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Best of John Grochowski

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Bonus activation

24 July 2016

QUESTION: I read an article about a slot machine that said, “The manufacturer says the side bet also causes the bonus features to occur more frequently.”

Now, if the RNG throws out random numbers, which I would assume correspond to the bonus symbols (or whatever type of bonus triggers there may be), how can the RNG reconfigure the numbers it’s constantly throwing out to make the game’s bonus features occur more frequently?

Even if the bonus feature has nothing to do with the RNG, there has to be something in the machine that is being automatically changed to make for more often-occurring bonuses.

ANSWER: It’s not a matter of something being changed in the game to increase bonus triggers. It’s a matter of a feature being activated.

That something is a mystery trigger, which works with a different random number set than the main game.

Mystery triggers are most common on multi-level progressive jackpots, but also can be used in bonus events. It’s also possible to use them both for progressives and bonuses in the same game.

Here’s one way it can work. Let’s say you’re playing a game as you describe, but elect not to make a side bet. You’re not eligible for progressive jackpots, but still can go to bonus events. For you, the bonuses are triggered any time you see three bonus symbols on the reels.

Now let’s say you change your mind and start making the side bet. The random number generator for the main game keeps operating as normal, and you still go to bonus events whenever three bonus symbols appear.

However, making the side bet activates more random numbers, with a number generated for each progressive and a number generated for the bonus events.

You do not need to have a winning combination show on the reels to win the mystery progressives or go to the mystery bonus. They come by surprise – that’s the mystery part.

Since you are going to the bonus whenever the needed symbols are on the reels AND whenever the mystery bonus is triggered, a player who makes the side bet goes to the bonus event more often than one who plays only the base game.

Ever since video slots rose to popularity, gamemakers have searched for ways to encourage larger bets. The method used on three-reel slots – a disproportionate jump in the top jackpot when you bet max coins – does not work well on video slots with their greater emphasis on entertainment, more paylines and a tendency among player to bet only one or two coins per line.

Progressives plus greater frequency of bonus events through a side bet and mystery triggers is one way to encourage a larger overall bet.


QUESTION: Do you remember a video poker game that had five decks and a big jackpot? Does anyone still have it?

ANSWER: I think the game you’re talking about is Five Deck Frenzy, which was a Shuffle Master innovation on the late 1990s.

The highest-ranking hands were five of a kind, and there was a progressive jackpot on five aces. The jackpot used IGT’s Megajackpots system and started at $200,000 on a quarter machine.

The late Lenny Frome published a booklet with a strategy that would yield a 98.8% return with the jackpot at rollover level. However, a portion of that return was tied up in extremely rare hands, and in an average session players lost money faster than on mainstream video poker games.

I don’t know of any casinos today that have Five Deck Frenzy. If any readers know of a casino that has the game, please let me know and I’ll share the information.
Recent Articles
Best of John Grochowski
John Grochowski

John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

> More Books By John Grochowski

John Grochowski
John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

Winning Tips for Casino Games

> More Books By John Grochowski