SONBP2
SONBP2
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November 29th, 2010 at 3:00:03 PM permalink
I help run promotions at a strip casino and one of my jobs is to keep an eye out for certain locals who try to take advantage of the promotion. I have talked to a few of these guys and with the promotion I am monitoring they can receive a $5 match play for playing the free game if they land on a certain level. Obviously these guys try to get as many as they can throughout a given day. They have informed me of other games they try to take advantage of as well.

#1: Stamps Slot game:

If your not familiar with the Stamps slot game with each spin you can collect stamps, sometimes you get stamps sometimes you don't. On the side of the game you can collect the stamps and after x amount of stamps you get a bonus round with free spins. The more stamps you get the more free spins you will receive. There are 5 levels I believe and you can only qualify for the bonus after you have filled the level and then you either select "keep playing" or "bonus." These guys will wait around till someone runs out of money and has collected enough stamps to be near to qualifying for the bonus. Then they play the game, hit the bonus, and then immediately cash out after the bonus round. Sometimes they win big sometimes they don't, but they usually receive a profit. Is there an advantage to this strategy?

#2: Ultimate X Poker:

These are usually 3/5/10 play machines where a winning hand receives a multiplier for the next hand. So if on 1 of the 3 hands you get a pair of Jacks, the next hand you play will have a multiplier of 2x pay for the next hand. Now what most people don't know is that if you switch games from JOB to Deuces Wild and left multipliers on the JOB it will not transfer to the Deuces game, but will remain with the JOB game until some plays it. Another key is that if you are playing $0.05 JOB, it does not transfer to $0.10 JOB. So here is the scam they run. They will see a guy playing the game sit down next to him and start talking with him about the game and eventually convince the guy to switch games and leave multipliers available for the next hand played. I saw a guy walk a guy through ever game and ever denomination switching the game each time after a winning hand leaving a full card of multipliers available for the next hand played. At the end the guy was out of money and left the machine. The "scammer" went back through all the games and denominations played each one with his own money and then cashed out. Needless to say if you are getting a minimum of double pay on winnings hands it is likely you are going to walk a way with a profit. If there is someone that leaves a machine with all these multipliers available (without you having to run the "scam") wouldn't there be a pretty big advantage?
Wizard
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Wizard
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November 29th, 2010 at 3:20:17 PM permalink
Both these sound like legitimate advantage plays to me. Any game with different states can be vulnerable to advantage players who troll around looking for machines left in a higher state, sometimes coercing players off of them. I don't know the details of how profitable these particular games are. Anybody who did would probably not wish to share that information for free.
It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you had a good bet.
FleaStiff
FleaStiff
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November 29th, 2010 at 3:51:05 PM permalink
I would seriously fault the game designers for this sort of thing... its like ATMs when first introduced: just as someone entered their pin a helpful person at a nearby phone would call out... Hey, its not working, I'm calling it in right now... and then as the disgruntled ATM user walked away they would try to raid his account.

There are always these creeps in the flea joints who say 'I know a hot machine, play it and give me half'... the creep figures he has nothing to lose.

Any machine that leaves itself in an enhanced state rather than the default state is simply bait for scammers. And its the fault of the designers for not paying attention to this stuff.

Slot machine players usually have been drinking and may not be fully alert and are often elderly. Prime targets!!
Wizard
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Wizard
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November 29th, 2010 at 4:21:07 PM permalink
Quote: FleaStiff

I would seriously fault the game designers for this sort of thing... its like ATMs when first introduced: just as someone entered their pin a helpful person at a nearby phone would call out... Hey, its not working, I'm calling it in right now... and then as the disgruntled ATM user walked away they would try to raid his account.



