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31 March 2003

Dear John,

OK, now I'm totally confused. I'm new to your newsletter and everything that I've read in the last few years is that all slots spins are determined by the RNG (random number generator). I saw you using formulas in determining what the chances are in getting scatter pays and wanted to know how formulas in determining your spin result pertain to the RNG. I don't understand counting spots on a reel when your spin is determined before the reels even stop. If the reels stopped randomly, I feel that the formulas that you present would be valid but they don't seem to hold water in this situation. Can you open my eyes for me?

Thanks,
John

Dear John,

The RNG doesn't affect the formulas at all. Technically speaking, the output from the RNG is used to choose which virtual stop will land on the payline and each virtual stop is equally likely to land on the payline.

In a video slot, the virtual reel is displayed stop for stop on the screen because a video slot can display reels as large as the designers want. The number of times a symbol appears on the reel divided by the number of symbols on the reel gives a symbol's probability of landing on the payline.

In a reel-spinning slot, the size of the reels is limited to 22 stops. The virtual reel is mapped to the physical reel such that some physical stops appear more times on the virtual reel than others. That means that the number of times a symbol appears on the physical reel has nothing to do with its likelihood of landing on the payline.

The reels do stop at random with the stopping places determined by the output from the RNG.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John

Hello,

My question is: Is there any better time of the day/night month/week to go to the casinos to increase your winning opportunity?

My parents have been to Detroit and played at the casinos from 8:00 pm till 9:00 am on a Friday/Saturday and the machines took more than it gave them. It was on Feb. 14 of this year.

Just curious. I see/hear that people win huge, but I've never been one of the lucky ones to be walking out the door with my last quarter only to win 1,000 much less 25,000.

Julie

Dear Julie,

When you visit a casino has no impact whatsoever of your chances of winning. Casinos can't tighten or loosen machines at whim.

That said, there are better times to play. If you don't like crowds, avoid weekends and holidays and go in the middle of the week. When the casino is less crowded, you probably won't have to wait to play your favorite machines.

On the other hand, if you do like crowds, go on weekends and holidays. Some people like the energy of crowded casinos.

You'll probably also see more people winning jackpots and hand-pays on weekends and holidays, but that has absolutely nothing to do with a change in the machines. The simple reason why you see more people winning is because you see more people playing.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John

I am planning a trip to Mississippi. I am a slot player and wondered which area has the highest payout on slots, Tunica or Biloxi?

I checked the slot payback charts published in the back of Strictly Slots magazine. The paybacks on the slots in the two areas are very close, within a few tenths of a percentage point. It doesn't matter which area you choose.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John

Send your slot and video poker questions to John Robison, Slot Expert, at slotexpert@comcast.net.

John Robison

John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a slot and video poker columnist and has written for many of gaming’s leading publications. He holds a master's degree in computer science from the prestigious Stevens Institute of Technology.

You may hear John give his slot and video poker tips live on The Good Times Show, hosted by Rudi Schiffer and Mike Schiffer, which is broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoon from from 2PM to 5PM Central Time. John is on the show from 4:30 to 5. You can listen to archives of the show on the web anytime.

#### Books by John Robison:

The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots
John Robison
John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a slot and video poker columnist and has written for many of gaming’s leading publications. He holds a master's degree in computer science from the prestigious Stevens Institute of Technology.

You may hear John give his slot and video poker tips live on The Good Times Show, hosted by Rudi Schiffer and Mike Schiffer, which is broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoon from from 2PM to 5PM Central Time. John is on the show from 4:30 to 5. You can listen to archives of the show on the web anytime.

#### Books by John Robison:

The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots