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Why do machines get cold?

28 April 2008

Dear John,

At my favorite casino, it seems like every three months they change their slot machines. That gets very frustrating, especially when you have your favorites and than they take them.

Why do machines get so cold? I just wonder why the machines get so cold that I can pump in $50 to $250 in one of my favorite slot machines and I get nothing. I walk away and someone sits there and they start getting all the bonuses and that really makes me mad, of course

I stopped using their cards for comps, because I heard that they do clock you and that can make you lose.

Is there a special time of day that you should only go and play the slots? Like after 12 am in the morning or late afternoon like 4 pm?

Thank you.

Carol

Dear Carol,

Casinos are constantly adding, removing and moving machines. Slot directors want to keep their slot floors looking fresh and they need to weed out the machines that aren't performing to make room for new machines. That's a fact of casino life and, unless your favorite is a machine with incredibly long legs, like Double Diamond, Wheel of Fortune, or Blazing 7s, at some time you'll have to deal with the disappointment of no longer being able to find your favorite.

Machines get cold because casinos have to make money from them. If machines stayed hot all the time, the players would be the long-term winners and not the casinos.

Seriously, machines have hot and cold streaks, but they are strictly past tense events. There's no way to know when a streak will begin or end.

The results on a machine are chosen at random by the random number generator (RNG) in the machine's programming. The RNG doesn't care what has happened in the past and it doesn't care who is playing it. It's just bad luck when you pump money into a machine and then the machine pays off for its next player.

The RNG also doesn't care if you use your player's card. The casinos do track your wins and losses when you use the card, but using the card has no effect whatsoever on your results on the machines. You're only missing out on whatever comps and cash back you could earn when you don't use your card.

The RNG also doesn't care about the time of day. There's no best time of day (or best day of week or best day of month) to play the slots in terms of your chances of winning. You may however feel more comfortable playing at different times. If you like the hustle and bustle of a crowded casino, then play in the evening. If you like the casino less crowded because it's easier to find empty machines, then play during the day. Your odds will be the same no matter when you play.

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