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Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

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Ask The Slot Expert

20 August 1999

When I switch video poker games on a Game Maker, do I get a new deck each time I switch?

In essence, you get a freshly shuffled deck each time you start a new hand. So not only do you get a fresh deck when you switch games, you also get a fresh deck for each hand.


What's the relationship between the RNG and the hit frequency of a slot machine?

The Random Number Generator (RNG) is a mathemetical function programmed into the program running the slot machine. Its purpose is to generate a series of random numbers that the program will use to figure out the result of each spin.

The hit frequency of the machine says how likely it is that any spin will be a winner. If a machine has a hit frequency of 20 percent, that means you have a 20 percent chance of hitting a winning combination on any individual spin. Another way to look at a machine with a 20 percent hit frequency is to say that 1 in 5 spins on this machine will be a winner.

Imagine that a slot machine has 100,000 envelopes inside it. Inside each envelope is a slip of paper that says where each reel should stop. Some combinations of symbols will be winners, like three single bars, and others will be busts. The ratio of envelopes with winning combinations to the total number of envelopes is the hit frequency. The program in the slot machine uses the random number produced by the RNG to choose one of the envelopes. Each envelope is just as likely to be chosen as any other envelope, but because some symbol combinations are in more envelopes than other combinations, some symbol combinations are more likely to land on the payline than other combinations.

To summarize, the RNG determines the outcome of a spin. The hit frequency is just a statistic that says how likely it is that any spin on a machine will be a winner.


Send your slot and video poker questions to me at slotexpert@home.com or in care of rgt@RGTonline.com.
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