General vintage slot machine related topics.
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Re: Allwin Skill

Postby pennymachines » Sun Jan 14, 2007 7:46 pm

I'm glad to see this topic continues to generate an almost religious fervour...

Returning to a couple of points made on the previous page:
Guest wrote:Surely the ball has the same momentum when it leaves the track however many times it goes round the spiral. The ball goes round the track until the momentum has dropped to a certain level.

I don't think I can argue with that. Perhaps I should have said it's easier to control the ball by keeping the shot short (less travel = less chaos).
Guest wrote:I don't think this business about dropping the ball in the top centre has any influence at all.

I'm not entirely convinced by the argument here. When I suggested that multicups may not be pure luck, I added this "applies particularly to the large 24 Cups". However, I believe there must still be a statistical advantage to aiming the ball above the centre cup. To put my reasoning in words would be rather cumbersome, so I'll try to bamboozle you with a picture (below). Idealized ricochet patterns are represented by four lines fanning down from each cup. Although it's highly simplified, a more realistic picture would demonstrate the same symmetry. The green and red lines indicate respectively winning and losing trajectories. If we follow the lines of a ball falling towards cup 2 there are a total of 15 winners. For cups 1 and 3, there are 12 winners each, and for cups 4 and 7 only 3.
Unfortunately, I can't do the experiments. I don't own a multicup, having dismissed them as "too random".
Bent Copper wrote:many people here seem to think that if a game is only 1% skill and 99% luck, it is a game of skill.

I don't see anyone saying this. I think those in the skill camp believe it to be a significant factor in many allwins. Nevertheless, if a game was only 1% skill, it would still result in a skilful player coming out about 10 coins ahead of an unskilful one if they each played 1000 coins.
The question I posed in the Skill v Luck Poll was "Do you believe there's an element of skill in some payout allwins, or do you think they're 100% chance?" - maybe I should have asked "Do you believe there's a significant element of skill in some payout allwins, or do you think they're almost 100% chance?".
If there was any skill involved allwins wouldn't have lasted 80+ years. With the millions of people playing them they would have made the operaters bankrupt in no time.

Not so. As I've said before, a game can be designed so that a skilful player can increase their odds. This is true of many modern fruit machines which reward strategic play.

Although we've used the mechanical one arm bandit as the paradigm of a game of pure chance, even this is not clear cut. Margamatix's remark about people trying to skilfully manipulate the handles on these machines brought to mind something I read a long time ago. It's explained here by Donald Catlin: Non Random Randomness.
Donald Catlin wrote:In 1946 an Idaho potato farmer was visiting a friend of his in Las Vegas who was a slot mechanic and was repairing broken slot machines. This Idaho farmer, while helping out his friend with the repairs, noticed that some machines of that vintage had a non-random feature. These machines contained a device called the clock fan, which determined how far each reel would turn on the next spin based upon when the pull lever was released during a 7 or 8 second period following the previous play. By noting the current stopping position of the reels a skilled player could reduce the range of sequential stopping positions of the reels on the next play by the way in which the pull lever was released. According to Scarne [Scarne, John, Scarne's New Complete Guide to Gambling, Simon & Schuster, 1974, pp 451-456] the man put his idea to the test and relieved Las Vegas of about $30,000 in slot winnings in a two-week period. I can't vouch for the amount but subsequent events proved that he was on to something...

...by 1949 to 1950 there were hundreds of players using this Idaho farmer's technique and they were called Rhythm Players. In 1950 there was even a pamphlet published explaining how to "rhythm" a machine. These players took the Nevada casinos for millions of dollars but by 1951 the fun was over. The slot manufacturers had developed and installed on each machine a device they called a variator which insured that each play was completely random and independent from the previous play.


One thing this demonstrates rather well, is that even when manufacturers intended to make mechanical games of pure chance, they could not easily do so.

By all accounts, Rhythm Play was more effective than the better known Rhythm Method commonly used before the invention of oral contraceptives. :)
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Re: Allwin Skill

Postby margamatix » Sun Jan 14, 2007 8:22 pm

PennyMachines wrote: Not so. As I've said before, a game can be designed so that a skilful player can increase their odds. This is true of many modern fruit machines which reward strategic play.


