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Ask the Slot Expert: Telling Which Slot Machines Are Going to Hit4 June 2014
By John Robison, Slot Expert™
If only we could predict when a machine is going to hit.
Slot manufacturers go to great lengths to ensure that the results of each spin are determined at random. Machines do not have tells that indicate that they are going to hit soon. Moreover, the casino does not know and can't control when a machine is going to hit.
Some casinos identify the top-paying machines for the past week. You have nothing to lose by playing those machine, but you also have nothing to gain. Machines have hot and cold streaks all the time. Just because a machine was a top-payer last week, that doesn't mean it will continue to pay well. The machine next to it may be a top-payer this week.
The best tips I can give are these:
I haven't seen a Gaming Commission representative's pay stub, but I'm pretty sure the representatives are paid by the state, not the casino.
The state Gaming Commission is charged with ensuring the integrity of the games. Gamblers put a great deal of trust in the games and the commission ensures that the games are fair -- that is, the casino does not have an edge other than the one determined by the rules of the games and players aren't being cheated or misled the way they are with carnival midway games. If a player's complaint against a casino is legitimate, the commission will act to make the player whole again. If a player's complaint is unfounded, the commission will side with the casino.
Some players ask me why gaming commissions always seem to side with the casino. They claim that the commissions are biased and are trying to protect the casinos. Whenever there is a denied jackpot story and the commission rules in favor of the casino, the news media always ends the story with a warning that the next time you think you've hit the jackpot, you may find out that the casino will not pay you.
It is true that gaming commissions rule in favor of the casino much more often than they rule in favor of the player, but this predominance is not an indication of bias. If every matter brought before the commission were a 50/50 proposition with each side having an equally compelling argument, then there would be bias.
But the matters brought before a gaming commission are far from 50/50 propositions. Something unusual must have happened for the matter to be before them. Whenever the reporters warn about fickle casinos and gaming commissions denying players their jackpots, they're ignoring the thousands, tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands of times that the casino has happily paid a jackpot because no red flags were raised. It's only when a machine has malfunctioned (like saying you won $100,000 when the top prize is 50,000 pennies) or there is evidence of cheating that a casino will deny a jackpot and the gaming commission will have to get involved.
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.