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April 13th, 2017 at 2:37:27 PM permalink
On to my machine

Its called the Taco Slot

Looking for images of Mexican fast food. Sorry all you will find is Octopus

Turns out the Japanese translation of Octopus is Tako (spelled with a "c" here and pronounced the same as the food)

If that feels strange imagine Japanese tourists who stop into Taco Bell on their trip to the US wondering where the Octopus meat is

Actually they may be very aware if they are bilingual. Right below the words Taco Slot it says "featuring the amazing character Octopus"

The machine is an official Pachislo imported from Japan produced by a company named Mizuho.

Most of the machine is English although play instructions are in Japanese

The English translations are slightly off. As noted above the machine features the amazing character Octopus. Something is noticeably off with that syntax. There is no personality to this Tako so it is a creature more than a character. In fact the payout for 3 Octopus symbols is the same as 3 seven symbols. You could say the machine features the amazing character seven. But that wouldnt be quite correct

Play is 1-3 credits. Again the translation is slightly off

I can understand how medals may be mistranslated. Here we would say tokens or credits

You can also win "15 & a big chance"

Yes the translation is off. Probably should be "15 + bonus rounds" or extra spins or jackpot spins. I can think of a few choices better than a "big chance"

I purchased it off Ebay for $200. Pachislo machines dont generally sell for high price tags and this is due to requirements of Japanese law

Unlike American slots which often go for thousands for machines that are very recent Pachislo usually can be had for a few hundred

I will cover some of the laws that dictate so much of how Pachislo operate in the next installment
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April 20th, 2017 at 12:20:49 PM permalink
Japanese gambling laws determine much of how and what Pachislo is

I purchased my machine off ebay for only $200. Although low other machines dont generally go for higher than mid-100s

Japanese gambling law states no Pachislo machine may be in operation longer than 2 years. This results in machines being forceably removed and sold off. Hence the low cost to own one here in the states

I imagine there are reasons for every one of these laws no matter how weird. Forcing the sale of machines after two years seems like either anti-organized crime or anti-amateur intrusion methods or simply a means of Forcing forward innovation. Who knows?

Another possibility would be to curb addiction by removing machines a gambler may become enamoured with. There are other similar laws in this region.

For example Pachislots are limited to 15 credits payout. Also money exchange is prohibited (loopholes are utilized to get around these limitations)

Also Pachislo machines can only hold up to 50 credits at a time

And they are a form of must hits. After a certain number of plays huge bonus rounds must occur

And some skill must be involved as well. Yes the world already has skill slots in existence.

Really really hard skill but nonetheless skill

Next entry will look at skill versus luck (r-n-g) in these machines
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April 28th, 2017 at 11:47:35 PM permalink
Great stuff so far, I'm definitely interested in hearing the rest.

One comment on the medal/token/credit terminology: I don't think the use of the word "medal" is a mistake. Japanese arcades have elaborate coin pushers that are usually referred to as "medal[lion] games", and the basic goal of these medal games and pachislos are the same: try to take out more medals than you put in.
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April 30th, 2017 at 11:27:15 AM permalink
Quote: doughtaker

Great stuff so far, I'm definitely interested in hearing the rest.

One comment on the medal/token/credit terminology: I don't think the use of the word "medal" is a mistake. Japanese arcades have elaborate coin pushers that are usually referred to as "medal[lion] games", and the basic goal of these medal games and pachislos are the same: try to take out more medals than you put in.

I agree. I dont think it was an error so much as a literal translation that is off

For example the japanese term "life proposition" is a direct translation referring to putting your life on the line in a wager but westernized we would be more likely to refer to that as a death risk or death game. Western culture would more likely think of a life proposition as something to better ones life such as a life changing offer or wager

If i offered you a life proposition your first thought would not be you were going to be killed if you lost. Now if i offered you a death wager...
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May 1st, 2017 at 7:32:34 AM permalink
Skill slots. Japanese gambling law requires Pachislots to have some skill element. In particular they usually have a skill-stop

A button below each reel allows you to stop the reel in motion. Unlike traditional slots with individual reel stops these are truly skill. Another aspect of pertaining laws are that the reel can travel no more than 4 movements from the skill-stop. In other words no more than four symbols above where you stop the reel

Extremely skillful players can add up to 20% in +EV to their return!

