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Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

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Ask the Slot Expert: Can you tell a machine's hit frequency?

22 November 2012

Is there any way to tell the hit frequency for either Class 2 (Native) or Class 3 slot machines (Las Vegas type)?

Nick

Dear Nick,

It's very easy to determine any machine's hit frequency. All you have to do is play it. Hit frequency is just a binary event -- a spin is either a hit or it isn't. Play the machine and keep track of your hits. After 100 plays, you should have a pretty good estimate of the machine's hit frequency.

Jackpots for all,
John


I would like to know your response to a belief that my sister-in-law has about slot machines in Las Vegas that are played before or during December. She claims she read or heard someone say that the casinos are a lot more generous in the payouts of slot machines during this period because they would rather have patrons win on the slots than have to pay the IRS at the end of the year. She always wants to visit LV before the new year because of this belief.

I personally don't buy it but I would like to know if there is any truth to it.

Thanks,
Al

Dear Al,

Let's think about this. Assume the amount we're talking about is $1 million. The casino could increase payouts and take $1 million from its bottom line and put it in the players' bottom line. Or it could keep the $1 million -- well, not all of it, because the casino will have to pay tax on the money. Still, the bottom line is bigger even after paying taxes.

That's one economic argument against the belief. Another is that the casino has to license a new payback program for each machine to raise its long-term payback and the payback programs aren't free. In addition, the casino has to, in most cases, visit each machine and change a chip in it to change the long-term payback. Then the casino has to do it all over again to change the payback back. And don't forget that Nevada wants to know that the payback has been changed, so paperwork has to be filed.

The fact is that it is rare for a casino to change the payback of a machine after it has been put on its slot floor. The paybacks on the machines are the same in December as in every other month.

Jackpots for all,
John

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