MichaelBluejay
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February 12th, 2023 at 6:51:06 PM permalink
Years ago a manufacturer came out with a feature in which any spin could win the jackpot, even without lining up the jackpot symbols. They called this a "random jackpot", which I thought was silly because *all* jackpots are random. So when I wrote about these slots I called them "Non-Payline Jackpots". Then I forgot all about them.

Recently a reader wrote to me about "Must Hit By" progressives. Searching around, that seems to be the new term for the old concept, but I'm not entirely sure. (If so, it's certainly a vast improvement over the old name.) Also, now I'm not sure I got the detail right about not lining up the symbols, maybe the symbols actually *did* line up. So my questions are:

(1) Are the old "Random Jackpot" machines and the "Must Hit By Jackpot" machines the same thing?

(2) If they're not the same thing, then for the "Random Jackpot" flavor:

(a) Are these always flat top machines, or are they always progressive machines?
(b) Are there actually two ways to win, one by lining up the jackpot symbols randomly, and one by winning via a "second chance" drawing by the algorithm?
If there's a second-chance drawing, then I presume when you win the jackpot symbols don't line up?

(3) If they're not the same thing, then I presume that with the "Must Hit By" flavor, the jackpot symbols actually line up?

(4) Let's say that when a "Must Hit By" slot reseeds, it picks $4732 as the must-hit-by value. Does that mean that players have no chance of winning until the meter gets to $4732, or can players win by randomly lining up the jackpot symbols *before* the meter hits the $4732?

I played some progressive slots at Fitzgerald's in Reno over twenty years ago, that had to hit by a certain point, and I won several of the jackpots over a couple weeks, but I can't recall whether the jackpot symbols lined up or not.
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rsactuary
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February 12th, 2023 at 7:19:46 PM permalink
(1) No. All of the Lightning Link, Dragon Link, Dollar Storm games etc have a random Grand and Major feature. It can be hit on any non-winning spin, so no jackpot symbols need to line up. A Must Hit By (MHB) will show what the starting point is and what the maximum is as well.

(2) a) see above for the Aristrocrat versions that have a random grand and major. b) yes, on these machines you can still win the grand or major by filling up the screen on a hold and spin feature, or landing an orb with major on it. I've attached a screen rules page from Sahara Gold, see bottom line.

(3) A MHB does not require you to line jackpot symbols up. Most MHB start at the reset amount and then go up a certain amount per dollar bet. It hits when the contribution from you bet goes over the secret target amount. It happens irrespective of the spin.. so no, you don't need to line up jackpot symbols.

(4) correct.. no chance of winning until the meter get to 4732.

ETA: for some reason it won't let me attach the picture. sorry. Exact wording from the rules screen is the best I can do: "Grand Jackpot may be won randomly after any bought game where 0, 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 orbs appear." Remember, you need 6 or more orbs on Lightning Link to trigger the hold and spin feature.
MichaelBluejay
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February 12th, 2023 at 8:00:46 PM permalink
Thank you, rsactuary, this is very helpful.

Based on your information, I rewrote the section on non-payline jackpots. Could I trouble you to see if you think I got it right?
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rsactuary
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February 12th, 2023 at 8:13:51 PM permalink
Comments:

Sahara Gold is a game under the Lightning Link brand, I wouldn't specifically list it.

Your MHB section is reasonable, although after my last post, I thought about the old WMS G+ machines with MHB jackpots. Instead of the value going up by some percentage of the amount bet, the jackpots when up by some percentage of the amounts won. So on those machines, you did need a winning spin to advance the meters and hopefully cross over the secret target amount. But it wasn't symbol related... any win advanced the meter. There's a thread on these machines someone on here.
McSweeney
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February 12th, 2023 at 11:26:21 PM permalink
Here's an example of a "Random Jackpot" on a Konami game. It just comes out of nowhere and says "Congratulations, you won 10 grand!" for no reason. No lining up symbols, no must-hit-by-progressive. Nothing.

Skip to 7:30
Mental
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February 13th, 2023 at 10:11:18 AM permalink
Quote: MichaelBluejay

Years ago a manufacturer came out with a feature in which any spin could win the jackpot, even without lining up the jackpot symbols. They called this a "random jackpot", which I thought was silly because *all* jackpots are random. So when I wrote about these slots I called them "Non-Payline Jackpots". Then I forgot all about them.

Recently a reader wrote to me about "Must Hit By" progressives. Searching around, that seems to be the new term for the old concept, but I'm not entirely sure. (If so, it's certainly a vast improvement over the old name.) Also, now I'm not sure I got the detail right about not lining up the symbols, maybe the symbols actually *did* line up. So my questions are:

(1) Are the old "Random Jackpot" machines and the "Must Hit By Jackpot" machines the same thing?

