x

Oct

12

2010

Pushing Buttons Vs. Pulling Handles On Slot Machines

When my wife and I go to a casino together, we usually go our separate ways to play. We have different favorites, I do a lot of scouting around the casino to see what’s new while she gets right into playing.

We always take some time to find a couple of open seats side-by-side and play together for a bit. On one September trip, we settled into a couple of quarter three-reel slot machines. We each slid a $20 bill into the validator and started the reels spinning.

A couple of seats down the row, a woman was varying her play, pushing the button for a while, then switching to pulling the handle, then switching back. She caught me looking, and said, “You have to change your luck once in a while, don’t you?” I smiled, and went back to my own game.

Fewer and fewer of the old one-armed bandits have arms at all nowadays. Today’s slot machines are computerized, and even on games that have handles, most players choose just to push the button. But every now and then someone will do just what this woman did, and say they think their luck is better if they pull the handle, or switch back and forth between button and handle.

Actually, it makes no difference in your results whether you push the button or pull the handle.  Either action just starts the reel-spinning portion of the program and does not change what the random number generator that determines results is doing. If you feel luckier pulling the handle, go ahead, but the machine can’t tell the difference.

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