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Best of John Robison
Ask The Slot Expert12 November 1999
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 email@example.com.
For more information about slots and video poker, we recommend:Break the One-Armed Bandits! by Frank Scoblete
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Slot Conquest Audio Cassette Tape (60 minutes) with Frank Scoblete
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The Slot Machine Answer Book by John Grochowski
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Best of John Robison