Amateur game inventors are always coming up with multi-state slot games. When they ask me to help with the math, I always say that multi-state games are generally a bad idea. They invite slot trolls to prowl around, looking for games left in a high state. However, as usual, my advice goes ignored.
It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you had a good bet.
thecesspit
thecesspit
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November 29th, 2010 at 4:24:28 PM permalink
This is what the Fruit Machine trolls would do in the UK...
"Then you can admire the real gambler, who has neither eaten, slept, thought nor lived, he has so smarted under the scourge of his martingale, so suffered on the rack of his desire for a coup at trente-et-quarante" - Honore de Balzac, 1829
SONBP2
SONBP2
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November 29th, 2010 at 5:12:15 PM permalink
This actually makes this very dangerous for security and other casino personnel as well. These scammers are generally 86 from the casino and are potentially violent when it comes to being caught. For some of them this is their livelihood and they take it as a personal attack on their wallets when they are caught. But generally, casino security is terrible. They are good guys and girls, just don't want to risk a fight over a slot machine or $5 match play. I see it every night though.
MathExtremist
MathExtremist
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November 29th, 2010 at 6:55:46 PM permalink
The problem is when an accumulator (a.k.a. banking) slot machine has a long period between bonuses but an obvious triggering mechanism. We (Silicon Gaming) did a bunch of those in the late 90s, and so did many other slot vendors. They were really popular until the actual play results started coming in. What happened was the advantage players (we called them "bonus vultures"; others have called them "bonus fleas") would identify a +EV machine by its closeness to triggering a bonus round. Then they'd hustle off the player in front of it, often with less-than-savory behavior, and play the minimum required amount until the bonus hit. They'd profit at the expense of the regular players who would realize a significantly lower RTP than the par sheet would indicate. As a result, the regular players caught on that they could last longer on some of the other games and popularity dropped. The exit of these machines was hastened by just the behavior you describe -- nobody wanted the bonus vultures on property, and the desirable customers were having a lousy time.

I didn't realize that anyone was still making these in a meaningfully-exploitable way in land-based casinos (online is a different story altogether). But if you're having trouble or want to investigate marketing/ROI issues further, PM me. I can help you look into the impact of these games on your players and budget.
"In my own case, when it seemed to me after a long illness that death was close at hand, I found no little solace in playing constantly at dice." -- Girolamo Cardano, 1563
RoadTrip
RoadTrip
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December 3rd, 2010 at 2:03:10 PM permalink
Sorry, I forget the name of the particular game I am going to write about.

At the Seminole Casino's in south Florida, there were several "advantageous" slots. "The Stamp Machine" referred to previously in this thread is named "S & H Green Stamps". At the Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, I witnessed two fights when advantageous slot players claimed they were waiting for "that lucky" machine. The machines were finally removed, Hard Rock did not want the hassles. The fighting "players" were also 86'd. The casino slot boss (we're friendly) told me many times that he wanted them out but they were money makers. He finally won after several, or many altercations because over those 6 machines.

Another "advantageous slot" is still available. It involves monkeys, levels, and treasure chests. Don't remember it's name. However, they did something to the programming since they were first installed, and the accumulated bonus is reset if the machine sits idle for a certain amount of time, the players club card is removed, or a players club card is inserted. The casino, or manufacturer figured a way to keep the advantage players away, and it worked.

I know enough about advantageous slots that when I am on a casino floor, I will keep my eyes open. I don't hover or wait, but if an opportunity does present itself, I will take my shot. I don't try to find these opportunities, I do not patrol the floor, but if I know an advantageous slot machine is nearby I will detour to check it out on my way to or from the poker room.

In late 2009 there were quite a few advantageous slots downtown at the Fremont. I seem to recall 8 or more different games. Whether they are still there or not I do not know. Since I stayed downtown, I would check them out, probably once per day. It seemed to me that there were always one or more vultures around, waiting and hovering.

If I'm in a casino, I am going to look around, and if I see advantageous slots, I am going to remember the location, and if convenient, will check them out when in the area. I won't go across the entire floor area to check, since the opportunities are just not all that frequent. But they can be profitable.

Many knowledgeable and educated casino patrons have these tactics in their arsenals.

It's just a question of what's appropriate. I never wait for someone to quit playing, nor encourage them to quit. In fact, when I see "vultures" lying in wait, I will often educate the person playing about a pending bonus, since they are the one to earn it.

