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  1. #161
    Senior Member Random$$Slots's Avatar
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    Thoughts and Factoids

    This in a interesting discussion and one that seems to invoke lots of passion. Here are a few thoughts & factoids:

    1) This discussion thread started with a comment about casinos setting slots tighter during the weekdays. One theory on how this notion may have started is that casinos usually have more players on the weekends. More players mean more jackpots with more noise and flashing lights. An uninformed employee could get the impression that the casino is setting the slots tighter during weekdays because they notice less jackpots then. Just saying.

    2) Here is an interesting link that summarizes the Indian casino compacts by state - http://www.americancasinoguide.com/s...tatistics.htm; (I wasn't sure if anyone else already posted this already)

    3) As posted earlier by Warren (and maybe others) the usual Theoretical Hold on most slots is between a low of 84-85% and a high of 95-96%. The extremes are as low as 66% to as high as 98%. Video poker can be as high as 100.X%.

    4) Scenario: Machine A is set to 15% Hold, Machine B is set to 4% Hold. Volatility with 90% confidence is about 7 (a medium to medium high volatility). A player visits a casino and during the trip plays 15 hours, playing $1 x 10,000 pulls. At the end of the trip, the player on Machine A loses $1,200 to $2,600 ($1,900 average). On Machine B the player loses $100 to $1,400 ($750 average). The player might lose money 250% faster on Machine A. Both scenarios are for 90% confidence, so 10% of the trips this player will see higher or lower results. So, while it is true that a player might not truly be able to tell if the machines are set tight or loose, over the course of a few trips to different casinos the average regular slot player will most likely "feel" the difference between places that are very loose or tight. Yes, there are the exceptions; and yes, some players feel they are the exceptions.

    5) Usually, as Warren points out, the casino will try to adjust to the local market. As such, a player won't see drastic differences in Hold %s, as in the above scenarios. However, there is at least one example where the differences are very noticeable to average players. This example is the differences between casinos in the Lake Tahoe and Reno areas. The two areas are separated by about 40 to 90 minutes apart (North or South Lake Tahoe) and people often play in both areas.
    A machine in Lake Tahoe might typically be set closer to 85% while that same machine might typically be set closer to 95% in Reno.

    6) As Warren says, slot managers roam the floors of their competitors. Semi-funny story - one slot manager was recently caught with keys to the slots in a competing casino. He was trying to find out what Hold %s the competitors were setting their machines to. He wanted to set his machines to be "just loose enough".

    7) It was a good suggestion made earlier about using video poker machines as an indicator of how tight or loose a casino is. It is not perfect, but it is better than guessing.

    8) An even better way to tell if a casino has favorable Hold %s is to find one that advertises specific numbers. Some in Reno used to do so, but don't seem to do so lately. One in California advertises 95% on all machines within their Penny Zone. You really can tell the differences between identical machines that are in the 95% Penny Zone and those that are not. On the other hand, claims of "friendliest slots", "best slots", etc., don't mean much. Atlantis in Reno says on their slot webpage "Reno - Loosest Slots in the USA", and even quotes a reference; but, it says nothing about the slots in the Atlantis.

    9) One casino in Reno, the Peppermill, is known for loose slots (this is the one that used to advertise such). They are also known for not having any wide area progressives. Read an earlier post by Warren for a hint why.

    10) Finally, Server Based Games are relatively new and have taken off a little slower than the proponents originally hoped. Yes, the Theoretical Hold % can be changed with a few clicks of the mouse and a few key strokes somewhere in the 'broom closet' (I thought slot managers had nicer offices than this). In fact, when the original slot management systems first came out, they were demonstrated in a mode that allowed a single manager to make changes to Hold %s without the need of an approval from a higher authority manager. Vendors now are quick to point out that a lone slot manager can't do that. How the approval of Hold % changes are made are a matter of policy and law, not the technology. But, there is a slight "exception" that works within the law. A casino can, in theory, choose to change the game being played on a particular machine. The Hold % for game A can be different than game B. A casino might do this, for example, if a high limit player walks in and demands their favorite game. A more common situation is that the casino simply swaps in a new game to replace an old game (this scenario is just a software way to avoid hand trucks). Whether a casino changes the mix of games for particular days of the week, or even hours of the day, is something regular players would notice.

    Conclusion:
    The controversy about changing Hold %s for certain days, players, etc., is one that was predicted when SBG systems first came out. I think it is still an issue that the industry needs to address because retaining customer trust and loyalty is good business practice. The fact that this discussion thread is so long and passionate is one example. It might be the case that the industry might benefit if it asked for more regulation - something that businesses rarely ask for. That said, this controversy will never go away.

  2. #162
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moneybags View Post
    As I understand it, the minimum is set by the compact between the tribe and the state. Oklahoma has no minimum.
    Along with the FACT it is well known that tribal regulations vary hugely from state to state, as I have menetioned before Louisiana where Warren is from has pretty strict regulatory conditions compared to many states.

  3. #163
    Senior Member SlotM's Avatar
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    So my question has to do with a popular term "software updates".
    You see these notices posted on the machines quite regularly in the past few months. What exactly are they doing. Is this a fancy word for "Adjust Payout Percentages"?
    I have been noticing that my local has been doing these alot lately. There cant be that many changes occurring can there?
    All the newer IGT machines were out of service last week for these so called "software updates".
    I notice when they do these software updates they are usually done in teams of two. First guy applies the update and the second one verifys the settings. The problem when they do these updates they rope off the area so I cant see the settings or what they are exactly doing. They are definitely opening the lock boxes. Once the updates are complete and verified, the machines go back into service (within a day or so). Im sure they have to get approval from the commission before they put the games into service. I just never see the commissionaire (must be there late at night or first thing in the morning). They are not moving any of the machines either.
    What I do know, is after they apply these changes, its like playing a totally different game. It does not play the same and I think the reels are spinning faster. I complain but no one seems to care.
    Last edited by SlotM; 05-25-2014 at 07:17 PM.

  4. #164
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    Software updates can be anything from changing out rescinded firmware, reflashing the bill validators, updating player tracking, or changing the paytables, could be anything. I know my semi-local NA puts banks of games out of service for routine maintenance, like replacing buttons, lights, video screens, running the vacuum through them, etc. I've even seen casinos take banks down because the player tracking system is being silly and they have to rewire the whole bank, but I'm sure that always has something to do with converting them to SB gaming so everyone will lose on them. People always assume when they see banks of machines down they're tightening them up. Nobody even gives a thought that they might be loosening them up a little or even fixing or cleaning them up.

  5. #165
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    Quote Originally Posted by CDN$=5C View Post
    What I do know, is after they apply these changes, its like playing a totally different game. It does not play the same and I think the reels are spinning faster. I complain but no one seems to care.
    I think what you've experienced is a RAM clear. Just like a PC at home if you don't reboot often it bogs down and gets slow, same happens with slots. They have to run a RAM clear chip or IVC chip on them. When the IVC clear is done the game has to be set up like it's brand new, denomination set, max bet, W2G limits, etc. And the games do play alot faster after the clears.

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