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Ask The Slot Expert7 April 2000
A slot machine chooses the outcome of each spin at random from a pre-defined pool of possible outcomes. If you added up all the money you could win on all of the outcomes and divided by the total number of outcomes, you would get the payback percentage of the machine.
Let's say a machine has 1000 outcomes so the math is easy, even though a modern slot machine has many more possible outcomes. Let's also say that the total of all the money we can win on the 1000 outcomes is $950. Dividing 950 by 1000, we see that this is a 95 percent payback machine.
The program in the machine will choose one of the 1000 outcomes at random to be the result of each spin. Over time, the odds of getting any particular outcome will get closer and closer to 1 out of 1000. And the amount of money the machine has paid back will get closer and closer to 95 percent of the money wagered on it because that's how much the pool of possible outcomes pays back.
In summary, slot machines can be set to pay out a certain percentage even though the result of each spin is chosen at random because the pool of outcomes pays out that percentage and every outcome is equally likely to be chosen on every spin.
Best of luck in and out of the casinos!
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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