Slot players are wrong about most things.
We talked to those who research, market, study, and design online slots and you will get to know that most of the ideas that players harbor about the inner ways and working of slots and how the jackpots are just myths.
Las Vegas Sun decided to speak to three experts to understand more about the top myths about slots and the real truth behind them.
To put it in simple terms, players can easily tell when the hold percentage is higher for some casinos or slots and smaller for certain others. This is an important concept as casinos boast to have loose slots and several gamblers harbor ideas as to where to find the loosest slots.
There is no independent or sure shot way to be sure if the marketing claims about these loose slots are really true. The Gaming Control Board does not release the house edges for either specific casinos or single slot machines. As a direct result, gut feeling is the only publicly available option.
But is it possible for gamblers to figure out when the slots are loose?
According to a 2012 academic study that was published in the UNLV’s Gaming Research & Review Journal, players cannot really discern between slots that have different hold percentages.
In yet another study done by the professors at UNLV’s William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration, close to 10,000 players online made wagers on two slot games that were quite identical to each other than the hold percentage.
This study measured the payback that the online players won to check if there was a marked difference in a number of series of various playing scenarios.
As the entire study was virtual and in fact taking place inside of a computer, it was as though each player tracked and recorded the results of spins instead of relying on their memory.
The study also revealed that most virtual players struggled to find a difference in the payback percentages in any combination of two game pairings.
According to Steve Walther, the senior director at Konami Gaming, there a several schools of thought with respect to hold percentage and the ability of the player to determine the hold in each individual session. Though he does not despite the findings of the study, he opines that the debate on this matter is yet to be resolved.
With games becoming more complex, the different types of winning combinations has also grown exponentially. Older games only had a fixed number of slots on the wheel and hence was easier. Now, to be able to feel the hold in a single session is a lot more difficult. Again, experts opine that this may be different for repeat gamblers.
Lucas and Singh, the professors added that gamblers can only consider the outcome of certain numner of single trips.
The vice president of Mikohn gaming believes that though players tend to believe that slots adjust themselves, they do not.
The biggest myth is that slot machines are designed to keep a track of wins and losses and will also compensate to make a win. But in the United States this is considered illegal and slots cannot make adjustments and do not. Each win is independent of the other and is a separate event.
Like everybody already knows a portion of the inner workings of a slot machine is in fact handled on a central server – which is a computer sitting in a room with several other high-tech equipment. In some other cases, the working of the game is controlled by the computer inside the slot machine cabinet.
But either ways, no casino can change the working of the machine on the fly.
While some people believe that a slot director sitting in a backroom can change the machine while you are at it and you will run into a cold steak. According to Olaf this too is prohibited by gaming regulations. While casinos do remotely update certain machines from time to time, they need to put up a notice on the screen informing the player of the same. It is simply not possible or allowed for a casino to pull the rug from right under your feet.
This happens all the time. You leave a machine only to have the very next person hit the jackpot. This leaves you wondering whether you should have hung around a little longer and played just one more spin to get the jackpot.
This does not happen. Olaf says that the latest slot machines do not work that way. They are all based on random number generators.
These random number generators are bits of software code that are designed to run constantly. They generate random numbers that actually determine the results of the slot. Pushing button at this instance will give a different number than pushing it at any other point in time.
While it is true that some of these numbers do repeat and cheaters do use computer programs to crack the patterns, the results for an average player are random. This means that unless you hit the same spin at the very same instant, you could not have won the jackpot. Even a second off will give an entirely different outcome.
This is one myth that may have some basis in reality according to Olaf. This is based on the fact that slots with a celebrity theme may have a higher hold percentage than regular slots. You pay more to play these slots and the odds of your winning are higher too.
One of the other myths concerning slots is the mystery surrounding the slots. Why should there be an element of mystery when the play should be determined by business and math rules governed by gaming regulations.
But, it is this uncertainty that makes these games so popular.
“We do not want to dispel all the myths as the mystery and mystique adds to the fun of gambling,” said Walther. “Yes, the machine cannot be controlled by external sources, but the players has to get to the machine at the right time and hit the right button for a win. So there is a lot of luck and all of it is controlled by the player and player alone.”