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Slot Machine Hit Frequency and RNG19 April 2001
The RNG in a video slot can be identical to the RNG in a reel-spinning slot and even to one in a video poker machine. The only purpose of the RNG is to generate a stream of random numbers. The programs in those different machines, however, may do different things with the stream of numbers.
The program in a reel-spinning slot, for example, will take one or more numbers from that stream and that number or numbers tell the program which stops will land on the payline. Actually, there's an intermediate step on most machines. The random number chooses a virtual stop from the virtual reel, which exists only in the machine's programming. The virtual reel has many more stops on it than the physical reel. The virtual reel is used to make some physical stops less likely to land on the payline than others. The virtual reel is what makes the odds of landing a Megabucks symbol on the payline 1 out of about 360 instead of 1 out of 22.
A common misconception is that some RNGs are looser than others and a casino has to change the RNG to loosen or tighten a machine. Not true. To alter the payback on a machine, they change the way the virtual reel is mapped to the physical reel. The RNG stays the same.
In a video slot, there is no need for this intermediate step (which is called Telnaes mapping) because there is no physical reel. The reel on a video slot can be as large as its programmers want it to be. Just as with the program in a reel-spinning slot, the program in a video slot uses the output from the RNG to choose which stop will land on the payline. And the RNG algorithm itself can be identical to one in an older slot.
Best of luck in and out of the casinos!
Send your slot and video poker questions to John Robison, Slot Expert, at email@example.com.
For more information about slots and video poker, we recommend:The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots by John Robison
Break the One-Armed Bandits! by Frank Scoblete
Victory at Video Poker and Video Craps, Keno and Blackjack! by Frank Scoblete
Slot Conquest Audio Cassette Tape (60 minutes) with Frank Scoblete
Winning Strategies at Slots & Video Poker! Video tape hosted by Academy Award Winner James Coburn, Written by Frank Scoblete
The Slot Machine Answer Book by John Grochowski
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Best of John Robison