Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Best of John Robison
Programmed Near Misses and Randomness21 February 2005
Thanks for sharing your experiences with Insider Slot Secrets.
People sometimes ask me why I don't put these slot systems to the test by using them in the casinos and reporting my results. The reason I don't test the systems is because, to prove anything, we have to look at long-term results, not short-term results. Even my new, sure-fire system of rubbing my stomach and patting my head after every winning spin will yield some winning sessions.
It's true that the RNG determines the outcome of a spin, but the machine reveals the value of the RNG in the pattern that lands on the payline. It's also true that the RNG in a machine isn't truly random (in the strictest mathematical sense). If you could figure out where the RNG was in its cycle, you might be able to use that information to your advantage (a gang in the Midwest did just that to cheat video poker machines a few years ago). But that would require intimate knowledge of the RNG function and the virtual reel layouts. Plus, there's another randomizing factor: the time at which you press the Spin button.
I'm still skeptical about the merits of using past results to predict future results on a slot machine, but I won't argue with your success. If it's working for you, keep doing it. I think you have had a run of good luck, and I hope it continues for a long, long time.
I can understand your confusion. Let me start with an analogy.
Consider tossing two dice. You could say that the dice are programmed to show boxcars occasionally (actually, 1 out of 36 rolls, on the average). What we don't know is when boxcars will appear. That's the randomness of the roll.
Similarly, a slot machine will show near misses sometimes. The random part is when a near miss will appear. The machine is not programmed to show a near miss at a certain time.
There's really two levels of programming in a slot machine. At the lowest level, the machine is programmed to use the output from the RNG to choose virtual stops from the virtual reels, check which physical stops were placed at those virtual stops, check which symbols appear at those physical stops, and then check to see if those symbols are a winning combination and payoff accordingly. The virtual reels and the paytable are just data to the program at this level.
We can also consider the designer who lays out the virtual reels and devises the paytable to be programming the machine. He controls how often a symbol lands on or near the payline through the number of times he places each physical stop on the virtual reel.
Here's a PC analogy for levels of programming: At one level are the people who wrote Windows, the operating system, which provides a set of useful functions, like reading and writing to disks, displaying things on the screen, accepting input from the keyboard and the mouse, etc.
At another level are the people who wrote, say, a spreadsheet program. They use the functions provided by the operating system to do something a user might find useful.
Finally, there's you, the user, who programs the spreadsheet through the formulas you enter.
Maybe it's misleading for me and others to say that machines are programmed to show near misses because some people infer that the machine will decide to show a near miss at a particular time. Near misses appear with the frequency with which they appear because of the layout of the virtual reels, not because there's an insidious little function to make a near miss appear at a certain time.
The outcome of each spin is chosen at random using the output of the RNG. Some of those outcomes just happen to be near misses.
Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
Send your slot and video poker questions to John Robison, Slot Expert, at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at email@example.com.
Best of John Robison