Superstition Good, Paranoia Bad!

Look, I understand that we gamblers are an extremely superstitious lot. The bingo players have their lucky trolls, the craps player has his finger snap, the slot player likes to rub the front of the screen, but people don’t actually think those actions ultimately affect the outcome (at least I hope they don’t). But one thing that I do see, and people do believe affect their likelihood of winning, are those individuals who refuse to use a players card in the card reader because they think the casino has some special switch somewhere in the casino which allows you to win or lose.  

I’ve said it once I’ll say it thousand times: The card reader is in no way connected to the random number generator within your favorite video poker/slot machine. A random number generator (RNG) is a computer chip which is programmed with millions of different combinations of outcome on a slot machine. As a matter of fact, the reels which display a bar, bar, lemon is merely a tangible reflection of the intangible, predetermined RNG code. What few people realize is that once they’ve hit the “Spin” button or pulled the one armed bandit, their fate is sealed. The machine already knows whether you’ve won or lost by before the reels start spinning. So, as a side note, realize that when you’ve hit the spin, there’s literally nothing left to chance at that point. What you’re really hoping to do is catch lightening in a bottle by hitting the spin button at this exact moment the RNG (the slot’s brain, if you will) is cycling through all the winning combinations. You want the machine to be cycling to the pre-determined jackpot code right when you hit “spin”. If you do, the computer tells the reels “OK, you’re going to stop the first real at MEGAWINNER, the second reel to stop at MEGAWINNER and the third reel to stop on MEGAWINNER”.

Alright, so now that we understand more about RNG and its effect on a slot machine, let’s talk about the player’s card reader which is also a piece of hardware on the slot. The player’s card reader is no more important than the arm you pull on the slot, the payout table printed on the display or the reels themselves attached inside the slot box. What happens is when you hit “spin” you’ve told one computer what payout you stopped the RNG upon, as well as, told the player card computer how much money you just ran through the machine. Neither computer is connected to the other. The RNG chip does not communicate with the player card computer chip. Therefore, to have some crazy notion that a machine knows if you’re winning too much (or too little) based upon your player’s card, is simply ignorant. The casino makes PLENTY of money off slot jockeys, they don’t need to jeopardize their gaming license by squeezing a few extra dollars out of you (trust me, casino/hotels charging Resort Fees are doing that legally).

What you’re really missing out on by not using your player’s card are the points you’d have accumulated which are good for cash back, discounted/free meals and hotel rooms, and the like. Please don’t let your superstition meld into paranoia. Trust me when I tell you the two computers are not connected and the casino has no reason to scam you out of your money…they’ve already done that with their percentage payback settings, which is legal.

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About tony

Tony is a solo practice attorney in Mid-Michigan with an emphasis on Estate Planning, Criminal Defense and Business Law. He also enjoys Davidoff cigars, Las Vegas and Bacardi rum.