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Dispelling Slot Myths

By Henry Tamburin

Here are some popular misconceptions about slot machines and why they are false.

"Casinos can tighten or loosen the payback on a slot machine at will"
Many slot players believe that casinos can get more money from players by decreasing their paybacks on slot machines (tighten them) before a busy holiday weekend when the casino is crowded with players. The fact of the matter is that in most gaming jurisdictions they can't change a machines payback without first notifying the state regulatory agency with a lot of paperwork. In some states the local gaming commission must be present when the change is made. It's literally too much of a pain for casinos to lower the paybacks for a short period of time and then turn around and raise them.

"She stole my jackpot"
You've either read the stories or seen it happen in person. A player is playing a machine then decides to take a break and some other player jumps in, plays, and hits the jackpot.  If the first player would have played a little while longer that jackpot would have been hers. Right?  Nope. The reason is that the likelihood that the first player would have hit that jackpot if she played longer is slim to none. A Random Number generator that the computer chip uses to determine the results of each spin is constantly running even if the machine is idle. The RGN spits out a sequence of random numbers hundred of times each second (remember each sequence of numbers corresponds to the symbols that you see on the reels). Whatever the RGN number was at the split second that you hit the spin button or pull the handle is used to determine the symbols on each reel. Therefore the likelihood that the first player if she stayed and played would have hit the spin button at the same exact time as the second player did is highly unlikely.

"A Machine that just hit the jackpot won't hit again soon"
The RNG determines the results of your spin. It doesn't know or care what happened in the past. Your chance of hitting the jackpot on the next spin is the same regardless of when the jackpot was hit.

"You'll get a better payback if you alternate pulling the handle and hitting the spin button"
When you do either it tells the computer in the slot machine to get the number that was generated by the RNG, which will determine the symbols you see on each reel after they stoop spinning. The results will be the same regardless of whether you hit the spin button or pull the handle.

"Looser machines are placed near entrance ways to casinos to attract more players "
Back in the old days when slot machines were not as popular as they are today, that may have been the case. But nowadays slot managers order slots machines with nearly the same paybacks as their competitors for each denomination of machine and group slot machines by denomination and types on the casino floor.

"Always ask the slot attendant where the better paying machined are located"
Slot attendants are hard working folks but they don't have any more knowledge then you or I as to which machine will pay off next. They'll offer advice on which machines to play if asked by players because if the player gets lucky and hits a jackpot they know they will receive a tip.