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Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

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The RNG in a video poker machine

19 February 2007

In an article about slots you wrote, "The RNG continuously generates 100 or more numbers each second." Does this also apply to VP machines? In general, how many different "cards" are generated each second by the RNG?

The RNG in a video poker machine will also generate 100 or more numbers each second.

What the program in the machine does with the number determines how many cards each number represents. In a slot machine, one number could represent the result for one reel or the results for all the reels on the machine. In a video poker machine, one number could represent just one card or it could represent five cards — or some other number — depending on how the machine is programmed.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Dear John,

I spent 25 years designing restaurants all over the U.S. and abroad. We were based in Northern California and did a lot of casino work in Reno and Carson City. In doing so we (a team of three) had the following experiences: First, in Carson City, a casino owner had to delay our appointment for a couple of hours. He asked he secretary to set my friend up as a runner. He was given $300.00 and told what machines to play. He was not allowed to keep his winnings but was told just to have fun. He was told that the runner's job was to excite the other casino slot players. Next, at an opening party for a casino restaurant on North Virginia Ave in Reno, my friend and fellow designer were sitting at the bar with his wife talking to the bartender. His wife after downing a few drinks asked the bartender if he knew which were the best machines to play. The bartender went into the backroom behind the bar and returned with the slot mechanic. He then repeated the question that she asked him. The slot mechanic asked her to follow him and she did. The went to a slot nearest the entrance and he to open the slot and tinkered with it for a few moments, closed the machine and told her "Go ahead." She began dropping quarters and immediately won forty dollars. She was screaming as if she hit a million. She grabbed her winnings and began to leave the slot when the mechanic stopped her and asked her, where are you going? "The machine is set," he continued and so did she. The third event was at the Peppermill in Reno. I was with two other team members and they were playing their favorite slots that they have had great amount of luck with the past year. I proceeded to find my favorite slot "Red, White, Blue" three-coin max machine. I won a $400 pot in a few pulls. I thought I would play the dollar machine with the casino's money and sought-out one of the floor persons. I ask an employee if there was a dollar machine that stood out more that another. I told her I would make it worth her troubles. I told her if I win she will win. She sat me down in front of a machine but told me not to play it yet. Soon after disappearing for a few moments she returned with a second person who she sat at the machine next to me. She said go ahead and play and we both started. Soon I won my first jackpot, then another and another. She told me the those particular machines tickle each other. So when both are being played the slots pay out more frequently. I won 7 med. size pots for a total of $2,700 and gave her $20.00 each time it hit. I was happy and so was she. The other player next to me also won a few nice pots.

I like this idea of one machine tickling another. I think this happened to me in Atlantic City once. I kept losing on the machine I was playing, but the lady next to me kept winning. Maybe my machine was tickling hers. The next step is to have players tickle each other. That really gives a different meaning to community gaming.

Thanks for sharing your experiences,
John


I recently hit the jackpot on a Double Diamond quarter machine. As a general policy, I cash out and leave a machine after a big win. Is that a sound policy or should I keep playing a machine that may be "loose"?

Margo

Dear Margo,

One big hit doesn't tell us anything about the long-term payback on a machine. Both "tight" and "loose" machines pay big jackpots at some point.

Your chances of hitting anything are the same on every spin, so there's no mathematical justification to stop or continue playing after a big win. Therefore you can do whatever suits you emotionally.

I usually keep playing a machine after a big hit just in case it's going to stay hot. If you prefer to cash out and go to another machine, you can do that.

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