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Best of John Robison

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RNG, coins played and long-term paybacks

27 September 2008

Dear John,

I am somewhat confused when it comes to the RNG and how the amount you play does not affect what the outcome of the reels are. I have read a number of articles that state you should always play max bet when you are betting to maximize your payoff. These same articles also state the number of coins played do not affect the outcome of a spin.

I have seen on many occasions when the max bet wasn't played and the jackpot has shown up on the payline. That tells me that the machine will give you a jackpot win to entice you to play the max bet. I would say it is not quite random. I have seen it happen too many times for it to be that random.

I hope I am explaining this well enough for you to understand what I am talking about.

I would like to know your thoughts on this.

Regards,
Bill

Dear Bill,

What these articles should have said is that playing max coin would give you the highest long-term payback percentage possible on a machine. To see how this works, consider a 2-coin machine that pays a bonus on the jackpot. Let's say you get 800 coins for the jackpot when you play one coin and 2,000 coins when you play two coins. All the other two-coin amounts for the winning combinations are just double those for one coin. (This paytable is called a Bonus Multiplier because of the bonus on the jackpot.)

Comparing playing one coin versus playing two, the probabilities of landing the winning combinations are the same regardless of the number of coins you play, but the long-term payback when playing two coins is a little larger than when playing one because of the bonus.

The probabilities of landing the winning combinations don't change when you change the number of coins you bet. The only thing that changes is how much you're paid for the winning combinations.

Machines don't land jackpots to entice you to play full coin. The number of coins played does not influence the symbols that land on the payline.

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