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Does a slot machine's pause affect the RNG?16 November 2009
Thanks for the kind words about my column.
The last time I played the $2,000 slot at Bellagio -- Who am I trying to kid? I rarely win $2,000 on a spin, let alone bet $2,000 on a spin. It must be nice to have that much disposable income.
As for whether the RNG continues to generate numbers during the "pause," it doesn't matter. Consider the following situation.
Let's take a deck of cards. I'll continuously cut the deck. Whenever you feel like it, you ask me to stop and reveal the card on the top of the deck. You're looking for the ace of diamonds.
There will be some times when the ace of diamonds is on the top of the deck and you don't tell me to stop. You could consider that time a lost opportunity, but you didn't know it existed at the time. The next time you ask me to stop, your chances are still 1 out of 52 that the top card is the ace of diamonds.
On a slot or keno machine, your chances for hitting any winning combination are the same on every play. It doesn't matter whether the RNG stops during the pause. It doesn't matter if the RNG generates a jackpot combination during the pause.
To answer your questions: Yes, the pause could affect the outcome. But the new outcome won't necessarily be any better or worse than the unaffected outcome. Your chances are still the same on each play.
You are absolutely correct when you say that the pause is the same as your own pause. When you pause, you get a different outcome on your next play than if you hadn't paused. But, like I said before, the new outcome won't necessarily be better or worse.
Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
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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