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HOME > STRATEGY > Strategies & Tips > Ask the Slot Expert: Do multiple denomination machines have different RNGs for each denomination?

Ask the Slot Expert: Do multiple denomination machines have different RNGs for each denomination?

6 September 2017

By John Robison, Slot Expert™

Question: Several machines have optional denominations from 25 cents to $2. Do all these denominations use the same RNG or do they change depending on the denomination chosen?

Answer: I've received multiple answers to this question. Some people say that switching denomination causes a new game program, including RNG, to be loaded. Others say that the only thing that changes is how much each credit is worth.

The bottom line is that it doesn't make any difference. The RNG has nothing to do with long-term payback. Changing denomination may load in a new game program and a new instance of the RNG function, but the actual computer code in the RNG function will be the same.

Question: When my wife plays slots at Harrah's, her VIP host comes to her to welcome her to Harrah's. They have a program that identifies her.

Answer: The amount of information the casino knows about you can be a bit unnerving for some people. Now that every machine is connected to a network and tracked, it's impossible to avoid the casino's radar.

I bet your wife always uses her slot club card when she plays. The slot club system can display a list of premium players who are currently on the slot floor and playing with their cards inserted in a machine. The system may even be able to send an alert to a host when a player starts playing.

If your host knows you're playing but doesn't know which machine you're playing, no problem. The system can tell your host where you are as long as you're using your card.

The system can identify you for other reasons, too. I've had slot floorpeople wish me a happy birthday when I've played on my birthday. (BTW, not that I believe in such things, but I've never experienced birthday luck and hit a big jackpot on my birthday.)

You can't even escape notice by not using a card. If you play a high denomination machine for a while or a lower denomination machine for a long time, you might appear on the Hot Uncarded Players list -- players who are giving a lot of action but aren't using a slot club card. I've seen slot floorpeople offer to set up uncarded players in the slot club many times.

Sometimes slot floorpeople don't even need a lot of technology to know who you are. A slot floorperson once said to me, "Hi, John. How are you today?"

I didn't recognize her and I wasn't sure if I should have recognized her. I said, "I'm sorry. Do I know you?"

She said, "No, we've never met before."

"How did you know my name?"

"It's displayed on the screen on the slot club card reader."

Question: A certain casino out East has different payout amounts for machines that award player points vs machines that do not award points.

Please help me determine which machines to play, the ones with the higher return with no points or the ones with a lower return with player points.

Ex: 8/5 Double Double Bonus Poker with points or 9/6 Double Double Bonus Poker with no points.

Answer: Determining the answer to this question could either be straightforward or it might require something akin to alchemy. It all depends on how open the slot clubs formulas are. Given that you're asking about an East coast casino, the formulas are probably not straightforward.

The way to decide is to compare your total return for both paytables. Total return is long-term payback plus slot club benefits. Play the machine that gives you the greater total return.

Determining the long-term paybacks for your machines is difficult because there are multiple Double Double Bonus variants that pay 9 for the full house and 6 for the flush. If the 9/6 paytable pays back 55 for the straight flush, the long-term payback is 99.04%. Only 50 for the straight flush and the payback drops to 98.98%. I don't see any variants for the 8/5 paytable, which pays 96.77% in the long run.

Assuming the worst 9/6 paytable, the slot club benefits have to be worth about 2% of your action to bring the 8/5 paytable with benefits up to breakeven with the 9/6 paytable. I don't know of any slot club that is that generous. On the face of it, you're better off playing the higher-paying paytable without benefits.

But here are some reasons you might want to play a paytable with benefits. Earning points in the slot club might give you some non-monetary benefits, like VIP parking, express lines at restaurants and buffets and check-in, etc. You might also get some other benefits like free show tickets and discounted or free rooms. You also might get invitations to parties and other premium player events. These are benefits that can't be quantified in the usual formulas of such-and-such a percentage of action for cashback and such-and-such a percentage of action for comps.

Another, more wonky reason to consider the lower-paying paytable is that the long-term paybacks are achieved in the long run. It could take tens or hundreds of thousands of hands for your actual payback to zero in on the long-term payback. In other words, in the short run, you might actually do better playing the lower-paying paytable. If you're just a casual player, your luck may have a bigger effect on your results than the paytable.

Here in Las Vegas, many locals casinos have positive expectation video poker with limited benefits. I don't play those machines. Instead I play the highest-paying machines that offer full benefits and work the slot clubs and promotions. These machines can be breakeven or positive on a multiple points day.

Send your slot and video poker questions to John Robison, Slot Expert™, at slotexpert@slotexpert.com. Because of the volume of mail I receive, I regret that I can't reply to every question.

Copyright © John Robison. Slot Expert and Ask the Slot Expert are trademarks of John Robison.

John Robison
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. Hear John on "The Good Times Radio Gaming Show," broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoons. You can listen to archives of the show online anytime.

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