The world of slot machines and other gaming is full of myths, anecdotes and other little hacks that seem to promise us unlimited wealth.
While it’s important to bust the myths that slot machines are anything but random, or that casino operators can control them, there are theories as to whether or not we can “predict” a slot machine outcome.
You may have heard the theory that if a slot machine has been played for hours on end with no payout, then it is due a big jackpot soon.
Historically, this may look like the case where players see a big win and then gravitate towards the machine, but realistically, the machine will probably just pay out more because it has had more people feeding into it.
So, is there any way of knowing how a slot machine will hit the jackpot? Strictly speaking, no, but there are other factors that could influence your winnings.
This is such an important message to keep telling yourself: slot machines are random!
So if you’ve been playing for hours and are expecting a big win, don’t – the amount of time you have put into gameplay makes no difference.
Thankfully, online slot machines now provide timing counters to let you know just how long you’ve been playing.
These are just one of the preventative measures to stop gambling addictions – others have “time out” or “reality check” features to let players know just how long they have been playing.
Whether or not you win the jackpot is totally random. Slot machines use what’s called a random number generator, which is computerised and can either be a hardware random number generator or pseudorandom number generator.
Land-based slot machines tend to favour the former, which uses an external device to generate up to two billion outcomes. This does mean that the luck of the reels cannot be influenced in any way!
That said, you can increase your chances of winning if you are willing to gamble a little more. For example, online slots can give you a choice for the number of reels or paylines, so the more flexible you are with this, then the more winning combinations that will appear.
Of course, the harder the winning combination, the bigger the payout! You can also take advantage of bonus features, particularly on online slots, but remember – it is illegal for slot machines to be based on skill, so there’s nothing (legal) you can do to influence the outcomes besides the above.
Generally speaking, it’s wise to remember that the slot machine is always in the casino operator’s favour, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun!
Slot machines have a ‘Return to Player’ rate which is usually in the 90% range – this would mean that for every £100 played, you’d win £90.
So it’s up to you how you play, but play safe!
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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