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Fruit Machine Emulation


mechamonkey
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Apologies if this triggers some peoples habits in advance.
I'm very middle aged now and yet I've successfully manged to avoid ever playing any fruit machines.
Along with mountains of accumulated gaming stuff over the years I also have an arcade cab and virtual pinball so I thought, you know what would fit in well with those, some sort of fruity, thus began my rabbit hole journey.
So in the last few days I've joined various emulation forums etc and finally got my head round it.
I've got MFME up and running perfectly and even set up "Arcade Simulator" to have a wander round my own private collection of gamblers.
Next step is to buy some sort of touchscreen and mini pc to set up with a touch-play front end for MFME.

The main thing I have learned is I was very very right not to pump any money into these ever, and never will.

Anyway here's a quick video I did for a friend showing him what I'd been up to (Arcade Simulator) thought some of you might get a kick out of it  (apologies if embedding doesnt work, I set it to 18+ because of gambling)
 

 

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1 hour ago, Ninja Doctor said:

I think @dumpster did some work on these a few years back using save states to show how the higher/lower type games always make you lose. 

I had a mate who played fruities a lot. Like every time we were in the pub. I showed him this research and he's stopped playing completely. He always thought they were essentially fair, but this has been enough to put him off.

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Stu C campaigned on this. I shan't link directly, because I think - for mutually good reasons - he and RLLMUK are probably best kept apart... but it's easily discovered, and was called FairPlay. He documented it so you could follow along at home with emulator save states.

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16 minutes ago, Skykid said:

Stu C campaigned on this. I shan't link directly, because I think - for mutually good reasons - he and RLLMUK are probably best kept apart... but it's easily discovered, and was called FairPlay. He documented it so you could follow along at home with emulator save states.

 

Yeah, back when he was occasionally a force for good. The industry response was 'So what, we say it pays out 97% and it does' but I think, like @ScouserInExile's friend, seeing how that actually works behind the scenes is too bitter a pill to swallow. I've often wondered if you could use emulation to make them 'fair' but I think they probably just aren't programmed like that.

 

EDIT: BTW @mechamonkeythat virtual arcade looks amazing!

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12 minutes ago, SozzlyJoe said:

I've often wondered if you could use emulation to make them 'fair' but I think they probably just aren't programmed like that.

 

I suspect only to get a feel for when they were more likely to be mean, to avoid them. Some folks used to sit near the machines, only having a go when they'd seen people pour money into them without payouts. Let someone else exhaust that 3%!

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@SozzlyJoe You can't make them 'fair', no. The percentage payouts are based on thousands of spins and they will stick incredibly close to it over the long-term (you can monitor all the stats via the emulator to see this).

 

For anybody that used to play machines in the wild (I'm talking about back in the old £3/£6 jackpot days) you learned quickly that the hi-lo gambles/skill stops/repeat chances would cheat you (to the point that Barcrest machines used to flash-up 'TRUE SKILL' when it wouldn't cheat - naturally this didn't come up often). You just factored into your gameplay that you would lose going higher on a 2 more often than not and made decisions around this.

 

There were (and still are) various tricks that work and ways to empty machines, but for the casual player it all started to go wrong with after the £8 jackpot machines. Prior to then a lot of machines genuine could be fun to play; the feature-board would spun in regularly, with the actual games being enjoyable and you could spend a while playing and not be a stupid amount of money down - and could often win. My friends and I used to go to a pub and decamp to the fruit machines for a fun evening and rarely were ever more than a few pounds each down - ditto places like Southend if you at least knew of some of the basic tricks (i.e. holds after nudges, 3 holds for a win etc).

 

I recently download a few machines via emulation because, as I say, the old machines used to be quite fun. Anything beyond an £8 jackpot is usually quite a miserable experience though, with long periods of the machine sucking in money to build up a win pot - it's not unusual to see them take in well over £100 to pay out a £15 jackpot, for example.

 

Essentially, I wouldn't touch them in the real world because they are hideous beasts now, but they can be entertaining via emulation.

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Just now, Lorfarius said:

So how do people win money on them? There always seems to be some sneaky bloke in the back of a pub, watching like a hawk for big losers and swooping in to bag a massive pay out.

There are various methods that vary by manufacturer (though a lot of exploits get patched-out), but you need to know all the signs and play it very carefully - but they can result in emptying them. A lot of it is timing, too; the proper devoted players will know where the machine is roughly in a payment cycle within a few pounds of spins, at which point they would leave it alone.

