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Best of John Robison

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Megabucks Odds

9 September 2004

In a previous column, a reader asked about a Dyna 3. Dyna is one of several manufactures of "8 liner" machines commonly called "Cherry Master" machines. These are typically found in taverns.

Here's a few facts about 8 liners in general:

These machines are available generally with paybacks setable between 55 and 90%. In my area most places set them at 60%.

They are not really random in the way a casino slot is. They are preprogramed to pay a percentage and given enough play they hold that percentage very closely, i.e., a player loses $100, within the next $100 it most likely will pay back 20 to 40 dollars.

Notice I say most likely as it depends on the game. But in general they play this way. The payback is adjustable by dip switches inside the machine on the circut board, and an unscrupulous operator could fudge it if they know how and have the desire.

In general I think most operators don't do this but it's possible.

There are also many other settings including max payout, (no matter how much money goes in it won't ever hit more than a set amount) max credits in, denomination, etc... The newest games have improved graphics and secondary games and feel and play a lot like the multiline video slots you see in casinos. The original games were pretty crude.

I own five of these in my tavern and although they are illegal (all taverns in my area have them), many months they are the difference between my making a bit of money or not.

Thanks for a great newsletter,
Mike

Dear Mike,

Thanks for providing the information about these machines and for answering the reader's question about setting the hold. I'm grateful that you and other readers take the time to help out fellow readers of this column.

I had never heard of Cherry Master machines until someone asked about them many months ago. They're not found in casinos--at least no casinos that I've been in. I discovered the world of quasi-legal and outright illegal gaming in taverns and clubs. I also discovered the controversy concerning whether you can press the Stop button to stop the reels on a particular symbol.

Thanks again for providing an operator's perspective on these machines.

John


I recently read an article that quoted Frank Scoblete that the odds of hitting megabucks is 49,836,032 to 1. I was puzzled at how he arrived at this since if each reel has 512 positions, 512 * 512 *512 would be 134,217,728 to 1. If one reel has two megabuck symbols and the other two have one each, the odds would be 67,108,864. The closest I come is 44,564,480 for a 1 to 1 to 3 weighting.

Thanks,
Jim

Dear Jim,

You said, "...if each reel has 512 positions...." What if each reel does not have 512 stops?

What if each reel has 368 stops and there is one Megabucks symbol on each reel? You would have one chance in 49,836,032 to hit the Megabucks, and these are the number on the Megabucks par sheet I have.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


I am a big fan of the Mr. Cashman series slot machines from Aristocrat. They claim these machine are linked together for the bonus round rather than for a progressive jackpot. If that is the case, is it more likely the bonus will come out more often if all the machines at the bank are being played, rather than just one being played? Also I have seen these machines scattered about and not in a bank. Being that these are not next to each other in this situation, then how could they be linked together?

Jason

Dear Jason,

Let me start with your last question. Machines don't need physical proximity to be linked together. A network can link machines in a bank, in a casino, and even in a state.

As for your first question, John Grochowski wrote in an article about new slots on this site on March 23, 2003, that the Mr. Cashman bonus appears on a machine about once every 40 spins at the whole bank. I don't know how exactly the bonus is triggered, but that it will appear more often the more people are playing. Not necessarily more often on your machine, but more often on the whole bank.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Hi, John,

I read your article on tournament chips and wanted to let you know that IGT has an EPROM set for their S2000 slots that is both spin reel game and tournament game. When you open the slot main door and press the self-test switch, you can enable or disable the tournament mode in the option settings. Once enabled you can set the options on how you want the tournament to play. Basically timed or credits or both. Most tournaments are timed around 15 minutes a round. The tournament mode when enabled does not allow one to cash out and if it's timed once the time runs out the game is idle until reset for the next round. The older slots had to have the EPROM changed for tournaments.

Most casinos that have a good tournament customer base will have special slots for tournaments. These slots are stored in the warehouse until tournament day. Then a special place is marked off and the slots are setup for the tournament only.

Just a little insight on my experiences with tournaments.

Cliff

Dear Cliff,

Thanks for providing this information about the IGT chipsets.

John


In a standard video poker machine like IGT's Jacks or Better, how many RNG's are there and does an RNG run between the initial 5-card deal and when you hit the draw button? Does the time you wait to hit the draw button affect your outcome? Are only your first 5 cards determined when you hit deal and then the possible replacement cards determined when you hit draw?

There is only one RNG needed in a video poker machine. The RNG continues to run between the deal and the draw. Each fraction of a second you wait to hit the draw button does give you a different outcome. Video poker machines today select five cards on the deal, continue "shuffling" the deck, then select replacement cards on the draw.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Hello, John,

I just read your response to a question regarding convincing evidence about the predetermined bonus payouts, specifically Washington State, where I am located. You did not elaborate, and I was wondering if you would. It seems like when I play slots, I can generally guess the amount of bonus I will receive. It all seems suspicious to me.

Thank you in advance for any information you may provide.

Jack

Dear Jack,

The evidence was from someone who played in a casino that used stored-value cards for play and not cash. At least I think they were stored-value cards, but some other technology may have been used.

In any case, this person had, say, $10 on his card and was in the middle of an interactive bonus round. He pulled out his card before playing out the round, and then went to a different machine. When he put his card in the new machine, the amount he had available was $10 plus what he won on the bonus. It looked as if the amount he won on the bonus was predetermined and stored on his card before he played the bonus round.

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