Panda Penny Slot Love?! Is it Possible?

Panda Penny Slot Love Without a Fanny Pack

Is it possible to develop a love for penny slots when you don’t mean to?  The answer is, Yes.  Well if you like Pandas.  During my recent, first, casino-gambling experience, I learned the Panda penny slot machine has a simple magic to it.  Spoiler alert … there is penny slot love without a fanny pack.   

Hopefully Not Budding Gamblers

Chip and I are not gamblers.  We have only been to a casino to hear music.  But, last week, we were looking for someplace new for dinner and ended up at the local casino.  After dinner, we split $20 and thought we’d try penny slots. 

Criteria and Utopia

Our criterion (mostly mine) was complex.  It had to have a cute picture on top, bright colors and have fun music.  Then we found the utopia of penny slot machines —  Panda China Shores (made and distributed by Konami).  Do you hear the angels singing?

We said we’d play until we lost the money and go. 

Chip played and bid 30 cents a game.  I played 1 or 5 cents a game.  A man next to me gently said, “You need to play at least 30 cents to break even.”  My naivety glowing, I smiled and said, “I will most likely be here playing and you will already be home and in bed.”  We laughed.

Over the night, the gentleman kept coming over and checking.  He couldn’t believe we were still there. 

Apparently, he didn’t go to bed that early.

The Winnings 

I made my $10 last 6 hours and we left with $175.  So, it covered dinner, drinks, slot costs and parking with $60 left over.

The Magic of Sights and Sounds

If you have never played slots, it’s actually kind of fun.  The hardest part is trying to figure out how you win. 

You see the lights go crazy and your bank fill with anywhere from 2 cents to 30 cents.  Then you look at the screen and there are turtles, bears and yin yang signs with arrows pointing from one end of the screen to the other. 

Then it happens.  A crazy pattern occurs and confetti flies across the screen with this music that sounds as if from a peppy, sophisticated circus. 

Your eyes open wide and you think. “I must have completed an amazing fete no one has ever completed.”   A ton of coins go into your bank.  

So, you keep pressing the little button to go on.  Then another unexplainable pattern happens and you hear a loud gong. Then another one, and another.  The machine takes over; because you have won free spins.  

You sit there watching the machine work on your behalf.  Now you’re watching more closely trying to figure out patterns and watching the bank fill even more.  Chip believes turtles are the lucky character.  He chants for them.  I really can’t figure it out.

But, at some point, you have to say when.

People Around You

If you watch TV shows, they show people with fanny packs, ready to swoop if you move a muscle or go near their machine.  We had the exact opposite experience.  Everyone near us, were sweet as pie.  And, no one had a fanny pack.

Since we were there for 6 hours, we had plenty of people rotate through the machines near us.

People told us different approaches to play; the best ways to rub the machine for luck; and, touching the screen when you see icons you like in hopes the machine will stop them where you like. 

Before I was told this was a luck thing, I thought they were touch-screens and I just wasn’t fast enough.   

Some told us about why they like the slots and which machines to try. 

The casino has a smoking area and non-smoking.  A woman next to me just had her hair done and asked me to smell it to see if walking through the smoking area was a bad idea. 

It was a bad idea.

And, really, no one had a fanny pack.

You Lose Track of Time

The way the casino environment works is they manage the environment: lights, drinks passed around, non-alcoholic stations around (they want you hydrated) and happy music from the machines, it’s easy to see how there is no reason to leave.

When we left’ we had no idea; we had been playing for 6 hours.  Think about it, we sat, put money in an opening and pressed a button.  And, that occupied us for 6 hours.  6 hours!!

Are we Gambling Addicts?

As we were leaving, we said, “Hey, that was fun, maybe we will do that again.”

So, of course, I was now concerned we were gambling addicts.

But how could a cute little Panda with gongs and confetti harm us?

The iPhone Was, Again, My Friend

Driving home, I wanted to know the patterns that win on the Panda China Shores penny slots.  

First thing I learned is that, this is a power slot machine.  I guess that means something. 

And, it is fun for the whole family.  Don’t you have to be at least 18 to gamble?  Maybe they mean a family of people 18+.

Quick summary:

  • Bunch of Yin Yangs in certain patterns get you free games and confetti rain.
  • Enough of them can get you a super layer of thousands of dollars or 500+ free spins.  
  • Panda is the wild card
  • The Chinese Symbol is the biggest payout (we had none of those)
  • There is also a Hi Lo Jack, sub game.  These can win by matches or sequence in a play line.
  • There is also something about the number of lines you play and how icons connect.  That’s above my pay grade for now.

Seven Surprises of Slot Machines

An MIT professor, Susan K Perry Ph.D., came up with a list of 7 things about slot machines you didn’t know.  

She believes in this concept called, “Machine Zone.” 

Not sure if being in the Machine Zone is different than being in the zone when playing basketball or Battle Ship, but she may.  

