Wherever there are casinos, there are people looking for ways to beat the games.
Mostly it's to no avail, and some attempts swing the odds can even lead to larger losses. Still, you can't blame a player for trying.
One who thought he had come up with something was Alysha, and her thought on beating the house is one of those that can lead to large losses.
Alysha is a video slot player who noticed that she could stop the reels on some games instead of letting them spin to the end.
"The first time I tried it, I got a bonus," she said. "I had to try it again, didn't I? My results were mixed. I won some, I lost some. In the end, it was a regular slot session.
"It started me wondering, though. With practice, could I get good enough that I could stop it on winning combinations whenever I want? Or do the reels just move too fast? Do you have to have a super reaction time?"
Others have had similar thoughts, and a number of years ago I wrote about a player who had a similar thought when he first accidentally double-hit the spin button and saw the reels stop quickly.
Unfortunately for players, stopping the reels early doesn't change your results. What it can do is lead to faster play with more spins hour, and that can be a real budget-breaker.
When you play video slots, the random number generator has already determined your outcome when you hit the button to spin the reels, and you’re going to get the same result regardless of whether you stop the reels early, or let them halt in their own time.
Randomly generated numbers are mapped to potential results, and that map tells the reels where to stop. If the RNG has spit out a random number that tells the first reel to stop on a single bar, then you’re going to get a single bar—regardless of whether you hit the button a second time for a quick stop or just let them take their own sweet time.
By bringing the reels to a quick stop, you're immediately in position to bet again. The amount of time it normally takes the reels to spin is cut out of the equation. If you keep stopping the reels, you spin many more times per hour.
What does that do to your bankroll?
Let's say you bet 40 cents per spin at 500 spins per hour on a penny slot that has a average 90 percent return to players. You can play more than 500 spins per hour without quick stops, but 500 is a nice, steady pace that lets you watch your wins and stop to sip your drink.
At that pace, your average hourly risk is $200 with an average loss of $20.
What if you increase that pace to 1,000 spins per hour? Then total wagers increase to $400 and average loss to $40.
And what if you quick stop spin after spin, focusing intently on slot play and increasing your pace to 2,000 spins per hour? Your wrist would get tired, you might get a little headachy with some eyestrain, but your bet total would rise to $800 with an average loss of $80.
In the wagering world, speed favors whoever has the mathematical edge. In blackjack, faster games are better for advantage players including card counters, but worse for less-skilled players.
On the slots, you can't change the house edge. Quick-stopping the reels doesn't help you, but it does help the house.
Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter (@GrochowskiJ).