Slot Machines – Myths & The Random Number Generator

Slot machines are run by the RNG – random number generator.

They are not the following:

  • programmed to pay out after a certain time
  • susceptible to karma, magic, rabbit foots or human caresses
  • able to be switched from winning to losing in a secret room somewhere in the casino
  • things that work differently if you hit them harder
  • games that can be timed to win – quick play, rhythmic play, slow play, etc…

Matter of fact, a slot machine is one of the most superstitious forms of recreation that exists. You can buy books and systems that are “fool-proof” to help you win at slots (sure, fool-proof…lol). There are many people out there who will tell you they ALWAYS win at slots – and then offer to sell you a bridge somewhere. I even had a stranger next to me (no lie) tell me all you had to do is figure out what denomination of bet the slot machine is “programmed” to payout the most and you will win every time!

The fact is, slot machines are run by the RNG – random number generator. Let’s look at more misconceptions:
1. Slot machines have patterns that can be analyzed and predicted. WRONG! The RNG creates millions of random numbers in an instant. There is just no way that a human (or even a computer for that matter) can predict what pattern will appear next.

2. When somebody wins a slot machine jackpot, it will be a long time before the jackpot comes up again. WRONG! Jackpots have been known to repeat on the same machine. Slot machine payout percentages are measured for the long term – that equates to millions and millions of plays. What this means is the payout percentage does not apply in the short term. So after one jackpot, the odds of another hitting is about the same.

3. If you use your slot club card the machine will pay back less. (Paranoia strikes again) – WRONG! In my opinion, this is the most damaging myth of them all. There is no link between the card reader and the RNG. By not using you player’s card you are denying yourself valuable comps and sometimes cash back from the casino. And, no, it doesn’t keep track if your winning so they can hit that famous and fictitious switch upstairs.

Speaking of that switch

4. Casinos can loosen or tighten the slot machines with the flip of a switch. Couldn’t be more WRONG! The slot machines have a computer chip in them that determines the pay back percentage. These are preset at the factory. In order for a casino to change the pay back, they would have to change the chip. In most jurisdictions there is paper work that has to be filled and submitted to the Casino Control Commission for each machine if the chip is changed. It is time consuming and the chips are very expensive. For this reason, it is more economical to decide on the pay back percentages before purchasing the machines and having the factory ship them with the proper chip.

5. If someone plays a slot machine for days on end, the machine will pay out very soon. WRONG! – Yet another misconception. There is no guarantee of this. The payout percentages are based in lots and lots (and we do mean lots) of plays or spins. If you play a machine for a few days, your odds of making the jackpot are the same as yon the day you started. Of course, you and your cohorts could keep playing at it indefinitely, but you’d have to have big money for it.

6. If someone wins the jackpot, the previous player could have won it if only they had stayed on.  WRONG! For that to happen, the last player would have had to play in the exact same way at the exact time as the winner – impossible. Again, slots use the Random Number Generator. Everything is random and a split-second makes all the difference in the result.

7. A machine that has not been paying is due to hit. WRONG! There is no way to determine if a machine is due to hit. Each spin is a random occurrence and has no bearing on what has happened previously. Don’t ever play more than you should because it will be devastating to your bankroll if you do.

8. If a slot machine is paying out heavily, one should keep playing during this “winning streak.”
WRONG AGAIN! There is no such thing as a winning streak in slots, or even blackjack or roulette for that matter. All games of chance are random. If you win three consecutive games, that in no way influences the next game or any other. If you toss a coin four times and heads comes up each time, the chances of either heads or tails appearing in the fifth toss is still 50/50! Truth is, if you keep playing during your supposed “winning streak,” you will only end up losing! So quit while you’re ahead.

9. Pulling the handle beats pressing the button. WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. This makes no difference whatsoever. Pressing a button and pulling a lever both result in exactly the same result. All you are ever doing is sending a small electrical trigger to start the game, so it doesn’t matter how it’s done, you’ll still get the same result.

One thing is certain. Slot machines are recreational. Remember three correct assumptions:
1) The casinos usually don’t disclose the odds on individual machines, so you can’t really be an informed player.
2) Whatever those undisclosed odds are, they’re usually bad — far worse than table games like craps, baccarat, and blackjack.
3) Slot machines are usually played much faster than table games, so they suck away your money much more quickly.

So, play informed by knowing the games you play for the most enjoyable recreation possible. Here are some things you can believe:

  • Progressive slots will pay lower to compensate for the high jackpot.
  • Max play on some slots can raise the payout possibilities – other machines? It doesn’t matter.
  • Know how the bonuses work. This includes the awareness of possible denominations.
  • Play all lines – whether it is lowest bet per line or Max play.

That’s all for now.