Are Full Pots Harder to Close?

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Triple pot slot machine game

Previously we’ve shared that the fullness of the pots doesn’t matter because the pots are a visualization disconnected from the game. That doesn’t mean people get it:

You say the size of the pots doesn’t matter, I disagree. My experience is that when the pots are full they are much harder to get a bonus on than when they are empty.

Bill B.

Here’s the thing. When we say the size of the pots don’t matter, this isn’t an opinion. This is what the slot manufacturers tell us, and this is what the pay tables tell us.

We get a lot of players who try to refute what we’re saying by claiming it’s an opinion. But we often find people conflate a handful of experiences as leading to an opinion, when slots take massive amounts of plays to get to their long-term scenario.

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We previously put together this video showing various clips of Brian closing full and empty pots.

So why do players think full pots are harder to close? Because the experience of a full pot is more frustrating to players who don’t realize the psychological impact of chasing pots. 

If you think a full pot is due to close, and then it won’t close, you may come to the conclusion it’s harder to close. It’s a distinct experience or set of experiences that will stick in peoples’ minds, and we mentally review those experiences to attempt to come to conclusions.

The thing is, our experience has nothing to do with the actual design of the game. It’s easily proven when you change your bet and the pot size remains the same. 

If the size of the pot has a connection to when a bonus will arrive, why would they let you fill the pot on small bets and then flip to a higher bet with a full pot? When it actually has a connection, the items on screen change with each bet level.

Go to a conference like G2E and the game makers will frequently talk about “perceived persistence,” which means the game gives the perception that something is happening when it’s not. 

There’s a psychological aspect to this, where players who aren’t getting a bonus, but think they’re closer to getting a bonus because something continues to happen (the pot grows to an overflowing state). A player perceives a progression that isn’t actually happening (the game is not any “closer” to a bonus). 

This is why so many pot games exist now – it’s very successful at nudging a player that’s losing to keep playing. This is one of the reasons why we write so much about these topics – awareness, and catching yourself from falling into the trap, is half the battle.

In Bill’s email to Brian, he also proposed a challenge to play with a full or empty pot. A single experience on a game won’t give you any sort of a real conclusion. This is what we mean – as players we have a very small sample across the lifetime of a game. And we have to be careful about that.

Instead, we are wise to trust the information being shared by the makers and in the pay table. If the pots had something to do with when you’re getting a bonus, they would want us to know this, and would tell us this. Instead, they’re being very clear it has nothing to do with when that next bonus will hit, and given they created it, that’s not an opinion, that’s the truth.


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