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Ask the Slot Expert: Game over for 'game logics'24 December 2014
Previously on Ask the Slot Expert:
In my November 19 column, I published an e-mail from a reader named Michael who said that I cannot call myself a slot expert. He said that "the RNG has almost nothing to do with what you win" because "the RNG is a slave to a Timetable used in slots... meaning the numbers generated by the RNG cannot create a winning combination if that combination doesn't exist for that spin." He continued, "ALL BUSINESS [sic] regarding the RNG is just a smoke curtain [sic] to hide the true, real functions of a slot (the Game Logics)."
At the end of my reply, I asked Michael to explain what the "Game Logics" are. He sent a reply, but before I could publish it he sent another message, which referred to my November 26 column, which contained a reader's e-mail somewhat supporting the claims in Michael's first letter.
I published Michael's third letter in my December 17 column, introducing it with a letter of support I received from a slot director in Louisiana. At the bottom of that column, I promised some not-so-surprising information I found by Googling "Game Logics." And now for this week's exciting conclusion.
In my first column in this series, I said that I've been here before. Frank Scoblete and I both had an e-mail exchange with another gaming writer. He sent long e-mails making claims that contradicted concepts in probability that have stood the test of time. We tried to point out his erroneous beliefs, he replied saying our statements were in error and made more claims, and we replied — and we rode this merry-go-round for a few revolutions until we realized that we were never going to make any progress with him.
Deja vu. All over again.
When I Googled "Game Logics" to see if I could find any independent descriptions of this function, I found that our friend Michael sent a message making the same claims to Steve Bourie of American Casino Guide. You can read it here. The only new piece of information is that Michael included a country in his signature, Sweden. Even though he refused to answer my question about whether he lived in the United States, I correctly concluded that he did not.
In order to get a handle on what "Game Logics" does, I asked Michael to describe what it does in pseudocode. He replied (this week I will only publish unedited excerpts):
Actually, that's the whole point. I want to see the key principles of your "Game Logics" without getting caught in the details or using a specific language.
You might want to take a look at this press release for a network monitoring program I wrote a number of years ago when I was a principal in Datech Network Software.
Michael did deign to provide a few steps of his "Game Logics" that occur while a machine is idle between the end of one spin and the beginning of another:
Basically he is saying that the reel layouts change in between spins based on time or how much a machine has paid out or some other criteria. He provided the following regulations from Nevada and his comments to support his claim:
Well, I would argue that the "same opportunity" means the same odds.
I had said that it was illegal to alter reel layouts in the United States. Every combination on the paytable must be possible on every spin and with the same probability.
Yes, let's look at the regulations. I checked regulation 14 on Nevada's Gaming Control Board website. The text was different from what Michael provided. I asked a contact at the board and he said that the text Michael cited was from a policy letter issued on 5/24/12, which was issued to clarify the requirements of Regulation 14. The text is not the actual regulation, just a management summary. Let's look at some excerpts from the actual regulations:
I would think that this section precludes altering the reel layouts based, but I can already hear the argument that the key word in the regulation is "detectable" and that the programming exists and is so sophisticated that the pattern is undetectable. But then that raises the question: How was Michael able to detect it?
The first sentence in this section makes video poker machines deal from fair decks. The second sentence is the one we're interested in. It deals with slots that don't mimic other gambling games. It says that the reel layouts CANNOT change.
My contact made these comments:
The final nails in the "Game Logics" coffin.
These statements should apply for all Class III slots in the United States because states based their regulations on those in Nevada and New Jersey. All bets are off for foreign slots; some countries allow procedures that are illegal in the United States.
I'll finish with some more excerpts from Michael's letters:
I did that almost 20 years ago. I didn't throw out the sheets, but I don't know where they are now. But Michael won't believe me because:
Yes, I do select the letters that I feel are the most informative, are of the greatest interest to my readers and that are the most entertaining. There are no other criteria.
Well, folks, we've reached the end of this ride and the safety bar has been raised. Please watch your step leaving the ride.
In his first message, Michael said that he corresponded with other gaming experts and they stopped corresponding with him. He will undoubtedly take the cessation of correspondence as a victory, that we can't refute his claims.
In reality, we've just grown tired of the nonsense.
Everyone (including Michael) have a happy holiday season,
Send your slot and video poker questions to John Robison, Slot Expert™, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Because of the volume of mail I receive, I regret that I can't reply to every question.
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