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-   -   Is this light-based ticket-redemption game beatable/rigged? (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=218399)

Church Key Kid 10-20-2003 01:15 AM

Is this light-based ticket-redemption game beatable/rigged?
 
If you've ever been to any arcade where they have ticket-redemption games (like skee-ball), then you have most likely seen the game where the light spins around in a circle (or moves up and down), and you have to push a button to stop the light on a certain point to get the 'jackpot' of tickets.

Is this game rigged? In one particular model, there is a red light that moves up and down; you have to stop it right in the center. However, I always stop it on the exact section on either side of the center section. I have never stopped it right on the middle section, but always stop it right on either side. This leads me to believe that it's rigged.

Other than "don't play", does anyone have any information on these types of ticket-redemption games, such as tips for winning, or information on how rigged they may be? Thanks!

Urban Ranger 10-20-2003 01:31 AM

I haven't seen anything like it.

Looks like it can easily be rigged, though.

Church Key Kid 10-20-2003 01:39 AM

PS: The 'Cyclone' machine is one type of these machines: http://www.primetimeamusements.com/redemption.htm

PPS: Since you are presumably using a skill to win something (tickets) that is redeemable for something of cash value (ie, crappy toys), does this constitute gambling? Should the odds of ticket payoffs be posted somewhere?

TexGuy 10-20-2003 06:22 AM

Quote:

Originally posted by fatdave
PPS: Since you are presumably using a skill to win something (tickets) that is redeemable for something of cash value (ie, crappy toys), does this constitute gambling? Should the odds of ticket payoffs be posted somewhere?
If it's a game of skill (as opposed to a game of chance), it's not gambling. You're not placing a wager on the space you think the light will stop on, you're just paying for a chance to make the light stop on a certain space to win prizes. Posting odds wouldn't make a lot of sense since winning isn't a matter of probability but a matter of the timing and reaction speed of the player.

SmackFu 10-20-2003 10:10 AM

I would be interested to see what the results would be if you tried to get it to stop one above the center.

aktep 10-20-2003 10:49 AM

I have been able to win the cyclone game with a fair amount of regularity, so I'd say it's not rigged (at least, not the one at the Dave and Busters in my hometown...).

The trick is just to time it well and react quickly.

robertliguori 10-20-2003 11:12 AM

I know the machine of which you speak. I spent $5 proving to myself it was, then felt really stupid.

shijinn 10-20-2003 12:16 PM

there's a similar game here, like the 'wheel of fortune' wheel, with different sized 'pies' and you're supposed to stop it at that one tiny pie. WAG here, i think the window of opportunity for the light to land on that pie is not proportionate to the size of the pie. that is, it's even smaller.

Velma 10-20-2003 02:10 PM

I have won the jackpot playing Cyclone many times, although I do admit it is much rarer than hitting either side of the center as you describe. If anything I would guess that maybe the lights are colored or set up somehow to create an optical illusion or distraction so that most people will hit too soon or too late, and get frustrated after a few times and quit. I find that I have to play for quite a few rounds, but once I hit it once or twice I can get a feel for the timing and hit it quite regularly (about 25% of the time). There is some strategy, it's not just random lights or chance.

I would guess that fixing games like these would be pointless, as even when you win the jackpot the prizes you earn with those tickets are much cheaper for the establishment than the amount they take in on the game. It pays for games to be winnable, because people get excited about the win and want to play more. When you win a jackpot, there is a loud siren and flashing lights, and that also draws attention to the game and makes other people want to play as well. A game that was impossible to win wouldn't be a very popular game.

Beastal 10-20-2003 02:18 PM

Blackjack at the casino is also a game of skill. Does that mean it isn't gambling?

Ilsa_Lund 10-20-2003 02:45 PM

You are still betting that you will receive a better hand than the dealer.

_zaphod77_ 06-23-2019 01:48 AM

Here's the deal with Cyclone.

With default settings, it's beatable with practice. but the red light has a tighter timing window than the others.

While each light light up for the same amount of time, the real timing window for the red light is tighter. If you press the button when the red light is lit, but you are not within the real jackpot window, it jumps randomly left or right. Some particularly vicious ones will actually jump multiple spaces.

By default, the jackpot timing window is 3ms, which is humanely hittable somewhat with practice. This setting is legal to operate as a game of skill. The only randomness is what way it jumps if you hit it close but not in the jackpot zone. if you are not aware of that, you will go around for ages trying to get the right timing.

There is a setting called "winability". this setting stretches the timing window for the jackpot to the maximum after enough games have been played. Many games on location have this set, with the jackpot window set to 1ms. This is the true rigged setting, and it's very common. a human cannot hit a 1ms timing window with any reliably whatsoever. you don't know what timing window you are getting. This would be gambling, if tickets were items of valuer.

This is confirmed with the manual. there's no reason to believe the clones of the game are any different. There IS an optical illusion that causes the lights to blend together as you follow them, and that does make it harder to learn the timing, but not impossible.

Incidentally, spin-n-win at dave and busters doesn't cheat, it just uses a 2ms window for the jackpot, nearly impossible for a human to hit reliably.

bob++ 06-23-2019 06:58 AM

I play backgammon online but there are never any Americans playing. I believe that the regulators have ruled that backgammon is a game of chance, rather than skill and it is not allowed online. Chance certainly plays a large part in the game but a skilled player will always win in the long run over a less skilled player.

Saint Cad 06-23-2019 10:35 AM

It's rigged. Proven by the inestimable Mark Rober.

Saint Cad 06-24-2019 01:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by _zaphod77_ (Post 21712398)

While each light light up for the same amount of time, the real timing window for the red light is tighter. If you press the button when the red light is lit, but you are not within the real jackpot window, it jumps randomly left or right.

So I can hit it when lit but not win. That sounds rigged to me.


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