Slot machines, like many other gambling games, can provide hours of fun in both your own home or in casinos. However, unlike a game of cards which might require some skill, such as poker, it really is true when we say that slots are “just luck”!
When it comes to determining what rewards your payouts, luck is more or less an easier way of saying random number generators. Contrary to what some sceptics may believe, both land-based and online slots really are random – and there’s science to prove it.
Random number generator technology has been around for as long as gambling games have – for example, a roulette wheel is a random number generator. The difference with modern day slots, however, is that these are computer generated.
Computer generated random number generators come in two forms: the hardware random number generator and the pseudorandom generator.
The former relies upon an external device to generate up to two billion different outcomes, while the latter does this by making a series of calculations based on the last number.
Thanks to this technology, there really is no way to cheat the system – slot machines come down to luck!
You could be playing for 10 minutes and win the jackpot or for 10 hours and win next to nothing.
Though slot machine outcomes are completely random, there are things you can do to increase your chances of winning or just your prize values. For example, if you are playing online, you could do your research and pick a game that has multiple bonus features or symbols.
Bonus symbols include ‘substitute’ symbols which can replace any other symbols (apart from other bonus symbols) to make up a matching line. Alternatively, you can toggle the number of paylines or reels on an online slot game – this is less limited than a land-based slot, and could potentially pay out higher winnings.
Of course, the rarer the symbol or combination, the higher the prize value. However, you could increase your prize value if you are willing to bet a little more – so it’s a case of weighing up the risk.
Land-based slots generally offer machines with three or five reels, but again, if you look around, you may be able to find online slots with more reels. This means bigger combos and bigger prizes!
In the 1980s, gambling aficionado and genius Diethard Wendtland managed to “fool” slot machines by using the stop buttons – with his lightning speed, he could stop the reels when they matched up with the exact symbols he required.
Sadly, casino operators soon became wise to this and stopped offering slot machines with a stop button on all reels.
However, you can still find slots with stop buttons, but there is just one instead of one for every reel. So if you’re feeling really lucky, pick a slot with a stop button and make sure you have lightning speed!
Katie Thompson is an NCTJ-trained journalist and freelance online gaming writer. She enjoys researching the iGaming industry and writing comprehensive guides on the history of gambling, beating the dealer and even how to get bingo dauber stains out of your favourite shirt.
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