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Very new to this concept, why would something like this occur on Bitminter's pool?

Completed Duration Difficulty Pay/Hour at 1 TH/s Total Thps Your Ghps Your work 2014-10-25 15:02 1h 46m 35,985,640,265 being paid now 2,436.1 10.7 15,856 2014-10-25 13:15 2h 15m 35,985,640,265 being paid now 1,896.0 10.9 20,718 2014-10-25 10:59 2h 13m 35,985,640,265 being paid now 1,935.6 10.4 19,340 2014-10-25 08:45 2h 26m 35,985,640,265 being paid now 1,767.4 10.2 20,756 2014-10-25 06:18 2h 30m 35,985,640,265 being paid now 1,721.0 10.3 21,688 2014-10-25 03:48 2h 11m 35,985,640,265 being paid now 1,951.9 10.2 18,872 2014-10-25 01:36 2h 36m 35,985,640,265 being paid now 1,646.6 10.4 22,722 2014-10-24 22:59 2h 35m 35,985,640,265 being paid now 1,653.5 10.2 22,314 2014-10-24 20:23 2h 37m 35,985,640,265 being paid now 1,641.0 10.9 24,036 2014-10-24 17:46 2h 36m 35,985,640,265 being paid now 1,649.8 10.8 23,620 2014-10-24 15:09 2h 35m 35,985,640,265 ? 1,664.1 10.6 22,992 2014-10-24 12:34 2h 37m 35,985,640,265 0.00000000 1,642.0 10.0 21,882 2014-10-24 09:56 2h 36m 35,985,640,265 0.00000000 1,650.2 10.3 22,502 2014-10-24 07:20 2h 29m 35,985,640,265 0.00000000 1,724.3 10.4 21,844 2014-10-24 04:50 2h 09m 35,985,640,265 0.00000000 1,996.7 8.5 15,322 2014-10-24 02:40 2h 34m 35,985,640,265 0.00057673 1,673.0 0.2 432 2014-10-24 00:06 2h 26m 35,985,640,265 0.00057673 1,756.1 0.2 354 2014-10-23 21:38 1h 41m 35,985,640,265 0.00057673 2,544.7 0.2 222 2014-10-23 19:57 1h 34m 35,985,640,265 0.00057673 2,736.5 0.2 212 2014-10-23 18:22 2h 00m 35,985,640,265 0.00057673 2,135.9 0.2 284

In some cases, next to no work was done - and small reward was found. In others, far more was contributed, but the pay is zero.

I ask on the heels of switching from cgminer to bfgminer; could this be the cause? Is the timing otherwise purely circumstantial?

Thanks!

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When a block is found the 10 latest shifts get paid. Finding blocks is a random event. Sometimes we find the next block quickly, other times it takes longer.

Sometimes it happens that it takes a lot of work before the next block is found by the pool. With PPLNS what then happens is that some of the work is not paid at all. The opposite happens when many blocks are found in quick succession. The same work gets paid many times and the pay is extremely good. Over time this evens out.

This is the nature of mining. If you were mining solo instead of in a pool the variance would be much greater. You could find a block and get 25 bitcoins after a few seconds. Or it could take you several years.

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