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Best of John Robison

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Ask the Slot Expert: Number of coins played can affect long-term payback

15 February 2012

Hi John.

Here's a question that I would like answered in your fine column.

I believe that slots are programmed for their various payouts. I know you say that the RNG is the determining factor, but could you explain to me -- if a slot's payout is, let's say, 85 percent, is that based on max coins in or min coins in? It's got to make a difference, in which case the machine has to know the total it takes in.

Help me understand this.

I've played slots from Conn. to Cal. for about 30 years. The penny slots now are by far the most fun.

KY slot player.

Dear KY slot player:

Thanks for the kind words about my column.

I don't think I've ever said that the RNG is the determining factor in a slot's long-term payback. The slot's pay table and virtual reel layout determine its long-term payback. The RNG doesn't affect payback.

The long-term payback is affected by the number of coins played. Let's take a simple example. A three-coin Bonus Multiplier pays a 200-coin bonus on the jackpot combination with full coin. That bonus raises the long-term payback from, say, 92.3 percent (when playing one or two coins) to 93 percent (when playing three coins).

We would refer to this machine as a 93 percent payback machine, but if everyone who played it played only one or two coins per spin, the players would get back only 92.3 percent.

The long-term payback given for a machine is usually the max-coin long-term payback. If players play less than full coin, they may be playing at a lower long-term payback.

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