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Best of John G. Brokopp

Gaming Guru

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Examining Some New Slot Games

26 March 2003

When it comes to picking and choosing new slot machines to play, some are definitely better than others. The program math that the manufacturers install in the machines makes some games more exciting than others but not necessarily more advantageous to play. The ultimate reality with all slot machines is the fact that each one is programmed over the long run to make money for the casino.

Today I will examine two new games that will illustrate my point. The machines are among the newest releases in Bally’s video slot series which it introduced a couple of years ago. Bally was at one time the nation’s leader in slot machine technology, only to be overwhelmed by the imagination and innovation exhibited by rival companies IGT and WMS Gaming.

The first game we’ll look at is “Take It Or Leave It”. It has all the makings of becoming popular with consumers: An easy-to-understand premise, an appealing tile-picking bonus game, and a bonus round that gives players the potential to make a nice score if luck is on their side. It’s a nine-line video format available in nickel and quarter denominations.

The bonus screen is triggered when the player gets three or more “Take It Or Leave It” symbols scattered on adjacent reels. A 24-tile grid with “?” marks appears on the screen. Each tile reveals a credit amount, a bonus multiplier, or one of six hidden “terminators”. The player can choose to “take it” (take the winnings) or “leave it” (try for a larger amount).

“Take It Or Leave It” has a lot going for it, including a fun game, an enticing “gamble” feature, and an opportunity to collect a huge bonus. The major drawback, however, is the fact that to compensate for the possibility of sizable windfall winnings the computer is programmed so that a bonus round theoretically occurs only once in every 110 spins, which is half the frequency of most bonus events. Couple this with the machine’s relatively weak 35-50 percent “hit frequency” and a casino “hold” ranging from six percent to a greedy 12 percent and you have the makings of a major money-eater during short-term play.

The next game is “Bonus 7s”, a video take-off on Bally’s most popular traditional spinning reel slot of all time, “Blazing 7s”. It’s a nine-line, 27-coin progressive available in nickel and quarter denominations. The graphics and jackpot symbols will remind players of the classic “Blazing 7s”, something which will serve as a definite lure.

The question is should you be lured to “Bonus 7s”? The potential action you can derive based on the program math says “yes”. Just as is the case with it’s Blazing 7s reel cousin, Bonus 7s has a very high “hit frequency’ of 56 percent (compare that to the 35-40 percent in Take It or leave It). The bonus round is programmed to occur a relatively frequent once every 40 spins, quite generous by video slot standards.

The bonus round gives the player an opportunity to win amounts ranging from 100 coins to 5,000 coins. There’s also a progressive jackpot for maximum coins played.

The difference between “Take It Or Leave It” and “Bonus 7s” is not in the money they make for the casino. The “hold” on “Bonus 7s” ranges from five to 13 percent. The difference is volatility. “Bonus 7s” gives more players more action while “Take It Or Leave It” gives players less action but more of an opportunity to win a giant bonus.

John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp
John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp