Expert course on slot machines and gaming

[from a source long forgotten, originally in finnish, translated by myself]

WARNING: This text contains content unsuitable for children below the age of 16 and may cause permanent gamblimania (gamling neurosis). If you don't want to spoil the healthy realities of your life, do not proceed reading.

This text deals with games of RAY, on how to play them and gives tips on how to keep your sum positive. The information is based on intuitive knowledge and empirical studies and they are not verified according to the ISO-standard.


Most people play RAY slot machines to kill time or for little excitement they get, leaving their coins to the mercy of devious machine. Nobody truly believes that you could actually win more than lose by playing. Still people play more or less, even when they know beforehand that they are giving away their money. Playing is fun when you win, but losing your pocket money to a stupid slot machine just pisses you off.

If you are one of the fortunate ones who have never (or hardly ever) played slot machines, take my advice: DON'T. The games are based in human psychology. Humans need excitement and while playing, they partially lose their sense of reality, realism and rationality when it comes to spending money. There are at least two clearly distinguishable patterns:

  1. Person has decided to play on machine and loses money in the beginning. He, of course, wants to win his money back and unlogically puts more money in, hoping that the jackpot would hit and he would win back the money he lost. The automaton has now psychological hold on innocent player. From this follows, that the person will lose money directly proportionally to available funds, weakness of will, time available, age and inversely proportionally to the person's IQ. In other words, loses everything.
  2. Person got lucky, and larger the random win, worse the consequences. The pleasure gained from win blurs his sense of reality so, that person will believe jackpot to hit him, according to studies, 35 times more likely than before the first proportionally large win. Thus he will sooner or later return to the game (because his wallet is full of "useless" coins) and carelessly lose large sums, since he has this strong 'feeling' that he will win as easily as before. Almost always the end result is, however, that person will lose everything he won, and according to the first formula, more.

The loss will be followed by state of apathy and depression, and depending on the amount of loss person will swear that he will never play again, with as big bets, as carelessly, or at all. At this point, swearing is pointless. Time flies, buries bad memories, and if there's money, person will be soon hitting on the automaton again. The worst that could happen at this point would be a large winning, because it will start the cycle all over again, only stronger this time.

Playing and tactics

In case the images above had no effect on your conscience or if you just consider yourself so much above everyone else, and patterns described have nothing whatsoever to do with your behaviour, you may proceed. In not so, it will be futile for you to even try to learn to win the machine, for you might have finally understoof that you can't win the machine. With several years of experience and knowledge of RAY's automaton's, I may, however, give you a few tips to hone your tactics with.

RAY's slot machines are tuned so, that they will pay back about 80% of all money put inside (translator's note: 86% according to RAY's web site). So, it doesn't mean that if you put 10mk to the machine, you will get 8mk back (translator's note: mk is finnish currency, also known as FIM), but that if, for example, 10000mk is few to the machine during a certain time period, the machine will give back as winnings about 8000mk, and the leftover 2000mk will go to the machine's money bag. It is also possible, that even if you put 500mk in a row in, you would get nothing back, but the next player would win 400mk with bets of few mks. Whenever the RAY Uncle comes empty the money bags, the 80%-routine resets, that is, for a while you will win hardly anything from it. But as a rule of thumb: the more money has been put in the machine without getting anything, the larger chance there is to win next time.

a) The Machine controls the flow of money completely, so the game itself is merely a formality. In theory, it doesn't matter how you play the game (except maybe in pajatso), because your win/loss statistics depend 100% on the (mis)fortune of previous players. I have so often heard little kids say, at the moment of doubling, say "I know which it is but I won't tell..." and when the other guesses wrong he will say "STUPID, I would have doubled right". Geez... the machine decides, based on the 80% rule, how the doubling will happen and, for example in poker, will give you sevens for 100 times in a row if needed, if the machine is empty. So you may hit the SMALL-button for 5 times in a row if you like, it doesn't matter which button you hit. If the machine is ready to give large winnings (=someone else has lost LOTS to the machine previously), will doublings succeed every time, regardless of which size you chose. For kicks, hit the doublings randomly. Here's a couple of lucky sequences: BIG-SMALL-SMALL-SMALL, SMALL-BIG-BIG-SMALL, SMALL-BIG-SMALL and the same inversed.

b) Timing is essential. With timing I mean that you will know when to play which automaton. It's only worth it to play automaton "filled" by another stupid player, because then the chances for winnings will be largest. If your game style is such, that you will just walk in at the first free machine and fill it wirth coins, at 93% chance you will get to bid your money farewell. Patience!