Can't say I agree with this statement contained on the website on the link you gave......

You have to give the slot game at least 7 pulls, but when you reach the teens, it's becoming increasingly obvious its a cold machine.

Let's suppose you pick ten as your naked pulls. The instant you reach ten pulls with zero return, you finish that session. Don't even think about another pull, just leave. One more will lead to another then another and so on, before you know it, you've just given one machine all your cash.

As I understand it, an modern electronic machine with automatic self-percentaging is *more* likely to pay out, the longer it has gone without doing so.

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Re: Allwin Skill

Postby pennymachines » Sun Jan 14, 2007 10:59 pm

You're suggesting the games monitor their payouts and adjust future payouts accordingly? I think that would run counter to some gaming restrictions. In some American States, changes to the payout percentages have to be done in the presence of Gaming Control Board officials. But I know very little about modern fruits. Maybe someone can clarify.

My understanding is that the machines apply a pre-programmed set percentage upon each play. Therefore, the likelihood of a payout remains unchanged regardless of what went before. However, we digress...

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Re: Allwin Skill

Postby pennymachines » Mon Jan 15, 2007 3:22 pm

Your diagram is nothing like what happens in real life. First of all the balls dont fall vertically from the top. They fall from the left side so the whole diagram is skewed.

As was pointed out by a previous contributor, the ball drops when it has lost its centrifugal momentum. Granted, it may still have a slightly angular approach but where it comes from is less important than where it first makes contact with the cups - either 1, 2, 3, 4 or 7. I think the diagram shows quite effectively that it has the greatest probability of deflecting to another target if it strikes cup 2.
Then you seem to have balls going straight through the centre cups as if they didnt exist!

I'm not sure what you mean. I've drawn the same four lines from each cup representing four possible angles of deflection from each target. There are no vertical lines running down from the cups because that, as you say, would be impossible.
And also balls often bounce horizontaly to the cup next door.

They do, but I left them out for simplicity. They would be shown by lines connecting the cups horizontally and would strengthen my point. Cup 2 would then be seen to have 6 direct lines to adjacent cups whereas cups 1 and 3 only have 4.
You've only got to play one of these allwins for a few minutes to see that the balls dont follow any regular patterns at all, they just bounce about all over the place.
That may appear to be the case in the short term and forms much of the game's appeal but thanks to the laws of physics and the fixed layout of the playfield there will indeed be regular patterns discernable in the long term. These would be revealed by statistical analysis of balls descending down the playfield. In the absence of such intensive study we can still infer much simply by observing the layout. We can say with certainty, for example, that a ball bouncing off cup 7 is very unlikely to land in cup 2. It is these patterns of probability I tried to represent in the diagram. If you think they are incorrect, perhaps you could draw an alternative version. If you don't believe there are any patterns of probability, we'll have to agree to differ.
Poll Question wrote:Do you believe there's an element of skill in some payout allwins, or do you think they're 100% chance?

I take your point that my wording of the poll question could be read the way you suggest. I took it to mean (and assumed others would) "vote skill if you think most allwins have a significant skill element". Twelve people have already voted, so I can't really change it now.

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Re: Allwin Skill

Postby Bent Copper » Mon Jan 15, 2007 4:30 pm

PennyMachines wrote:Unfortunately, I can't do the experiments. I don't own a multicup, having dismissed them as "too random".
As has already been pointed out by somebody else, if you think they are too random then you must think they are random. They can't be too random and not random at the same time! :P
Nevertheless, if a game was only 1% skill, it would still result in a skilful player coming out about 10 coins ahead of an unskilful one if they each played 1000 coins.
And would a 'skilful player' really consider that to be a worthwhile reward for all his so-called skill? We're down to degrees of skill again now, and I've already said more than enough about that.
Although we've used the mechanical one arm bandit as the paradigm of a game of pure chance, even this is not clear cut. Margamatix's remark about people trying to skilfully manipulate the handles on these machines brought to mind something I read a long time ago. It's explained here by Donald Catlin: Non Random Randomness.
I've heard of this before, under the name of 'Clocking'. I dismissed it as utter rubbish and nothing more than an Urban Legend. But this would probably be a good subject for another topic (which I won't start!).

