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Best of John Robison

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Comparing hit frequencies on single-line and multi-line machines

25 October 2008

I enjoy reading your column in Midwest Gaming and Travel.

While sitting at a machine watching my money go bye-bye a couple of questions entered my mind. I hope that you can answer them for me.

On machines that have a stop reels option will using it change the outcome of the spin or is it just a sneaky way to get you to spin more often?

I understand that on a 3-reel single-line machine your chances of hitting a winning combination is about 1 in 12. On the newer 5-reel multi-line machines are the chances about the same or are they different?

On machines that feature free spins what triggers the RNG to give the next spin?

Thanks for the kind words about my column.

Press the Stop Reels button is just a way to make a spin take less time and maybe get you to play more spins per minute. Pressing the button has no effect on the outcome of the spin, just how long it takes the machine to reveal that outcome.

Your chances of hitting a winning combination on a machine is called Hit Frequency. Some single-line machines have Hit Frequencies of 1 in 12. Other machines have higher Hit Frequencies, others lower.

Hit Frequencies on multi-line machines vary too. But you can get a higher Hit Frequency by playing multiple lines on the multi-line machine than you could ever get on a single-line machine.

I'm not sure what you're asking in your last question, so I'll describe the way most of the machines that award free spins work. There's a symbol or combination of symbols that award a number of free spins when they land on the payline or appear on the screen, in the case of a scatter pay. The result of each free spin is determined in exactly the same way as a spin you paid for. The program polls the RNG to find out where to stop each reel. It stops each reel at the appropriate stop and pays any amount won based on the symbols on the payline. The program then repeats the process if there are any free spins remaining.

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