Guide to playing
The results being pure chance,
online slots present the online gambler with a sight and sound
experience that keeps returning money to the player in the form
of mainly modest wins and constantly promises the possibility of
massive gains for relatively tiny stakes.
With payouts that in the long-term earn the casino a few
cents for every dollar wagered the player's main decision
revolves around what kind of slot fits the bill and, this being
a cyber casino, the better operators at least make sure to
provide a rich variety of games to suit all kinds of slots fan.
For most players sitting down at their computer for a couple of
hours or so to wind down after work with a session in
cyberspace, the big prizes are elusive. Instead the player is
content to catch modest wins, while Lady Luck might occasionally
show a bit of compassion and serve up a juicy combination of
symbols, sights and sounds that result in a hefty boost in the
In the long run, however, slots take in more money than they
give out, and we can find out this ratio by referring to the
payout information that operators make available on their sites.
(If they don't we suggest you look elsewhere).
The payout is determined by the RNG - Random Number Generator,
which essentially generates results randomly from a known yet
astronomical pool of possible outcomes. (We can argue all day
about the 'extent' of this computer generated randomness, but it
is random enough for me...) By dividing this number of outcomes
into the total sum of money on which they are paid out, we get
the payout of the machine.
From a quick survey of online casinos we will see that,
typically, the payout for this or that casino's slots might be
around 95%, for example. This effectively means that, in the
long-term, for every $100 invested the payout will be $95, and
subsequent loss of $5. But how long is the long-term? And what
happens before we get there? Whilst trawling through gambling
forums we saw many online slots players complaining that they
had joined an online casino after seeing payout claims of 98%,
for example, only to play for weeks and suffer a payback that
was much lower. What they failed to appreciate or acknowledge is
that these are computer programs we are talking about and, as we
should be aware, computers deal with very large numbers indeed.
Therefore, during the course of the long period at the end of
which the payout figure will eventually be established just
about anything can happen, with the short-term results capable
of large swings either way. Another, happier player might well
report that she joined a casino to play the slots and after a
few weeks has seen her bank roll snowball thanks to a payout way
above the one she had seen advertised.
Remember that while the total possible outcomes are known, their
distribution is random (that's the point), so what is not known
is the timescale of the process. Furthermore, the computer is
charged to merely throw out random combinations and is therefore
not privy to the current state of play in terms of the payout
ratio thus far. Consequently — and contrary to the claims of the
non-believers — the program does not allow for the tide of slots
results to change in order to 'even' out the payout.
Expect the Expected
The nature of random results, obviously, is to make each new
spin of the reels a new and mysterious experience. We don't know
what combination of symbols will line up next. Who's to say it
won't be a winning spin, perhaps even the jackpot? Nor can we
rule out a losing combination, or a whole series of them.
Suffice to say, anything can happen, although, in the long-term,
we can indeed expect the expected in that the overall flow of
cyber dollars that passes to and from the customer and the
online slots providers will eventually favor the latter.
In the meantime, by joining a reputable casino with a wide range
of slots on offer and reasonably high payout figures, you might
consider putting, for example, $200 aside to try your luck and
hope that the initial swing is in your favor. This seems like a
decent bank roll considering there are penny slots available,
but be warned as to the speed with which it is possible to play.
Even at a B&M casino we see people race through hundreds of
spins an hour, and online it can be even faster. With thousands
of online players watching literally millions of virtual spins
on any given day, that theoretically long-term payout is
collectively bringing home the bacon at all times for the
operators so that, with each spin you play, you are effectively
adding a few cents of each of your dollars to their coffers.
We find this long-term inevitability rather off-putting from a
value point of view, but we appreciate the thrill of a big win
and the fun factor, although lengthy sessions of slots also
seems somewhat monotonous.
Of course as we write these wise words someone somewhere will be
jumping up and down at home, spilling their drink and oblivious
to the fact that - as is the wont of many an online gambler -
they are dressed only in their underwear, yet tens of thousands
of dollars the richer after sitting through thousands of spins
of the jingling jangling online slots experience...
Strike it Lucky
Just as the occasional bricks and mortar slots jackpot winner
generates great publicity for the casino that is paying out,
online firms have latched on to the potential rewards of
generating high payout so-called progressive jackpot games.
With a network of slots across a number of internet casinos it
is possible for players from different sites to collectively
boost a jackpot to a high level which, when it reaches $1
million, for example, prompts more players to join in the fun
and thus contribute further. And so the cycle continues, with
portals directing players to big, big prizes via more and more
online casinos, every minute of the day. Someone eventually wins
the jackpot, the media jumps in and throws amazing facts and
figures to the public regarding the growth of an apparently
happy internet gambling family and - on cue - consequently these
casinos see a new influx of clients. Because a number of new
customers will eventually do more than just play the occasional
slot machine, the whole concept of progressive jackpots is a
Always Look on the Bright Side of Life...
Meanwhile, those yet to strike it rich tend to remain positive
in their quest thanks to the morale boosting wins that they hit.
And herein lies the wonderful, almost hypnotic psychological
effect of the slots (and video poker). By including in the many
possible outcomes of the RNG software a vast range of winning
combinations of varying values to the player the operators are
able to help distinguish any thoughts of giving up the chase by
virtue of the fact that a win — albeit perhaps rather modest but
enough to add to the player's bank roll - is sure to come along
sooner or later. This provides a well-timed reinforcement for
the player and in doing so maintains interest. Remember that
such winning combinations are random, but sufficiently numerous
not to take too long in coming. The intermittent incidence of
returns results in what is referred to as 'schedule-induced'
behavior from the player, not unlike addiction. Furthermore,
combinations that can have the same kind of reinforcement effect
on the player - yet at no cost to the casino - are those that
feature big prize symbols in non-winning positions, serving to
create a feeling of a near miss. Remember this the next time you
feel like a break from your slots adventure. The jackpot is just
as near or far away, irrespective of any recent wins - so take
Published on 07/27/2007
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