Here are the 7 Surprises:

  1. For the player, slots gaming is not about the money. Some players admit winning a jackpot interrupts “the machine zone.”
  2. Penny slots are now the largest source of income for most casinos.  
    •  Low risk, just fun 
  3. Machines with buttons and credits, instead of pull handles and coins, allow hundreds of games, rather than a few games, to be played in a minute.
  4. Addiction can happen in a year with video gambling devices rather than three or more with other forms of gambling.
  5. When multiple lines are played, say 25 nickels at a time, you may win a few nickels back with each button push. That positive reinforcement hides the fact that you’re losing.
    •  Ahhh … it doesn’t.
  6. The video game penny slots  are now legal in 40 states, and under consideration by others.
  7. Modern slot machines are designed precisely to do what they do: take your money by putting you into a glassy-eyed trance so you won’t walk away while you have a single dollar or credit left.

Dr. Perry’s work is serious.  She spent 15 years researching her topics, sub topics, data and analyses.  The summary doesn’t present it as a longitudinal study.

With respect to all that … the first thing that popped into my mind when I read this summery was … she spent 15 years in Vegas studying penny slot players? 

I know people who would think it’s a great way to get a tax write-off.  Hmmm.  

Quick Thought on Brain Dopamine Rewards

Dopamine is the “Kim Kardashian” of brain chemistry/molecules.  Really just read this

Since it is designed to make and meet what your perceived or presented needs are, you get a thrill when you come across it. 

Parents stop your kids from reading this next part.

The easiest way to describe the Dopamine effect is the exhilaration you feel with an orgasm.

Soooo, it’s more than gaming that creates dopamine rushes.  Exercise, Facebook, Pinterest, getting a tattoo can all boost your Dopamine level.

Dopamine takes something you like and develops triggers to set it off and makes a reward.  It can be a sight, smell, touch or other activity.  

Silicon Valley is exploiting this to find ways to bind you to their products. 

There is now startups called Dopamine Labs and another called Boundless.  Their goals are to find pathways to increase the speed you bond to a product or technology. 

They use artificial intelligence creating behavioral pathways to boost Dopamine more quickly.  

If it does what it is trying to do, its tech customers will build loyalty from consumers; and block out competitors who aren’t using this approach.  

All I want to do is have fun.  Why is everything so complicated?

The Science Behind Slot Machines

Everything electronic now is about algorithms.  

The word on the street is that slot machines are run by a “Random Number Generator” implying that it’s a game of chance.  There are no patterns.

But as it turns out, Random Number Generators are algorithms based on triggers.  

According to . “

“A Russian mathematician from St. Petersburg named Alex has quite the talent: he reverse engineers the pseudorandom number generators (PRNGs) that govern how slot machines behave. His team of field agents roams casinos around the world and “milk” the machines whose algorithms they’ve cracked.”  

After interviewing Alex on the record, Koerner, a writer for Wired Magazine,  tells the story of this programmer-turned-hacker and what he views as his Robin Hood-like crusade against the global gambling industry.

He does this by taking an initial number, known as a seed, and then mashing it together with various hidden and shifting inputs—the time from a machine’s internal clock, for example. Writing such algorithms requires tremendous mathematical skill, since they’re supposed to produce an output that defies human comprehension; ideally, a PRNG should approximate the utter unpredictability of radioactive decay.”

Whoops, it isn’t random. 

If you know how to understand the penny-slot patterns, playing a few hours a day at a casino, you can win $250,000 per week.

The patterns are highly complex.  I don’t want to underplay that.

Gambling Addiction is a Real Thing

The Oaks Treatment Center keeps statistics on addictions.  They report that 2.6% of the US population (~10 million people) have some form of gambling issue.  And, 750,000 are between the ages of 14-21.  Eeks!

If you have any of the tendencies below, you can call for help.  National Council on Problem Gambling helpline is open 24-hours-a- day … 800 522 4700.

  1. Feel the need to be secretive about your gambling. Your feeling others won’t understand or that you will surprise them with a big win.
  2. Have trouble controlling your gambling. Once you start gambling, you can’t walk away.  You may even up bets looking for the big payout.
  3. Gamble even when you don’t have the money.   Willing to not pay bills, pay for your kids activities and miss them, miss work, etc.  Maybe even commit a crime to get more money to gamble.
  4. Have family and friends worried about you.

Gambling changes your brain’s behavior and chemical balance.  This can create other problems or build on existing problems such as depressions, obsessive compulsive disorder, PSTD,  anxiety and other addictions.  All these conditions have a relationship with Dopamine.

Quick Confession

When I was 17 (in the 80s), my dad took my cousin/friend Julie and I to look for Bruce Springsteen in NJ.  (We were on vacation at the Jersey shore and he was a great dad)

Passing Atlantic City at 2 pm on a Wednesday, my dad decided to take us to a casino.  He gave us both $20 (and the casino boss 20 to let us in).  Had us get a cup full of coins and said we will leave as soon as the money was gone.  Twenty minutes later we were back on our way to Asbury Park.  As we left the casino, my dad said, “let that be a lesson, gambling doesn’t pay.”

And, no, we didn’t find Bruce.

Back to Our Panda Penny Slot Machine

Pandas are known for how they are independent and territorial.  The moms watch their young and nurture them and little by little set them free even though they keep a watchful eye on them.

So, the Panda Penny Slot Machine lives in a, sometimes, territorial environment that isn’t always hostile.  The machines are nurtured and eventually set free.

The name makes a lot more sense now.  And, just saw we can play online for free.  Yay!

If you have never tried the penny slots, it can be fun.  Just have set criteria for machine type, be able to walk away and think of it as pure entertainment.

If you have a favorite slot machine or game, tell us about it.

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