When it comes to the pokies, many are surprised at how they work. Some people feel that they simply have a mechanism that says X amount has been put in so Y must be paid out, but there is more to the humble pokie than meets the eye.
We took a very short period of time to decide to answer a question that came in about pokies paying out, in fact as soon as we saw it we decided to put pen to paper and write about the answer. The question we received was are pokies programmed to pay out at particular times? A question that many of you have probably asked yourselves, so read on and find out the answer to this burning question
Are pokies programmed?
There are different views on it on the internet. Peter Hand who has designed Pokies Machines and lives in Vegas has given the answer to this question in Quora. He says there are several ways of doing it, depending on what regulatory jurisdiction covers them. There are “Class 2” games that deliver a fixed and predetermined series of outcomes in random order, and there are “Class 3” games that are completely random and each outcome has the same chance of appearing as any other. When most people think of a pokies machine they think of Class 3.
1. Controller randomly select stops
The first method the pokies are programmed is that the controller randomly selects stop positions from a long list of symbols, runs to those positions, and then evaluates the results. With fully mechanical machines, the “long list” was the reel strips, and with electronic machines, it’s a set of virtual strips in memory, of which every physical stop position is mapped to one or more (usually more) virtual positions. The come-on is that the blank positions on either side of the jackpot symbols are mapped to a large number of virtual positions so that the player frequently thinks he just missed the jackpot.
2. Randomly selects a game result
The second method is that the controller randomly selects a game outcome and then drives the reels to correspond. For example, it might decide that the game will win 3 bells, and drive the reels to display that result. More often it will decide that the game loses, then it can drive the reels to any non-winning combination. The come-on is that the most frequent losing combination is nearly a win.
Second method is more alluring
Of these two systems, the second method is the most alluring. With the first method, the frequency that symbols show up on the line is proportional to the number of times a symbol is listed in the virtual reel strip, so it hits a disproportionate number of blanks. With the second method, there’s no such restriction – any combination that doesn’t pay off is as good as any other, so it will frequently put two symbols on the line and then just miss the third.
The second method is not allowed in North America. It used to be, though. The company that first introduced it was extremely successful – their games were far and away from the most popular. However, an “anonymous complaint” was made to the Gaming Board that the near-miss feature was unfair to players, and wording was added to the regulations that all games must use the first method.
Coincidentally, the dominant American slot machine company held a patent on the first method, so as well as eliminating a major competitor, every other company wanting to do business in the US was obliged to pay them a substantial license fee for every machine made. Elsewhere in the world, nearly everyone uses the second method.
Pokies Machines and RNG
These machines are not pseudo-random, by the way. They do have a pseudo-random number generator. But it runs at high speed continuously; and the numbers that decide the game outcome are taken at the moment the player starts the game. Since this timing is completely asynchronous to the RNG, the outcome is truly random.
The quick and short answer is no, but we want to tell you why it’s a no. Pokies are actually very advanced in today’s age. And they have special algorithms inside that control if and when they payout. This algorithm is more than a set time period, it is not even when a set amount has been put in.
A set percentage of payout
The algorithm does have a set percentage to payout (RTP). This percentage may be 96% of the money paid will be paid out. But the way this is done is through an algorithm; which has no set process to follow and combines millions of combinations. The idea is that this will make it more about luck than anything else.
Remember that programming a pokies machine requires you to place a few things into the machine. The programming involves the introduction of cash, currency receptors, payout lines, and then bonus rounds. It is not programmed to payout at a particular time.
You may ask what you can do to improve your chances. Well if someone has been playing and pumping lots of money in without winning; the law of averages tells you that you are more likely to win on these pokies; than one that has just paid out.