Slot Odds

Let’s be honest with ourselves: you’re probably not going to make a fortune playing slots over time! However, if you like to play online slots for entertainment, understanding the odds involved can increase your enjoyment.

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of online slots to choose from. And with each having different odds of winning, even if I had all the information, it would be impossible for me to tell you the exact odds for every slot.

That doesn’t mean that there aren’t some commonalities, however. By understanding the way slots work, you can maximise your enjoyment of slots, and choose one that gives you the most enjoyment based on your personality and the money you have to spend.

The first thing to know about slots is that they aren’t a skill game. Sometimes you’ll be lucky, and sometimes you won’t. But there is no magic system that will turn slots into a viable source of income. The idea that there is a magic system is just one of the many such myths that surround slots. In this quick guide I hope to dispel a few of these myths and help you get the most out of the slots.

Payback Percentage (Or Return To Player)

With modern slot machines, the owners don’t give you the information needed to determine the odds for a particular game. Unless they tell you (and they won’t), you cannot know how many stops there are per reel, and what symbols are on them. While a slot’s paytable may tell the winning combinations and explain any bonus games they have, it doesn’t tell you the odds of winning with any particular combination.

But all is not lost! Thankfully, some casinos now publish the “payback percentage” or “return to player” for particular video slots. This percentage is determined by playing a particular video slot millions and millions of times, and then working out what percentage of the money spent is given back as winnings.

If the payback percentage for a particular slot isn’t on the paytable, you can sometimes find it hidden elsewhere, like in the help section. Some casinos publish a casino-wide payback percentage. Some are independently audited every month/year and publish the percentages for each game individually (which stay roughly the same but can fluctuate with the pure number of spins each slot gets in that time). It’s annoying that not all casinos publish this information, but it is slowly changing.

If you can, you should always check the payback percentage. By doing so, you can be sure you’re getting a higher payback percentage, and that can mean more fun for your money.

The payback percentage can be little tricky to understand at first, but it’s simple once you’ve got your head around it.

The one thing the payback percentage doesn’t tell you is how much money you’ll win back. For example, if you put £100 into a slot with 95% payback, you won’t definitely get £95 back. What the percentage tells you is that over the entire lifetime of the machine, after millions and millions of spins, it can expect to pay back 95% of all the money it takes.

It can be compared to a coin flip. If you flip a coin three times, you might get three heads in a row. However, if you flipped the coin a million times, the chance of you getting a million heads in a row is practically zero. The more times you flip the coin, the more likely it is that about 50% of your flips will have landed heads up.

Equally with slots, it’s possible that during one day’s play, a slot with 95% payback may pay back 500%, losing the casino money on that day. But in the long term, a 95% payback slot will pay back 95% of the money it takes.

Random Number Generator

People commonly ask how a spin is determined in slots given that there is no physical reels turning. The answer lies in the Random Number Generator (or RNG). You can think of the RNG as a computer chip that produces new random numbers every millisecond. When you click “spin”, the RNG spits out the numbers and determines the result of the spin.

The RNG always produces a random number. It doesn’t care what has happened in the past. You could have won the jackpot on your previous spin, but on your next spin you will still have exactly the same chance of winning the jackpot.

Slot machines don’t “warm up”, “go cold”, or become “due a jackpot”. The odds of winning are exactly the same each and every time you play.

In nearly all slots, the same is true for bonuses as with spins. Bonuses aren’t normally predetermined. The option you choose really does influence what you get, although there is no skill involved in the selection.

In a few more recent slot games, the potential bonus can build up as the player wagers (the player will be made aware of their progression during game play if this is the case) – so that they will trigger it after a build up of certain requirements specific to that game. In some cases, the programmers of the slot will have factored in the money spent getting there for when the bonus does come by so that you get a ‘fair’ return (to you and the casino) in a range which should satisfy both. However, as I stressed previously, unless you’re made aware that the slot is ‘counting down’ to your bonus, the act of getting into it is normally completely random.

It’s worth mentioning that casinos don’t intentionally change the odds of winning while you’re playing, because by doing so they would be breaking the law (in most countries, anyway). Also, some also incorrectly believe that casinos often “tighten” their machines during the weekend. While casinos could change the odds on different days, this belief tends to be unfounded.

Factors That Can Influence Your Chances Of Winning

It’s true that some factors can influence your chances of winning. You’re probably frothing at the mouth at the possibility! Unfortunately, it doesn’t make you guaranteed to make a profit, but it can be used to your advantage!

For example, some slots increase their payback percentage when you increase your stake. It is well known that in land-based casinos’ $25 machines give a higher payback than penny machines. Not all slots do this, but some do.

This can be seen on games which carry various progressive jackpots (normally 2 or 3 levels which are small, building up to large) – these can be almost independent of your game play and triggered randomly during a normal spin (not to be confused with those progressives which can be landed by the symbols on the reels) – one major online casino clearly stated to me that winning any prize of this type of progressive is a random act but you stand a much better chance of winning, the more you stake. In technical terms, imagine there are three ranges of numbers, one corresponding to each jackpot, and to hit a jackpot you have to generate a number within its range. The bigger your stake, the broader your range. That is what I have been told!

But hold your horses! Listen to what I’m saying! While you may improve your odds of winning, remember that you’ll also have to pay more. In most cases, this means you’ll probably end up losing money faster!

A better way to improve your payback percentage is to shop around! Check the payback percentages where you can — choose the highest!

The number of lines you play with also influences your chances of winning. Obviously, playing with more lines increases your chances of winning on each spin, but in turn you must pay more.

The best way to think about winning lines is to treat each like its own independent game. With most slots, playing 20 times with one line is almost identical to playing one time with 20 lines. As having more lines increases your chances of winning per spin, I personally play with as many lines as I can, rather than having a larger stake and fewer lines.

How To Choose The Slot Machine For You

Now you’ve got a good idea about slot odds, now it’s time to decide what type of slot is for you.

One variable that gives each slot it’s own unique character is the hit percentage. The hit percentage is basically a fancy way of saying “how often you win”. If a slot has a high hit percentage, you will probably win small amounts frequently. If it has a low hit percentage, you’ll win bigger sums but less often.

You have to decide what type of slot is best for you. If you like to chase a big jackpot, then a low hit percentage slot is for you. But if you don’t have the patience for a dry spell, then go for a high hit percentage.

You can usually tell the hit percentage after playing for five minutes, but there are a few indicators that give you an idea of the hit percentage:

• Size of the Jackpot — Generally, the larger the jackpot, the lower the hit percentage. This is because the slot must recoup all the money lost when someone hits the jackpot, and therefore will (on average) have longer periods where you lose money.
• Size of the Multipliers — Similar to the jackpot, large multipliers mean that you could potentially win a lot more. If you check the paytable and see big multipliers, then the slot probably has a low hit percentage.

I hope you’ve found this guide useful. Online slots can be a lot of fun, providing you play responsibly and choose the slot for you. Be sure to check out our reviews to help you find the best slots online.

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