[1] Go to place with lots of slot machines, or at least more than two. If you really are going to play, exchange money in advance so there will be coins ready when the time comes. Observe other people playing the games and keep track on how much they & lose. Essential is, how much money the person puts in the machine. With training, you will be able to keep a hard eye on three games simultaneously, making estimations of winning chances.

[2] When you're observing a player, do it behind his back, instead of going right next to the machine like some irritating kids do. The player will feel your eyes in his back, get nervous, and possibly play with larger bets than usually. Count accurately how much money he puts in the machine and how long are the delays between winnings. If the winnings come seldom, machine will quickly suck his money.

[3] When player has lost all his money to the automaton and the machine's behaviour seems promising (see Game Behaviour), you may move to the machine to try the Poking the Ice -technique.
WARNING: Often it might seem that other player just lost insane amounts of money without winning anything and the inexperienced stalker will believe that soon the machine will hit the jackpot. Usually, however, the case is that the other player won large amounts of money from the machine before you arrived, so you didn't see him win and when he, then, loses the money he won, it's back to starting point, not ready to give money.

c) Poking the Ice. Always at start play with small bets, 2-3mk, but never with 1mk bets (because it won't reflect the true state of machine, should there be any winnings). If you lose over 15mk in row without winning anything, or if you win only minor amounts and then lose even those, stop playing this automaton immediately. Machine is obviously on the sucking phase and you had misevaluated the machine's behaviour concerning winnings (this happens fairly often in the beginning). In addition, when you have brains to stop at this magical "15 gone-no wins yet-let's quit" formula, you will avoid the psychological traps described above, where you will be trying to win your money back.

If and when you win during the first 10mk with 2-3mk bets, it's a good start. Try to double the first winning once. If you lose, you should hear some alarm bells ringing. Don't panic yet, however, but try to double the next winning once. If the WIN/DOUBLEx1 -formula won't succeed during the first 15mk, stop playing. If doubling succeeds once, cash it. Raise bet to 3mk and play, and double next winning twice, if it's minimum winning. Try to determine how much machine is willing to give by doubling. Don't try to double to millions but always cash when winning >= bet^3, so, for example, if bet=3mk, after winning >=27mk it's not worth it to double. Don't play with bets higher than 3mk at the Poking the Ice -phase.

d) Behaviour of the Game

If the machine is giving minor winnings occasionally or fairly often, the game is normal "collect" mode, that is, it is cashing the players to even possible losses from the 80% formula, or to build up a larger jackpot. If you note the game behaving this way, it's a good idea to avoid playing, because you might lose considerable sums of money with no decent winnings and still be at loss.

Only by doubling it's possible to quickly determine how much the game is ready to give. You will be exceptionally lucky, if you have chance to stalk at some crazy idiot who doubles every winning until doubling fails. Then you will always see where the doubling stops, that is, after which sum the doubling won't work. If, for example, 20mk doubling works every time but 40mk fails, machine is ready to give 20-39mk. Note that more money is constantly being fed to the machine (playing), increasing the 'pot'. Usually it's not a good idea to try out the possible maximum of winnings by doubling, but to cash winnings out, especially if you already have some sort of image of how much is coming.

If you're observing a player playing pajatso, look closely at how close the pins around the holes are. You see, electronic pajatso may decrease the chances of victory to zero by putting these pins so close to each other that a coin doesn't fit through. Even though the coin seems to hit right in the middle of hole, pins will spit it out. Usually, the less money pajatso is ready to give, faster the coin will bounce off the pins and the factors will be randomized to minimum. On the other hand, if the coin seems to slide in almost by itself, fairly large winnings are to be expected. Play couple of games with at least 3mk bet and cash in.

