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Slot beaters slot strategy: another wolf in sheep's clothing

Monday, October 26, 2009

Slot beaters slot strategy: another wolf in sheep's clothing

Gambling systems - methods of structuring your betting with a view to negating or reducing the house edge - are as old as they are bogus. I put together a betting systems page a few years ago which describes some of the betting techniques employed and why they have no value. This post relates to one such system in particular.

A day or so ago I had my attention drawn to the slotbeater strategy discussion at Casinomeister, in which a player apparently lost money following the advice laid out on the slotbeaters slot strategy web page.

I took a close look at the page in question. Like all betting systems, it contains many inaccuracies:

The strategy we use is actually extremely simple, it's a bit like a roulette progressive method but the key difference is that each spin on a slot is not an 'all or nothing' bet, because you are always getting some return on your bets. This means you can progress very slowly with a significantly lower overall risk of losing.

The first & most important target is: to leave the slot with more credits than we start with.

Given that what we want is the bonus rounds and that on average they occur once every 130 - 150 spins, what we do is start with small bets & then gradually increase them the longer we go on. This is on the basis that the longer we go without the feature hitting, the more probable it is.

So we play say 100 spins at our minimum (depending on the slot, the minimum is usually either 2c or 5c per line). Then we increase the bets in small increments every 25 or 50 spins e.g. 2c, 4c, 6c, 8c.

If we get past say 250 - 300 spins with no feature, or the bank has dropped by more than our pre-set limit, we stop & try a different slot. Sometimes we alter the total bet by changing the number of win-lines as well as, or instead of, just changing the stake/line. And that's pretty much all there is to it.

The opening comment, to "leave the slot with more credits than we start with", is rampantly silly. If we could achieve this, casinos wouldn't exist.

The system is one of many variations of the Martingale progression, in which bets are increased in line with losses, based on the false premise that the longer the losing streak, the greater the liklehood of an eventual win. In this case, the sought after win is the bonus round:

...what we want is the bonus rounds and that on average they occur once every 130 - 150 spins. What we do is start with small bets & then gradually increase them the longer we go on.

The average frequency of bonus rounds is beside the point, as eventually there will be a drought of bonus rounds so extreme as to result in the loss of your entire bankroll before any wins are achieved, rendering the average hit rate irrelevant.

This is the reason that all martingale variants fail.

The author's most ill-informed claim follows on from this, in justification of the proposed increase in bets:

This is on the basis that the longer we go without the feature hitting, the more probable it is.

This is the gambler's fallacy in its purest form, the belief that the probability of an event somehow varies in relation to the occasion of its last occurance. In reality, it doesn't matter how many spins have taken place without a bonus round; the probablity of an occurance of the bonus round remains constant.

Assuming a probability of one in 150, whether a bonus round has just occurred or has not occurred in the last 500 spins, the probability is still one in 150. As such, the recommended bet increases serve to do nothing other than increase exposure to the house edge and cause greater loss.

Money management, the inveterate companion of gambling systems, gets a look in:

Money Management gives further targets which limits potential loss amount in a given month, but with no limit to how much can be won...

Before playing any game we set targets on how much we are prepared to lose and how much we are prepared to win...

Stop-losses and win limits are beneficial only insofar as they limit your exposure to the house edge and therefore limit your losses. Less play = less money lost.

Ironically enough, the martingalesque nature of the progression in question will in fact result in the loss of more money, not less. In order to restrain your losses to non-martingale levels, in a martingale progression, you would simply have to place fewer bets.

The description is concluded thus:

The philosophy here at SlotBeaters is not to go out & just ruthlessly play casino bonuses for profit as if it's some kind of boring job, but to experience the entertainment & fun of playing slots for real money, but without the risk of losing a fortune.

In reality, playing bonuses "ruthlessly for profit" can be quite entertaining, as with many money-making activities. Losing, the inevitable result of this system, is not at all entertaining. And while you may not lose a fortune if you observe sensible loss limits, you will still lose.

As such, the writer has it backwards.

All things being equal, this system is a lot more destructive than the usual martingale variants, which tend to advocate play on baccarat, roulette or blackjack, games with house edges up to eight times lower than slots.

In conclusion, to quote Richard Epstein:

The number of 'guaranteed' betting systems, the proliferation of myths and fallacies concerning such systems, and the countless people believing, propagating, venerating, protecting, and swearing by such systems are legion.

Betting systems constitute one of the oldest delusions of gambling history.

Betting systems votaries are spiritually akin to the proponents of perpetual motion machines, butting their heads against the second law of thermodynamcis.


When you see people advocating betting systems, run away as fast as possible.

To end on a light note: the Casinomeister thread led to mention of the Monty Hall problem, of which I was entirely unfamiliar. It took me fully two days to understand the simple logic behind the counter-intuitive solution.

Fascinating. See if you can do better than I did.

3 Previous Comments

Most ridiculous were all the defenders of the "strategyguy". Some even seemed to believe it works and concentrated on jumping on the OP.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:36 pm  

I was the OP in that thread and I actually didn't follow the bogus advice or lose any money Martingaling (kinda passed that phase of my life around 14 yrs old :p) - I was attempting to use satire but my writing skills leave a lot to be desired.

Monty Hall is a total head-trip. When it was first presented to us in Applied Statistics at uni, I was ADAMANT and LOUDLY VOCAL...but for the wrong side lol. Embarrassing. When it finally 'clicked', I felt like a right twat moron :)

Great article above though. Well done!


By Blogger 1540564456, at 10:40 pm  

Looks like the whole thing panned out satisfactorily in the end, on all fronts.

I wrote a gambling control system a while back. It's a gambling system, and it's mathematically valid. The only downer is that it doesn't promise any winning, but rather gives you an easy way to estimate your hourly expenditure, and adjust it as required. I included also a cheap & cheerful shortcut option, which bypasses most of the explanations and requires a couple of very simple calculations to get you up to speed.

You can use it in tandem with the "slotbeaters slot strategy", to estimate how much you'll lose.

By Blogger 100% Gambler, at 1:48 am  

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