I’m playing the slot enough that I’ve became friendly with different people who works in slot departments at a couples of the riverboats. Last mounths, one of them told me that really took me by surprise. He said that the winning combinations aren’t really random, that the so-called “random number generator” was just a series of numbers running in a continuou loops. He told each random number corresponded to a winning combination, but they appeared in the same sequence over and over against.
I told him I thought that the state required results to be random, and he said they are, but that the random factor was the player’s timing. If my friend and I start playing at the same point on this loop of numbers, our timing might be different enough that I get reel combinations Nos. 2, 8, 19 and 26 while my friend gets 3, 10, 20 and 28. Starting from the same point, if our timing was exactly the same we’d get the same results.
That doesn’t sound like random results to me at all. Is this true?
Either your slot department friend was trying to give you a really sophisticated answer and left out a couple of important details, or he was badly off target.
Random number generators – the computer programs that determine what combinations you see on the reels – are as random as humans can program a computer to be. Results are so close to random that they are unpredictable.
That being said, perfect randomness is easier said than done. The late Lenny Frome, who was an engineer in the aerospace industry before becoming a casino games analyst, reported several years ago that random number generators weren’t perfectly random. He said even the best random number generators eventually went into a loop of recurring numbers. It might take billions of numbers to reach that loop, and the loop was so big players wouldn’t notice, but it was there.
A couple of years after Frome’s report, executives at Silicon Gaming told me they had developed the first true random number generator, with no recurring loops. Did Silicon really succeed in achieving total randomness? I have only Silicon’s word to go on.
In any case, even the imperfect random number generators used in slot machines are so close to random that we might as well say results are random. You can play a slot machine from now until Bill Gates’ fortune runs out, and you’ll never be able to spot a pattern of which you can take advantage.