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Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

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The Inside Scope on the New Slot Floor at Wynn Las Vegas

29 April 2005

Hi, John,

Can you please explain in layman's terms exactly how and why certain slot machine jurisdictions use the "finite number of outcomes" selection process to determine winning combinations - similar to lottery "scratch-off" cards - instead of Vegas-style, where, in theory, huge jackpots can be hit and then hit again much sooner than mathematically expected?

I recall reading somewhere that the "finite" method "re-populates" the universe when some portion has been exhausted. If that's true, do you know if the "portion" is 20%, 50%, or 90%? Can the percentage be changed at will by anyone? And can knowledgeable insiders (casino/slot management employees) take advantage of the fact that they may be aware that the largest jackpots have not yet been hit and over-play the machines? And, conversely, can the casino NOT re-populate the universe until it is exhausted if they know the largest few jackpots were hit early on (to ensure their profitability)?

Joe

Dear Joe,

I have to admit that I've never heard of the "finite number of outcomes" selection process before. I did a quick search on the Internet and I couldn't find any pages that used that phrase in conjunction with choosing results on a slot machine. Perhaps you could tell me which jurisdictions have this requirement.

In any case, it's just sampling without replacement until you reach the reset point. Knowledgeable people could use past results to know when to play and when not to play. It would be just like counting cards in blackjack. The problems would be in knowing when the population was reset and in observing results on hundreds, if not thousands, of machines.

I just can't believe that any jurisdiction would require this method. The math of Vegas-style (Class III) gaming is elegant in its simplicity and the casino does not need to resort to any tricks on machines to get very close to the long-term hold percentage of those machines.

This "finite number" method, on the other hand, seems to me to have some problems. When the jackpot doesn't hit and the population gets reset, it's the same as a casino shuffling up when the remaining cards at a blackjack table favor the players.

In addition, I'm not sure if the winning combinations will hit with the same probabilities as in the full population over the long run. I suppose the deeper the "penetration" and the more cycles are played, the closer the empirical probabilities will be to the theoretical probabilities, but I'll have to defer to a statistician to get the real answer to that.

As I said before, if you or anyone know of a jurisdiction with this requirement, I might be able to get some concrete details about how it works.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Dear Sir,

I have two slot machines in my gameroom. One is a Big Cheese by CDS and the other is an On The Money by CDS. I do not play these machines all the time, and I have them shut off when not in use. My concern is that the battery in the slot machines will run down and I will not be able to operate the slot machines.

Should I keep the slot machine running all the time even if I am not going to play them? If the battery runs down, will the machine say so on the led screen by the coin slot? What type of battery do these machines take, and are they hard to change?. Also will I lose any data when I change the batteries? One more question. Where do I go to get the replacement battery?

Thank you,
Ken

Dear Ken,

I suggest you contact the store you bought the machines from. They should be able to answer all of your questions. Aristocrat acquired CDS. You might also be able to get answers from them and perhaps get a manual.

If anyone knows the answers to Ken's questions, please send them to me and I'll publish them in a future column.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Any chance you have the inside scoop on what new slot machines they have at the new Wynn Las Vegas? I am planning on visiting in May and was curious if they have some new machines that will be the rage. Thanks!

Love your articles!

Sincerely,
Joy

Dear Joy,

Steve has sworn me to secrecy until the opening.

Actually, I don't have any inside information. Wynn has been very secretive about his new place and, from what I understand, there won't even be press photos of it until a week or so after opening.

You can read a little about the slot floor in the "Wynn boasts high-tech slot floor" article in the February 6, 2005 Las Vegas Sun. The article doesn't offer many details (IGT will dominate slot floor, big surprise there!), but it does say that there will be a bonusing system like the one at the Station properties.

Also, Wynn's vice chairman is a big slot manufacturer in Japan and they said that they are developing a radical new slot machine that will be interactive than anything on the floor today. It won't be ready for the opening, the "Wynn Machine" will make its debut at Wynn Las Vegas perhaps next year. You can read more about it in John Brokopp's August 31, 2004 article on this site.

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 several 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