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Best of John Robison

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Ask the Slot Expert: How do slot machines detect a new player?

27 June 2012

I have been playing heavily for the past 4 years and I have noticed that virtually all of my "big" wins ($500+) happen within the first few spins. I have not been able to "force" a machine to win by playing long periods at the same machine. Given this, I am now of the opinion that if you play a machine more than 4 or 5 spins and don't win, you are wasting your time and money.

The obvious question is -- so how would a machine know you are a new player, it's your first spin, etc?

The RNG should have no concept of one session to the next, the only thing that might change is the players card changing or credits added (money in).

Any thoughts?

You're right that the RNG has no concept of sessions or players. It chooses the symbols to land on the payline without regard for what has happened in the past, who's playing the machine now, how much the player has won or lost, or how many spins the player has played.

If you played a set of 10 spins on a number of machines and kept track of your results, you'd find that you were just as likely to hit a big jackpot in the second group of five spins as in the first.

I think we have a case of selective memory and self-fulfilling prophecy here. First, you might be discounting the times you hit a big win after playing a machine for a while. (Another problem is that wins of $500 or more are pretty rare, unless you're playing high-denomination machines, so we don't have many occurrences to track.) Second, if you're convinced that playing more than five spins on a machine is a waste of money, you won't play more than five spins, so you'll never have the opportunity to hit a big win after five spins.

You're not hurting yourself by switching machines when you don't win something after five spins -- and you might even be helping yourself by getting some exercise -- but the fact is that your chance of hitting a $500+ win is the same on every spin.

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