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Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

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Ask the Slot Expert: Do slot machines compensate for big payouts?

2 April 2014

On a slot machine that is a multiplier machine, after a big payout on the maximum bet, will the machine compensate for the payout? Or does the next spin on the machine have the same odds as before the big payout?

It doesn't matter whether a machine is a multiplier, bonus multiplier, multi-line or multi-coin/multi-line machine, the odds are the same on every spin regardless of what has happened in the past.

Slot regulations require that the Random Number Generator be free from any outside influences, like time of day, day of week, who is playing the machine, whether the player is using a players card, and how well the machine has done in the past.

Your chances of hitting a big payout are the same on every spin -- even the spin right after a big payout. It hasn't happened to me (at least not yet), but I know people who have hit back-to-back or nearly back-to-back jackpots and royal flushes.


Gulfstream Casino in Hallandale, Florida has advertisements near two entrances saying that they have 84 loose 1-cent to $1 slot machines that have been upgraded. The article says that game manufacturers and Gulfstream technicians have tweaked their machine chips to pay more.

I thought you had said in previous columns nobody could touch these machines. Please clarify.

I don't think I ever said that long-term paybacks on slot machines could never be changed. I said that the casino can't change them on a whim, like to reward a loyal player or penalize a player using a players card.

Most machines require that a chip be changed in the machine to change its long-term payback. Some jurisdictions, like Nevada, allow the casino to change the chips as long as it has a Manufacturers License, which all the major casinos have. Other jurisdictions may require that a representative from the gaming commission be there to witness the change, and some jurisdictions require that a gaming commission representative actually make the change. And I heard of one jurisdiction that does not allow any changes to machines once they've been put in service.

That said, casinos rarely change long-term paybacks on machines. Making the change is both time-consuming and paperwork-intensive. The State usually wants to ensure that machines are operating properly so all the parties involved (casino, player and State) are getting their fair share, so it wants to know when the long-term payback is changed on a machine.


When a video poker machine is tallying a win, let's say a royal flush, does the RNG still shuffle, so to speak, or does it wait until the tally or win is posted before shuffling again?

I can say for sure that the RNG is continuing to run while the machine is idle and while it is waiting between the deal and the draw. RNG cheats were able to figure out ways to cheat slot and video poker machines because the RNG was not running at those times.

It's possible that there are brief times when the RNG is not generating new results and while it's crediting a win might be one of them. I would guess that the RNG is still generating new results, but I can't say for sure.

The bottom line, however, is that it doesn't matter. Whether the RNG is or isn't running during that time has no effect on your results and even if we knew the answer, there's no way we can use that information to your advantage.


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