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“Yes. The core internal algorithms of slot machines all rely on one thing, a thing called a pseudo-random number generator. It’s an algorithm used by the machine’s designers to produce a random infinite number sequence. The sequence of numbers generated by the algorithm might look random, but unfortunately, the numbers you see are not really random.”
Immediately, Waldo became excited when he caught wind of the topic. He started to become talkative.
“What we have to do is very simple. First of all, we need to know how the random numbers in the calculation program within the slot machine and the cards displayed on the screen are correlated to each other. So what’s it’s method, and how effective is this pseudo-random number generator in producing results? If you can master these things, you will know the secrets of a slot machine. To us, a slot machine is akin to a lady who emerges from the bathroom with no clothes on her. We can see everything crystal clear.”
“Well, this metaphor is a bit vulgar, but you know what I mean,” Philip nodded in agreement.
“Next, we need to write a deciphering program that takes into account the various variables that will affect the final result. When we go to a casino to determine the operating cycle of a slot machine, we can then use the deciphering program to predict the machine’s operating status for the next few hours or even days.”
“One thing to add, while we are in the casino, there must be strictly no interference. For example, if the machine gets restarted, we will have to recalculate the whole thing again.” “Yes, that’s right. We chose video poker machines because they are the oldest models, and we hope that the random-number algorithm within them is more straightforward. The poker game machines in these casinos are all produced at the end of the last century. Yes, the program inside is based on a theory put forward by Donald Knut in the 1960s, using the Monte Carlo method —the so-called linear feedback displacement register. They employ the method to give out cards to the players. It’s just… retarded.
“I mean, the actual situation is actually not that simple. We found their source code in the Patent Office and bought a machine of the same model for research purposes. In order to figure out how the code works, Philip also wrote a disassembler. When all the preliminary research had been completed, we have managed to write a small program that allowed us to calculate the current status of the poker machine and how long before it churns out a royal flush. As for the last step, we just need to play a few rounds on the machine.”
“I’m sorry, I’ve been dragging everyone back,” Philip said guiltily. Acting too nervously at the casino, he had caused its employees to become suspicious of them. Supposedly, he was going to stop after he swept the last four casinos but he could not stand Justina’s babbling in his ears, and he finally agreed to hit one last casino. Unfortunately, the last stint caused a series of troubles for them.
Although Phillip and Waldo had somewhat escaped the casino’s clutches, they still couldn’t figure if Zhang Heng, sitting in the back seat, was a friend or foe. Clearly, he posed a larger threat to them right now.
“We can’t blame you. From the beginning, we all knew that you weren’t the most suitable person for this job. The time required to press the last button has to be precise. Among us, only you have been forced to practice piano by your mother since you are a child, which is why you can press it in 0.005 seconds. You can maintain your accuracy at about 50%, which none of us can do,” Waldo explained.
“You have done well,” he went on to comfort his friend.
“So, you have other companions?” Zhang Heng asked. “Well…”
Although Waldo always avoided mentioning anyone else, he got too excited and some words had unintentionally slipped out of his mouth. Unbeknownst to him, he had accidentally revealed something, albeit rather vaguely. Besides, Zhang Heng had also overheard the quarrel between Justina and Philip as well. He knew for a fact that there was a team behind them.
But this time, the two seemed to uphold their loyalty to their team, and no one said a thing about it. Even Philip, who had been a little timid, took the initiative to say, “We can give you all the 200,000 euros we earned this time.”
Phillip peeked at Zhang Heng in the back seat but found that the latter gave no reaction.
Zhang Heng wasn’t interested in making money, because no matter how much he made here, he couldn’t bring it back to the real world. Let alone 200,000 euros; he would not even blink his eyes if 20 million euros were placed in front of him. He was satisfied as long as he had enough money to use here.
“We will share our technology with you, together with the small program to predict the cards you’ll receive when you use the machine. With this, you’ll be able to make a steady stream of money from other casinos,” said Phillip while grinning.
“I’m not interested in these things,” Zhang Heng said. “Huh?”
The two were surprised when they heard this. Zhang Heng only appeared after the conflict happened between Philip and the casino. This meant only two possibilities to explain this situation. Either he was staying on for the money or to learn their secrets. Apart from these two things, they had nothing valuable with them.
“Have you ever heard of a person called Edward?” Zhang Heng asked.
“No!” the two replied in unison while shaking their heads.
“You guys answered way too fast. Great. It seems I have found the right person,” said Zhang Heng.
Seeing how they had been found out by Zhang Heng, Waldo began to plead for their lives instead.
“Let us go; we’ve already told you everything we know.”
“You misunderstood me. I am not your enemy. On the contrary, I want to join your team.”
“Why?” Philip’s eyes widened.
“Just consider me a stranger who wants to uphold justice,” Zhang Heng said. The system gave him two options to complete the main mission. One was to help Edward escape, while the other was to help Zero to capture Edward. In other words, there were two sides to this quest.
Although Philip and Waldo still refused to admit that they had anything to do with Edward, it was unlikely that they sided with the opposition based on their occupations. That meant that they would want to help Edward out as well.
Zhang Heng was in no hurry to choose sides, but as of now, the two were the only clues he found relating to Edward. He needed to get as much information about Edward as possible and he could at least figure out the gist of the whole thing. And the easiest way to achieve this was, of course, to join the organization that the two nerds were in.
He could also resort to violence, but Zhang Heng wasn’t one to torture someone for a confession. That, however, didn’t mean he didn’t have the ability or capacity to do it. He tormented someone dangerous and challenging in the Black Sail quest. These two would probably not last for ten seconds if Zhang Heng decided to take it out on them. Judging by the current situation, he would just be shutting off alternate ways to complete the main quest if he were to do that.
This wasn’t something that he wanted to see.
Philip and Waldo looked at each other when they heard those words. After a while, Philip said, “Err… it’s not for us to decide. We have to ask others’ opinions first.”
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