are paid for that outcome.

Nevertheless, you probably would not have hit the jackpot had you played two coins. The jackpot outcome was the result from the RNG for the 1/100 of a second (if even that long) interval in which you hit the Spin button. If you started the spin a fraction of a second earlier or later, you would have gotten a different set of symbols on the payline. In this sense they are right. You probably would not have hit the jackpot had you played two coins — not because the machine chooses from different sets of outcomes based on the number of coins played, but because you would have started the spin at a different instant.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


In your column 3/16/07 about Wheel of Fortune, your letter writer didn't give her a monetary tip. The "tip" he gave her was the line after that: "Don't play the prop bets on craps."

A joke that's an oldie but goodie :)

Ed

Dear Ed,

I just looked up and I saw that joke going right over my head.

When I read the letter, I thought the writer signed all of his letters that way. Many people end their e-mails with strange slogans.

How much more obvious could it be? Set-up and punchline. I guess I need a laugh track.

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