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Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

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Ask The Slot Expert

12 November 1999

Dear Slot Expert:

Are machines that have gotten a lot of play but haven't paid off more likely to pay?

I recently met someone who had a similar theory about playing the slots. He said that slot machines pay more frequently the more they are played. So, he figured that the best time to play was in the early morning after the machines have gotten a lot of play. He said that you're more likely to find a machine that has had a lot of play but has not paid off.

There's just one problem with his theory. Each spin on a slot machine is an independent event. What has happened in the past has no effect whatsoever on what will happen in the future.

There is no governor inside a slot machine that tracks how much play it has gotten and decides when it is time for the machine to pay. Each symbol on each reel is chosen at random using a Random Number Generator (RNG). The RNG algorithm doesn't care how much play the machine has gotten, how much it has paid out, how many coins you played, or whether you're using a slot club card. The RNG chooses three symbols, oblivious to the outside world.

Therefore, if you have two identical machines and one has gotten a lot of play and the other has been ignored, the well-played machine is no more likely to pay than the ignored machine. Both machines are equally likely to pay.


Send your slot and video poker questions to John Robison, Slot Expert, at slotexpert@home.com.


For more information about slots and video poker, we recommend:

Break the One-Armed Bandits! by Frank Scoblete
Victory at Video Poker and Video Craps, Keno and Blackjack! by Frank Scoblete
Slot Conquest Audio Cassette Tape (60 minutes) with Frank Scoblete
Winning Strategies at Slots & Video Poker! Video tape hosted by Academy Award Winner James Coburn, Written by Frank Scoblete
The Slot Machine Answer Book by John Grochowski
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