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Best of John G. Brokopp

Gaming Guru

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Ploy to "Trick" Slot Machines Is a Lemon

23 July 2008

The American Gaming Association (www.americangaming.org) published an interesting pamphlet several years ago titled "The House Advantage – A Guide to Understanding the Odds".

It explains to gamblers that "house advantage" means just that; casinos ALWAYS come out ahead, emphasizing most emphatically that "…with few exceptions, it's important to remember that the house continues to have a statistical advantage in every play of every game, even against a skillful player".

In the section about the "hold" percentages on slot machines, I found this very important fact regarding how long an individual plays them, the speed with which that person plays, and the amount of money wagered:

"As the betting continues, over time players are more likely to lose money, rather than win. An individual may lose more or less than the average, but the machine always comes out ahead in the long run."

I bring your attention to this because during a recent casino outing, a friend of mine asked the slot player sitting next to him why he was continually cashing out and re-inserting a new voucher into the machine he was playing.

The unorthodox player's response was that he was in the computer field and that he knew how the machines are programmed. He went on to explain that when you cash out a voucher and insert a new one, the machine's EPROM (erasable programmable read-only memory) chips "think" a new player is starting and you have a better chance of hitting a winning cycle.

When I posed the theory to the experts at International Game Technology (IGT), here's what spokesman Rick Sorensen had to say:

"The player offering that advice is mistaken as to how the game performs. It never tries to "guess" whether there is a new player on the terminal. The game only 'knows' if there is enough money to place a bet, how to play the game once that money has been used to wager on the game, and then how to award the player for any win."

Sorensen added that continually cashing out and re-inserting a ticket has no effect on any game outcomes.

Rob Bone, vice-president of marketing for WMS, another leading slot manufacturer, agreed, saying: "Sorry, but this goes into the same bin as all the other rituals that players go through".

"Players love to believe that they are beating the system and have ways to enhance their winning opportunities," Bone added. "First and foremost, while all games have a relative cycle that plays out over time, each individual spin is a completely random event."

Bone said that up until a few years ago, a slot machine's operating system and game assets were indeed governed by EPROM technology.

When WMS deployed its revolutionary Bluebird slot platform in 2006, the programs were equipped with compact flash cards. Since that time, most of the world's leading manufacturers have followed suit.

"Our move to compact flash was based on the benefits related to technology, specifically storage capabilities, and durability," Bone added.

EPROMS or compact flash cards make no difference to the outcome of slot play. It's the same today as it was then: There's no outsmarting the games.

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