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Thursday, 05 January 2012 08:35

Creating Slot Machines and Why the Maths Doesn’t Matter

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With all the new slot games that were released in 2012, it’s time to take a little look into how they’re created.

I have this friend. He’s going to remain nameless because, well, I’m about to call him a geek. A big one. He’s incredibly smart, incredibly nice and an incredibly big mathematics geek. And he rags on me all the time about slot machines.


Simply put, he doesn’t get why I play online slots. The probability, he rants, do you even understand odds? Why not stick with poker, where there’s some semblance of control? Do you have any idea how they create slot machines?


Why yes, I do. It’s a simple enough process involving creativity and maths – the designer picks a theme for their game and chooses some symbols associated with the theme. They dream up thrilling little bonus games, and then they hand it off to the mathematician, who looks at winning and losing combinations and adjusts the probability to suit the payout ratio. And this is where my friend takes full flight, talking about the house edge and why I’d be better off playing blackjack.


But the whole point of slot games is the first part – the theme and the bonus games and the excitement of spinning the reels. The fun of playing, not the probability of winning, is what gets me back time and again. And whilst I haven’t yet hit the jackpot, I’d say I’ve won enough in small doses to at least cover what I’ve put down.


So if you’re guiltily enjoying yourself whilst playing slots because you think you really should be playing poker, I say that’s rubbish. Have fun and enjoy what you play!