Naturally, I'd like more advantageous slots on the casino floor. They are "found money". But I could not spend my time patrolling for opportunities, waiting to pounce, and fending off other opportunists.

There are better ways of making money and earning a profit at the casino's expense.

:)
mkl654321
mkl654321
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December 3rd, 2010 at 2:21:48 PM permalink
Quote: MathExtremist

The problem is when an accumulator (a.k.a. banking) slot machine has a long period between bonuses but an obvious triggering mechanism. We (Silicon Gaming) did a bunch of those in the late 90s, and so did many other slot vendors. They were really popular until the actual play results started coming in. What happened was the advantage players (we called them "bonus vultures"; others have called them "bonus fleas") would identify a +EV machine by its closeness to triggering a bonus round.

Then they'd hustle off the player in front of it, often with less-than-savory behavior,

and play the minimum required amount until the bonus hit. They'd profit at the expense of the regular players who would realize a significantly lower RTP than the par sheet would indicate. As a result, the regular players caught on that they could last longer on some of the other games and popularity dropped. The exit of these machines was hastened by just the behavior you describe -- nobody wanted the bonus vultures on property, and the desirable customers were having a lousy time.



I think this is an exaggeration. Of course, some "bonus vultures" would actively pressure players in one way or another, but the vast majority would not. Most of the time, slot bonusing would involve simply being aware of where the machines were, and checking them at intervals. I still check the few bonusing machines downtown when I'm walking from one place to another. Why not? It's found money.

One place where there WAS an inordinate amount of the behavior you describe was at the Bellagio, when they first opened; they had a huge number of bonusing slots. The group that descended on these slots was 99% Asians, and their behavior was disruptive. Verbal altercations and shoving matches frequently broke out.

Any profit that the bonusing players made, however, was not "at the expense" of the regular players. Anybody who plays a bonusing slot should be able to figure out that the EV of the game is lower than a regular slot, while the bonus is accumulating. If the player racks up, say, 3/4 of the bonus and then leaves, he is, in effect, abandoning his own money, and giving it to the next player. The "regular player" could get the proper value out of the game by simply playing until the bonus game hit, then leaving.
The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality.---George Bernard Shaw
RoadTrip
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December 4th, 2010 at 8:33:02 AM permalink
Quote: mkl654321

I think this is an exaggeration. Of course, some "bonus vultures" would actively pressure players in one way or another, but the vast majority would not. Most of the time, slot bonusing would involve simply being aware of where the machines were, and checking them at intervals. I still check the few bonusing machines downtown when I'm walking from one place to another. Why not? It's found money.........



If you check the downtown "advantageous slots", than you've seen many "bonus vultures" while doing so. They are the people sitting at a nearby machine, not playing, and just watching the person on the machine playing. You can recognize them because they often are staring. Often they will be standing behind and to the side of the player, hovering. Many have "partners", and there may be two or more chatting. Psychological tactics to make a player uncomfortable, while trying not to look overt about it.

Show me advantageous slots, and I will easily point out the "bonus vultures" currently in the area. I disagree, and will say that the majority of "bonus vultures", specifically those who think of this as a job, will pressure players in one way or another.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have seen two fights at the Hard Rock. Both drew blood. One, a man literally cold cocked another, knocking him out of the seat and to the ground, and possibly "out" for a few moments over the right to play the machine, claiming the man had jumped into "his" seat.

The other, several punches were exchanged between the two combatants.

I've seen other incidents as well, in other casino's. Heard threats and challenges. Some pushing and shoving in Mississippi. In fact, I've probably seen more "incidents" over advantage slots than in the poker rooms, and I easily spend 10x more time playing poker when at a casino.

I still will look and try to get on an advantageous slot if/when the opportunity presents itself. As mentioned, they are often +EV, but the situations that arise, and the "players" in the area make for an uncomfortable and often unpleasant gaming experience.

I strongly disagree, and in experience and observations the majority of true "bonus vultures" take some active measures to help hasten the players departure. And I spend a lot of time in casino's to play poker.

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