Issue 281
January 30, 2006 - February 1, 2006
Volume 6
page 3

When Does the RNG Start?
By John Robison

Dear John:

Thank you so much for your candor with your responses to the often trite quips some people tend to write to you about! I really enjoy reading your column. With that said, here are a few questions I have which I hope you can answer with the same honesty and expertise as all the rest.

I remember reading something a while ago regarding the RNG in the newer slots and how the virtual reels basically don't stop and that the RNG is continuously generating numbers and does not stop this process. My question is how can the RNG be pumping out these random combinations endlessly? I mean how can something start if it has not, at one point in its lifetime, been at a stopped position in order to start? If true, then the RNG can't be constantly on and generating combinations for outcome possibilities, correct?

What is your experience with a slot machine tilting, like a pin-ball machine? I was playing a quarter 3-reel triple star machine, hit the spin button and blammo -- all the reels just started going, and going, and going. It was a slow spin and all three reels would not stop. Obviously there was an error and the light came on and the attendant was notified. The dial reported TILT. The attendant opened the machine, reset it and went away. I asked why this happened, she said sometimes it just gets out of whack or something generic like that. I have never seen this before and was curious.

Again, thank you for all your wonderful insight and advice!


    Dear Ashlee,

    Thank you for the kind words about my column.

    It's true that the RNG runs continuously on modern slot machines. But there is a time when it gets started. When a machine is turned on, it runs some self-checks, starts the RNG, and then waits for someone to play it.

    It's exactly like booting up your PC. Nothing is running when it's off, but when you turn it on, it runs some self-checks, loads some software, starts running some processes, and then waits for your input to tell it what to do.

    I have had a machine tilt on me while I was playing it. The attendant gave you a pretty good explanation. The machine has detected something that isn't quite right and it is requesting that an attendant reset it. I suppose you'd have to check the slot management system or query the machine itself to find out exactly what has gone wrong.

    Ed Rogich, vice president for marketing for IGT, once said this about tilts: A tilt can be caused by a number of factors, including jammed tokens, a power surge, improper maintenance and a security breach.

    Best of luck in and out of the casinos,

Dear Sir,

I was wondering something. When I visit my sister in Michigan, we usually go to the Soaring Eagle. We play the Triple Diamond slot machines. Which is better, putting a couple of dollars in at a time, or putting a $20 bill in to play with. The last time I was there, I played a long time on the Triple Diamond and then I got off and played something else. While I was gone, a man took over and won 1800 credits on it. I think he kept putting 20s in.

So what do you suggest?

Thank you for reading this and helping me.


    Dear Cynthia,

    It doesn't make any difference whether you put in a couple of dollars at a time or a $20 bill. The machine only cares that you have enough credits to play a game. It doesn't care if you load up on credits before you play or pay as you go.

    Best of luck in and out of the casinos,

My mother was in Dover, Delaware playing a slot machine when the power went out on the line of machines she was playing. She had a lot of credits and lost all of them due to this power failure.

I witnessed this myself because I was playing a machine beside her. I had just cashed out when this happened, so I did not lose anything.

The casino checked on this for her and said she did not lose any, but I know she did.

    Slot machines are designed to be able to recover from power failures without losing anything. If you're sure that your mother did lose credits, I suggest that you file a complaint with the appropriate casino control commission.

    Best of luck in and out of the casinos,

dear sir the question i have is regarding the realationship between the bet button and the spin button on say any three wheel slot machine for simplicity shall we say in other words is the rng set in motion or activated or predetermaned by the bet button and time interval of the spin button sounds funny but is there a realationship that takes place as it seems as though the odds increase as the bet amount does so you would think the bet and spin button would possibly have a bearing on odds versus rng versus start time for rng or may be something like 1 coin bet would be equal to 16 bit encryption calculations for the rng sequence and so on 2 coin bet 24 bit encryption calculations 3 coin bet 32 bit calculation for the rng to increase the odds of hitting that magic number that corresponds to the jackpot symbols on a machine just curious

    The number of coins you play has no influence on the RNG. There is only one RNG function, one virtual reel layout for each reel. The program running the slot doesn't even care about the number of coins played until it comes time to determine if the result chosen by the RNG is a winning combination and, if so, how much to pay for it.

    Finally, may I suggest that you Google "punctuation"?

    Best of luck in and out of the casinos,

Dear Mr. Robison,

I'm the Revenue Manager for an European Cruise Line and I have an important question for you.

At the moment I'm crossing the Atlantic Ocean from Italy to Florida; one of our passenger likes to play with slot machines - 1500,00 $ per day -.

After few days she asked me if it's possible to play with the same machines every day; of course she is a very nice lady and she did many cruises with us, but I need to know if it's legal to reserve a slot machine just for her onboard a Cruise ship....We have some complaints for other pax, but as Revenue Manager I want to give a good service and make money!

I know that we can do with the tables but what about slot machines? There is any rules in USA?

Waiting for your reply.

    I can't give you any legal advice. You'll have to consult with your attorneys for that.

    I can say that each gambling jurisdiction in the United States sets its own rules about reserving machines. It's not unusual in Las Vegas, for example, for a casino to reserve a high-denomination machine for the exclusive use of a player during his or her stay.

    Best of luck in and out of the casinos,

About the Author

John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a video poker columnist and writes for many of gaming’s leading publications. He holds a master's degree in computer science from the prestigious Stevens Institute of Technology.

You may hear John give his slot and video poker tips live on The Good Times Show, hosted by Rudi Schiffer and Mike Schiffer with Frank Scoblete, which is broadcast from Memphis on WMC 790AM Saturday morning from 9:30 to noon Central Standard Time. John is on the show from 10:30 to 11:00. You can listen to archives of the show on the web anytime.

Books by the Author

The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots

Learn the secrets of today's new slots--how they work, what they pay, and how to play 'em! The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots is packed with powerful information on choosing a machine, payout percentages, slot myths, the value of systems, taxes on jackpots, tipping, using slot clubs, and more. Included are strategies for Double Diamond, Wild & Loose, Wild Cherry, Red White & Blue, Sizzling 7s, Blazing 7s, Wheel of Gold, Ripley's Believe It or Not, Price Is Right, Scrabble, Megabucks, Wheel of Fortune, Millionaire Sevens, and almost any machine on the casino floor. Use the Slot Expert's tips to last longer and have more fun playing today's most popular slot machines.

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