In May 1X2 Network, the company behind 1X2Gaming and Iron Dog Studios, unveiled its new ‘revolutionary’ standard, designed to help operators market games to players more ethically and profitably.
The Probability of Getting Your Money Back, or PMB for short, identifies a 3D footprint of a game and, combined with mathematical equations, determines the odds of the player achieving a specific return after a set spin amount.
CasinoBeats spoke to Gray Wagner, mathematician at 1X2 Network, who took us through the math behind the new standard, how the data is collected and processed, how it’s used to tailor to specific players and future enhancements.
CasinoBeats: Could you expand a bit in regards to the maths behind the new standard?
Gray Wagner: The algorithm takes in two bits of information, the player’s bankroll and how much they wish to walk away with (for example: start £200, walk away: £600).
It then calculates the likelihood of this event, given the mathematics of a game. For example: given you start with £200, you might have a 15 per cent chance of winning three times your bankroll.
This gives us three numbers: Bankroll, Money Back Factor and Probability of Success.
We can run this algorithm for many different bankrolls, and many different money back factors, which we can then plot on a 3D graph.
The math behind an online slot game should be seen as a 3D blueprint and PMB allows operators to better understand this blueprint than was possible with other standards and metrics such as return to player and volatility.
This is important because different players seek different experiences from a slot game, from session time to the return on their stake. In the past, RTP and volatility have been used to match games to players, but these standards are too generic.
This is because they don’t take into account factors such as a player’s bank roll, the amount they wager per spin, etc. This actually has a huge impact on whether a game will deliver the wins and returns a player is seeking within the number of spins their bank roll and bet size will allow.
PMB allows operators to understand more about the game and armed with that information more accurately recommend slots to players based on their preferences and expectations.
CB: Can you explain a bit more about your data collection process? Where does it come from?
GW: The data we use for PMB comes from the millions of simulations that we run on our slot games as part of our development process. It is also possible to gather this information via live player data by looking at the number and size of wins over a set number of spins.
CB: How would your calculations behind the PMB standard make it impossible to ‘reverse engineer’ the maths from designers?
GW: The mathematics of a particular game is used as an input to the algorithm. However, the information is scrambled by the algorithm.
It is like scrambling an egg, and the more times the algorithm is used, the harder it is to unscramble it back – and for any particular game, the algorithm is used millions of times.
So given some output from the PMB standard, it is impossible to reverse the algorithm to get the original input.
This scrambling is done naturally by the algorithm and it took a few trial and errors on our part to find such an algorithm that suited our needs.
For those with a mathematical taste, it uses something called Markov Matrices.
This means that PMB gives an indication of the exact math behind a slot game but it does not give the full picture. It is enough insight for operators to understand more about the game in order to better match players to the slots that meet their expectations without giving away their secrets.
We are happy to apply the standard to our own games as we don’t believe our rivals will be able to use PMB in particular to mimic the math behind our slots, and in particular how and when they pay. And even if they can, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
CB: Why hasn’t there been an ‘open publication of statistics’ before?
GW: There has been an open publication of statistics for return to players for many years now, it just hasn’t been extended to volatility. This is mostly because there hasn’t been a need to set a standard for volatility as operators and players have relied on RTP.
But as players become more discerning, and operators look to offer them a more bespoke and tailored experience, it is vital to provide more information about games in order for operators to be able to push the right games to the right players.
CB: How does your data tailor a specific slot to a specific person and how accurate can your data truly be with each individual being unique?
GW: Our data allows operators to better understand the volatility of a game by breaking it down into various categories to see what impact it has on each. This includes factors such as bank roll, bet per spin and what sort of wins the player is looking for.
With this understanding, operators can recommend games based on more granular factors rather than the current low to high volatility scale. This scale is too generic to accurately match games to players.
We are continuously learning and adapting to trends and also what is seen as important to players and what is not, when it comes to player targeting.
There are many factors such as theme of the slot, or animation, that could sway someone’s opinion of a game. What we have done at 1X2 Network is develop a protocol that standardised the mathematics for all slot machines, making it possible to start answering these questions about something less easy to see with the naked eye.
For example, a game could be considered highly volatile, but it might be better suited to a player seeking longer gaming sessions because of the way the game pays and plays vs one that is trying to bet for a big win. Of course, there will always be anomalies but PMB is the most accurate standard yet for volatility.
CB: How can you move forward with the data you gain to further enhance your standard?
GW: The more data we gather the more we can fine tune our PMB standard to provide operators with an even more detailed understanding of the game. We want to lead the way in game development and believe PMB will enable us to develop slots we know will appeal to specific types of players.