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Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

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Does the value of the jackpot affect hit frequency?

26 March 2007

Hi, John,

I like to play a slot machine that has a high hit frequency. I have read various articles of yours that have indicated that the paytable can give an indication of the hit frequency of a particular machine.

I'm wondering if the "win up to 100,000 credits" advertising that you find on some of the slots back glass can also be used as an indication of the hit frequency.

For example, is a machine that has a 25,000 credits max win or a 50,000 credits max win more likely to have a higher hit frequency than a machine that has a 100,000 credits max win, or a 200,000 max credits win?

I have also noticed that the same "brand/model" of machine can have different max credit payouts, even in the same casino. I have seen a Lucky Leming machine with 50,000 to 360,000 max credit advertising on the back glass.

One would think that machines with less generous top jackpots would have higher hit frequencies than machines with more generous top jackpots, but that is not necessarily the case.

Here's what could be done to turn your 200,000 jackpot machine into the 25,000 jackpot machine. Let's say there's one way to hit the 200,000 jackpot. The slot designer could change the jackpot to 25,000 and take away seven ways to a hit a lower-paying combination and turn them into ways to hit the top jackpot. The hit frequency is the same on both machines.

I tend to avoid machines with high jackpots under the theory that a lower-valued jackpot may hit more frequently, but that also isn't a hard-and-fast rule.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


This may not be for your line of expertise, but maybe you can direct it to the right place. My wife, I and another couple are heading down to Tunica Mississippi in the first week of April. We are planning on staying at Sam's Town. Can you help with entertainment or sightseeing in the area? Would also appreciate which machine is going to pay off in that week (if you knew you would be there yourself).

We enjoy your column and your book. Kind of hard to use your suggestions on the boats.

Thanks for any help you can give us.

Chuck

Dear Chuck,

Jackpot magazine (www.jackpotmagazine.com) is a good source for what's going on in and around Tunica. I'm afraid that I can't help with sightseeing. The only sightseeing I've done in the area is when I've been lost on the way back to the Memphis airport.

You're right — if I knew which machine was going to pay off I'd be in the casino and not sitting here typing a reply to your letter!

Thanks for the kind words about my column and book. I'm wondering which of my suggestions are hard to use on the boats. I can see "going out for a walk" and "comparing machines with those in the casino next door" being difficult to follow on a cruising ship, but most of my other suggestions should be applicable.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


John,

Thanks for your columns. My questions are: About how long does it take the RNG to make a complete cycle of its total combinations (like on $1 Double Diamond slot (milli-seconds, seconds, minutes, etc.)? And does the RNG keep running when the reel is spinning?

Thanks,
Dr. Mark

Dear Dr. Mark,

Nevada regulations require the RNG to generate at least 100 times per second. According to Kilby and Fox in Casino Operations Management, the RNG formula IGT used at the time the book was written had a period of about 4 billion numbers. With these numbers, the RNG would take 40,000,000 seconds (that's about 463 days, if I didn't make a mistake).

The RNG runs continuously, even when the reels are spinning.

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