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Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

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Ask the Slot Expert: Does time of day affect slot machines?

30 October 2011

Hi John,

I always look forward to reading your articles for advice. I have one question that’s been bugging me forever.

Does the time of day affect when a machine becomes “hot”? It seems that the machines at my favorite casino become more lively around lunch time and then they go “cold” after about an hour.

Someone once told me that every modern day machine has two sets of chips mounted on the motherboard. One chip is set to have a HIGHER PROBABILITY of payouts than the other, which is set to result in a LOWER frequency of payouts.

Of course, no one knows the results of any given spin, but the casino managers can click a button on their mouse and -- voila, suddenly the gates of heaven open up!

What are your thoughts on this?

Regards,
Stu, the Nudnik!!!

Dear Stu,

Whoever told you that slots have two chips on the motherboard the way you described is the nudnik. There are plenty of chips on the motherboard, but not two different payback program chips.

Consider these reasons why a jurisdiction would not allow this situation. Jurisdictions want to ensure that machines are operating properly and not giving back too much or too little money. If casinos could change paybacks at will, how would the jurisdiction know which program was in effect when and for how long?

In addition, what would prevent a slot manager from goosing the machines for his friends?

Finally, most, if not all, jurisdictions require that casinos file a notice informing them of the payback change.

The vast majority of today's machines do not have the ability to be altered via a mouse click. Changing the payback of a machine requires changing a chip, a disc or something else in the machine.

A few machines do support remote configuration. They can't be altered while in use. And even though the casino could change the machine with a mouse click, it still has to file the paperwork.

The bottom line is that it's a big deal for casinos to change the payback on a machine and they don't do it often.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Send your slot and video poker questions to John Robison, Slot Expert, at slotexpert@comcast.net. Because of the volume of mail I receive, I regret that I can't reply to every question.

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