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Pressing the Button to Loosen the Slots

16 September 2004

John,

I know you have answered this questions so many times.

However, my friend and I love "The Price is Right" nickel slots in Tunica. We can sit there and play normally and never hit anything, but as soon as we both start trying to stop the machine on our own, we begin to hit all kinds of "winnings".

From what I have read in your column, you say that even though we stop it on something, if we had let it spin naturally, it would have stopped on the same thing. If the answer is yes, I will just quit stopping it. I always assumed that I was stopping it on my own. I guess my perception is all off. My friend finds it hard to believe and I have been trying to explain to her the RNG.

Thanks for saying it one more time.

Linda

Dear Linda,

Okay, one more time.

On the machines you're playing, pressing the Stop button does not affect the result. The only thing pressing the button affects is how long the machine spins the reels until they stop. You get the same result on a spin regardless of whether you press the Stop button.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Dear John,

I really feel that the casinos are getting a tad too greedy with the new coinless slot machines. The lure, the fun, and the thrill were the coin payoffs!! Why don't they just put a deposit slip machine in its place where the loseses are just deposited in their bank account?

They could avoid a lot of payroll!!

Sincerely,
Leroy

Dear Leroy,

The payoffs are still there. The only things that are gone are the coins -- and heavy coin buckets and hopper fills and waiting for machines to cash out and dirty hands.

Handling coins did nothing to add to my slot-playing experience and many players agree with me. While it's true that the casinos would not be installing ticket systems at the incredible pace that they have been putting them in if there were no benefit in it for them, players would not accept the systems if there were no benefit to the players.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


I will be going to Atlantic City the week before July 4th and would like to know where is the best place to play slot machine that you would win on.

The range of the paybacks on the machines within a denomination across all the casinos in Atlantic City is about two percentage points. Depending on the machine, it could take a half million or more spins for that difference in payback to have a greater effect on your results than your luck.

The bottom line is that I think you should pick a casino that you're comfortable playing in, that has the machines you want to play, that has restaurants and rooms that you like, and that has a slot club with benefits you can use -- and then have fun playing the slots in that casino.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Thanks for all the great articles. On-line gambling can be like swimming with sharks sometimes. Your guides provide an excellent defence.

It seems to me through reading your articles that land-based casinos are by and large fair and square. The outcome of all wagers being at the fate of the Gods. You can physically see the cards being dealt or the dice being thrown. Slots are sealed and tagged. Casinos and regulators are at pains to ensure there is no unauthorised access to them.

Playing on-line casinos however requires an extraordinary amount of trust between the Player and Casino. How do we know that the next card to the dealers sixteen was really a five! Because the software tells us.

The following article was found at http://www.infinitybet.com/faq.html, a site which specialises in selling on-line casinos to would be entrepreneurs.

Q: Is it possible that players will win a lot of money and ruin my casino?

A: The casino software is designed specifically to prevent such cases. The software is carefully tracking casino funds and is not allowing players to win more than casino currently has. For example, if players have totally wagered $100,000, the total winnings will not exceed $98,000 if payout level has been set to 98%.

It seems that some on-line casinos can arbitrarily alter the house edge, depending on whether or not the house is making or losing money.

My question is as follows:

Which gaming software if any would you recommend?

Secondly, there seem to be an ever increasing number of so-called on-line regulators which casinos can affiliate to. Again is there one that you would recommend?

Many thanks for your time.

Dave

Dear Dave,

I think you have me confused with someone else. I have never written a guide about playing at online casinos.

I went to the site you mentioned and saw that question and answer. This is a very scary answer. Note that they say that the software is tracking the casino's bankroll and won't allow players to break the bank. I think the way to that is to not book bets that the casino can't afford to pay off.

Now look at the example. The example makes no mention whatsoever of the casino's bankroll. The example mentions only an aggregate amount wagered by players and it's not clear at all what timeframe is involved. The example implies that the software will alter results to maintain a particular payback percentage.

If someone from Infinity Bet would like to explain exactly what this answer means, I would be happy to publish the response in a future column.

I met a few online casino operators a few years ago through the company that used to host the Frank Scoblete Network articles. The folks I met ran honest casinos. They knew they had the odds in their favor, had sufficient backing, and had no reason to cheat.

I can't answer your questions. I don't know anything about online gaming software or the regulations in the different countries that regulate online casinos, so I can't make any recommendations.

John

Note to readers: Dave, as you may have guessed, is British. I don't usually edit letters to replace British spelling and expressions with American equivalents. This is particularly noticeable in John May's articles. In any case, Dave's signature included the town in which he lives in England. Leighton Buzzard. I looked it up. It's a real place. You can take a ride on a steam-powered train there if you should find yourself in the area on a Sunday.


Hi,

Love your newsletter.

I play Indian casinos in the Midwest. While at one, a man whose wife works in the particular casino which I was at told me everything is computerized so when they want to pay out more they (operators of the casino) just push a button which can either allow for tighter or looser machines.

Is this true?

Maureen

Dear Maureen,

It sounds like a myth to me. It sounds pretty silly, actually. Do you press the button in for loose and release it for tight?

We know that Class II games operate by having central computer draw a set of numbers and reporting those numbers to the games, which determine which symbols appear on the payline based on the pattern covered on their internal bingo cards. If you should see her again, ask her for some specifics on what this button does. Does it alter the numbers drawn, the bingo cards in the machines, or what?

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Hi there, John!

Love the your articles. I have learned alot and been very entertained! So thank you!

Maria's letter in the "Paybacks in California" newsletter regarding a machine that says "It's raining diamonds" I believe is just called Diamonds. Couldn't tell you who makes it - so maybe I am not much help - BUT, they carried them for a while at Harrah's Bluffs Run Casino in Council Bluffs, IA and I saw them recently at a little casino in Sloan, IA called Winnevegas.

It's typically a nickel machine where the bonus feature allows you to touch the screen to "capture diamonds" of varying point values. Additonally, on maximum bet (9 lines, 5 coins per) if you match certain levels of diamond symbols (5 silver, 5 gold or 5 platinum) you win an actual jewelry item that is on display with the machines. It was not very popular at Bluffs Run so they came and went pretty fast. On the recent visit to Winnevegas, we saw a young couple put $5 into a machine, bet max and hit the maximum win by matching 5 platinum diamond symbols. We were told by the attendants that the diamond ring the young wife selected from the case (comes with certificate of authenticity) was worth well into the thousands. Not bad for five bucks.. better than cracker jacks I 'spose!

Anyhoo, that's all I know. Hope it helps.

Cee Cee

Dear Cee Cee,

Thanks for the kind words about my articles and thanks for the info.

I remember reading about a similar machine in Strictly Slots magazine a few years ago. That machine also had a few different ways in which you could win jewelry, which I think was on display in the machine, though not dispensed by it. I think the machine were at the Rio in Las Vegas, but I don't remember for sure. I never saw them, at the Rio or anywhere else.

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.

Pressing the Button to Loosen the Slots is republished from Online.CasinoCity.com.
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