General vintage slot machine related topics.
Bent Copper
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Re: Allwin Skill

Postby Bent Copper » Sun Dec 31, 2006 6:08 am

By some strange coincidence, the Royal Institution Christmas Lecture yesterday was all about Chaos theory. It seems Guest was right, and the lecturer had bouncing balls, magnetic pendulums and double pendulums in the studio to demonstrate the effect of a very small change in starting position leading to a completely unpredictable result. It was most enlightening, especially in view of this current discussion.

One thing we hadn't considered is turbulance around a spinning ball, and even that is significant. Apparently, even the air turbulance itself is chaotic, and there is currently a $1 million prize for anybody who can come up with a formula to predict the behaviour of a spinning ball flying through the air. So what chance have we got of sorting it out? The most we receive for getting it right is 6d!

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pennymachines
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Re: Allwin Skill

Postby pennymachines » Sun Dec 31, 2006 12:05 pm

But unless chaos predominates, it may not be as significant as you think. Clearly all these hard to predict interacting forces of ball spin and air turbulence apply equally to football. If that means it's a game of pure chance, the players really are overpaid.

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Re: Allwin Skill

Postby Bent Copper » Mon Jan 01, 2007 2:59 am

Chaos is much more significant in Allwins than it is with games like football because of the multiple obstacles in the path of the ball and because of the small target areas. Without these obstacles, the trajectory of a football is unpredictable, but still remains within certain limits. But once a ball hits an obstacle, then it will branch off in a completely different direction, so any minor inaccuracy will have a devastating effect. That's where Chaos really rules!

Obviously, the skill/luck ratio is easy to determine in football (or any other game for that matter) just by prescribing the width of the goals, or target. Football is a game of skill, simply because the goals are wide enough apart to take these unpredictable effects into account. Just look how wide the goals are compared to the width of a football! Now look at how wide an Allwin cup is compared to the ball. If football goals were only just wide enough to allow a ball through (as in an Allwin) then it certainly would be a game of pure luck, and would be unplayable. By comparison with football, a snooker pocket is much smaller in relation to the size of a snooker ball, but again the proportions have been arrived at to allow skill to predominate. It is obvious that a sport must be designed to allow skill to predominate, but not so a fairground game.

So I think these comparisons between an Allwin and 'normal' ball sports are irrelevant, because the targets have been designed to allow skill to predominate in the case of sports, whereas the opposite is true in the case of the Allwin. The Allwin manufacturers wanted luck, and not skill, to predominate. They did this by making the target areas as small as was necessary (but not so small as to make the game look impossible) and by putting deflectors in the path of the ball.

So I think this sums it up really. We have already agreed (I think) that multi-cup Allwins are pure luck because of the small target areas. If you don't hit the ball straight into a cup, then after that it's down to pure luck as to whether it will bounce into one of the other cups or not. The disagreement is with Allwins with larger target areas, or wide 'all-winning' galleries. Clearly, it would be quite possible to design an Allwin where skill did predominate. All you would have to do is to remove all the deflecting pins and adjust the size of the target(s) to favour skill rather than luck. But the Allwin manufacturers were not playing that game and such an Allwin would have been a commercial disaster. Nobody can say that no such Allwin exists, and we've heard from some people who say that it does. That's fair enough, there are bound to be exceptions, and it is interesting to hear about them. But I still maintain that the standard Allwin configuration is a game of pure chance.

Happy New Year to all.

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Re: Allwin Skill

Postby pennymachines » Mon Jan 01, 2007 2:12 pm

I'm not certain a multicup is pure luck. I think you can slightly improve the odds by dropping the ball on the "sweet spot" - near to the uppermost centre cup. If you hit it, it's a hole in one; and if you don't, there's a better chance of the ball finding its way into one of the cups below than if it had fallen from one side. This applies particularly to the large 24 Cups.

To make the football analogy more precise, consider a game decided purely on penalty kicks. Like an allwin, the players get a single strike of the ball.
Bent Copper wrote:Just look how wide the goals are compared to the width of a football! Now look at how wide an Allwin cup is compared to the ball.
But that's not really comparing like with like. The entire allwin gallery defines the "target", just as the goalposts do in football. This can be quite wide compared to the width of the ball. What's more, the ball and gallery are confined to a single plane, whereas a footballer has to control the ball in three dimensions and may shoot over the crossbar as well as either side of the goalposts. And isn't the deflecting pin (goalkeeper) that tries to get in the way of the ball as much an obstacle as the static allwin gallery pins?

My feeling is that the skill element on some Oliver Whales and Wonders allwins may approach zero, but is much higher on others, as well as those by Bryans (as discussed), Ruffler & Walker (twelve-row column-fill allwins,) Machine Mart, Parkers, Saxony (German-made) and others. On the Brenner Skill Fun the "goalposts" are moved each time you play, continuously varying the skill/luck ratio (and the operator can set the extent to which it does so).

