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Ask the Slot Expert: 'Proof' that player's cards affect results on slot machines20 March 2013
Dear J H:
It can't be both ways. It can't be illegal for a casino to control the results on a machine and then allow the casino to use a player's card to control the results.
I'm not surprised that you get better offers from the lower-tier card, but we have to be careful to what we ascribe the difference. Many casinos today are trying to be more efficient with their offers. In addition to sending you offers that you actually want (like sending more buffet and casual dining offers to someone who is not interested in the gourmet restaurants), the casinos also want to send you only enough to get you to come back. They may send you only $20 in free play because you've shown in the past that that is enough to get you to come back, while other players may get $25, $30 or more because they need more of an incentive. Your "lower-tier" casino may know it has to offer more to get you to come back.
One nightmare of slot directors is having the same people win most of their giveaways. The slot directors want everyone to think they have a chance to win and having the same names win again and again gives the impression that the giveaway is rigged. The simple truth is that the people who play more tend to have more entries in a drawing, and the more entries one has, the more likely one is to win. Big, frequent players do tend to win the drawings, but it's probability not fraud.
Now, let's look at your test. I find it amusing that all of the descriptions of these theories have disclaimers (e.g., "almost all of the time", "usually") that water down the theory. If the theory were true, why doesn't something happen all the time? When I drop something, it always falls down, never up.
I'd like to convince you that the only thing your test shows is the randomness of the outcomes on a slot machine. Maybe these questions will do it.
You say you switch cards while you play and sometimes play without a card. Has it ever happened that you did poorly with cards inserted and then hit something without a card? Why would the casino want to reward someone it knows nothing about instead of someone who at least has taken the trouble to get a player's card? There's a saying in marketing: It's easier to turn a customer into a good customer than a non-customer into a customer.
And consider this scenario: Let's say you do poorly on your card. You switch to card A and continue to do poorly. Switch back to your card and your bad luck continues. Switch back to card A and hit a nice jackpot. If the casino wanted to reward the player with card A, why didn't it pay off the first time you used the card?
It's illegal in the U.S. for a casino to manipulate the results on a slot machine. The machine must display the result from the RNG and the RNG cannot be affected by any external factor.
Although I don't agree with your theory about player's cards (my advice is to use yours all the time), I do agree with your advice to play to have fun and not for the perks. As you say, you may pay royally for those perks.
Jackpots for all,
Send your slot and video poker questions to John Robison, Slot Expert™, at email@example.com. Because of the volume of mail I receive, I regret that I can't reply to every question.
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