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Best of John Robison

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Machine cycles

9 June 2006

Dear John:

Thank you for your column. You give so much well-needed advice in the slot machine world!!

In one of your latest columns (5/29/06) you talked about feeding a machine that you think is "ready to hit" but doesn't — just ends up taking your bankroll. Unfortunately, I'm one of those who feeds hoping it will hit. I hate to leave a machine with so much invested in the middle of a "cycle" thinking that the jackpot could be in that particular cycle. In a dollar machine I sat down and hit $1,190.00 in a matter of 10 minutes (pulled out a total of 7 tickets totaling the $1,190.00). As soon as it went into its next cycle, I got off the machine after losing $20.00.

Are you familiar with these cycles in the machines? I know when a new cycle has initiated when I press the max button because there is a long hesitation before it takes my money and the spin finally comes.

Thanking you in advance for your advice and knowledge!!

Warmly,
Wanda

Dear Wanda,

Thank you very much for the kind words about my column.

I am familiar with these cycles. They don't exist. That is, a machine does not go from a "take" cycle to a "pay" cycle after it has collected enough money. Nor does it do the reverse and go from a "pay" cycle to a "take" cycle after it has paid out some money.

Cycles don't exist as far as the programming of a machine is concerned. The results on a spin are determined at random without any regard whatsoever for what has happened in the past.

Cycles do exist, however, in terms of a player's experience playing a machine. A player can say she experienced "pay" cycles and "take" cycles, but these cycles are the same as streaks of heads or tails when flipping a coin. Streaks occur, but the coin knows nothing about them. The coin does not decide to end a streak and start landing on the opposite result.

The hesitation you occasionally see on machines occurs when the machine is doing some internal housekeeping required by regulators. It might be reporting activity on the machine since its last report to the slot accounting system; it might be burning that information to its internal non-volatile memory. The hesitation has absolutely nothing to do with changing cycles on a machine.

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 several 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