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Gaming Guru

 

Slot Machine Ergonomics

28 August 2009

I recently attended an office ergonomics seminar. I found it to be very enlightening and saw how the principles taught at the seminar could be at the casino while playing the slot or video poker machines.

What is Ergonomics?

Ergonomics is defined as the application of scientific information relating to the design of objects, systems and environment in order to make them compatible with the needs, abilities and limitations of people.

It has become a high profile concern for many companies. The concern is not limited just to product design but also to how a worker carries out certain tasks that can include nothing more than the repetitive motion of the human body.

Any prolonged periods of abnormal posture and repetitive movements can contribute to neck, limb and back pain. This is known as a Repetitive Strain Injury or RSI. This is exactly what many slot players are encountering when they sit for hours at a time playing the slot machines.

Slot Makers Take Notice

In the last few years the major slot machine manufacturers have been working to produce slot machines that are ergonomically designed to keep the players comfortable when they play.

Old-time slot machines were designed for a standing player who would deposit a few coins in the machines and go on their way. Modern day slots are designed for a seated player who will hopefully spend hours pushing the spin button. To get the player to do this it is up to the slot makers to not only make their games more entertaining but also to make sure the player is enjoying maximum comfort while they play. An uncomfortable player will not stay at the machine as long as someone who is comfortable.

WMS Gaming was one of the first slot makers to introduce an ergonomically designed slot machine back in 2003. Some of the features included an easy-to-use touch screen placed at the proper height for a seated player.

All of the major slot manufacturers are now jumping on the ergonomics bandwagon. The designs of the cabinets that house the games have gone through a major redesign. Some of the new features are adjustable chair heights along with padded arm rests. Some new machines even have a recessed base where the players can rest their feet.

Preventing RSI

If you spend a lot of time playing slots, relying on machine design is not the only answer to protect against RSI. Slot players can perform some simple exercises right at the machine that will help prevent repetitive stress pain or injuries. Here is a list of some of them.

Eye Strain
One of the biggest causes of fatigue for slot players comes from eye strain. There is a simple exercise you can do while playing that will help alleviate this. Take your eyes off the screen and gaze into the far distance. Look from left to right while you are playing instead of staring at the same spot on the screen. Take some deep slow breathes while doing this.

Wrist and Fingers
After the eyes the part of the body that is most affected when playing slots is the wrist and fingers. Pushing the spin button over and over cans cause some strain and pain.

Stop occasionally and flex your fingers and wrists. If you are playing on a table top machine, make a fist with your hands then place your elbows on the surface top of the machine and bend your hands up and down at the wrist, then rotate them from left to right. If you are playing a machine with nowhere to rest your elbows, you can tuck them into your side and bend your wrist up and down.

Now move on to your fingers. Open and close your fist extending your straight fingers out. Wiggle your fingers to get blood circulating again.

Posture
Stay aware of your posture while you are sitting at your machine. Try to keep your back straight. Sit with your feet flat on the floor and try to avoid slouching. Take a break occasionally and perform some of these simple stretches.

Neck and Shoulders
If you are playing an upright machine you will probably be looking up at the screen and if you are playing a table top machine you will be looking down at it. This can cause some tension or pain on the back of your neck.

Tuck your chin down onto your chest and then slowly tilt your head back. This opens the airway so make sure to take a nice deep breath as you tilt your head back. Next you should stretch your neck to the left side and then right. Do this in slow easy movements. Don't jerk your head. You should feel the muscles of your neck gently stretching as you do this.

Follow this with a few shrugs of the shoulders. Shrug the shoulders high up to the ears and then release and drop. Repeat at least three times. Then rotate your shoulders in a circular motion; first forward then backwards.

Stay Loose
All of these exercises are meant to keep you loose and help prevent muscle cramping and damage caused by RSI. They can be done while you are sitting at the slot machine. If you work in an office and find yourself sitting at a desk all day long, you may find these useful there as well.

Until Next time remember:
Luck comes and goes.....Knowledge Stays Forever.

Bill Burton
Bill Burton is a gambling expert and best-selling author of Get the Edge at Low Limit Texas Hold'em and 1000 Best Casino Gambling Secrets. He is the former Casino Gambling columnist for About.com.

Burton's Texas Holdem book was published in 2002 long before the game became a national phenomenon. The producers of Bravo's Celebrity Poker Showdown used his book during the first season to teach the game to the participants.

He writes for several national gaming magazines and newsletters. These publications include: Casino Player, Strictly Slots, The Southern California Gaming Guide, Midwest Gaming and Travel magazine, Southern Gaming and Destinations magazine, Midwest Player and Blackjack Insider.

Burton is an instructor for the Golden Touch Craps dice control seminars teaching players how to gain the advantage in craps. He is an expert at all casino games and can teach players how to play any casino game as well as offering them advice to get the most out of their casino visits.

Bill Burton Websites:

www.billburton.com
www.goldentouchcraps.com

Books by Bill Burton:

1000 Best Casino Gambling Secrets

> More Books By Bill Burton

Bill Burton
Bill Burton is a gambling expert and best-selling author of Get the Edge at Low Limit Texas Hold'em and 1000 Best Casino Gambling Secrets. He is the former Casino Gambling columnist for About.com.

Burton's Texas Holdem book was published in 2002 long before the game became a national phenomenon. The producers of Bravo's Celebrity Poker Showdown used his book during the first season to teach the game to the participants.

He writes for several national gaming magazines and newsletters. These publications include: Casino Player, Strictly Slots, The Southern California Gaming Guide, Midwest Gaming and Travel magazine, Southern Gaming and Destinations magazine, Midwest Player and Blackjack Insider.

Burton is an instructor for the Golden Touch Craps dice control seminars teaching players how to gain the advantage in craps. He is an expert at all casino games and can teach players how to play any casino game as well as offering them advice to get the most out of their casino visits.

Bill Burton Websites:

www.billburton.com
www.goldentouchcraps.com

Books by Bill Burton:

1000 Best Casino Gambling Secrets

> More Books By Bill Burton