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Posted: 2006/03/01 by: John Grochowski. Slots, Online slots gambling advice.
Video slots are different. Some, including some versions of video Wheel of Fortune, have hit frequencies in excess of 50 percent you�ll get some payback more than half the time. Nearly all have hit frequencies from 30 percent on up, with Australian-style games ...
...that rely on multiple free spins as their main bonus event tending to have lower hit frequencies than those with shorter second-screen bonuses.

Now many, even most, of the “winning” spins on video slots are for less than your bet. When you’re betting one coin on each of nine lines on Jackpot Party, a single wild fruit symbol will bring back two coins, or four coins if it’s in a corner at the start of two paylines. Those two-coin or four-coin “wins” are really losses, but they happen often enough that they buy you a few extra spins before you have to go reaching for your wallet.

That alone would tend to stretch out play, but then there’s the effect of the bonus rounds that are designed into video slots. When you’re choosing from the menu in Fortune Cookie, or helping Dudley� save Nell in Rocky and Bullwinkle, or hunting down the aliens in Men In Black, or passing “Go” an any number of versions of Monopoly, you’re not spending any extra cash. Minutes pass without your having to make an extra bet. And that extends the time of your session.

That’s a big part of what video slots are about --- extended time on device, for those who want to stay put and be entertained by their game. The cost of that extended run for your money is a lesser chance at a big jackpot. The jackpot seekers who are willing to risk faster losses find what they want on the reel-spinners.

The winner of Round Four? We’ll leave that to the judges.

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Video poker gave slot manufacturers the clue --- a significant share of customers like to make decisions while they play. And the decision-making public doesn’t play only at the tables. Just as blackjack players like to decide whether to hit or stand, video poker players like the feeling of control and active participation that choosing which cards to hold and which cards to fold gives them.

Today’s video slot machines are models of interactivity, and they’re giving players more and more to do with each passing year. When Reel ‘Em In was introduced, the only decision players had to make was which fisherman to choose to reel in the bonus catch. By the time Reel ‘Em In Cast for Cash came along a few years later, the interactivity had been stepped up a notch with a bonus within a bonus --- your catch could take you to a fishing tournament or to another round of fishing in a special setting.

The interactivity was stepped up to multi-level bonus rounds such as in Cash Crop. Successfully harvesting by choosing among beet plants or carrot plants, each with a bonus attached, brings a different crop with bigger bonuses until a gopher eats the plant you choose and ends the round.

Player choices matter. You have no way of knowing whether the bonus is bigger behind the kung pao chicken or the General’s chicken in Fortune Cookie, but if you’re lucky enough to pick the dish hiding the bigger bonus, that’s what you’ll get.

Atronic adds interactivity even to its progressive jackpots with its Cash Fever games. You can see the jackpot unfolding and anticipate which of the four jackpot levels you’ll qualify for as you participate in second-screen bonuses on games including Bedazzled and Time for Money.

And some games take interactivity to its slot machine heights by adding elements of skill or knowledge. Answering the trivia questions in Mikohn’s Ripley’s Believe It or Not or Trivial Pursuit, zeroing in on the target in Battleship or narrowing down the suspects in Clue gives the player a real sense of control.

Most slot players aren’t looking for real tests of skill or knowledge, and the Mikohn games remain niche games. But those who play video slots have come to expect to participate in the game, rather than watching the reels spin.

Watching the reels spin and waiting for a win remains the object of reel-spinners, but the trend toward interactivity actually got its start on the reels in the United States. The first bonus round to be a big hit here came on the Anchor Gaming add-on Wheel of Gold. Adding the bonus wheel atop regular reel-spinning slots caused quite a ruckus --- other players at the bank of machines would stop and watch and passers-by would halt in the aisles whenever a player was given a chance to spin the wheel.

Wheel of Gold led to Wheel of Fortune and all the other games with spinning wheels that we see in casinos today. And we’ve seen other touches of interactivity on reel-spinning games. Jackpot Party, such a long-running hit on video, got its start as a reel-spinning game with� a Dotmation screen to play out the bonus round. Every game with Slotto balls in the top box, a spinning wheel or globe or a Monopoly board on top gives the player a little something extra to do, adds a little interactivity. And some reel-spinning slots, such as IGT’s Reel Touch series, have added a video screen to the top box to give reel players the same experience video players expect.

Round Five goes to video slots, but reel-spinners can be as interactive as you want them to be --- or just let you watch the reels spin.


There’s no denying video slot machines are entertainment devices --- perhaps even entertainment over gambling. When Dilbert cartoons come to life on the screen in Dilbert’s Wheelbert, or you search the catacombs for the Disguised Lady in Atronic’s Mystery Mask, you’re getting an animated, entertaining experience.

But reel-spinning slots offer some extras to add to the entertainment, too. IGT adds some excitement with its four-reel games such as Super Spin Sizzling Sevens --- basic wins are determined on the first three reels, so it plays like a three-reel slot, while the fourth reel adds to the action by multiplying winnings, adding bonus credits or triggering bonus features. Similarly, Bally Gaming adds a fourth reel to multiply winnings on games including the Playboy game Playmate Times Frenzy.

WMS adds some fun to reel-spinners with a “Can’t Lose” feature --- on games such as Xtra Hot Peppers and American Frenzy, if the Can’t Lose symbol lands on the payline, you win a free spin that’s a guaranteed winner. You can use it immediately, or bank it and use a bunch at once. And Dotmation is back at WMS, this time in full color with bonus screens on reel-spinning slots.

There’s more. A.C. Coin adds fun to the reels with its Slotto-based top boxes, and Konami gives something extra with a small LCD panel for bonus rounds on its reel games.

If you’re looking for something extra, you can find it either on video or on reel games, so we’ll call Round Six a draw.

Of course, if what you want is a good, old-fashioned reel spinner, you can find that, too. So who’s our overall winner, video or reels? You’ll have to make the call.

Copyright 2005 John Grochowski's material. It may not be published, broadcasted, rewritten, or redistributed.