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Best of John Grochowski

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The odds are the same

9 August 2015

QUESTION: I have been playing slots for the past four years and I have noticed that virtually all of my big wins of $500 or more happen within the first few spins. I have not been able to “force” a machine to win by playing long periods at the same machine. Given this, I am now of the opinion that if you play a machine more than four or five spins and you don’t win you are wasting your time and money.

The obvious question is, how would a machine know if you are a new player and whther it’s your first spin? The RNG should have no concept of one session to the next. The only thing that might change is the player’s card or credits added (money in). Any thoughts?

ANSWER: The random number generator doesn’t know if you’re a new player. It doesn’t know if you’re using a players’ club card, or whether your credits come from cash, a ticket from another game or from winnings. All the RNG does is generate random numbers, and no, it doesn’t have any concept of sessions.

There is nothing in the games or their programming that would make big wins come up more frequently early than late in a session. I think there is some selection bias at work, in that everyone has an early portion of their session, but the “late” part comes up only if you’re getting enough money back to keep playing.

If you were to keep track over a long time, you’d find the frequency of big jackpots in spins Nos. 1-10 is no higher than the frequency of big hits in spins Nos. 101-110, or 551-560, or any other 10-spin segment you’d care to designate.

However, if you’re a penny slot player who’s already lost a few $20 bills, you’re not going to get to spin No. 551. The same goes for a dollar player who’s already lost a couple of hundred. Losing streaks are in the nature of slot machines. Regardless of whether it’s early, mid-session or late, there are going to be streaks that deplete the credit meter. When those cold streaks come, players move on, whether it’s to a different game, to take a meal break or to call it a day.

Are there more wins in the first 10 spins than at any other times? Yes, but it’s because there are more “first 10” spins taken, not because of any change in the odds.

QUESTION: If two players play different slots with one person’s player-loyalty card, will that person receive more in the way of comps, free slot play and tier play than if both play on their own cards?

ANSWER: That depends on the specific loyalty program. In tiered programs, two people building points on the same account will move up faster to the next tier. In programs where you redeem points for free play AND there’s a points multiplier at the higher tier, then you will earn more free play with the same amount of play after you’ve moved up than if you were both wagering the same amount but stayed at a lower tier on separate cards.

However, there’s also the value of direct mail offers to take into consideration. Most programs use the mail to offer some amount of free play, meal vouchers or other incentives to return to the casino even to low-tier players. It’s possible the value of such offers to two low-tier cards might offset the increase value of offers to one higher-tier card.

So the answer to your question is a definite “maybe.”
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:

Winning Tips for Casino Games

> 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:

> More Books By John Grochowski