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Do casinos shut down machines when players win too much?

22 October 2007

By John Robison

Hello john I have question about one dollar single line slot machines. That's all I play one credit a time wild haywire deluxe and double diamond machines. My question is this every spins has the same chance of hitting every symbol on the paychart so if the machine has a one in 14 odds then that's it right? I notice patterns on how the machine payback there are a variety of different hit combinations I hit them in a random order to get paid back or sometimes I get one big hit that pays back after a huge dry spell. Back to my question mathematically speaking do odds change based on past results because of the probability of getting paid back. For instance you have 100 credits get burnt for 50 spins with one hit from that moment on do the odds go up that the machines math will kick in and start to get hits I have charted this it seems to be a pattern. So even though every spin is independent from the past the machine or virtual reel seems to kick in and the odds change. In conclusion could a scenario happen like this one guy plays 60 spins on a double diamond machine and gets minimal hits then walks away.Then I sit down and play Do I now have better odds of going on a hit streak because of the virtual machines average of hits per 100 spins.

The odds are the same on every spin. It doesn't matter what has happened in the past.

The math never kicks in. It always active. The hot and cold streaks we experience are such a small part of the big picture of a slot machine's performance (a drop in the ocean) that there's no reason for anything to "kick in" and change the odds so a machine can make its numbers.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,


First of all, I know that the slots are rigged in favor of the casino, but that every now and then, "they" allow us to win. On a recent trip to H's....there were 3 of us in a row playing Superkeno and the bucks were flowing. We were hitting the machines. My pot was small change...the lady next to me was medium, and the guy next to her was knocking the socks off of the till. He hit back to back $500 pays...3 times. Then he hit a couple of $200 wins and I remember $160.

Suddenly, all of the machines shut down, and there was a message that the "Master Computer" was down. Sure!

My thoughts were that the casino shut our machines down because we were winning too much money....that whatever program was set in the machine was working in our favor. And, what "master machine?" Why should there be a master machine?

Question: Are casinos known for shutting down machines when "guests" are winning too much cash?

A gaming commissioner happened to be there that night and I discussed this with him. He added little to my thoughts. I have been angry about this because I believe that the casino cheated by reprogramming their machines in the middle of our playing. If they wanted to "tighten" them up, they should have done that before we were all playing...out of my sight. What is your opinion?

Thank you very much.


Dear Marci,

You know that slots are rigged and every now and then the casino lets us win. We used to know that the world was flat, too.

Slots aren't "rigged," but the games are designed so that the house has the edge. Casinos don't "allow" us to win, we win or lose based on some random event over which the casino has no control.

I don't know what casino you were at, but it sounds like you were playing at a Native American casino with Class II games. Class II games are not allowed to determine their results on their own. Under the hood, the machines operate like a bingo drawing or a scratch-off ticket game and they require a central computer to perform the drawing. That computer could be the master computer that went down.

Casinos do not shut down machines when players win too much. Do you really think the casino was sweating the couple of thousand dollars your trio won? Many times more money changes hands on each round at high-limit blackjack tables.

I don't know exactly what happened to the "master computer" while you were playing, but I'm certain that your group's run of good luck at the keno machines had nothing to do with it.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,

Send your slot and video poker questions to John Robison, Slot Expert, at 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