Is There an Element of Skill in Playing the Slots?

 Is There an Element of Skill in Playing the Slots?

A reader e-mailed a few weeks ago to ask if she could apply a little skill to the slots.

“Does the random results principle for slot machines change when you stop the reels yourself?” she asked.

She was talking about video slots that will stop the spinning reels immediately if you hit a button while they’re in motion. Lots of video slots will do that, but it makes no difference in your payback. Game designers call it “illusion of skill.” You feel like you have control of the game, but the random number generator has already determined your result when you start the reels spinning. Your timing in stopping the reels doesn’t really make any difference.

There are a few games that are different. Games in IGT’s Reel Edge allow for skill to influence the results. In the first two games in the series, Blood Life and Triple Red White and Blue, you touch each reel to stop it individually. The timing of your touch does make a difference, and you can affect the outcome. However, the reels spin very, very fast, and it is very, very, very, very difficult to make a reel stop exactly where you want.

The first time I tried Blood Life, I saw green 7 symbols whizzing by. I decided to make them my targets, and I actually got a green 7 to land in the slot window on all three reels. Alas, they were not on the same payline, and the spin was a loser.

It would be extraordinarily difficult to achieve results better than random on these games. On other games, stopping the reels early doesn’t affect your outcome at all. You start ‘em spinning, and trust to luck.

Leave a comment