What is a ‘PAR Sheet’?
The term PAR sheet is commonly thought to be an acronym for Probability Accounting Reports. These sheets detail how a particular slot machine is programmed, such as the payout rules. It is not a record of how a slot machine has performed, rather an outline of how the machine should behave over time. PAR sheets are considered by many casinos to be closely guarded secrets as they reveal the probabilities associated with each winning combination. As such, they can usually only be accessed by direct request from the game producers or in special cases by legal intervention. However, as with many other casino games, knowing the probability of winning or losing is not necessarily a way to cheat the machine.
‘PAR Sheets’ Explained
Unlike many other traditional casino games such as roulette or cards where the players know exactly how many numbers, cards etc. are in play, the parameters are never specifically outlined when playing slots. Without the PAR sheet, the player does not know the distribution or number of stops of the reels or even the number of symbols on each reel. Mechanical reel slots tend to have three reels and are single-line games whilst video slots typically have five reels and allow betting on multiple lines. Some reels may have 50 symbols whilst others may have 150 symbols per reel. Because each machine design has a unique configuration, the odds may vary greatly from machine to machine.
PAR sheets allow the player to see the detailed configuration a particular slot machine such as the amount of money the machine takes and the number of symbols per reel as well as the probability formulas. They also detail the hit frequency of a given occurrence such as a win, loss or near miss. For example, games with high hit frequencies are designed to keep the player interested by rewarding them with multiple small wins.
The number of plays per jackpot is also outlined in the PAR sheet; however, each spin is considered an independent event. If the jackpot is set to hit one out of every 500 plays, that does not mean a jackpot will be awarded on the 500th spin. In this scenario, each spin has a 1 in 500 chance of winning regardless of the events of the previous spin. It is for this reason that knowing the details of the PAR sheet is not seen to give a significant advantage to the player.
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