When you walk into a casino to play the slot machines, what is it that draws you to a particular slot? Is it an affable theme? The presence of a 6- or 7-figure progressive jackpot waiting to be struck? Maybe you prefer privacy, taking anything positioned in an unoccupied row. An analysis of Aristocrat’s tremendously popular Buffalo Slots Series has revealed there’s usually more to slots selection than meets the eye.
A casual player may not realize this, but regular slots lovers sure have. The Buffalo slots series, which includes the original Buffalo slot, plus additions like Buffalo Deluxe, Buffalo Grand (pictured right) and Buffalo Stampede, isn’t just a visually superior wonder to behold. It’s not the phenomenal encasement or HD quality display, either. It’s the mathematics behind the games’ payout structure.
Every slot machine is developed with a set of algorithms that determine two ultimate qualities of the game. First is the payout percentage, which regulates how much the machine will pay out based on its intake. The second—and ostensibly most important for players—is the frequency of those payouts.
You see, if a slot machines is destined to pay 90% (average payout of $90 for every $100 it takes in), the way that money is distributed can be controlled by the game’s programmers. Some machines have high-volatility, which means that players can expect higher payouts, but not very often. Others have low-volatility, which means the opposite; frequent payouts at smaller increments.
A high-volatility slot machine becomes less appealing over time as players rarely make a profit. Then again, low-volatility machines are often rebuked by players for their unwillingness to deliver enough winnings to make it worth-while.
When Australian-based Aristocrat Leisure developed the Buffalo slots series, they managed to find the perfect median between the two. Although these slot machines have the same average payout percentage of their peers, the frequency of wins, combined with respectable monetary value, has earned the admiration of slot machine lovers all over the world.
“It’s insane how popular it is,” enthused London-based gaming journalist, Paul Riley. “It seems to be everywhere now. At one time, you might see one here or there; now, it’s like casinos have their own Buffalo areas.”
One of the Buffalo slots series’ most admirable features is the ability to achieve a bonus within a bonus. Many slots feature free spins, but Aristocrat’s Buffalo slots have a high tendency to deliver additional free spins to player during the initially triggered free spin phase.
A player must land three gold coins, one on each of the first three reels, in order to unlock free spins. Once those free spins are triggered, however, landing any additional gold coins on those same reels will result in more free spins being tacked on.
The theory behind Buffalo’s popularity was confirmed by Aristocrat’s Director of Marketing and Sales, Matt Wilson. “One of the things players say they really love is the bonus retrigger. They like the ability to accumulate more free games along the way,” he said.
The Buffalo slots also feature a unique multiplier system. Whenever a 2x or 3x Multiplier Symbol appears within a winning combination, the payout is multiplied accordingly. If two or more multipliers appear, they multiply each other, meaning a 2x and 3x symbol appearing together multiplies the winnings by 6x. Buffalo slots can potentially land a trio of 3x multipliers all at once, which translates to an astounding 27x multiplier.
Fans of these slots have come to learn that, in order to win any substantial amount—or anything at all, really—they must trigger a bonus feature. But when it happens, though, the results can be enormously lucrative. That explains how the Buffalo slots series was named Top Performing Game four years straight in the Goldman Sachs Slot Survey.