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Many small wins versus a few big wins21 May 2009
I've had the good fortune to do consulting work for some of the biggest slot manufacturers in the country and often this work will come down to the following question: "Should we program our machines so slot players get many small wins but therefore extremely few big wins; or do we program our machines so slot players get very few small wins but many more big wins?"
This question is almost unanswerable in the aggregate because what slot player #1 wants is not necessarily what slot player #2 wants. Obviously when you walk around the casino floor you will note machines with high hit frequencies and machines with low hit frequencies. Usually machines with low hit frequencies are the ones that give out more big wins but very few small wins, while machines with large hit frequencies tend to give out many more small wins but much fewer big wins.
Obviously my answer to the above profound slot question — it being intellectually well-considered after decades of experience in the slot business and blazing insight into the minds of slot players is — I have no idea! So I tell such manufacturers to do both! Have some machines that reward on a consistent basis with a lot of small wins and have some machines that will lose spin after spin after spin and then explode with a big winner.
As I view it there are fundamentally two types of savvy slot players — those who are looking for consistency in their machines and those who are looking to jump up and down and scream their lungs out when they get those nice payouts. The former is looking to have much more back-and-forth with the machine and the latter is looking to experience the adrenaline rush of a big win. I guess you could also list a third type of slot player: the player who doesn't have any idea of what he or she actually wants and wanders around playing whatever slot happens to hit his or her fancy.
Interestingly enough, some new mega-multi-line machines can give the slot player a taste of both the good hit frequency but small wins (you get a hit but no win; just some credits back) and also the thrill of occasional big wins when you get a hit and the credit meter goes nuts.
There is a major difference between slot players and table game players in the area of wins and losses. Table game players always expect close contests between themselves and the casinos. Blackjack players win about 44% of their hands and lose about 48%, with 8% being pushes. Outside bettors at roulette expect an almost 50-50 winning percentage against the house (it's actually 20 losses to 18 wins) and smart craps players expect an almost 50-50 split on the best bets (actually a 251% loss percentage to a 244% winning percentage). While there are some "long shots" at table games, these are nowhere near the type of "long shots" you find on slot machines.
Because traditional slot players (i.e., those who play three-reel machines) have been trained over the years to accept many losing hands in a row, even on machines with high hit frequencies, they are willing to be patient, which means they can tolerate long losing streaks without panicking or throwing their hands up in disgust and running out of the casino. Indeed, the players who want to hit it big have monumental patience and will go 30 or 40 spins without a hit because they are sure the big one is just around the corner.
Most traditional slot machines have hit frequencies of between 9% and 20%. Now think of losing 91% of your spins because that is what 9% means. That is some losing quotient. Even an 80% loss quotient would hit savvy table game players right between the eyes. Imagine a blackjack player consistently losing 80% of his or her hands, which would be staggering. At 91%, the blackjack player would probably run from the table screaming that the game was fixed.
Not so with the well-trained slot player. They have the patience of Job. And they need it. However, even on the tightest slot machines those big wins keep them playing. That is the secret of these machines' success.
The slot player who prefers the "give-and-take" finds the high hit frequency machine to his or her liking. This player has a better chance of coming home with a win tonight, although that win is probably somewhat pedestrian.
The gap between the two types of savvy slot players is quite large indeed. So what kind of slot player are you?
This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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