If the game hasn't given winnings for a long time, even though the player has thrown buckets of money in, your chances are fairly good. But remember the warning above... let the other player feed all his money in and patiently wait even if he exchanged hundred marks more after having lost 500mk. If he, even then, doesn't win, jump in like a lightning and partly forget the ice poking-technique. Play with 3-5mk bets, 15mk at maximum, and if the game still doesn't give you money, *shrug*... Apparently the last guy didn't lose as much as you thought, or the machine is collecting up for a real mega-jackpot and is in full suck mode. It's, however, highly likely that you will win certain amounts of money. Try to double your winnings if it doesn't exceed the (bet^3)mk. So, if bet=5mk and winning=75mk, don't double. In other case, double with care. With very high chances, the doubling will go right regardless of which buttons you hit. Cash in and play until you have won about the money calculated with the following formula: total expected winnings=(last player's losses/2.5). When you notice, that winnings are becoming more and more rare, they are smaller than they used to be or the doublings start to fail, stop playing. Always stop, if you have, after several turns, won money that is >=(money put in)*(8.12).

e) Tactics by game

[1] (Electronic) Pajatso

Pajatso is definitely my favourite, because it's easy to win large sums of money fast and experienced players seem to have much more control of the game than in other RAY games. First some of the basic principles; the pins around slots determine how well the coin fits through. If pajatso is fairly empty, the pins are close and winning is difficult, because the coin might not even fit through between the pins. Other sly method to decrease the winning chances is to alter the stiffness of the trigger. So, even if you hit the trigger with same strength every time, effect may be totally different. Either magnetic field whose strength is altered goes through the trigger, or then it's just simple friction-based slide tuning the mobility of trigger. In other words, it's truly difficult to hit twice on same spot. Due to this, it's good idea to keep the coin flying as long as possible, bouncing off the pajatso's walls, because then there will be larger chance that the coin slides through the slot.

Always try to hit the trigger so that coin will eject at angle as high as possible, ie. try to hit on the lower part of trigger, but still with sufficient forward strength. Upon hit, do also a little twist with your finger, to get twist on the flight. Should the coin eject with proper upper twist and at sufficiently high angle, it's highly likely that it will bounce around in the pajatso. If you will succeed in making such shot, the coin may bounce from walls and pins of slots so that even though the coin has already fallen past the winning slots, it will bounce back up and hit the electronic winning slot detector from below, giving you victory.

Remember, that from the 'R' slot you always win what was last won. So, if you get large winning, try to hit on the R, because it will let you score the same jackpot again. It's quite hard to hit on Rs, though, because they are in the outer rims of pajatso. It doesn't matter which one you'll aim at, but personally I've succeeded more often in winning from the Rs closer to the trigger. Poke a slow hit with little twist and aim it so that you're trying to hit the pin of the other winning slot, from where the coin will bounce to R. Even if the coin doesn't go in R, it's likely that it will sink into some nearby winning slot. Don't, however, fall for weak or twistless hits, that go right past the winning slots, not staying to bounce around. If you're bad player, you'll often do that and even if the machine was ready to give you all its money at first succesful hit, you'll win nothing because coins won't hit the slots.

In general, it's a good idea to aim at the pins in slots, where the coin will then bounce around, because money will hardly ever go through the slot straight from the launcher, especially without twist. Aim and hit carefully every hit instead of hitting in fast in a row. Also, some multimillionaires favour tactics I refer to as "ride". Feed lots of money to the machine, put it on hold and then shoot them into machine rapidly, so that there will be multiple coins in the field at once. The coins will hit each other, "ride". The game is, however, quite random and most modern pajatsos have disabled this anyways, by dropping coins on the launcher rather slowly. Also, often happens so that you will hit at nothing because there is not yet coin before the trigger. Ride, however, works well on old mechanic pajatsos, if there were any left alive (might be in some backwood bars).

[2] Potti

Potti is game for grandmothers and vegetables, because it really doesn't even require sight from the player. Just put money in, hit every winning line once and if you hear clinking, hit the yellow button and cash in. Potti is nasty game in such that you really can't play tactics with it. Machine may give you two jackpot in a row or suck money for two days without giving anything. That's why potti isn't one of my favourites, and it's worth playing only when you have given up all hope. The most troubling situations come in potti, for example, when you have just won 15mk and decide to lock only one line next round, thinking that so you will avoid the loss round on which, very likely, you will win nothing -then the machine will put the jackpot pattern on the line you didn't choose. Apparently Potti has been delibaretely programmed like this, the winning patterns seem to always hit the lines you didn't lock. Locking all the lines, on the other hand, sucks lots of money and so we reach the conclusion: Potti is game for nuts. Of course, the stalking technique described above is applicable to Potti, too, because it works on the same 80% principle. Play careful.

There is one revealing quality about Potti, however. The wheels on which the pictures of fruits have been placed, sometimes twitch few millimeters. This happens naturally only when the wheels aren't turning and it is hard to notice. When the wheels twitch slightly, the machine has just changed its "program", in other words, it has started either giving out the money or sucking it in. There are other modes, but at least these do exist. The problem is, you don't know which move it moved in, but you can to guess (not) this by the wins/losses of previous players.

