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Let’s start with stops
typical, mechanical, three-reel machine as an example, each reel has “stops”
on 22 symbols (cherries, bars, 7’s etc.); there are also 22 blank stops
between the symbols. This makes a total of 44 stops for each reel. The
computer circuitry controls motors that move the reels to one of these 44
stops. But the computer uses coding that gives it a table containing a
128-stop virtual reel. Example: stop 001=cherry, 002=blank, 003=double-bar,
004=cherry – and so on.
How random is it?
random, really - a random number generator chip (RNG) creates thousands of
random 9-digit numbers every second. When you push the button (or pull the
handle) you stop the RNG and it produces three 9-digit numbers (one for each
reel). These numbers are then each divided by 128 and the remainder (which
will be a number between 0 and 127) determines the stop to which the reel
will be moved.
How ‘bout them odds?
The odds are determined by how many cherries, bars and 7’s etc. are distributed among the 128 stops on the virtual reels. A tight machine may have only three or four stops for the coveted 7’s while a looser machine might have eight or nine.
can (by law) keep up to 25% of the money you put in the machine (75% payback
to the player). This payback% is achieved over a long period of time
(usually years). In a bank of six blazing 7‘s machines, the payback% might
(probably will) be different for each one.
Casinos often advertise their looser slots with “99% payback” signs. Beware and watch for the “up to” clause on those signs. If there is a bank of ten “up to 99% payback” machines, they are only required to have one of them set to 99%, the rest are probably dogs.
But even if you knew the payback% of the various machines, you can still have a bad run. Remember, the payback% is for the life of the machine and your time on it is too short to see the difference.
Can the casinos change the odds on my favorite machine?
change the odds on their slot machines, but not without the gaming
commission coming to the casino and replacing the computer chip. The casino
is charged a fee so they don’t do it often. The casinos have been known to
move machines around (in the wee wee hours of the morning), often within the
same bank of similar machines. So if you have a favorite machine, look for
its machine# plaque and remember it.
What about the video slots?
Video slots use the same computer technology as explained above but usually have entertaining bonus rounds and other fun elements.
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