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Ask the Slot Expert: If only I had bet two coins6 July 2016
Answer: I believe James Maida, president of Gaming Labs International, once said in a seminar, "Anytime a machine is sitting with a result locked in, it is vulnerable to being cheated."
In the early days of computer-controlled slot machines, there were some machines that determined the result of the next spin immediately after concluding the current spin. A slot cheat named Leo Weeks programmed a portable computer to simulate the random number generator function in those slot machines. After entering the results of a few spins, the computer was able to determine where the RNG function was in its cycle and indicate whether the next spin was going to be a winner or a loser. The Weeks Box user could then make a minimum bet on losing spins and a maximum bet on winning spins. Because those slot machines were sitting with a result locked in, the cheat had all the time in the world to figure out what the result was.
Video poker machines have been cheated using a similar method. When the first video poker machines chose all 10 cards that could be used in a hand when the player pressed the deal/draw button, a cheat had time to use the five dealt cards to figure out where the RNG was in its cycle and determine the five cards waiting in the wings to replace the discards.
In order to thwart RNG cheats, modern machines employ a philosophy that I call, borrowing a term from inventory control, Just-In-Time. The program running the slot machine does not determine a result until it is needed.
The program does not poll the RNG to get the result of a spin until the player has committed to the spin by pressing the spin button, the bet max button, pressing one of the bet amount buttons, pressing the repeat bet button, or pulling the handle. On a video poker machine, the cards needed to replace the discards are not chosen until the player presses the deal/draw button to draw the replacement cards.
I think the phrase "If only I had bet two coins" is missing the then clause. Here's how I would complete the phrase:
If only I had bet two coins, then I would have gotten a different result.
Answer: 88 Fortunes is a high volatility game and you can hit some very nice payoffs even on an 88-cent bet. The downside to high volatility is that the machine can eat your bankroll in a flash, especially if you're betting dollars per spin. What keeps players coming back, though, are those big hits that get them out of the hole in one spin.
There are many similar Asian-themed games on slot floors now. I checked the help screens on them and I found a very interest sentence on one. In regards to the bonus game in which you match three coins to win a progressive, it said, "Outcomes of the Jackpot Feature are not influenced by player input."
What this fine example of lawyer-speak is really saying is that the program running the machine has already determined which progressive you will win by polling the RNG. It doesn't matter what you choose during the bonus round. The simplest way to force the outcome is to have two coins for all the progressives you didn't win, and fill out the screen with coins for the progressive you did win. This would explain why the progressives attached to the coins you didn't pick are not revealed at the conclusion of the round.
I think a pick-em round in which your picks don't affect the outcome is deceptive. Although it is exciting to pick two Grands and two Majors and two Minors and two Minis, it is deceptive when it is impossible to get three of the progresives. The odds are not what they appear to be. The Nevada Gaming Commission outlawed the Secondary Decision on the Universal slot machines three decades ago because the Secondary Decision gave a false impression of the odds of hitting the jackpot.
There are many ways bonus rounds reveal a pre-determined outcome without resorting to a pointless pick-em round. But, as I said, picking is exciting and gets the player involved in revealing -- but not determining, in this case -- the outcome.
Perhaps the compromise is to disclose that the your choices are immaterial to the outcome. The only effect your choices have is in determining how quickly the pre-determined result is revealed.
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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