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News: Slot machines: facts and fiction


Slot machines

There's no mystery to how most casino games work. If you're playing a card game, the deck is on the table. If you're playing craps, the dice are in your hand. It's easy to see the cause and effect of live casino games. Slot machines, however, only present us with a small part of the big picture. All slot players see are the symbols that pass before the display window as the reels spin. That's why there are so many misconceptions about how slot machines actually work which pave the way for any number of slot-related myths and superstitions. In this article, we'll debunk some popular slots myths and share some obscure but important slots facts.


Hot Machines

If you've ever played live slots before, then you've almost certainly heard the term “hot machine” tossed around. Many players are convinced that slot machines can somehow be primed for a winning streak. In truth, both video and online slot machines run off of randomization software that selects the outcome of each spin; in other words, the results of each and every spin are independent of each other. Thus a slot machine winning streak is very similar to a roulette or craps winning streak. It's not a reward for priming your machine, a sign of good luck or the result of good timing; it's just the positive end of the odds.

Ready to Pay

Many people stay at a tight slot machine because they're sure that after so many consecutive losses the game must be building up to one big win. Losing streaks represent the negative end of the odds, and sadly they're much more common than the positive alternative. Once again, because the result of each spin is determined independently, no amount of losses indicates an impending win.

Missed Wins

In a similar vein, many slots regulars have moved from a machine only to watch another player win big on it moments later. “That should have been my win,” they think. This mentality once again comes from the misconception that slot results are somehow pre-programmed. The truth is that pressing the spin button even a nanosecond sooner or later would have yielded a totally different result. That's why you're as likely to win on your first spin as you are on your last.

What You See Isn't Always What You Get

Here's an unfortunate truth for live slots players that prefer non-computerized slots. Sometimes the workings of older slot machines get a little loose, and symbols that would otherwise hang just above the payline fall into place. Unfortunately, even if the reels line up to create a winning combination, if the machine does not acknowledge the win then it is considered a “tilt” and no money is awarded.

Loose Slots

If the “loose slots” signs in Las Vegas lure you off the street and into a casino, be sure to go farther than the door. That's because the most accessible slot machines in a casino tend to be the tightest. Casinos regularly put their lowest paying slots near the doors where they know they will attract players despite their low payback percentages.

On average, slot machines account for 70% of a casino's gaming revenue, so while it's tempting for players to believe that they can somehow manipulate a slot machine, the fact of the matter is that the odds are stacked heavily against you. If you're still dead-set on playing slots, then by all means have fun, but leave the superstitions at home.


04-Nov-2009, 09:27

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