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Does using a players card affect outcomes on a machine?

27 October 2008

By John Robison

Please answer this question.

If you put in any type of players card in any slot machine, does it affect the payout? Some friends swear it does because when they take out the card they win more. I think it does not matter because the machine does not know if there is any card in there.

Who is right?

You're right. Using a players club card has no effect whatsover on the outcomes of spins on a slot machine. As you said, the RNG function doesn't even know whether the player has inserted a card.

You and your friends can do a fun experiment to verify that using a card has no affect. Play about 1000 spins on a machine without using a card, and play about 1000 spins on the same machine using a card. Keep track of the number of spins and the number of hits you get. The hit frequencies (number of hits divided by of spins) with and without the card should be very close. One player doesn't have to play all the spins. You can break them up among your friends however you like. You can play at the same time of day or at different times and on different days of the week. It doesn't matter because time and day also have no effect on the outcomes on a machine.

Please try this experiment and let me know your results.

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