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Re: Allwin Skill

Postby Bent Copper » Tue Jan 02, 2007 2:21 am

PennyMachines wrote:I didn't quite concede that a multicup is pure luck either. I think you can slightly improve the odds by dropping the ball on the "sweet spot" - near to the uppermost centre cup. If you hit it, it's a hole in one; and if you don't, there's a better chance of the ball finding its way into one of the cups below than if it had fallen from one side. This applies particularly to the large 24 Cups.
I think this is just based on wishful thinking, and I would be very surprised if it makes any real difference where the ball lands, or even that it's possible to 'aim' the ball with any degree of accuracy. For instance balls that hit the right-hand cups are more likely to bounce left and vice versa. So balls will tend to bounce towards the other cups wherever they land.
But that's not really comparing like with like. The entire allwin gallery defines the "target", just as the goalposts do in football. This can be quite wide compared to the width of the ball.
Quite wide? Even in the best case, the gallery is only 12 balls wide. I suspect that football goals are considerably wider than 12 footballs. And the entire gallery doesn't define the target anyway because there are only 12 distinct positions that the ball can enter the target without bouncing off. If there are any mathematicians amongst us, they will be able to tell us exactly how much the target area is reduced by those 12 pins. I suspect it is reduced to a very small fraction of the total width.
And isn't the deflecting pin (goalkeeper) that tries to get in the way of the ball as much an obstacle as the static allwin gallery pins?
How can a single moveable pin ever be anything like as effective as 12 static pins precisely set up to be the exact width of the ball? If you wanted to replicate an Allwin on a football pitch, you would need to set the goal posts to the width of only 12 footballs (or even less) and you would need 12 goalkeepers standing side by side with a gap of one football width between them. (Obviously, the goalkeepers are not allowed to move!) Such a game would be impossibly difficult to play, and the only reason that an Allwin is playable at all is because it is a vertical playfield and losing balls may or may not get another chance to hit the target somewhere else, depending on luck.
My feeling is that the skill element on some Oliver Whales and Wonders allwins may approach zero, but is much higher on others, as well as those by Bryans (as discussed), Ruffler & Walker (twelve-row column-fill allwins,) Machine Mart*, Parkers, Saxony (German-made) and others. On the Brenner Skill Fun the "goalposts" are moved each time you play, continuously varying the skill/luck ratio (and the operator can set the extent to which it does so).
That's as may be, but let's confine this discussion to ordinary Allwins rather than 'specials' otherwise we'll just cloud the issue and get nowhere. (We'll get nowhere anyway, but at least let's get there as fast as possible!)

*PS: I didn't know that Machine Mart were selling Allwins now. Must try and get to one of their 'VAT Free' nights. :)

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woody
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Empirical

Postby woody » Tue Jan 02, 2007 8:21 am

Hi did anyone read my post on the experimentation route?
The proof is out there....

Happy New Year to one and all

Cheers

Woody

Bent Copper
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Re: Allwin Skill

Postby Bent Copper » Tue Jan 02, 2007 10:48 am

Yes I did. Unfortunately, I can't do the experiment myself because I don't think any skill is involved, so by definition, I wouldn't be able to play 'skilfully'.

Perhaps a better idea would be for Pennymachines to demonstrate his alleged skill to us all at the next auction on a Bryans Tencup, to show that he can come up with results consistently better than random. He's already said that the Variable Pressure control is ineffective because he can sense the pressure on his finger and automatically compensate for it, so that shouldn't pose any problem for him. I would certainly like to see these remarkable Allwin skills for myself.

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john t peterson
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Re: Allwin Skill

Postby john t peterson » Tue Jan 02, 2007 4:00 pm

Who says the internet is a "dumbing down" of intellect? I find this discussion facinating. My suggestion is to use the next auction as a test plaform for the hypothesis that allwins are skill more than luck (or phrased the other way around if you like.) Several standard allwins set on free play will be set up and the contestants will be allowed a specific number of shots, say 100. All winning shots per player will be totaled to see if some are better than others. Those in the "luck only" category will prevail if there is no statistical difference between the players. If one or more is able to beat the machine significantly more than the other players, then there is some level of skill involved. Just for the record, my money's on Pennymachines!

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Re: Allwin Skill

Postby pennymachines » Tue Jan 02, 2007 9:36 pm

:*** Congratulations to Bent Copper for starting the topic and to all who've chipped in. It's made some of us think a bit about our "simple" games and if it's achieved nothing else - it looks like being the first discussion to run over 4 pages! %|%

Two points need clarifying judging by Guest's recent comments:
1. I have sworn never to abuse my super-human powers in the pursuit of personal gain. Besides, it would ruin my argument if I claimed special skills. My point is that any reasonably adept player can increase their winnings through skill.
2. Apart from on a few over-generous allwins, I don't claim that skill lets anyone win (i.e. profit in the long term) - merely that it allows them to improve the odds.
Bent Copper wrote:I would be very surprised if it makes any real difference where the ball lands, or even that it's possible to 'aim' the ball with any degree of accuracy. For instance balls that hit the right-hand cups are more likely to bounce left and vice versa. So balls will tend to bounce towards the other cups wherever they land.

