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Ask the Slot Expert: You cannot call yourself a slot expert19 November 2014
Two advantages of having my own column are that I control the conversation, as you pointed out, and I always get the last word. But let me ask you, if I didn't select the letters I answer, who would? And what do you think I'm hiding?
You'll notice that I have chosen to answer your letter and I have printed your letter with absolutely no editing.
Saying that what someone wrote to me is crap doesn't sound like me. But putting a Newhartesque pause right before the payoff at the end of the sentence does. Rather than grep the files with my past columns, I Googled the sentence and found that I did write it — in a column published on September 11, 2006.
Perhaps you didn't read the letter I was answering. The writer said, "Concerning the RNG; I think that's crap!" I even titled the column "The RNG is Crap!" The writer then goes on to say that he's seen "the same combination of symbols pop up over and over," that the same series of symbols repeat and that the RNG does not make the results random. I wouldn't have called his statements crap if he hadn't said the same to me first about my statements.
I do have pieces of paper on which I've tracked the results of spins. I tracked results at the San Diego casinos in 2000 for a column in Strictly Slots. I noticed a quirk in the Double Diamond payback programs available at the time — hit frequency and long-term payback were correlated. I played 3,000 spins on a Double Diamond machine at each of the three casinos near San Diego and tracked the number of hits I got to get an indication of which casino had the highest-paying slots.
I also tracked results on a Double Spin Double Diamond machine at the Desert Inn. On this machine, the third reel would spin again if the symbols on the first two reels formed the start of a winning combination but the third reel did not complete it.
Before I started tracking the spins, I had become convinced that the third reel always spun back to the same symbol more often that it should have. I asked the slot director and he told me that the result on the re-spin is also randomly determined by polling the RNG.
After tracking a dozen or so re-spins to convince me that the the result of the re-spin was indeed random. I was a victim of confirmation bias, remembering all the times that the re-spin went back to the same symbol and forgetting the times that it didn't.
You claim that the statistics you gathered about slots show that "the RNG has almost nothing to do with what you win" but you didn't provide any examples. You said that "the results killed the myths that...slot experts are spreading aroung the internet..." but again you provided no examples. Please share with us your results and the myths they kill.
I'm not familiar with some of the terms you used. What is the "start+stop spin technique"? I tried Googling the phrase and got no hits related to slot machines. I tried searching for "start stop technique", but all those hits dealt with premature ejaculation and I doubt that technique had anything to do with how you played the slot machines. And what's a "click"?
How is the RNG a slave to a timetable? I need more details on this statement.
Gaming regulations do state that every outcome must be possible on every spin or, as you put it, "every game element must be available for random selection at the initiation of each spin." If you could see the layouts of the virtual reels, you could see how many times each symbol appears on each reel.
Please give some examples of "super tests" and how they "give away" the gaming boards.
You said that the "RNG's job in a slot is not important to control, because the RNG is not the controlling unit or piece of software." What does the RNG in a slot do and what is the controlling unit or piece of software?
Please share the URL of the gaming control board whose website mentions "unjustified complaints."
You mentioned that you contacted several slot experts and that you ran into problems when the REAL questions were asked. This reminds me of an experience Frank Scoblete and I had with another gaming writer, who has written three books. He shared with us some exchanges he had had with other writers. He also had the same complaint — that some correspondents stopped the conversation once the real questions were being asked. His real questions doubted the randomness of events and the validity of hundreds of years of probability and statistics. We all refused to go down the rabbit hole with him. I checked and found that his website is no longer online (I've been writing this column for over 15 years) and his books are only available used from third-party sellers on Amazon (my book is still stocked).
I'd like to see your next letter. I suggest that you pick one or two claims and provide some evidence to support them. That approach is better than an omnibus letter that doesn't do justice to its many claims. Perhaps you should start with an explanation of the "Game Logics" in a slot machine.
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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