[3] Keno

Keno is doubler's dream game, because by choosing large amount (5) of cards, the winnings turn smaller with low hit counts, causing the machine to give out winnings more often. Keno is actually the second best game, precisely because of this high winning frequency. Of course keno, too, can suck insane amounts of money without giving anything, if you're playing at the wrong time. Personally, I recommend choosing five cards and doubling the winnings according to the expected winnings you calculated. Good combination is, for eaxmple, 3mk/5 cards, where you will win 27mk with three and 6mk on two. Smaller winnings you can always double and larger take out. Keno's sucking phase is also easier to 'sniff' out than in other games, because doublings will fail almost immediately and winnings are at minimum even if they come often. According to the observations, keno behaves so, that it will suck a lot when it does, and when it's giving money, it does so in large sums. So, don't stop playing right away even if you win, for example, hunder mks. Play one more game, or two at maximum, to see if there's more coming. If you play several games after the winning you quickly fall back to zero. Take winnings out after you have gained them so laborously.

[4] Poker

Poker is popular, but annoyingly enough, completely under the control of the machine. Only tactics is to pick only the cards that truly fit into a combination, instead of taking lucky cards that you expect to get paired etc. When you choose as few cards as possible, you give machine chance to feed more cards back and give you a better hand. So, don't pick 5, 6 and 9 hoping for flush or something similar. But like in potti, poker teases player by giving back cards with same numerical values that the cards thrown away had. Then the player will thinking "damn, I should've left the two back in, since it gave 'another' two back". If you had let the two stay, the machine wouldn't have given you two if it wasn't truly ready to give money out. Again we notice, that the machine determines winnings and their frequency completely.

Concerning doubling:

When it comes to doubling (all the games in which you can double), let it be said that it doesn't base on propabilities at all, but purely onto the 80%-law. Because of this, statistical "impossibility" of 'doubling right 6 times in a row' is entirely possible, if the machine is full of lost money and pay-out ratio at 0.1%. Double according to the estimated winnings, but never more than twice in a row. Equally the "seven-is-all-I-shall-show" -cheating, the machine giving seven every time, happens because the machine is collecting money and doesn't want to give money out. If you see sevens more than once in doubling, stop playing immediately.

[5] Ventti, Steppi, Noppa + other cheating machines

I'm still on the winning side in ventti, but basically it's just like keno -the doublings are essential. It's a nice game, but hard to give any tips or tactics. Just remember the winning calculations when stalking and be patient. Steppi isn't ever worth playing, because it will hardly ever give money and the system is a bit too complicated. Avoid it. Noppa is also completely under the control of machine and doubling is irritatingly slow. Somehow it feels as if there was smalls much more often that bigs in noppa, but that isn't true as you can guess by the 80%-law. Still, if you do play it, double on small. :)

f) Playing

Above was told how to know when to play and how to 'feel out' how much the machine is ready to give. In fact that is all you need to know, because the machine controls the flow of money as it wills, and if you be at the right place in right time, you can win buckets of money with apathetic button-hitting. But, just to make sure, know that it's often truly difficult to foresee the machine's behaviour, and the tactics described above may partly fail. The most important thing is strength of will, because you will be needing it to be able to stop playing, when you have lost more than 15mk in a row or when you have won the money the formulas above expected for you to get. So, if you want to minimize losses, bet sparingly and wisely. Remember, that with 5mk bet you can get 500mk, if you had the right timing and have the brains to stop when you're still winning, and equally stupid player can lose 1000mk with careless playing and bad timing.

Also note, that quitting is important. If and when you have won money so that you're winning somewhat, don't play again that day/week/year, and preferably exchange the coins to bills immediately, using other player, cashiers, or anything. Because you would have to exchange them back to coins to play again, you will have some time to resist the gambling madness when you walk by a slot machine. Also remember, that money won in 30 minutes can be lost quite easily in 20 seconds. Better to be 5mk on the positive than 1000mk on the negative. For yourself, the best thing would be to never play the demon games of RAY, or even look in their direction. In case you have fallen, keep track of your losses for a year and see.

In case some millionaire is irritated by that 15mk testing limit, I can tell you, that it is sufficiently high amount of money to determine the state of automaton. Only maniac would waste more and with less, it's hard to know accurately.