(2) If they're not the same thing, then for the "Random Jackpot" flavor:

(a) Are these always flat top machines, or are they always progressive machines?
(b) Are there actually two ways to win, one by lining up the jackpot symbols randomly, and one by winning via a "second chance" drawing by the algorithm?
If there's a second-chance drawing, then I presume when you win the jackpot symbols don't line up?

(3) If they're not the same thing, then I presume that with the "Must Hit By" flavor, the jackpot symbols actually line up?

(4) Let's say that when a "Must Hit By" slot reseeds, it picks $4732 as the must-hit-by value. Does that mean that players have no chance of winning until the meter gets to $4732, or can players win by randomly lining up the jackpot symbols *before* the meter hits the $4732?

I played some progressive slots at Fitzgerald's in Reno over twenty years ago, that had to hit by a certain point, and I won several of the jackpots over a couple weeks, but I can't recall whether the jackpot symbols lined up or not.
link to original post

"Must Hit By" (MH) is not equivalent to non-payline jackpots. The term I am familiar with is mystery jackpots. The mystery is how they are awarded. The player has no indication from the reel spin that they are about to be awarded the jackpot. However, mystery jackpots include MH jackpots and "Hit Whenever" (HW) jackpots. These jackpots don't have to hit by any particular value, but they are also not tied to the outcome of the reel spin. Therefore, HW and MH jackpots are both mystery jackpots.

When presented with a new MH game, the player can quickly calculate the maximum coin in to guarantee a jackpot hit if the meter is based on coin in. In contrast, WMS progressives are based on coin out, so if you run bad on the base game, then you also have less chance of getting the jackpot.

When a player sees a new HW jackpot, it can be very hard to get an estimate of the jackpot hit frequency. I had an estimate of a HW jackpot frequency based on only 3 observed hits. My estimate turned out to be low. I started playing when the jackpot was 7x the reset value. I lost $32K over a few months and then went on a cruise with the meter at 23x reset. When I got back, someone had hit it at an unknown level and the meter was at 2.3x reset.

I combined this data point with a few more observed jackpot hits at lower levels to generate a new estimate of hit probability. I will start playing only at much higher levels from now on. If you observe jackpot levels only on a sporadic basis, you will never know the exact level where the jackpot hit. If the game has two meters and only one reset, you can sometimes infer the jackpot payout. If the jackpot is reseeded with a background accumulator, even this guess will not be accurate. For example, 0.75% might go to a MH jackpot and 0.25% goes to the background accumulator. When the jackpot hits, the accumulated seed moves to the meter and the accumulator is set to zero. The new meter value can be anything from 0-25% of the MH level.

I think I played some flat top slots where you can win on the reels or also get a mystery award. I will try to remember which game this was.

The mystery jackpot of linked machines is held in a very secure server controlled by special administrative procedure. Gaining access to this server would be a gold mine, so regulators require Fort Knox security. I will try to find an example of state regs.
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Mission146
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February 14th, 2023 at 7:37:05 AM permalink
Quote: rsactuary

Comments:

Sahara Gold is a game under the Lightning Link brand, I wouldn't specifically list it.

Your MHB section is reasonable, although after my last post, I thought about the old WMS G+ machines with MHB jackpots. Instead of the value going up by some percentage of the amount bet, the jackpots when up by some percentage of the amounts won. So on those machines, you did need a winning spin to advance the meters and hopefully cross over the secret target amount. But it wasn't symbol related... any win advanced the meter. There's a thread on these machines someone on here.
link to original post



Those were fantastic. A ton of variance, but you could find good numbers on those a lot because even people in the know didn't like them being win based, even though it would often make increases faster as opposed to slower, by expectation. Let's see how that works out vs. the $0.01 per $6.67 (just for one example, some are faster) that we see on other machines:

Of course, on games such as Zeus (whichever number Zeus) and the Cowboy one, actual meter increase was high variance and would depend on hitting free games and the like, but it was still faster at the end of the day.

Wizard's play from this page:

https://wizardofodds.com/games/slots/mystery-jackpot/#:~:text=A%20must%2Dhit%2Dby%20jackpot,of%20winning%20it%20is%20greater.

Had a machine configured at 0.00582 times the money won, but even then:

6.67 * .8 * .00582 = 0.03105552/6.67 = 0.004656 or 0.4656% based on an extremely conservative (way too low) assumption of 80% RTP on the reels. Compare to a penny for $6.67 bet (0.15%) or a penny per $5.00 (0.2%).

With that, even some competition thought that they had to be way high because they never really calculated the meter move relative to the win amount. At the same time, some casual players would think they could run the thing up just by hitting good bonus games, line pays or what have you.

Also, many players would make some of the higher bet amounts, so the meters would sometimes go up pretty quickly. At that point, you could pop on and bet fairly low, if you wanted to, to keep variance under control as you waited for decent pays to advance the meter.

