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Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

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Is the RNG Programmed to Wipe People Out?

24 May 2004

The Borgata casino in Atlantic City is excellent. I have been very lucky there.

How come they have so many winners? Who programs the slot machines?

Slots are all I play. Love your column.

Irisanne

Dear Irisanne,

I'm glad you've been lucky at the Borgata. They get their slot machines from the major manufacturers: IGT, Bally, WMS Gaming, etc. The manufacturer of the machine programs it.

I suspect the reason the Borgata has so many winners is because they have a lot of slot machines and those machines get a lot of play.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


with the rng is it programmed to practically wipe out people of there money? in the sense of what is says is payback, and what it actually pays back to people and or winnings. and do these machine need a rng to be fair? before the rng existed how were the comparisons, of winnings compared to money taken in by the machine. so it is programmed with every possibility of card combinations or slot combinations? you would think it would be impossible to win anything? so for example of full house has a certain odds of actual getting it! and what cards you actually get? thanks

John

Dear John,

The RNG generates numbers. Nothing more. Nothing less. It is not programmed to do anything but that.

The computer running the slot uses numbers from the RNG to choose a symbol from the virtual reel and it lands that symbol on the payline. It's the layout of the symbols on the virtual reels that determines the payback of a machine.

The RNGs in slot machines are fair. Fairness in this case is determined by various mathematical tests that are run against the numbers generated by the RNG.

Before the RNG, comparisons were done in exactly the same way. A casino would compare the amount of money paid out by a machine with the amount of money played through it and compare that with the payback determined by the layout of the symbols on the slot's reels.

Finally, every possible combination of cards or symbols is possible on a machine.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Dear John,

I love reading your column. It has given me great advice in the past. I will be going to Las Vegas in the beginning of August. I will be staying at the Riviera for a couple of days. My question is, where are the best places to play slots from quarter to dollars on the north end of the Strip?

Thanks,
Lucas

Dear Lucas,

Thanks for the kind words about by column.

There's not much to choose from at the north end of the strip and my feeling is that they're all pretty much the same because they have to offer good games to get people up to that area.

Judging by the video poker offerings listed on Skip Hughes' site (www.vphomepage.com), I would rank the casinos in this order: Stratosphere, Sahara, Riviera. If you go a south a bit, I would put Circus Circus and Westward Ho in above Riviera.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


I was reading one of your responses to a question where you said that some machines are set to pay many small payouts and seldom big ones and some the other way. Is this also true in video poker machines? If so should one seek out machines that don't appear to be paying very much very often, in order to wait for the big one?

Please explain to me how payouts on video poker machines are regulated. I thought they all had to be the same and if you won it was the luck of the draw. If all card selections are random and they all have 52 cards, how can they all be different?

Thank you,
Bob

Dear Bob,

The statement does not apply to video poker machines.

The statement deals with the difference between low hit frequency and high hit frequency slot machines. The number of times each symbol appears on the virtual reels determines the hit frequency of a slot machine.

Every video poker machine deals from a fair deck and each card is equally likely to be drawn, so the hit frequency of video poker machines cannot be set in the same way.

Nevertheless, different video poker paytables do have different hit frequencies. The hit frequencies are different because the paytables are different and you play hands differently depending on the paytable.

You should never seek out machines that don't appear to be paying very much very often in order to wait for the big one. No machine is ever due.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Any idea why all slots in Oklahoma and some in Missouri that I've seen are based on Bingo patterns?

Also, in Jackpot Party Classic, is the amount the player can win on the bonus screen pre-determined?

Thanks in advance!

Dave

Dear Dave,

Slots that are based on Bingo are called Class II gaming devices. These machines put a slot-like face on what is essentially a Bingo drawing. Native American casinos need compacts with their states in order to have Las Vegas-style, Class III gaming devices. They don't need compacts to offer Class II devices.

According to the slot manufacturers, the amount you win in bonus rounds in which you have a choice is not predetermined. That said, a recent correspondent gave some convincing evidence that in some jurisdictions, specifically Washington state, the amount may be predetermined.

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 send a reply to every question. Also be advised that it may take two or more months for your question to appear in my column.

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