Tight machines

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(EDITOR’S NOTE: GT says hi to Brad Fredella, general manager of Stetson’s Saloon and Casino and his refreshing insight into the inner workings of the games on the casino floor, from an insider’s perspective.)

There is one thing on all of our minds when it comes to what casinos might do to increase their profits during difficult economic times – tightening machines.

We know that some (and maybe even most) casinos undoubtedly tighten their machines as an intuitive certainty. If a casino is hurting because of a poor economy, it makes sense that they would tighten their machines to make up for it, right?

Many gamblers have started to question what’s been happening to one of their favorite pastimes. Is it just chance that they haven’t hit any jackpots since last month… or last year? Or is it something else? Just how tight are these machines now? Can a player even win at all anymore?

These are valid concerns, but some of the answers that I have seen to these types of questions have ranged from uninformed speculation to complete absurdity. There seems to be a vacuum of knowledge about how casinos operate, what they can and can’t do, and how games of chance work both in theory and in practice.

This seems to be particularly true in the case of slot, video poker and keno machines. Sentiments like, “I can’t win when my card is inserted” and “I think they set this machine to hit around my numbers” seem to be on the rise, mainly because casinos have never before found it necessary to operate with a degree of transparency.

It was always enough just to make the games available and keep quiet about how tight the machines were set or how they operated. We just let superstition and rumors fill in the gaps.

And, so I found the inspiration to become a writer.

After all, if people start believing that the machines they are playing have been rigged to avoid their keno numbers or set to never hit a royal flush if their players’ card is inserted, then the fun and excitement that is inherent in gambling is gone.

Who finds it enjoyable to play if they can’t win? And besides, if Vegas was built on anything, it was built on fun. So I’ve decided to help put the fun back in gaming in my own little way.

I might run a casino as my day job, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t share my knowledge about gaming with the public from an executive perspective as well as the player’s.

If insider information in the casino industry was prohibited, then dealers, slot attendant, pit bosses, casino managers and people like me would all be banned from gambling. We’re not, and the reason is simple. No matter how much you know, the casino always has the mathematical advantage in the long run.

That being the case, knowledge is still power. Through a better understanding of how casinos operate, how machines function and how to recognize the tricks of the trade, I hope to restore some of the faith in gaming that’s been lost in this economy and with it some of the fun too.

Along the way, readers will learn the valuable skills they need to maximize the amount of entertainment value they get for their money. I love the casino industry and am proud to be a member. I sincerely look forward to answering your questions, hearing your feedback and providing the tools you need to keep having fun and winning money, even in these difficult times.


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