Like said before, it doesn't really take skill to play, and especially poker, keno, potti and ventti are completely "luck"-games. If you understood what you read above, you will know why it has quotation marks.

Highdrive /'95





[translator's note: I considered translating not to change the text.]

Just in case the former WU got you confused, here's a rough breakdown on what he's talking about--Potti is a standard fruit machine, with or without a doubler. Keno is a lotto/bingo machine where you choose up to ten numbers out of forty. (Payoffs start at three hits, and keep on going.)Poker is your general poker machine.

Pajatso is another ball of wax entirely, being a semi-skill game where the object is to nudge coins down slots, with a combination of strategic positions and twitch. It's very hard, and there are even Pajatso tournaments held by RAY across Finland. In terms of play, it's more like bagatelle, or the American Cascade of Silver, than standard casino fare.

In general, RAY machines use more sophisticated graphics and design than what I've seen Bally use: wins are signaled by a bouncy, friendly-sounding melody, court cards are all attractive contemporary figures, and the general image is that of a wholesome, fun, activity worlds apart from say, Las Vegas.

Wonder how I know all this? RAY maintains a website, that has sample games to try and hone your technique. It's mostly in Finnish, but a clever Everythingian could probably figure out all you need to know in a half-hour...

I been sitting out here on the porch putting some thought to the whole thing, and I reckon I have it figured as well as the next fella.

See, the thing about rays is that their is always gonna be a ray to take a ray's place. Rays are a constant in this life, as they will be in the next. Jesus chased the rays out of the temple way back when, and now Congress is stacked to the roof with them. The key is that one ray is not always as bad as another. As bad as the ray you have is, there is another ray that is worse waiting in the wings. And the ray before the one you have was likely a doozy too.

Picture a highway. You are driving along, minding your own business when a ray slides in behind you. What should you do? The idea is that you want to think like a ray, and anticipate what it could possibly do. That's not a great plan. Things like rays have starfish brains. They only react to the waves washing over their spindly arms. No greater idea has ever come to a ray about why they sit on the bottom of the ocean, or how the sea flows. Rays react to stimuli as an ameoba would, waggling psuedopods with no malice, just determination, no goal, just muscle action. Rays always have a surprise for you. They are the year round Secret Santa, lying in wait like a cop behind a billboard, or a censor reading your mail. It is the nature of the ray.

How can you stop the ray? How can you build a fortess against it?

The trick is to not become a ray. It is a slippery slope, greased well by the backsides of men that didn't understand that the ray is not a thing, or a state of unhealthiness, but instead a force of nature. Being ray is not a lifestyle choice. Rays are born ray, and they cannot be anything other than the Ray-hearted rays that they are.

Rays are immutable, and yet, not always rays. The state of a ray is a state of flux. A ray may be streaking toward one place, only to become something else, something not raylike. A particule of something that is maybe filled with hope, or potential for a non-determined state, a non-rayian body. A changed ray, non aligned with the others around it is lost. A ray divided cannot stand against itself. An island in a stream of rays may have once been a ray. A ray that has cast off its shackles of rayhood may become something other, something whole and bright, or it may burn a fade like a cinder. Rays are change, and change is ray.

Can you beat the ray? I would rather answer if you could beat the sun from the sky!

See, the thing about rays is that they are soft. They don't take rays out behind the shed any more, and they don't lock them up like they used to. Is this progress? Can rays be expected to live among those that are not ray? Should rays be allowed to be a part of all of our lives? Segregation did nothing to ease rays into society. Some fought long and hard to give rays a fair shake, like that was possible. All are not equal in the eyes of ray.

No, I can't cotton to no rays. And yet, people like me have been towing the line for rays since the day I was born, and they are going to keep doing it till the day I die. You can't hide your head in the sand and groupthink rays aren't gonna pop up on you. If I had a nickle for every ray that crawled up and spoiled my day, I'd be a rich man. No, you can't stop a ray.

So, the trick to beating a ray is to catch them off guard. They aren't too fast, and they usually don't look behind them. You can get the drop on them if you stay up wind, and keep low to the ground. I have a hefty hardwood bat (Sugar Maple, if you're looking to buy one) that I keep round, just for rays. They say the only good ray is a dead ray, but I say the only good ray is one that you see coming.

Thats what 'they' say. But hey, they maybe a ray. Ya' never know.

for IWhoSawTheFace, a ray if I ever saw one.

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