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Ask the Slot Expert: Are new slot machines limited in how much they can pay?6 May 2015
You're right that this model of determining slot machine outcomes involves a finite pool of outcomes and, unlike on machines that use RNGs, your chances of hitting any particular combination can change from spin to spin. For this reason, some players think these machines are not as fair as their RNG-based counterparts. And, for that matter, they also think scratch-off tickets are unfair because the lottery is still selling the dream of hitting the top prize when all of the top prize tickets have already been sold.
On the slot machine, when all of the outcomes in one pool have been used, a new pool is started. It's possible that, as a pool is running out of outcomes, the high-paying outcomes have already been used.
On a Class III, RNG-based slot machine, the result of the current spin is not affected at all by what has happened in the past. Your chances for hitting any winning combination are the same on every spin.
Turning off the machine, with or without moving it, has no effect on the odds.
I've never been fortunate enough to hit multiple hand-pays in a short period of time, but I've certainly spoken to and heard of people who have.
What you witnessed may not be as rare an occurrence as it seems. At $20 per spin, players only need to hit a winning combination that pays 60 times the bet for the machine to lock up and the players to win a W-2G along with their cash. W-2G lock-ups and hand-pays are more frequent at the high-limit machines.
No, on a Class III, RNG-based slot machine, the top jackpot on a slot machine can be hit on its very first spin on the slot floor. There's nothing that limits how much new machines can pay.
Back in the late 1990s, during the building boom in Las Vegas, I frequently went to the new casinos on opening night. I saw people waiting for hand-pays for jackpots when there was no possible way that the machines could have won enough from their players to pay for the jackpot.
In fact, I was at Bellagio on its first afternoon of operation playing a dollar progressive video poker machine. I hit a royal flush and won the progressive, over $5000.
There I was, with so many hundreds in my wallet that I couldn't fold it over. After getting paid, I hurried to the buffet so I could get in while the lunchtime price was still in effect.
Send your slot and video poker questions to John Robison, Slot Expert™, at email@example.com. Because of the volume of mail I receive, I regret that I can't reply to every question.
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