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Best of John Robison

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Ask the Slot Expert: Does speed in hitting the bills matter in the Money Catch bonus on Crazy Money?

7 March 2018

Question: I asked a pit boss once if the shufflers were truly random or used an RNG. He said it did not use a RNG and was random.

I was playing with someone once and he said the shuffler can read the cards because they can hit a button and have the shuffler put out the cards in sorted suits.

Answer: Hmm. How does a computerized device attempt to provide a random result without using a random number generator?

The only shuffler I know that doesn't use an RNG is the old battery-operated shuffler my parents got at Spencer Gifts in the mall to speed up their bridge nights.

My understanding is that a shuffling machine has a large wheel inside. The wheel is divided into many compartments. To deal hands, the shuffler uses its RNG to determine the compartment in which to put the top card in the deck. There are many more compartments than hands needed for the players. The machine keeps dealing cards until it has completed the number of hands needed for the players or maybe more. The machine then ejects the hands, one by one, so the dealer can give them to the players.

Some (all?) casino shuffling machines have an optical reader so the machine can report which cards were dealt to each hand. I've heard of this feature being used for the Pai Gow Poker progressive to ensure that a player didn't cheat to win the progressive. It's like verifying the numbers from the RNG on a slot machine to validate a big jackpot.

There's no reason why the machine can't have a function in its software to eject the cards in sorted order.


Question: I frequent the Indian casinos in Oklahoma and try to observe where jackpots are being paid. I see more at the what I call old-type machines. I don’t know what they are called although an attendant told me once and I forgot. Anyhow, is there any information on why these machines should pay more jackpots than the other machines?

Answer: I assume the jackpots you've seen paid are hand pays of $1,200 or more. And I assume that the old-type machines to which you are referring are traditional, reel-spinning slot machines.

I think there are a couple of reasons why you mainly see hand pays on the older machines. And there's a reason why we all don't see as many hand pays as we did in the past.

Let's look at the reasons why you see more hand pays on the older machines. The first reason is denomination. The old machines are probably quarter and up machines and the new ones are probably penny machines. And second, even though you may be betting dollars per spin, your bet is spread over many more paylines. It's easier to pay a $1200 jackpot on a $1.25, $3 or $5 bet on a payline than on a, say, 15-cent bet. There may not even be a combination that pays enough to trigger a hand pay on the penny machines. In my unscientific and limited observations, almost all of the handpays I've seen on video slots were the result of a large win in a bonus round, not the base game. I suppose both reasons can be combined and we can just say that we're betting less per payline.

Finally, the reason we don't see as many hand pays today as 20 years ago is a result of replacing coins and tokens with tickets. Machines used to be set to hand pay their top jackpots, even when no tax form was required, just to avoid emptying their hoppers. No coins and no hopper, no reason to hand pay.


Question: Recently you stated that the Fortune 88 bonus award was pre-determined and it really didn't matter which coins you chose. I believe that to be true. There is another slot machine called Crazy Money. When you get a shot at the bonus on this game, paper currency starts cascading down from the top of the screen. The player has a set time frame to tap the bills as rapidly as possible to maximize his payout. Does the speed that the bills are hit with really matter or is it irrelevant?

Answer: The speed with which the player hits the bills is irrelevant.

There are many machines that have the Money Catch bonus event. In all of them, the player has a fixed number of picks, not a fixed length of time, even when the number of picks aren't explicitly stated. On some machines, you win a specific number of picks. On others, the rules say you get to pick bills to get a bonus of x to y credits when you get the bonus, with the values of x and y changing with the amount bet.

But even all this is irrelevant. I checked a number of games with the Money Catch bonus and they all had this sentence in their rules:

Interaction with the touch screen during the Money Catch bonus is merely for entertainment purposes and does not have an impact on the game outcome.

In other words, you'll win the same amount whether you hit the bills as fast as you can or sit back and watch the machine reveal amounts on its own. The program running the machine has already used the RNG to determine how much you will win in the bonus.


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