A Behind the Scenes Peak at a Casino Slots Floor – Part 2 Casino Myths Dispelled

May 14th, 20121 Comment »

Although casino gaming has become an acceptable past time for many Americans, there is still a lot of misinformation out there. In the first installment of, “A Behind the Scenes Peek at a Casino Slots Floor – Part 1“, a broad general overview of how a casino slots floor operates was discussed. You can find that installment here.

The next chapter of, “A Behind the Scenes Peek at a Casino Slots Floor – Part 2 Casino Myths Dispelled” is going to do just that. This will help you separate facts from fiction.

A Behind the Scenes Peek at a Casino Slots Floor – Part 1 listed the top 5 questions and comments that have been asked of me or directed towards me so let’s get to those to help dispel some myths. You may be surprised at some of the answers.

What is The Best Las Vegas Casino to win at?

Generally speaking, there is no single ”best” casino.  It depends on many factors.

For example, if you are a slots player, then you want to begin by assessing what you are looking for. Are you just coming for a quick getaway, plan on dropping a few hundred dollars and win or lose you are happy? Then most any casino will do.

Are you a more sophisticated gambler who wants to be pampered with a top notch experience including food, beverage, complimentary rooms, show tickets, limos and more?  All of these items have to be factored in as well.

The biggest single factor that most people overlook when determining the “best” casino is factoring in the added value of being a member of the Slot Club.

In my article,  “4 Steps to make the most of your Las Vegas Vacation”, you will see that signing up for the Slot Club is the single most important thing you should do after checking in.

Slot Clubs, often referred to as players clubs, track your play and offer you rewards and benefits based up your play. This is not something just for high rollers. Many of the clubs offer cash back and mostly all offer you the opportunity to accumulate points and redeem them for food, beverage, hotel rooms, show tickets and nearly all offer additional perks and discounts as you achieve higher levels in rewards program. Many even include discounts of 5% to 25% off at their casino gift shops. Also, another great benefit is many casinos have sister properties in Las Vegas and other states so you are eligible, based on your play, for additional offers. This added benefit can be quite far reaching depending on your lifestyle.

For someone that wants to enjoy the total experience a casino has to offer, slot club benefits can be a deciding factor as to where you decide to play.

Jean Scott offers a great blog detailing current casino promotions that can be found here.

Jean Scott also has 2 books, The Frugal Gambler (Gambling Theories Methods) and More Frugal Gambling (Gambling Theories Methods) that provide tips for making the most of what the casinos offer.

Both of the books offer some very good information about the slots clubs and, of course, gambling in general. Since I am a gaming professional, I am not a fan of some of the verbiage such as “beating the casinos”.  I am an advocate of just explaining non-proprietary information to the average gambler. An educated consumer is a smart consumer. Still, the books are good and offer some valuable information.

I haven’t won anything. YOU tightened the machines!

This could be a myth … or not.  The true answer is that it depends. Generally speaking, the context in which the comment was made is false.

Let me explain. In Nevada, there are limits as to what the minimum and maximum pay back percentages of a slot machine can be so technically an authorized casino slots professional could have adjusted the payback percentage of a machine, a group of machines or even all of the machines. Bear in mind that changes to slot machines pay back percentages require careful thought and long range planning though and are not done “on the fly”.

Many times the, “YOU tightened the machines!” statement is made by a person that has a history of patronage of a particular casino and the last time they visited, they won on that particular machine. Now, during a current visit, they didn’t win and assume it’s been tightened. It is possible, though not highly probable. Remember, the casinos want and need your patronage and strive to offer an experience that will be fun for you, provides a fair shot at “winning” and assures the casinos make enough money to turn a profit. That’s how it works.

Video Poker machines are different. A knowledgeable video poker player can tell what the pay back of a machine is simply by looking at the pay table. There are a number of professional video poker players that make their living playing video poker. If that is your game of choice, head on over to the video poker section and stay tuned for future columns covering video poker.

For video poker tips and strategies, the absolute expert, hands downs is Bob Dancer.  Bob has consulted with numerous casinos, is well known and respected in the gaming industry and has numerous books under his belt. If you’re serious about video poker, his book, Video Poker for the Intelligent Beginner (Gambling Theories Methods) is a must read. If you are ultra serious, then check out his interactive CD Video Poker for Winners.

I’ve put more money then what the jackpot is so I know the machine is broken!

Mostly myth.  Although a jackpot on a machine will hit “eventually”, there is no guarantee that it will hit while you are playing it … even if you have put in more money than what the jackpot is.  Odds of hitting are a whole other animal.  You can read through the The Wizard of Odds for a good overview however for the casual gambler, this might not really hold your interest.

I once handled a dispute for a well-known player who had put over $10,000 in a dollar slot machine trying to “win” a progressive jackpot that was approximately $7,800. She was playing for many hours and hit a number of mini jackpots along the way but was “determined” to hit the jackpot and felt it “had to hit”.

