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No better way to lose – Jackpot machines

by Level13 on June 23, 2009

Photo by orphanjones

Photo by orphanjones

Last November, a 49-year-old man won the largest UK jackpot ever – playing an online slot machine. His take was £2,086,585. This, despite what we know to be a universal truth: slot machines (jackpot machines) are the worst bet of them all. They take much more than they give. The maths, the science and the psychology are all against you.

It’s why the machines are the darlings of the casinos: they generate between 60 and 80% of all casino profit. According to figures collected by Las Vegas-based gaming expert Michael Bluejay, the return percentage makes the cost of playing fruit machines outrageously high in comparison to other forms of gaming. Games such as blackjack or baccarat give the casino a 1% edge over the player. A slot machine set at a relatively high 90% offers the casino a whopping 10% edge. According to Bluejay, a player on a one-dollar slot machine will on average lose $800 in a ten-hour session. This is money ground away by the machine as winnings are fed back into the machine. The same player over the same time period will lose only an average of a tenth of that ($79) playing a low-intensity game such as roulette. You still lose money at roulette, blackjack and baccarat, but you lose it more slowly; so you enjoy a longer night out.

People talk about strategies, like watching as punters pump in money then hovering like a vulture to move in if it doesn’t pay out for him. But random number generators have no memory for the past or plan for the future. They do not make decisions. The machine’s outcomes are determined by random numbers and every time you play a machine the odds are exactly the same. It’s a myth that the slot machine will tighten up after it has hit the jackpot, or that it will be loose if it hasn’t been paying. This is not true. It’s like spinning a roulette wheel. Every time you play the odds are the same. Read more…


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