Intro to Slots


How slot machines work

Slot machines contain a "random number generator" (RNG), which is simply a computer chip that constantly creates numbers - even while the machine is not being used. These random numbers correspond to positions on the reels of the slot machine. When you pull the handle (or push the "Spin" button), what you are really doing is telling the computer to select one of the numbers. Then the slot machine moves the reels to correspond to the number you picked.

There are some long-held inaccurate assumptions about how slot machines operate. Like roulette, where every spin of the wheel is completely random and independent, one pull of a slot handle is completely random and independent from the previous and next pull. It all depends on the precise moment that you pull the handle or push the "Spin" button and which set of random numbers you select. Pulling the handle a 100th of a second later would yield a totally different result.

Here are some important facts to consider when playing slot machines:

  • If someone hits a big payout at a machine that you just left, don't think that you "missed" the payout. You would not have gotten that payout if you had never left because you wouldn't have pulled the slot machine at the exact fraction of a second that the new person did.

  • Because each pull on the machine is independent, a machine is never "due to hit".

  • A machine can go for days without a decent payout.

  • There is no reason it can't have several large payouts in a short period of time.

  • Playing faster will not increase the chances of winning.

  • The number of coins you play won't influence the numbers that are picked.

  • It makes no difference if you pull the handle or press the "Spin" button.

Let's look at an example. If a machine has 10 symbols on each reel, and there are two "blank" positions between each symbol, that's 30 positions on each reel. This three-reel machine has 27,000 (30 X 30 X 30) different combinations that you can get each time that you play. Although some of these combinations will give smaller payouts, there's only a 1-in-27,000 chance that you will choose the combination of numbers that will hit the jackpot.

One important point with slot machines is that they are set up with different payback percentages and hit frequencies. (The odds at table games are pretty much the same wherever you play because the rules are consistent from one casino to the next.) Machines that pay off frequently are referred to as being "loose". But loose isn't always a good thing if you're looking for a big jackpot. If a machine is has a high payback percentage (like 98%), but also has a high hit frequency, you'll end up with many small payouts but few big ones. If you are looking for a big jackpot, then the best machines are those with a high payback percentage and a lower hit frequency.

Everyone has their own preferences for which slot machines to play but here is a list of factors to pay attention to when playing slot machines. Slot machines are the most popular form of gaming in casinos.

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EricBurkholz01 on March 10, 2019

Intro to Slots

HPG ADMIN on February 27, 2013