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Being a retired programmer, and also the proud owner of a new repro Fivewin, I decided to write a little program to investigate. By little program I mean what I call a gadget, that is something to do just the job at hand and not be an all singing all dancing application.
I obviously wrote the gadget for a Fivewin. By simply clicking on a button for each ball channel for just one of the standard payout schemes, I was able, from the calculations the gadget performs, to get a rough feel for how all the standard schemes, including the free ball variation, payouts compare. (Don't use the 4/2/6/2/4 option, you will have a losing machine!)
I have seen Fivewin style machines which have a central Lose hole similar to the Elevenses etc. I allowed an option for that, even though it was actually of no use to me! Just call me thorough!
Out of curiosity, I also created a similar gadget for the Win & Place style machine as the input data is the same, a ball hitting one of 7 channels. So for example, I can see how these machine's payouts compare to a Fivewin.
As I have always belonged to that section of the software community that believes in free software, I have put download links for these two gadgets on to the Freeware page of my web site (it contains only programs that I have written for my own use). So if any of you also have nothing better to do than record Allwin outcomes then please visit the bottom of http://racingdog.hostfree.pw/Freeware.html and look for the Fivewin Analyser and Win & Place Analyser links.
I was vaguely thinking that one day it wouldn't be too much trouble to produce a gadget for the Elevenses machines, or any other sensible suggestion from the readership here!
I suppose I ought to mention what I've observed so far. I realise that whatever figures I have will differ from anyone else's, but overall patterns should be much of a muchness.
I suppose what one looks for in a Fivewin depends on your view of the phrase "amusements with prizes". If amusement is your priority then any prize is a bonus and in any case more than a pin-table would give you! If your emphasis is more towards prizes then the basic flat win payout is pretty mean compared to say bandits. Playing in my style you are looking at a meagre 30%! Even with a free ball that is still only 44%. The payout on a 2/1/3/1/2 comes in at 56%, 81% with a free ball. Obviously these figures double for a 2 coin per unit payout. Hence what we all knew already, the 4/2/6/2/4 pays out more than it takes, even without a free ball.
As a matter of curiosity, I tried a short run varying from my preferred soft to medium shot strength to random strength. This took about 5% off the 4/2/6/2/4 payout, so presumably sticking to just heavy shots would take another similar chunk off the payout. But that would still leave that payout as a loser for the owner!
What effect does a free ball have? It would seem to be around 46% over a long run (i.e. 1.46 times the normal payout), so apart from the 4/2/6/2/4 scheme, an owner will still get a decent return whilst making the machine more attractive to play. Clearly as a player you should avoid any Fivewin that doesn't give a free ball!
My gadget also calculates returns for 3/2/2/1/1. Why? Because the people who made my repro machine also sell a machine with that scheme, so curiosity ruled. It turns out that that would pay around 47%, 67% with a free ball. So if you had one of those, but paying 2 coins per unit, the basic payout would give a small profit for the owner, but he should avoid enabling the free ball.
That set me to thinking, "what payouts would correspond to the actual distribution of hits per hole?". Well, if by that we mean make each hole payout roughly the same amount in the long run, then given the hole distributions I have to date, that would mean setting a machine to pay 3/3/2/2/1. That would payout around 58%, or 83% with a free ball. Clearly a 2 coin per unit payout would be seriously ill advised! I believe the builders of my machine could produce a machine with that payout scheme.
It seems clear from the above that for the type of Fivewin that returns an actual prize, such as chocolate, the player should be looking at a machine loaded with prizes worth around twice his stake, and that to get a decent nibble at today's prices, a 10p play machine should be preferred!
What does my other gadget show? I only made that because a) Wonder style Win & Place machines have the same number of holes so I can just input data to the gadget without having an actual machine; and b) the people who made my machine also make those style machines in 1/2/3 and 2/4/6 payout versions. The results for these machines are 38% and 76% respectively. So the best machine to keep both owners and players happy is the 2/4/6 version (as per the Wonder original). This puts this type of machine at being slightly meaner than a Fivewin, but not much.
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