Daily Archives: September 20th, 2010

Two scoops of poop

RoboScoop says, "Here, kitty kitty."

I recently found myself at a Native American gaming facility. (Is that preferable to “Indian Casino” or does it make a difference?) After parking my keister in front of an idiotic machine for a few hours of “entertainment” I walked away with a 10 percent increase in my net worth. (No, I didn’t make a mistake here. I didn’t mean to say “bankroll.” I literally mean my net worth.)

In other words I started with $20 and and ended up with $22. Now that is ROI, baby. Woot.

The penny slot machine I was playing would pay about $1,800 if you hit the “progressive” jackpot while playing at least five lines. That’s five cents a spin. A little rich for my blood but I tried it for a while. And to cut any sense of drama short, no, I did not land a “jackpot” for the first time in my life.

To win the jackpot one must score the special symbol on all three wheels and on the same payline at the same time. I naturally found myself curious about the odds.

That wheel looked big. The don’t tell you exactly how big so I can only guess. I estimated that it might have 20 to 100 locations on it. Yes, the blank spots between the artwork count, too, those snarky bastards.

If the wheels had 20 spots I calculated the odds of a jackpot at one in 8,000. No way. That’s way too low.

How did I calculate that? It’s easy. Just multiply 20 (the estimated number of spots per wheel) by itself three times (the number of wheels). 20 times 20 times 20 equals 8,000. Viola!

If the wheels have 50 spots the odds jumped to 1 in 125,000. Now we’re getting somewhere.

If the wheels have 80 spots the odds are an astronomical 1 in 512,000. That’s approximately one jackpot in every half million spins. In other words, if I visited the casino and did 3,000 spins per day, it would take me, on average, about 170 days to get a jackpot. Since I only go to the casino about four times a year, that works out to be about 42 years at my current rate of play.

I’m not holding my breath. 🙂

By the way, the calculations above assume that the slot machine is “fair.” In other words, that the odds of the special symbol showing up is really the same as every other space on the wheel. I have no idea of knowing if that is true or not. Something tells me that in this era of computer-generated outcomes on gaming machines that the mathematics won’t work out just like that. Shouldn’t the operators of gaming machines be required to tell you the odds?

Here comes the awkward segue…

I have two kitty cats. I’m in charge of scooping doody duty. We initially bought a plastic scoop. It turns out that thing is literally a piece of shit. If I could somehow find the people who made that thing (AKA the people who got my money) I’d have a thing or two to tell them. I imagine I might find them in China.

Anywho, we decided we had gone cheap on the wrong household tool. The plastic scoop was literally falling apart. My wife and I tried, during the span of a few months, to hit the local pet store when we were out on the town. The store was always closed. Nothing ever seemed to work out.

Yesterday, however, we went in our separate ways. Later in the day when we met back in the house, we both had a shiny new metal scooper. After months of wanting one somehow it worked out that we both bought one on the very same day.

Wow.

I found myself thinking, “What in the hell are the odds of that?” Assuming there are 363 days in a year (the pet store is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas) and there are only two of us, the equation to calculate these odds is: 365 times 365 = 131,769.

Something tells me instead of a damn pooper scooper we should have purchased lotto tickets yesterday.