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Human Error Can Boost Slot Machine Payouts

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Written by Joshua

On my social media accounts, I recently reshared a post I had written awhile ago regarding whether slots can pay over 100 percent over the long term, based on another slot site claiming such a thing. I had said in that post it’s certainly possible in the short term, but not in the long term.

But one of my Twitter followers noted an example of a scenario that could impact things in a different way than what I had outlined in that piece. I thought it was a really good point, and was worth revisiting the topic in a different light – specifically when human error can boost payouts.

Some of those ideas I’ve explored elsewhere, but here we’ll take a look at a few examples. A lot of these will benefit those who know their games, and how to spot when things look out of sorts in a way that benefits a player. This is why I spend so much time talking about the games and what to expect – if you Know Your Slots, you can improve your opportunities.

When Machines are Misconfigured

Let’s start with the example they provided. Here’s what they shared as a comment:

Happened at a casino on the East Coast couple of years ago. A lower progressive reset amount remained too high when the bet levels were lowered on the game. A team of guys made a killing.

Twitter comment

Human error when it comes to slot techs making changes to the game is certainly one area where the possibility can open up. It can take some time for the casino to recognize a mistake happened, because games will take awhile to show consistent data that has payouts that fall outside the expected range.

But if a game’s activity spikes and stays consistently high, and the payback remains much higher over a long enough period than the expected payback percentage, it will eventually be a clue to the casino to take a look at it and figure out what’s going on.

Hence my answer that the short term is more likely than the long term still makes sense – this is a configuration error that will eventually either get caught, or the machines taken out of service.

Other human configuration errors can lead to mistakes that benefit a player. I’ve seen examples where video poker machines were rewarding tier credits at a slot machine rate. I’ve mentioned the value of paying attention to Video Poker pay tables because sometimes the wrong one is selected for a given game, or denomination.

There are Video Poker variations with pay tables that are purposely designed to pay more than 100 percent over time with perfect play, or awfully close, and if the tier setup isn’t configured accurately the payback with comps can break 100 percent as well.

I had a player share with me an example of an electronic table game launch at his local casino as part of COVID-19 changes go wrong when the players card earnings was initially set way too high for table games.

The good news for players is many times, while a mistake that costs the casino money, it’s not technically a malfunction, so most scenarios I hear about this don’t yield any sort of massive penalties. I did hear that in at least one case comps were cut off for a player, but what they lost was a mere fraction of what they gained.

Buggy Games

Even though games are well tested and go through certification, mistakes can and do happen. I previously wrote about a scenario that happened to one game and how it disappeared quietly from floors for a bit before coming back, with adjustments clearly made.

If a game is released with an issue in it, and players become aware that the game is doing better than it should, it similarly will be something that will eventually become apparent to either the developer or the casino, as the data over time continues to not align with the expectation. Short term variance can make it tough to spot initially, but over time it becomes clearer.

Players who can catch these mistakes, and leverage them to their advantage, will certainly have the opportunity to benefit, which is why it’s important to pay attention to the games, know what to look for, and know when something looks off.

About the author


My name is Joshua, and I’m a slot enthusiast who works in tech as a marketer by day, and dabbles in casinos periodically during off-times. Know Your Slots will reflect my interests in understanding the various ways you can play slots, travel, casino promotions and how you can get the most out of your casino visits.

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