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Tight slots

Falls Church...
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137 posts
1 review
Tight slots

My friend told me slot machines are very tight in Atlantic City. Is that true?

19 replies to this topic
Mullica Hill, New...
Level Contributor
8,332 posts
8 reviews
1. Re: Tight slots

Nope. If someone doesn't win, they feel the slots are tight. Many gamblers feel that they should be winning most of the time, which is the exact opposite of how the games and winning works.

There's laws set for minimum payouts. I can't remember exactly, but I think Vegas actually has tighter standards.

Point Pleasant...
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869 posts
67 reviews
2. Re: Tight slots

The House advantage on slot play is so high that nothing nefarious needs to be done.

3. Re: Tight slots

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Baltimore, MD
Level Contributor
2,062 posts
129 reviews
4. Re: Tight slots

"They're tight everywhere."

This is what I have also observed.

Mullica Hill, New...
Level Contributor
8,332 posts
8 reviews
5. Re: Tight slots

Put it this way: Let's say the payout is 100%. There's a $100 prize.

100 gamblers each put in $1. Only one can win. 99% will say the machines are tight. 1% will say the machines are in their favor.

If you want to guarantee yourself you'll break even, play a change machine.

New York
Level Contributor
504 posts
6. Re: Tight slots

In my experience, Las Vegas machines are tighter than AC machines

New York, NY
Destination Expert
for Atlantic City
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6,056 posts
25 reviews
7. Re: Tight slots

>>100 gamblers each put in $1. Only one can win. 99% will say the machines are tight. 1% will say the machines are in their favor.<<

slot machines don't work that way.

more than one gambler could win the "big prize" one after another. or nobody could win the "big prize" for a very long time. hundreds of people could play without winning the "big prize." over time, about one in a hundred would win the "big prize." but a machine such as you describe, with a guaranteed payout for one out of every hundred players would be illegal.

a better analogy would be that you have a bag of 100 marbles. 83 of them are black, the rest are red. black marbles return your bet; red marbles, you lose. each time you stick your hand in the bag and choose a marble, you have to return the marble to the bag, so that there are always 100 marbles in the bag. this game - over time - will pay back 83%. if you stick your hand in the bag a hundred times, you could get a hundred black marbles... it's unlikely, but you could. you could also get ninety, you could get sixty or you could get twenty. you could also be unlucky enough to choose 100 red marbles... it's unlikely, but you could. if you yourself choose 100 red marbles or 100 black marbles, the payback of the game is still 83%.

that's essentially the way slot machines work, except there aren't a hundred marbles... there are hundreds or thousands of "marbles" on the virtual reels... yet there may only be one or two of the jackpot symbols you need to win the "big prize."

the principle behind the statement in post #5 is absolutely true... those who say the machines are tight are likely those who have lost. but it's a subjective judgment made only AFTER somebody has played. a slot machine is neither tight nor loose... it is just a machine with a pseudo random number generator that pays players randomly in accordance with the par sheets and virtual reels established by the manufacturer. the hold and payout percentages are specified by the casino, with a minimum generally set by the state in class III gaming jurisdictions.

for the record, the state minimum in new jersey is 83% and the state minimum in nevada is 75%. the actual payback may vary, and most likely is higher. that being said, i have previously reported that i saw the diagnostic screens on a penny slot at caesars and the machine was paying out at 85%, payouts for quarters and dollars and larger denominations are higher.

but the payback and hold percentages prove true over MILLIONS of spins and your short term results over a few hours or a few days have little bearing on the payback percentage of an individual machine. if you lose, you're simply experiencing a run of bad luck, during which random chance did not work in your favor.

do not confuse payback with volatility and hit frequency. many modern video slot games are designed with extremely high volatility, but frequent hits. you'll hit something on a 25 or 40 line machine on most spins, but it won't pay much. that's a frequent hit... and makes the machine playable because you think you're getting something back, even though you're actually losing on most spins.

volatility simply means that the designers of the game have made the big wins very big (but rare), with much more modest "wins" (most of them actually losing spins that pay less than your bet) appearing quite frequently. so, if you win, you do extraordinarily well... if it goes the other way, you lose you shirt.

regardless of the machine's design, by law every spin must be an independent result chosen by the psuedo random number generator. and every spin must have an equal chance at the same result.

Level Contributor
202 posts
8. Re: Tight slots

I'll keep this one simple, yes they are tighter than other "like" markets. Chicagoland is the #3 largest market in the US, behind AC & Vegas. You can play at the likes of the Casino Queen with 92.45% payback or Harrahs Joliet with 92.05%

To put this into easy math, flip the numbers. 92.5% payback is 7.5% hold. You can expect to lose, on average, $7.50 with each $100 gambled through. Obviously that is in a bubble since some win more and other lose more.

Here are the 2017 numbers for the below markets. This includes all machines and denoms. That is how NJ breaks it out. They used to report by denom, but the casinos hated sharing that info.

I'll round the math to make my point. If you plat slots at the Tropicana in AC, you expect to lose $10 for each $100 played through. Play slots in Reno or Sparks NV and you can expect to lose half that, $5.00 for each $100.

IE half the expected loss or twice the time on device. It adds up.

All of the Las Vegas Strip averages out to better than AC. The sum average of AC is 91.03% return or 8.97% hold. You can play at Resorts World in NY where it is 94.14% payback. Would you rather lose $9 per $100 or $6.00 per $100? It adds up fast!

The only major market that comes to the crap holds that AC has is PA. So at least they are on par with them.

Harrah’s 91.7%

Borgata 91.6%

Caesars 91.0%

Bally’s A.C. 90.9%

Resorts 90.8%

Golden Nugget 90.7%

Tropicana 90.5%

Compare to Nevada

The Strip – 92.00%

Downtown – 92.78%

Boulder Strip – 94.37%

N. Las Vegas – 93.56%

Reno 94.68

Sparks 94.73%

Edited: 11:00 am, June 13, 2018
Falls Church...
Level Contributor
137 posts
1 review
9. Re: Tight slots

Thanks for all helpful information.

Specially Grid68

new york
Destination Expert
for Atlantic City
Level Contributor
9,709 posts
2 reviews
10. Re: Tight slots

I would add you should take posted slot machine payback percentages with suspicion as they can easily be skewered by including video poker machines which often have a low house edge for skilled players who choose the best pay tables. And, of course, a difference of a few percents may not be noticeable by any single player in one day, or week, or even months as long as the machines are truly almost fully random class III. And understand payback percentages are based upon hundreds of thousand of plays. Here are links for more details:




Or read what a couple of the Gurus have shared:



Good Luck & Enjoy!

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