15 Nov

Cheating Online Slots by Alternating Bet Size

Online Slot Cheat: Can you trick an RNG into paying more money?

Online Slot Cheat: Can Gamblers Trick an RNG into Paying More Money?

In the 1980s, the face of the gambling world was forever changed by one seemingly innocent innovation. Slot machines were transformed from mechanical devices to electronic machines. They still looked like the same old games, for the most part. The reels spun. Coins fell from the machine after a win. But the games would never, ever be the same.

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Soon enough, manufacturers did away with the pull-levers, since they were only for show at that point. Even coin hoppers were eliminated in favor of ticket in/out vouchers. But that wasn’t the problem. The problem was that, by removing the mechanical reels and replacing them with electronic computer screens, manufacturers were able to alter the payouts to be as good, or as abysmal, as they wanted.

The number of symbols on each reel no longer had any bearing on a game’s theoretical return to player, or RTP. In the old games, if a reel had 12 symbols on 12 positions, there was a 1 in 12 chance it would appear. Simple enough, right? Well these electronic machines did away with that, utilizing a computer algorithm known as a random number generator, or RNG.

How Random is Random?

The RNG would pull up a long sequence of random numbers – a sequence so long that it could not realistically be predicted. However, being created by humans, they aren’t really random. They are what we call “pseudo-random”.

There is a predetermined, finite number of possible results programmed into the game. They all cycle through, time and again, in random order. This is how casinos are able to set whatever RTP they want a machine to pay, and guarantee that the RTP is reached over a long period of time. The manufacturer simply inputs more non-winning RNG results, or more low-prize winning results compared to the high-prize ones.

What does any of this have to do with cheating the slot machines? A lot, if you believe the stories that players can attack a slot machine’s RNG to make it pay out bigger prizes.

Online Slot Cheat: Alter the Bet, Get the Cash

The theory here is that the RNG – being the pseudo-random algorithm that it is – can be tricked into releasing more payouts by simply adjusting your bet size often. Now we know that the machine’s RNG is going to keep cycling through those numbers no matter what. However, those who swear by this system say that RNGs will favor a new player, if only for a brief moment.

It makes sense that casinos would want their machines to perform this way. It’s a statistical fact that a player who has just sat down to play, then immediately wins a decent amount of money, is more likely to keep playing than cash out and leave. Thus, they’re more likely to bet all those winnings right back into the machine. So, if the theorists are right, and RNGs favor new players, then it would make complete sense to change your bet size often, sending that message to the game that you’re new.

But does it really work? There’s only one way to find out…

Testing the Alternating Bet Size Theory

This was a rather exciting experiment for me, even though I was fairly certain of the results. According to the theory, you’re supposed to start with a mid-size bet, drop to a low bet, then increase to a high bet, spinning the reels 10 times per adjustment. So, I hopped over to LeoVegas Mobile, launched the new 5×3 reel, 50-line Age of the Gods: Apollo Power Slot and began my test. Here are the results…

Mid-Size Bet, $1.50 per spin ($0.03 per payline).

Spin Win/Loss Total Win/Loss
1 $0.60 -$0.90
2 $0.90 -$1.50
3 $0.15 -$2.85
4 $1.20 -$3.15
5 $1.80 -$2.85
6 -$4.35
7 -$5.85
8 -$7.35
9 $5.25 -$3.60
10 $1.65 -$3.45

That didn’t go too well. It looked like I was winning pretty good at the time, but the cost of $1.50 per spin took a terrible toll on the total win/loss rate. Down $3.45 after 10 spins, I dropped my bet size, as instructed.

Low-Size Bet, $1.00 Per Spin ($0.02 per payline)

Spin Win/Loss Total Win/Loss
1 -$3.45
2 -$4.45
3 -$5.45
4 -$6.45
5 -$7.45
6 $0.30 -$8.15
7 -$9.15
8 -$10.15
9 $0.30 -$10.85
10 -$11.85

Ouch… this isn’t looking too good at all! But here comes the higher bet size. This is where it all pays off, right? Let’s see…

High-Size Bet, $5.00 Per Spin ($0.10 per line)

Spin Win/Loss Total Win/Loss
1 -$16.85
2 -$21.85
3 $1.00 -$25.85
4 -$30.85
5 -$35.85
6 $14.00 -$26.85
7 $3.00 -$28.85
8 -$33.85
9 $13.00 -$25.85
10 -$30.85

Things just went from bad to worse! I never once got above water. From the very first spin, I was losing, and after 30 mixed-bet spins, I was down $30.85. But I wasn’t ready to give up just yet…

What if, after all this bad luck, it’s the rotation back to the mid-size bet that breaks the chain and begets all the glory? Here we go, one more time.

Mid-Size Bet (Again), $1.50 per spin ($0.03 per payline).

Spin Win/Loss Total Win/Loss
1 $0.30 -$32.05
2 -$33.55
3 -$35.05
4 $0.60 -$35.95
5 $0.30 -$37.15
6 $0.30 -$38.35
7 -$39.85
8 -$41.35
9 $0.45 -$42.40
10 $0.30 -$43.60

Well that was a terrible idea! I should have stopped at the high bet. Better yet, I should have known you can’t trick an RNG – not even a Pseudo-RNG – by playing around with your bet sizes.

On a Side Note…

For anyone who might think I just didn’t put enough time and effort into testing this online slot cheat hypothesis, let me reassure you, this wasn’t the only test I performed. However, it was the only real-money I was willing to spend on it. After this epic failure, I switched to practice play mode – you’d think these pay better, but they don’t – and suffered pretty much the same results every time.

Yes, there were some good hits in there, and I wasn’t always in the red. However, I never experienced what supporters of the theory claim. In the end, after a few hours worth of attempts, I found the results to be entirely random, and more often than not, unprofitable. All together, had I continued playing the slots for real money, I would have been down $243.

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