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Do near misses occur more frequently when you're low on credits?

12 January 2009

It happens often as all slot players know. The last spin of the reel and two solid sevens and a third just off the line. Another is the hit frequency increasing near the end of credits regardless of the machine.

If a slot win is truly determined by the RNG, how are the hit frequency and near hit manipulated? Is the RNG running within a program that determines the casino take percentage and the near hit and frequency of hits adjustments as credits run out? Doesn't this suggest that we truly are not random winners based on the RNG alone?

I think this is a fair question as nearly all slot players can attest to the frequency and near hit changes that take place in many types of machines as credits dwindle.

Are these enticements managed outside the RNG? If they are, what other processes are controlled in collaboration with the RNG that might effect its random nature?

Thanks for your timely response.

Duane

Dear Duane,

The hit frequency and near hits are not manipulated. The result of a spin is determined by the RNG, which knows nothing about the number of credits you have left.

In the U.S., it's illegal to alter the output from the RNG. Machines must display the result determined by the RNG with no modifications.

I think you and the other players who believe in this phenomenon have a case of selective memory. You think the the hit frequency and frequency of near misses increase when you're running out of credits, so you remember near misses and short hot streaks that occur near the end of your credits and don't remember the times these things occur when you have plenty of credits. If you kept track of the hit and near miss frequencies both when you have plenty of credits and when your credits are low, you'd find that the frequencies are the same.

Another thing to keep in mind is that near misses mean more when they occur near the end of your credits. You're hoping that you'll get another hit so you don't have to feed or leave the machine. These near misses are far more disappointing than those that occur when you're flush with credits.

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