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Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

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Why do slots let you win at first?

31 August 2011

It seems that when I first gamble at the slots, I win immediately, and so I continue to gamble and eventually lose what I have won. Is there a 'system' or some method that the casino has in operation that 'knows' about my early win, and can track my activities as I continue to play?

No, slot machines do not have any sort of algorithm that rewards players when they start playing and then takes the winnings and the players' bankrolls away as they continue to play. What you're experiencing is the math of the games.

When you first start to play, it doesn't take much of a win to give you a profit because you haven't lost much money to the machine yet. But because the math of the machines is set so the machines pay back less money than the players play through them in the long run (in other words, there is a house edge on the machines), the longer you play, the more likely you are to give back your winnings and also lose your initial stake.

Some people recommend that you stop playing whenever you have a profit to improve your chances of being a consistent or overall winner. There are two reasons that tactic doesn't work. First, the math doesn't care about how you break up your play into sessions. As far as the math is concerned, you're just playing one long session. How you break up your play into sessions doesn't change the house edge.

The second reason the tactic doesn't work is because you sometimes have sessions that are struggles from the start and you are never ahead.

The bottom line is that the result of every spin is determined at random and it doesn't matter how long you've been playing.

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