All in the Timing

 All in the Timing

Have you ever left a slot machine, only to see another player sit down and hit a jackpot? Does the thought make you squirm just a little? Shouldn’t that have been YOUR jackpot?

I remember when it happened to me, before I really started studying the games. It was on a 25-cent Red, White, and Blue three-reel slot machine. I’d played for about half and hour, getting a couple of medium payoffs and some small ones before I lost my $20. I decided to see if another machine would warm things up, and moved one game down the row.

A woman took the spot I’d just vacated, and on her third pull hit the Red, White, and Blue 7’s for the top jackpot.

I congratulated her, but deep down I was kicking myself for moving.

My present-day self would have told my past self to relax. If I’d kept playing, that jackpot probably  wouldn’t have been mine. Results are determined by a computer program called a “random number generator.” It continually, and very rapidly, generates numbers that correspond to reel combinations.

To hit that same jackpot, my timing would have had to be the same as the other player, right down to the millisecond. Speed- up or slow-down for a fraction of a second, sip a drink or scratch the nose, and the result is different.

If it’s going to bother you that another player hits a jackpot on “your” machine, walk away and don’t watch. But understand that your results would have been different anyway.

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