Wednesday, November 3, 2010

What is slot machine tournament mode, and how to, from a slot techs perspective

A slot machine tournament as most people know is a bunch of slot machines setup with a timer on a machine and people trying to earn as many credits as possible within that time. You can always recognize a tournament because it is blocked off with ropes and people are pounding on the spin/deal draw buttons as fast as they can.
But how do these games get setup for tournament mode, is there a magical switch inside the machine that turns it into a tournament game. Or do the powers that be upstairs turn a switch and the games automatically turn into tournament games.
The truth is that these games require a special EPROM’s to be turned into tournament games. The EPROM’s must be placed into the games main board or MPU and setup. This requires a slot tech to move the machines to the location, and then setup the game much like a game change on a slot machine would normally be done.  The only main difference is that no BV, Coin Mech, or PAR sheets are needed as long as they don’t cause a tilt when missing.
Basically the tournament EPROM’s are placed into the MPU and the timer clock is set to a specific time. This sounds easy but often can be a headache depending on how a casino handles tournament games. Some casinos simply don’t do tournaments while others do them all the time. The casinos that do the tournaments always have a different setup plan. For example one casino might convert games on the floor into tournament games and move them around. Another might have machines in storage that they pull out during tournament time. And others have a mix of plans such as converting some recently pulled machine from the floor to tournament mode or just converting machines on the fly.
The last casino I worked in that did tournaments had games on the floor that would be converted to tournament games when needed. This would start with doing the appropriate paper work such as recording the meters, clearing out all the money (drop the games) and so on. Since this casino only had S-Plus tournament game EPROM’s this would all have to be done only on these games. The S-Plus games need a clear chip to be used first since all the old data would often confuse the game causing a data error. Then the tournament EPROM’s needed to replace the old game EPROM’s. Once this was done the timer would be set and the games would (hopefully) be ready to go.
For someone at home with a slot machine that wants to setup their game like this it is completely possible but would require the correct EPROMs. Trying to acquire the correct EPROMs would be the main hurdle. The clear chip and set-chip EPROMs will most likely be the easiest to find. While the tournament chips will most likely be the hardest to find. Since slot manufactures are not going to sell these EPROM’s calling local slot shops or EBay will most likely be the best bet at finding them.  

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