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5 minutes ago, Lorfarius said:

So how do people win money on them? There always seems to be some sneaky bloke in the back of a pub, watching like a hawk for big losers and swooping in to bag a massive pay out.

 

That's broadly exactly how, they pay out... ooh 73% over a certain time.

 

If you know the time and you've watched people lose for long enough then it's due to pay out.

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26 minutes ago, Gabe said:

Anything beyond an £8 jackpot is usually quite a miserable experience though, with long periods of the machine sucking in money to build up a win pot - it's not unusual to see them take in well over £100 to pay out a £15 jackpot, for example.

A good 25 years ago now, a mate of mine poured £300 into a machine because "it had to pay out soon". Even if he had have hit the jackpot a couple of times, he wouldn't have recouped what he'd put in, but he thought he could minimise his loss by keeping playing until he got something back. He didn't.

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35 minutes ago, Dudley said:

 

That's broadly exactly how, they pay out... ooh 73% over a certain time.

 

If you know the time and you've watched people lose for long enough then it's due to pay out.

 

I imagine that leads to a lot of ill-feeling when someone swoops in and takes 'your' jackpot!

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@ScouserInExileYeah, that's the danger in thinking you know how they operate. The payout percentage is played out over so many thousand spins, it is very easy for a machine to go on a long draining period (especially if a 'pro' player has emptied it) and sunk-cost fallacy kicks in quite quickly. 

 

With £100 jackpot machines now common everywhere, I dread to think how much they could suck during a bad patch, but I'd say multiple hundreds easily, with only some token low-level wins every now and then.

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6 minutes ago, SozzlyJoe said:

 

I imagine that leads to a lot of ill-feeling when someone swoops in and takes 'your' jackpot!

Ahh, the number of times we'd go to a pub and spot those people eyeing up those playing the machines. Or worse - you would get people coming over telling you how to play. I remember once at Southend a guy we regularly saw there came over to us one night and was trying to tell us what to do, even offering to buy us out so he could continue our feature board - Southend was a classy place :lol:

 

Back in the day you used to be able to look through the machine and see the pound coin tubes - in a pub, if it was full there was a good chance it would pay out soon. In proper arcades it was slightly less of a guide because you never know when they may have manually refilled the machine, but it was still the first thing to check when approaching one. Man, that was back in the 90s!

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Really interesting. When I was a kid we used to go to the arcades quite a bit..I’d play the coin ops while my mates would play a mix of fruities and coin op..by the end of the day I’d have spent up, whereas they would routinely leave with more than they went in with.  In time it became about the fruit machines than the games which was desperately dull.

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As someone who has never been interested in fruit machines this is all fascinating.

 

The possibility of winning money was never an enticement. Even as a kid I always assumed they were some sort of scam (probably because my dad ran a bar so I saw them from the other side). As I got older and had friends who played them it felt like even if you were “winning” the profit you got in an hour was comparable with what you’d take home after working an hour on a minimum wage job. Seemed so bleak.

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Fascinating, @dumpster. Anyone ever looked into those online fruit machines? I span a few free tenners on them a few months ago and whilst fun I had to assume they were even more rigged than the physical ones - but maybe they aren't, if they are more regulated? That's where I got the 97% figure from.

You never hear people talking about them, but there are so many providers of them so they must be popular. What are the scandals there? I know one guy was told he won the jackpot only for the firm to try to do him out of it (which he deliciously won in court)

 

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2021/apr/07/online-gambler-wins-court-case-to-claim-17m-prize-after-betfred-refused-to-pay

 

Hard to know if it could credibly be called a bug as all the news reports were frustratingly light on the technical details.

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I used to work on these (as an artist) and yeah they’re a con. Even with unlimited money it would basically just drain down. I wouldn’t touch them even for the game aspect of a lot of newer ones as just getting to the game part is tough.

 

Online ones are really popular but generally certain brands take off like that leprechaun one I’m sure you’ve seen advertised.

 

As an aside, casino games don’t work the same way. If you play on a machine and someone else arrives and wins the jackpot that doesn’t mean you would have. They use random number generators generally so someone winning was just lucky. A player that knows this will generally have a few spins and if it hasn’t paid out anything will just move on to the next one and even if it does do a small payout will still move as that payout wasn’t a sign a bigger things to come, just luck on when you started the machine up.

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3 hours ago, SozzlyJoe said:

Fascinating, @dumpster. Anyone ever looked into those online fruit machines? I span a few free tenners on them a few months ago and whilst fun I had to assume they were even more rigged than the physical ones - but maybe they aren't, if they are more regulated? That's where I got the 97% figure from.

