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The new 'in thing': Electronic table games28 January 2016
Some casinos use them to add a table presence in jurisdictions where live table games are illegal. Others that have live tables use dealer-less electronic versions to cut costs and offer games with lower minimum bets. They can even be used to offer games with small followings, such as sic bo, as an option on multigame units.
Tables with both electronic wagering and results via a random number generator are subject to the same kinds of questions I regularly receive on slot machines.
Reader Mike e-mailed recently with a list of questions:
“When a slot machine has multiple players playing the same game, as in the case of the electronic roulette machines, and it is programmed to hold say 10%, is that 10% from each individual player or all the players collectively?”
The answer is “neither.” Electronic table games are not programmed to hold a specific percentage from the players collectively, nor are they programmed for any specific hold against one player.
Instead, they are programmed so that over hundreds of thousands of plays, the odds of the game will lead naturally to a desired house edge and hold percentage.
Those odds are set up to mimic live tables, and in the case of double-zero electronic roulette, the odds are the same as on double-zero live tables. You can win money in the short term. The entire table can win money in the short term. But over hundreds of thousands of plays, the odds of the game will lead naturally to the casino holding about 5.26% on all bets except the five-number bet on 0, 00, 1, 2 and 3, where it holds 7.89%.
That percentage can be changed if the manufacturer and operator change the usual payouts on winning bets. If single-number bets pay only 34-1 instead of the usual 35-1, then the house edge rises to 7.89% on single numbers.
“If one player wins big, does the machine compensate by making it harder for the others to win until the casino gets its hold percentage for the day?”
No, the odds are the same on every play, and there is no target hold percentage for the day. The casino can be confident that in the long run, the odds will lead to an expected percentage, casino operators understand random fluctuations and know they’re not going to hit the expected percentage every day.
The random number generator doesn’t know whether anybody wins or loses. Its only function is to generate random numbers that then are mapped onto potential results. The RNG does not get feedback over whether anybody has won or lost.
That’s the same as on live table roulette, where the wheel doesn’t know whether anybody has won or lost.
Every spin of the wheel, whether by a live dealer or an RNG, is an independent trial, and past results make no difference in future outcomes.
“And if [the machine compensates for winners by making it harder for others to win] mustn't the machine know and use what numbers everyone has picked before it decides where to place the ball?"
The final question is moot, since the machine doesn’t adjust results to make up for big wins. The RNG doesn’t know what everyone has picked before or after the results are in. Such adjustment of results is illegal in U.S. jurisdictions, and it’s also unnecessary. The odds of the game are enough to make the casino the long-term winner.
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