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Ask the Slot Expert: The gongs of Fu Dao Le

9 June 2021

Question: I play Fu Dao Le a lot. What does it take for the gongs to come out a lot or the good fortune?

Answer: What does it take to get the gongs on a spin? The RNG has to generate a result that stops the reels in places that display the gongs.

What does it take to get the "Good Fortune" message? The RNG has to generate numbers that correspond to a reel combination that triggers the message. The combination might be a large win or the bonus round.

How do these things happen a lot? The RNG has to generate the appropriate numbers a lot.

How can a player get the RNG to generate the appropriate numbers a lot? A player can't. At least not legally and not without inside knowledge of the programming in the machine.

When I was growing up, my next-door neighbor was a Lincoln Mercury dealer. One year Ford added a car called the Merkur to the Mercury line. He said that was a terrible name for a car. No one knew had to pronounce it. Is it mer-ker? Mare-coor?The first hurdle in selling a car is for the buyers to say they are interested in it, and buyers were reluctant to say they were interested in the Merkur because they were afraid of mispronouncing the name.

I'm surprised to see a few machines with anglicized Chinese names. I'm not sure how to pronounce some of the words. But I guess you don't need to be able to say a machine's name to play it. Heck, many times you don't even know the name of the machine you're playing.

It's been a long time since I've played Fu Dao Le, so I watched a few YouTube videos to refresh my memory. These videos of players playing slots are a godsend. They frequently save me a trip to the casino. In addition, I can see machines that are not available in Las Vegas. I can see bonus rounds without having to invest time and money and, if I watch enough videos, I can see all of the bonus events on a machine.

Many of these videos include a lot of filler along with the sizzle. I just spent about half an hour watching crappy spins to see the eight or so that led to the gongs free spins bonus, the good fortune message, or the coin-matching bonus.

A sizzle reel with just the good parts would save me time. But it would also give the wrong impression about a machine, that every spin is a big winner.

Too bad the YouTube videos don't have index marks in them to let you skip to the good parts. The shows I download from SiriusXM are indexed so I can jump to specific sections in the show.

Yes, I know I can jump to different points in the videos, but unless the creator gives timings in the comments, finding the bonus rounds is like finding a needle in a haystack.

Does anyone know if any of the video formats supported by YouTube allow embedded index marks? Some streaming services give me the ability to skip over a show's intro, but I don't know if that's accomplished with an embedded index mark.

Getting back to your question, if there's nothing you can do to make gongs or good fortune happen a lot, it goes without saying then that things people do to make them happen don't work. One video that showed winning the Major jackpot was subtitled "Tickling the babies works." No, it doesn't.

Neither does altering your bet, altering your timing, or touching the screen when you have two gongs to try to coax out the third gong.

What does it take to get the gongs a lot? Good luck.

Wait a sec. Come to think of it, there is something you can do to get more gongs. Play more.

If three gongs come out, say, once out of 100 spins, you'll tend to get more instances of the three gongs if you play 2000 spins than if you play 1000 spins. The probability of getting the gongs is the same, but you get more gong bonuses because you played more spins.

You increased the sample size. Speaking of sample size....


A few weeks ago, Dr. Jen Ashton on ABC explained the difference between a vaccine's efficacy and its effectiveness. It sounds like the two measures are the same, but they're not.

Efficacy, she said, "measures the difference in risk within a study." Effectiveness measures how well the vaccines perform in real life. In other words, efficacy tells how well a vaccine worked in a trial study and effectiveness tells how well the vaccine works in the real world.

In terms of sample size, efficacy is like session results and effectiveness is like long-term payback. A clinical trial has few participants relative to total population and a typical session has few spins or hands relative to the total number of outcomes possible in a game. Long-term payback is based on the total universe of outcomes and there are many people in the real world.

The analogy doesn't hold in other aspects -- fortunately. A session's results don't tell us anything about a machine's long-term payback -- the same size is way too small -- while the results in a clinical trial give us a very good indication of how well a drug or vaccine will work in the general public.


Here are the latest figures from https://www.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#cases_totalcases.