You never hear people talking about them, but there are so many providers of them so they must be popular. What are the scandals there? I know one guy was told he won the jackpot only for the firm to try to do him out of it (which he deliciously won in court)

 

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2021/apr/07/online-gambler-wins-court-case-to-claim-17m-prize-after-betfred-refused-to-pay

 

Hard to know if it could credibly be called a bug as all the news reports were frustratingly light on the technical details.

I've never been interested in them, but they are regulated, yes, and no different really to playing roulette or blackjack etc in a real casino in that the house always wins.

 

 

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In the late 90s my housemate and I at uni would play on this Top Of The Pops trivia machine in the pub near our flat. Every time we'd manage to win the jackpot and basically pay for our first pint each with a £1 go. It asked simple multiple-choice questions and then had a timed round at the end that I'm guessing was meant to make you lose but we gamed it. Imagine our disappointment when they replaced it with some crappy game where you had to make lines of fruit on a grid by answering questions. I can't remember exactly how it worked but it was almost impossible to make a line.

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Quiz machines are interesting in how they can control the payouts, as @dumpsteraptly demonstrated. My friend used to play the Crystal Maze quiz game and it would stiff you not only by having too many silvers (no matter how long you had on the clock), but it would also allow fewer puzzles in each zone along the way.

 

It was plainly obvious even at the time, but he quite liked the puzzles so at least he was having some fun for his 50p. 

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8 hours ago, SozzlyJoe said:

Fascinating, @dumpster. Anyone ever looked into those online fruit machines? I span a few free tenners on them a few months ago and whilst fun I had to assume they were even more rigged than the physical ones - but maybe they aren't, if they are more regulated? That's where I got the 97% figure from.

You never hear people talking about them, but there are so many providers of them so they must be popular. What are the scandals there? I know one guy was told he won the jackpot only for the firm to try to do him out of it (which he deliciously won in court)

 

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2021/apr/07/online-gambler-wins-court-case-to-claim-17m-prize-after-betfred-refused-to-pay

 

Hard to know if it could credibly be called a bug as all the news reports were frustratingly light on the technical details.

Not fruit machines per se, bit a mate of mine gambles a lot. Mostly roulette, some blackjack. He's pretty good at it from what I've seen. Same guy who doesn't play fruit machines any more. 

 

He had a back operation a few years ago, so was housebound for a couple of months. He signed up for one of the big online casinos - Skybet, I think it was - and played a bit. At first, he was getting the kind of results he'd expect to get, but fairly quickly started losing pretty badly. Just bad luck. Played the next day and the same thing happened - early reasonable wins, then it cleaned him out. More bad luck. He paid a lot more attention to the results the next time he played and realised there was a very definite point where the results turned against him. He changed the way he was betting and realised the run of results ran against him again. 

 

Yes, it's a game of pure chance but, as someone who has seen the wheel spin thousands of times, he could see it wasn't a straight game and he couldn't win. 

 

He stopped playing at that point. 

 

I've heard people say the same thing about fixed odds machines in bookies. They let you win for a bit, then take all your money. 

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My parents used to own a pub, and with it, a fruit machine. That thing infatuated me, and over the course of watching it while working, I came to a lot of realisations that are being stated in this tread. On the front of the machine, in very readable writing, it states that the machine WILL take 30% of whatever is put into it. I quickly came to see that you were playing against the person who had played before you if you were looking to make any money. 

 

I will admit, when I closed the pub, and had saw someone pump a fair bit of money in before close, I did stick a few quid in and often came out for the better. But I started to see when it was setting me up for a fix. There was a higher or lower game on it with numbers between 1 and 12. I first noticed that 3 and 10 would appear more than any other numbers on the board. And fairly often a 3 would lead to a 1, and 10 to 12. I also started to notice the amount of time the machine would take to land on 3 or 10 would vary greatly. To make it look like it had naturally rolled on to one of these numbers, it was over compensating by doing 1 or 2 more full revolutions of the wheel before landing on those numbers.

 

The fruity went so far out of its way to make it look natural and unlucky, that I started to see the con from a mile away. 

 

Thanks to those in this thread, for confirming my suspicions. It's why I never touched a "high payout" machine. To get to the jackpot in question would take the losses of so many people before it could even think of paying it out, it was never worth putting a single pound on it.

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Not that I've been to the pub that much lately but it has been a while since I've heard the pump-rattle of a jackpot payout, you rarely even saw some bored day-drinker stick a pound in. The machine usually just sits there flashing away, part of the usual pub furniture.

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