You can stop the reels in any order however traditional left to right order will give you an anticipatory music if you get 2 symbols to a winning jackpot regardless of whether you get the third symbol. Stopping in any other order and you miss out on the almost-wins excitement

You can also opt to let the reels spin. After approximately 40 seconds they will stop on their own presumably per their RNG predetermined outcome

Yes they do rely heavily on an RNG and predetermined wins as well. Skill-stops are so difficult that only a small fraction of players can take advantage and perhaps even pros may be deluding themselves to their success rate

So how does it work? Based on my observation the RNG seems to be the primary stop while skill is relegated to a secondary stop mechanism or foil

First you spin by toggling the slot handle. It looks like a mini version of a western slot pull handle and is located on the front of the machine. Perhaps it looks more like a joystick. Your thumb is sufficient to effectuate the spin

This is where the RNG predetermines your results

Using visual acuity the repeating shapes speeding by a skilled player tries to stop on the winning symbols. But that is not enough

If the predetermined outcome is within four movements of the stop then the reel defaults to the predetermined outcome anyway

Example: lets say after two reels stopped you need one more symbol (a seven) for the win and you have a good idea when to stop the final reel. A cherry has been predetermined by the RNG

When u skill-stop if the cherries symbol is one-two-three or four movements away then the RNG as the primary win mechanism lands on cherries and you lose. If the cherries symbol is more than four movements away the reel stops where you skill-stop (either immediately or one movement away approximately) and hopefully its landed on that seven symbol you were timing.

So skill is not only in stopping the reel but having a general knowledge of the order of the symbols

If i can read your minds right now yes nothing said skill was gonna be easy!

However there is a silver lining. As mentioned previously Pachislo machines are +EV even for unskilled players

Significantly +EV. +160 is the ceiling with as high as +200% EV for skilled players

Now before everyone starts booking their flights to Tokyo make sure to tune in to the remainder of this series
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May 12th, 2017 at 12:27:43 PM permalink
Like most everything about pachislots, japanese gambling law determines wagering requirements as well

Since it is illegal to gamble with money, coins or tokens (medals) are used. I dont know if more modern machines use some form of TITO but pachislots cannot have, per japanese law, more than 50(53) credits inserted. At a quarter game thats no more than $12.50(albeit in yen, i assume) thats exremely low for players to insert bill-wise

Here is the coin drop for the player to retrieve his coins

Here is the inside hopper filled with coins.

Coin sized slots "grab"(from simple gravity) the coins. The rotating coin collector spits them out when payout is necessary

A birds-eye view of the rotating spinamajig that shoots out the coins

You can wager 1-3 coins

As u insert each coin the appropriate paylines purchased light up

1 coin for 1 payline

2 coins for 3 paylines

3 coins for 5 paylines (max bet)

Since japanese gambling law prohibits payouts of more than 15 credits per wager, additional credit wagers purchase only additional lines - not multipliers of the base bet. E.g. a win of 15 credits is the same at one unit wagered or three.

Pachislo games feature what can best be described as a Kinetic mode vs a Potential mode (my terminology) regarding credit insertion

You toggle between the two modes using a red button just below the wagering buttons

In Kinetic mode the machine will accept only the 1-3 coins for each wager. Additional coins fall through to land in the coin drop unregistered. In essence every single spin requires the player to insert coins and conclude the wager

The credit meter is unlit in Kinetic mode

When in Potential mode the credit meter is lit and ready to accept credits for future wagers

As stated pachislo machines will only accept up to 50(53) coins. The reason for the number in parentheses is the first 3 coins inserted are counted as a Kinetic or wagered amount. The meter wont start counting till after the first 3 coins are inserted. At first this disconcerting since it appears you are not being credited. The wager lines are lighting up however. So technically you can insert up to 53 coins with 50 held as Potential wagers

The benefit of Potential mode is not having to constantly reach for coins to insert as you have already inserted 50. Also wins are paid in credits instead of coins up to 50. E.g. if you have 30 credits and win 10 your credit meter would go up to 40. If you had 48 credits and won 10 your meter would go up to 50 and the remaining 8 paid out as coins into the physical coin dropper