Totals Weekly Increases
US NV US NV
Date Cases  Deaths  Cases  Deaths  Cases  Deaths  Cases  Deaths 
 06/08   33,207,488   595,301   326,019   5,607   114,250   3,762   2,271   21 
 06/01   33,039,238   591,539   323,748   5,586   123,333   3,709   991   27 
 05/25   32,969,905   587,830   322,757   5,559   174,125   4,234   1,676   26 
 05/18   32,795,780   583,596   321,081   5,533   223,966   4,230   2,301   27 
 05/11   32,571,814   579,366   318,780   5,506   303,856   4,687   2,541   33 
 05/04   32,267,958   574,679   316,239   5,473   343,348   4,908   2,559   40 
 04/27   31,924,610   569,771   313,680   5,433   383,163   4,958   2,747   65 
 04/20   31,541,447   564,813   310,933   5,368   464,556   5,072   2,590   36 
 04/13   31,076,891   559,741   308,343   5,332   480,061   5,321   2,986   57 
 04/06   30,596,830   554,420   305,357   5,275   448,935   7,124   3,084   38 
 03/30   30,147,895   547,296   302,273   5,237   439,510   6,793   939   63 
 03/23   29,708,385   540,503   301,334   5,174   388,928   7,446   1,863   53 
 03/16   29,319,457   533,057   299,471   5,121   381,695   8,362   3,078   81 
 03/09   28,937,762   524,695   296,393   5,040   480,902   11,573   2,413   83 
 03/02   28,456,860   513,122   293,980   4,957   463,356   14,129   2,835   75 
 02/23   27,993,504   498,993   291,145   4,882   451,083   13,923   2,406   162 
 02/16   27,542,421   485,070   288,739   4,720   602,906   21,411   4,149   198 
 02/09   26,939,515   463,659   284,590   4,522   779,305   21,828   5,444   244 
 02/02   26,160,210   441,831   279,146   4,278   1,007,777   22,004   7,249   249 
 01/26   25,152,433   419,827   271,897   4,029   1,312,565   23,385   10,324   250 
 01/19   23,839,868   396,442   261,573   3,779   1,317,119   21,318   11,324   279 
 01/12   22,522,749   375,124   250,249   3,500   1,790,345   22,660   17,217   294 
 01/05    20,732,404   352,464   233,032   3,206   1,499,561   18,435   14,655   233 
 12/29   19,232,843   334,029   218,377   2,973   1,258,540   15,460   12,493   186 
 12/22   17,974,303   318,569   205,884   2,787   1,656,411   18,537   16,472   239 
 12/15   16,317,892   300,032   189,412   2,548   1,494,763   17,247   18,825   229 
 12/08   14,823,129   282,785   170,587   2,319   1,375,502   15,483   18,418   175 
 12/01   13,447,627   267,302   152,169   2,144   1,114,175   10,286   15,942   121 
 11/24   12,333,452   257,016   136,227   2,023   1,197,199   10,784   14,130   106 
 11/17   11,136,253   246,232   122,097   1,917   1,099,790   8,501   11,115   65 
 11/10   10,036,463   237,731   110,982   1,852   767,645   6,838   8,868   68 
 11/03   9,268,818   230,893   102,114   1,784   588,207   5,809   5,936   35 
 10/27   8,680,611   225,084   96,178   1,749   492,026   5,585   5,238   (10) 
 10/20   8,188,585   219,499   90,940   1,759   401,037   5,053   4,501   48 
 10/13   7,787,548   214,446   86,439   1,711   351,270   4,886   3,910   48 
 10/06   7,436,278   209,560   82,529   1,663   306,965   4,962   3,232   36 
 09/29   7,129,313   204,598   79,297   1,627   303,616   5,136   3,058   54 
 09/22   6,825,697   199,462   76,239   1,573   288,070   5,370   2,196   82 
 09/15   6,537,627   194,092   72,043   1,491   250,265   5,404   1,825   65 
 09/08   6,287,362   188,688   72,218   1,426   282,919   5,638   2,734   92 
 09/01   6,004,443   183,050   69,484   1,334   251,790   5,291   3,237   104 
 08/25   5,752,653   177,759   66,247   1,230   330,411   7,889   4,076   125 
 08/18   5,422,242   169,870   62,171   1,105   358,071   7,463   4,973   114 
 08/11   5,064,171   162,407   57,198   991   365,353   7,203   5,776   117 
 08/04   4,698,818   155,204   51,422   874   418,683   7,532   7,367   109 
 07/28   4,280,135   147,672   44,055   764   460,996   7,042   7,130   91 
 07/21   3,819,139  140,630  36,195  674  463,682  5,395  8,181  57 
 07/14   3,355,457   135,235   28,744   617   422,861   5,102   5,607   57 
 07/07   2,932,596   130,133   23,137   560   351,367   3,394   5,006   24 
 06/30   2,581,229   126,739   18,131   536   278,941   6,406   4,367   26 
 06/23   2,302,288   120,333   13,764   510 
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