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Best of John Robison

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Is this progressive slot cheating players?

2 March 2009

John,

Can a progressive slot's payoff be less than what the payoff on a non-progressive would be? Case in point: At one of the casinos where I play, I noticed a $1 Triple Diamond two-reel machine where the progressive payoff is less than $2,500. The payoff on a Triple Diamond non-progressive machine is $2,500.

I mentioned this to one of the machine techs, who said she would check it out. However nothing has been done in making a correction. I feel anyone playing this machine, and believe it or not it does get play, is being cheated. Should I pursue this further? If so, where and how?

Regards,
Bob

Dear Bob,

How are people playing the progressive machine being cheated?

You're assuming that the math (the virtual reel layouts) are the same on both machines, but that's not necessarily the case. The progressive machine may hit its jackpot more frequently than the non-progressive or it may hit its lower-level combinations more frequently. The progressive machine may have a higher long-term payback than the non-progressive and therefore be a better long-term bet.

The progressive could also be worse. We have no way to know because we can't tell the layouts on the virtual reels just by looking at the machine. Slot machines that are the same on the outside (same paytable) can be very different on the inside (virtual reel layouts).

There's nothing to pursue.

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