For one reason or another, some casinos must have decided that they didn't want them or they lost popularity because I don't see this variation of the must-hit concept around as much anymore, but you could find some fantastic numbers to play when it was, in my experience.
https://wizardofvegas.com/forum/off-topic/gripes/11182-pet-peeves/120/#post815219
Mental
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February 14th, 2023 at 7:53:12 AM permalink
I agree that MPs had a bias against WMS games, so they were easier to find in a playable state. I think Harley Davidson was a better game to check when they were new. The Mini meters was fast and added significant EV to games where the higher meters were not playable by themselves. The base game reels were rigged on HD, and I don't know how IGT got this game past the regulators.
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Mission146
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February 14th, 2023 at 8:40:27 AM permalink
Quote: Mental

I agree that MPs had a bias against WMS games, so they were easier to find in a playable state. I think Harley Davidson was a better game to check when they were new. The Mini meters was fast and added significant EV to games where the higher meters were not playable by themselves. The base game reels were rigged on HD, and I don't know how IGT got this game past the regulators.
link to original post



My guess is because the regulators likely don't actually test anything half the time.

I mean, there's the one Keno game that is gaffed (compared to natural probability) that they don't care about, even though that one is gaffed in a way that would actually help the player.

Also, at least in Nevada, I think the law says that probabilities only have to correspond to something if it is a representation of a game that exists physically. I don't know that the Harley dynamic would run afoul of anything as the gaffed Reel 5 seemed to be conditional on you're not going to hit the bonus and the spin would have been losing, or Reel 5 would not have helped, anyway.

Of course, that does give the appearance of Bonus being more likely than it actually is, but slots have been doing that for time eternal in varying ways.
https://wizardofvegas.com/forum/off-topic/gripes/11182-pet-peeves/120/#post815219
Mental
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February 14th, 2023 at 9:18:27 AM permalink
https://casetext.com/regulation/new-jersey-administrative-code/title-13-law-and-public-safety/chapter-69e-gaming-equipment/subchapter-1-general-provisions/section-1369e-128a-standards-for-the-approval-of-a-slot-machine-game
Quote:

(i) After the selection of game outcome, the gaming equipment must not make a variable secondary decision that affects the result shown to the player. For instance, the RNG chooses an outcome that game will lose. The game must not substitute a particular type of loss to show the player.
(j) The slot machine shall be designed in such a manner that prevents scripting and fairly represents the reel symbols selected by the RNG. It is acceptable to display an alternate version of the video reel strips during reel spin animation provided that:
1. The top award and bonus trigger symbols are not displayed more often than they appear on the actual reel strips;
2. The random selection process for game outcome is not affected;
3. Stop positions and adjacent symbols are displayed in the correct order when the spin ends;
4. A description of the alternate spinning video reels is provided to the Division; and
5. The spinning video reel display is not misleading.

IANAL, but the bonus trigger symbols are displayed more often than they appear on the actual reel strips. Perhaps the base game uses two different sets of reels strips that are chosen at random. I cannot think of another way for this to be legal. Maybe it is not legel.
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BigCat
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February 5th, 2024 at 1:05:57 PM permalink
It's interesting to watch videos of jackpot wins without forming lines.
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February 5th, 2024 at 3:02:09 PM permalink
so a slot machine uses reels to pick winners but what is the random jackpot using to pick... "itself"?
Roberto21
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February 5th, 2024 at 4:07:41 PM permalink
Im curious to know also how random jackpots are programmatically awarded? The oneís that donít have a MHB amount. I think I recall a guest on GWAE suggest that the computation has something to do with the coin-in value, so there must be some secondary polling process I assume.
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February 5th, 2024 at 4:36:54 PM permalink
Quote: BigCat

It's interesting to watch videos of jackpot wins without forming lines.
link to original post



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DRich
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February 5th, 2024 at 4:46:42 PM permalink
Quote: Wizard



Nuked for not having a soul.



Now I need to be concerned about getting nuked.
At my age, a "Life In Prison" sentence is not much of a deterrent.
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February 5th, 2024 at 4:52:55 PM permalink
Quote: DRich

Quote: Wizard



Nuked for not having a soul.



Now I need to be concerned about getting nuked.
link to original post



this response was supposed to be an answer to how a random jackpot picks itself... this is not the answer i was expecting
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February 6th, 2024 at 2:03:03 PM permalink
Quote: Roberto21

Im curious to know also how random jackpots are programmatically awarded? The oneís that donít have a MHB amount. I think I recall a guest on GWAE suggest that the computation has something to do with the coin-in value, so there must be some secondary polling process I assume.
link to original post



Iíve heard something like that but the smarter people insist you canít do thatÖ although giving someone different odds when they bet bigger is a thing
MichaelBluejay
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February 10th, 2024 at 7:01:35 PM permalink
Well, since there was recent action in this thread again, I'm offering up my article again for peer review.
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