In some ways Potential mode can also be seen as a Lazy mode or a Convenience mode

Another plus to Potential mode is you can commit less coins after making a wager - something which is disabled in Kinetic mode

Just above the spin handle and the toggle between modes are your 3 wagering buttons only active in Potential mode

2 side by side buttons with the number 1 and 2. To the right of that is a separate and larger Max Bet button

After making a max bet you can lower your wager to just 1 or 2 credits and of course you can raise it to max at any time but again this option is only in Potential mode and only when wagering credits already on the meter. Physical insertion of credits is always applied to a current or Kinetic wager

If at any time you wish to remove the Potential credit wagers you simply toggle the red button back to Kinetic mode and similar to a cashout button you will receive all your coins. The meter will count down to zero and then turn off per Kinetic mode

Note: if you have the full 50(53) coins in the machine you will only receive back 50. The first 3 were considered a wager and you must still spin

Next time i will discuss the first part of receiving payouts and bonus modes
Last edited by: darkoz on May 12, 2017
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May 12th, 2017 at 1:09:45 PM permalink
I had one of these games and hated it. I recently gave it to another forum member.
It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you had a good bet.
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May 18th, 2017 at 6:53:18 PM permalink
Some more actual info here.

There are regulations governing how fast the reels may spin, and the maximum delay between pressing the buttons and when the reels stop. in practice, this means that the machines are allowed to slip a few symbols.

Normally the bonus cannot be won. even if you time it right, the third reel will always slip.

But when enough plays have happened, the game removes the block on the reels, and actually stops them when you tell it to for a certain number of spins. During this time you can use skill to hit it. if you fail to hit it, it is then added to the stock. this is a bank of unclaimed bonuses.

When someone scores a bonus, the game will often, if there is stock remaining in the machine, help lead in another big bonus. in this case the game cheats in your favor. This is a repeater, or "renchan". this allows winning a very large number of medals in a very short amount of time.

Furthermore there is a maximum number of spins allowed without a big bonus. if none have been hit for that number of spins, one will be spun in soon. thus even an unskilled player is capable of getting a big win, if other unskilled players have missed their chance.

There are things known as winning signs. these are real combinations which while they do not win, can nevertheless not be hit unless the bonus isn't being blocked. It is easier to skill stop a winning sign than a bonus. so to test if you are in "standby games" (where the game is not cheating you out of big) attempt to stop it on a winning sign. if you succeed, you know you can actually hit the bonus with skill.

When you are playing a bonus round, the game constantly cheats in your favor, trying to lead in jac 3 in a rows.

Machines have multiple skill settings (generally 6 as i recall). The easiest skill level is player advantage without skill, and the hardest is nearly impossible to play +ev even with skill. but you can still backcount them, and win that way. Usually a small number of machines are set easy so someone will be winning.
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May 28th, 2017 at 3:27:27 PM permalink
Payouts are also limited by japans gambling laws. The 15 credit per wager limitation is a bit stifling

Here is the paytable for single wager wins

The most common win is the free spin - you receive no credits - just the chance to try again

Cherries pay 2 credits in the base game and 3 in the bonus rounds. The pay is for the single cherry left reel. Having more than one cherries on a line has no affect on the payout

Cherries are the only symbol you seem able to win on multiple paylines. If u get cherries center payline that pays 2 credits. If you get cherries top or bottom of the left reel that pays 2 credits for both the straight and diagonal lines for a total of 4 credits (assuming you played all five lines for 3 credits)

Since you cannot win more than 15 credits in a single wager it would violate the law to win multiple lines with grapes (10) or watermelons (15) since two simultaneous pays would give you over the legal limit. (I suppose you could get grapes and cherries but i have yet to see that happen)

It can be assumed that with the importance of not having payouts above 15 units that the reels are purposefully designed to avoid that. The positions of the symbols that is could never line up in a way that resulted in a multi-line win besides the aforementioned cherries

The most exciting part of the game is winning bonus rounds. There are two types and they are somewhat intertwined so i will go over these in the next post

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