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Where can I find the payback programs available for a slot?10 December 2007
Thanks for the kind words about my columns.
Hit frequency does have a wide range. But the hit frequencies for the payback programs available for a particular game fall into a narrow range. The game designers determine whether a game will be a high or a low (or an in between) hit frequency game and set up the payback programs accordingly.
Many players prefer playing games with particular characteristics (e.g., high hit frequency or low hit frequency) whether they realize it or not. Having different playing characteristics on the machines of a particular game "cheapens" the brand because players don't know what they're going to get from the machine.
For example, Blazing 7s wouldn't be as popular as it is if a good portion of the machines hit many bar combinations and few 7 combinations.
From what I've seen on par sheets, this is how the game designers devise the payback programs available for a particular game. It looks like the number of ways to hit the jackpot, and maybe one or more secondary jackpots, stays the same from payback program to payback program. They alter the number of ways to hit the smaller jackpots (maybe by changing some of the single bars on a reel to double or triple bars) to increase the long-term payback.
Yes, the payback programs available for the machines is a secret. I don't know why slot manufacturers guard the par sheets for the machines so closely. It can't be because they don't want players to know the house edge against them. People, myself included, keep buying lottery tickets and the odds are readily available for them and the odds are worse than on even the tightest slot machine. In addition, I've seen players ignore banks of machines under "98% or better" marquees and play machines with unknown paybacks instead. I think most players (video poker players excepted) don't care about the long-term paybacks on the machines they play.
There might be something on these sheets that a cheat can use against the machines. I don't see how knowing the number of Double Diamond symbols on a particular reel helps a cheat, but I don't think like a cheat.
To answer your final question, there no place online or anywhere else where you can find the payback programs available for slot machines.
And this secrecy creates a problem for me and other writers who are trying to tell the truth about how slot machines really work. The fact that players can't see the par sheets just adds more fuel to the fires about casinos controlling machines.
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 reply to every question.
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