Myths vs. Reality

If a Player’s Card is Glitching/Crashes, Does That Mean Something’s Wrong?

Stack of casino players cards
Written by Joshua

Let’s start with the more extreme aspect of this question, with this posted on a slot forum. I’ll cover a few angles around the players card system, but you know I like a good conspiracy theory to debunk.

I’m playing machines with my card in that clearly shows my Point Balance. Then all of a sudden the Point Balance reverts to $0.00. And when that happens I lose, and lose and lose. I try to put my card back in, and it still shows $0.00.

Has anyone else had similar experiences? I feel like something really shady is going on here.

So in this case the player things the players card system is resetting, and then their paybacks are being knocked down.

STATUS: As stated here in the past, players card systems have nothing to do with a game’s payback, including when they glitch.

Players card systems are designed to track play, and make things like free play available. They’re not designed to change a machine’s payback – there’s other processes or systems for that.

What we’re seeing here is an example of confirmation bias. The player noticed something was wrong, and at the same time they noticed something was wrong, they happened to be losing.

Did they notice something was wrong because they began looking for it when losing on the machine? Are they only remembering times when they lost and it glitched out? Why would the players card system and a player’s point balance have anything to do with the machine’s payback?

Unfortunately for the player, who should consider not playing if they’re so distrusting of the casino, it’s probably something much more benign.

Let’s start with the scenario that software can be glitchy. Just like anything else, these players card systems are coded by humans, and humans can make mistakes.

I’ve seen all sorts of interesting scenarios on players card systems. I’ve seen my point balance revert on Royal Caribbean cruises when playing for awhile. The points are accruing accurately in the background, but the display resets to where I was when I put in my card and counts up from there, even though I’ve earned points on the machine already.

I’ve had the players card screen be frozen, where whatever’s on the screen is what’s on the screen and that’s it.

At Foxwoods I’ve been on machines where the “put your card in” message just keeps cycling, even though my card is in.

And then I’ve seen the outright crashes of the players card screens, and it goes through a full reboot process.

Here’s the thing: These are just displays, pulling data from a system. They’re a little mini computer attached to a tiny screen (usually) on the slot, but the actual data push/pull is still happening behind the screens, regardless of whether they glitch out, as long as you have the indicator the card’s in the slot.

So if the screen crashes, shows $0 balances, or is frozen, as long as you see those green lights or border indicating the card is in the machine, you’re good – and your play is being accurately tracked.

Those little screens have nothing to do with payback – they’re just information displays with the ability to do in some cases things like pull in free play or check balances. So there’s nothing to fear if they’re acting up.

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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