Being the consummate professional, and following gaming regulations, The Nevada Gaming Control Board was notified since she made a complaint. This is a required step when handling a dispute in Nevada that is over a certain threshold. I was instructed to put the machine out of service until an agent arrived.

The customer was extremely upset and I employed all of my service skills acquired over the years in an attempt to address her concerns however she was steadfast in her belief that something was wrong with the machine.

Imagine my surprise when a gaming agent arrived, took statements from all involved, assessed the situation, and turned around to the customer and politely but firmly said, “Lady, that is why it is called gambling.  There is no guarantee that you will win.”  He went on to say that the machine would remain down while he continued his investigation and that the customer and casino would be notified within 30 days.  After a careful review of the machine’s history and overseeing a technical check of the machine, he allowed the machine to be put back in to play. He reiterated to the customer that she would be notified, by mail, of the decision and results of the investigation.

Amazingly, the customer continued to play the machine. She finally left without hitting the jackpot and within 20 minutes of another guest sitting down at the machine, the jackpot was won.

Since no malfunction was found, the customer did not win the case.

It’s been many years since that dispute, however the agents clear assessment and what he said to the guest have remained indentured in my mind.

Now that’s not to say that there can’t be a malfunction. It can and does happen, however machines malfunctions are the exception and not the rule.  That is why it is widely known that, “Malfunction voids all pays and plays”.

What did YOU do to the machines?

Well, what do you mean? This again is usually from a customer that has an experience playing a machine or machines at a casino and now is not winning. The implication is that the machines have been tightened. Casinos can and do change out machines for reasons that have nothing to with “tightening” them. Maybe certain older slot machines have been replaced with brand spanking new ones in order to help provide that great total player experience. Slot machines do become dated and casinos strive to have the latest and greatest products on their floor

Here’s what many people don’t fully realize.  The casinos would rather have you play the slot machines and have a pleasant, entertaining experience. This helps to build loyalty and increases the chances of you, the customer, enjoying all of the many amenities that the casinos have to offer from word class dining, fabulous nightclubs, shopping and so much more.  And because the overall experience was so awesome, you will want to return.

If the machine is too “tight” players will lose their bankroll quickly and move on without experiencing all the casinos have to offer. That is not the goal. Constant analyzing, research and being innovative and at the forefront of technology are some of the characteristics that have made the Las Vegas casinos the amazing mega resorts they are today. A huge amount of focus is dedicated to ensuring a great, entertaining experience for you the casino patron.

I was just playing that machine and moved and someone came over and hit the jackpot.  I should not have left the machine because I would have won!

100% pure myth.  I’ve seen this happen a number of times and will attempt to explain it in simple, layman terms.  The slot machines have what is called a Random Number Generator or RNG for short which is at the heart of the computer (we all know a slot machine is a computer, right?) and ensures that each pull has an equal shot at hitting the jackpot.
Whenever the slot machine is turned on, the random number generator is spitting out numbers (typically I believe between 1 and several billion) hundreds of times a second. It is constantly in motion. The moment you press the spin button or, in some cases, pull the handle, the computer records the next few numbers from the RNG.

The numbers are then placed through a simple program to determine where the reels should stop. Now this next sentence is important. Even though the computer tells the reels where to stop, the games are not programmed to pay out at a certain time and remember, it’s all random.

So the next time you walk away from a slot machine and either personally witness or find out that someone else won a jackpot on it don’t fret. You would not have won it anyway. Many customers that I have met through the years understand this concept.  Still when they move, they move to a further location since they don’t want to see someone hit “their” machine.  Here is a good resource for more technical information on how the RNG works.

Oh and by the way, since I hopefully have your attention, let’s address a huge pet peeve of mine.  You will notice that I refer to a “slots” floor not a slot floor. Why? Well, when you go to play the slots, you are going to play the slot machines, or simply, “slots”.  You are not going to Las Vegas to play the slot, right?  It’s been a pet peeve of mine for years and years and years and, well you get the idea.  When you meet the head of the department, they will have a title that says Slot Director or Slot Manager.  Hmmm, they manage one slot machine. It’s Slots! Slots! Slots! Unless you are going to play a particular slot machine, then it is simply a slot machine.

Please return to Chellie’s World often and don’t forget to sign up for our periodic newsletters. You can also keep up with us on our social networks.  Just click the links of your choice below this article or find the “Follow us and say in touch” buttons located on the right.

A Behind the Scenes Peek at a Casino Slots Floor – Part 1

A Behind the Scenes Peek at a Casino Slots Floor – Part 2

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About Chellie Cervone

A Las Vegas "native" by way of New York, I'm a professional blogger who favors all things Las Vegas and offers a unique, witty and sometimes controversial perspective. You can count on me to tell it like it is. Please visit my other sites Las Vegas World News and Celebrity Feast Connect with me on Google+ Chellies World on Google+

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  1. […] really a win-win situation for everyone.A Behind the Scenes Peak at a Casino Slots Floor – Part 1A Behind the Scenes Peak at a Casino Slots Floor – Part 2 Author BioA Las Vegas "native" by way of New York, I'm a professional blogger who favors all […]

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