Whether the ball can be "aimed", our first point of contention, can't be resolved by argument, but it seems logical that the nearer to the centre-top the ball starts, the greater its chance of landing in a cup on its downwards decent. I'm not sure why you say that a ball hitting the right-hand cups is more likey to bounce left. Surely it's nearer 50% left or right. In which case it has a great chance of losing as it falls out range of the cups.

However, as I said at the start, multicups are the hardest case. I feel they're skill games but suspect the degree of skill is so small it would require many plays before the statistics would show anything. On the other hand, it wouldn't be my first delusion...

Without revisiting the football analogy - my point about these other "skill" games was that they're subject to similar chaotic variables. Again it's a matter of degree - I don't say darts, football and allwins are equally skilful games, although in view of England's penalty kick record some of us may prefer to think so.

Now that the gauntlet has been thrown down you won't be surprised when I start quibbling about the rules. The first bone of contention will be over which allwins to use in our experiment. I don't think your suggestion of a small multicup is entirely fair, BC, in view of what I've said already. Did you choose this because you're beginning to doubt your position? I suspect you'd object equally if I asked for my Gapwin as the easiest on which to demonstrate skill. Why not even things out by testing both? But let's put this question aside for now. Demonstrating my "alleged skill" wouldn't support the claim that any reasonably adept player can increase their winnings through skill, so I prefer John's suggestion that lots of players should enter the test. Besides, it sounds more fun.
John T. Peterson wrote:If one or more is able to beat the machine significantly more than the other players, then there is some level of skill involved.
The problem is, this will almost inevitably occur whether or not there was any skill involved (as it would if we played bandits). The Skills and the Lucks would just end up arguing over the statistics.

Woody's original idea sounds better - comparing the results of a number of skilful shots against an equal number of random shots. An improvement on this would be to compare aiming to win against aiming to lose. After all, if there is some skill involved, it should be at least as easy to deliberately lose as to win. The experiment should be confined to Skills (players who believe there is skill involved) otherwise those cynical Lucks might deliberately use their skill to skew the results in the opposite direction, just so they could win the argument!

Sorry I gave away that tip about the Machine Mart allwins. Looks like they've all been snapped up in the New Year sales.

Bent Copper
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Re: Allwin Skill

Postby Bent Copper » Wed Jan 03, 2007 1:59 am

PennyMachines wrote::*** Congratulations to Bent Copper for starting the topic and to all who've chipped in. It's made some of us think a bit about our "simple" games and if it's achieved nothing else - it looks like being the first discussion to run over 4 pages! %|%
To be honest, I think we're in danger of overdoing it now, but it's quite fascinating to have the opportunity to try and analyse these much-loved games in a learned and scholarly fashion!
Whether the ball can be "aimed", our first point of contention, can't be resolved by argument, but it seems logical that the nearer to the centre-top the ball starts, the greater its chance of landing in a cup on its downwards decent.
Ah yes. It seems logical. That could well be the Allwin playing tricks on you again, as it is been designed to do. Don't take anything for granted.....
I'm not sure why you say that a ball hitting the right-hand cups is more likey to bounce left. Surely it's nearer 50% left or right. In which case it has a great chance of losing as it falls out range of the cups.
I don't think it is an equal chance of bouncing left or right. If a ball hits the top surface of a cup from the left, it will bounce off to the right. But there are only 2 narrow top surfaces. If the ball hits the much larger vertical surface, it will bounce back to the left. This is a simplification to try and explain my point, but I think there's a much greater incidence of the ball bouncing back towards the middle of the playfield rather than skimming across the top of the cup and bouncing out.

I also think a similar situation may exist when a ball hits a gallery off-centre (ie balls will tend to bounce towards the centre), but I'm not claiming that to be the case. It's just a possibility that hasn't been considered. If that is the case, then it makes it less important where the ball first strikes the gallery, as it will always tend to bounce towards the side with the greater number of cups.
However, as I said at the start, multicups are the hardest case. I feel they're skill games but suspect the degree of skill is so small it would require many plays before the statistics would show anything.
Well that's the point I made earlier. There comes a point when any skill is so overwhelmed that it becomes insignificant, and therefore (to all intents and purposes) a game of chance.
Now that the gauntlet has been thrown down you won't be surprised when I start quibbling about the rules. The first bone of contention will be over which allwins to use in our experiment. I don't think your suggestion of a small multicup is entirely fair, BC, in view of what I've said already. Did you choose this because you're beginning to doubt your position?
No, not at all. Just previously you said that skill was involved in multi-cup Allwins (although you now seem to have back-tracked a bit) so I was just giving you the opportunity to demonstrate your point.
I suspect you'd object equally if I asked for my Gapwin as the easiest on which to demonstrate skill.
Yes, because this discussion is about conventional Allwins, not specials. I am shocked that you would want to cheat by using a special Allwin with a large open centre target. Did you choose this because you're beginning to doubt your position? :)
But let's put this question aside for now. Demonstrating my "alleged skill" wouldn't support the claim that any reasonably adept player can increase their winnings through skill, so I prefer John's suggestion that lots of players should enter the test. Besides, it sounds more fun.
Yes, and much safer for you too!


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