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Re: Allwin Skill

Postby pennymachines » Mon Jan 15, 2007 6:40 pm

How about "too random for my liking - but not totally random"?

I thought "clocking" was what you did to the odometer before selling the car. :mrgreen:

If the Rhythm Play story was "utter rubbish", why did manufacturers see the need to introduce the variator in 1951?
It's the little fork-shaped device operated by a gear that meshes with the bull gear on this Sega clock. It has an arm with a piece of leather attached to it that rubs against the fan shaft to slow the clock by varying amounts.
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Re: Allwin Skill

Postby Bent Copper » Tue Jan 16, 2007 5:01 am

PennyMachines wrote:If the Rhythm Play story was "utter rubbish", why did manufacturers see the need to introduce the variator in 1951?
Because they could.

It's the same as the Bryans device, just a sales gimmick. I don't believe there was a need for it.

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Postby pennymachines » Tue Jan 16, 2007 12:08 pm

As you said - a good subject for another topic. How about "Do you believe there's an element of skill in some mechanical bandits, or do you think they're 100% chance?" Maybe not though...

How about "Does God play slot machines?" This one should be easier. Probably bring us back to Chaos Theory though.

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Re: Allwin Skill

Postby Bent Copper » Tue Jan 16, 2007 3:24 pm

PennyMachines wrote:As was pointed out by a previous contributor, the ball drops when it has lost its centrifugal momentum. Granted, it may still have a slightly angular approach but where it comes from is less important than where it first makes contact with the cups - either 1, 2, 3, 4 or 7. I think the diagram shows quite effectively that it has the greatest probability of deflecting to another target if it strikes cup 2.
Actually, the balls do come in at a steep angle from the left, often as much as 45 degrees. As has been said before, a lot of them hit the right-hand cup, and then even bounce back to cups 1 or 2, so your diagram is all right in theory, but the truth is much more complicated than that.

Even if your diagram was right, it's still pointless because it's not possible to operate the machine with the required degree of accuracy to make the ball go where you want it to go. As has been said by others (and me :) ) it's a very fine line between the ball going left and going right, and it's not possible to operate the machine with that much precision just by feel alone. There are so many variables in the way the trigger is positioned and released, and the way the hammer strikes the ball and spins it, that even if the trigger is pulled back to the exact same spot every time, the ball will still land in a completely different position.
As you said - a good subject for another topic. How about "Do you believe there's an element of skill in some mechanical bandits, or do you think they're 100% chance?" Maybe not though...
I think there's the same element of chance in a Bandit as there is in an Allwin. Hope that answers your question. :D

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Re: Allwin Skill

Postby pennymachines » Tue Jan 16, 2007 7:48 pm

So you're saying a bandit is a game of skill? No need to answer that. :wink:
Bent Copper wrote:it's not possible to operate the machine with the required degree of accuracy to make the ball go where you want it to go
Pennymachines wrote:Whether the ball can be "aimed", our first point of contention, can't be resolved by argument
We are going in circles now. The only way out of this impasse is the empirical route Woody suggested.

I just ran a very brief experiment on the most bog-standard allwin I could lay my hands on - a 1930s BMCo. Wizard. It has the typical five-win gallery topped by bouncy pins and a lose hole at each end. A win pays one penny and a returned ball.

I played 20 coins aiming to drop the ball in the centre of the gallery, needless to say, often missing the mark completely and, when I hit it, the ball frequently bounced out of play. I felt I did best when concentrating hard and focusing on the centre of the gallery.

I then played 20 coins aiming to lose. At first I was unsure which end of the gallery to go for and had several wins before realizing it was easier to target the right side (as one might expect).

The results: aiming to win = 11 coins, aiming to lose = 6 coins.

You'll have to take my word for it that I didn't cheat or run any previous "unsuccessful" tests. And before you tell me - I appreciate that 40 coins has virtually no statistical relevance. If I could maintain the same percentage over 1000 coins it might start to count as evidence for skill - but without witnesses it wouldn't be very credible evidence.

John P's proposal of a public skill-luck trial seems the way forward.


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