Playing slots is one of the most popular gaming activities in the world. Everyone and anyone can easily play it mostly because of its simplicity, just press a button or pull a lever. And also the wide range of betting options caters for all who want to bet big to those who want to bet small. With the honor of being the most popular of games, it comes with a whole range of strategies from expert players (and non!) that supposedly work. Everyone who is a slots fan has their own strategy that is successful for them; their own method, their own tactics. They won’t share it with you and if they do, you can bet your bottom dollar that it can seem impossible (if not too good to be true). If you are starting out and trying to get a feel to watch out for, then look no further. In this article we explain the myths, the origins, the logic and the why.
So without further ado we rank the top 5 myths for playing slots!
Myth 1. I Can See a Winning Pattern
I can see a pattern! We are going to hit the jackpot soon!Expert Slot Player
How often have you heard this, or thought this? And after thinking this, you go in big!
How does it work?
Slots machines are built to excite, to bring a sense of anticipation of the win and to get the adrenaline going. When you play slots, I can easily understand that after a few rounds you maybe thinking “Hey, there’s a pattern here!” This particularly comes to mind if you have had a few wins.
As humans, we also tend to think that we are very smart. Often, we think we can outsmart someone else who has created the logic for a slot machine. Or we can outsmart the people who we think are manually manipulating the results of the slot machines. Combined with drinking beer or other alcoholic beverages and our thinking becomes a little warped. After playing a few rounds of slots, we can begin to see patterns emerging! Sometimes it can quite obvious. The pattern is repeating itself.
The danger of seeing a pattern, is that you begin to bet big because you think you know when the payout will occur.
Busting the Myth
All slot machines are coded with Random Number Generators (RNG). RNG are extremely sophisticated, designed to mimic randomness. And these random numbers are being generated continuously and rapidly.
Because outcomes are algorithm driven, in theory if you knew the algorithm, have a computer as the brain then you could rapidly re create the outcomes as per the slot machine. The only next issue would be to time your selection of the outcome to be the winning combination.
There are thousands of outcomes being generated within a second and you would need to press the buttons or levers to the thousandth of a second in order to hit the jackpot. But of course, in reality this is simply impossible.
Some people believe that behind the scenes, the casino has a hoard of workers manipulating each slot machine’s outcome. And if this is true, then perhaps you maybe able to determine a pattern, after all humans are drawn to routine. But I can guarantee you, that casinos do not employ slot machine manipulators. I list the reasons per below:
- Having on the payroll a team to manipulate slots would be a very expensive cost to the business. No casino, would be spending money on having people manipulate slot machine outcomes, it isn’t value adding to the business.
- It’s not necessary to manipulate the outcome of slot machines, because they are configured to payout less to the player and keep more for the casino. There isn’t a need to manipulate the results.
- It’s against the law to manipulate the outcome of slot machines. The casino would incur massive penalties and fines.
Don’t go big if you think you are seeing a pattern. Patterns do not exist in the game of slots. It just doesn’t happen. I know, there are books written about seeing patterns in slot machines, but they aren’t true. Don’t buy into it, and resist the urge to believe that patterns exist. And if you do bet small to conserve your bankroll. Enjoy the game and make it last.
Myth 2. Hot and Cold Slot Machines
This myth belongs in the top 3 of slot strategy myths. This myth is so entrenched in gaming philosophy that even casinos themselves promote it! That’s right, in some casinos you will be able to find signs on top of slot machines indicating which ones are hot and which are cold. Purely based on the logic that if the past x rounds have paid out then it is hot, and if not then it is cold.
How does it work?
The term “Hot” means a slot machine that is going through or will start to go through a payout streak. A “Cold” machine on the other hand, is one that isn’t paying out or hasn’t been paying out for the past several rounds. Players using this strategy, are looking for hot machines and are steering clear of cold machines. If you jump on a hot machine, then in theory the odds of hitting a payout is higher.
A player will then therefore either:
- Play a slot machine for a while to determine if it is hot or cold, and then accordingly play on or move to another machine; or
- They are looking for indicators, such as the casino signs above the machines, advising of whether the machine is hot or cold.
Busting the Myth
The outcome of playing each round for slot machines is completely random. There are no patterns, and therefore hot and cold machines do not exist. Perhaps, if hot and cold is simply an indicator of the past few rounds being played, then I can accept the term of hot and cold. But in slots strategy I take hot and cold to mean much more, and that is, hot equates with better player odds, and this is simply just not true.
Outcomes are randomly generated and the past is no indicator of future outcomes. The odds of winning and losing therefore remain the same.
Forget that the idea of hot and cold slot machines exist. Similar to the first myth of seeing a pattern, machines do not run hot and they do not run cold. The odds of winning or losing remain the same round after round after round. The previous rounds do not influence the outcomes of the future rounds. Again, the danger of believing in this myth is that you will begin to bet big when you think that at machine is running hot.
Myth 3. Too many losses have occurred, a win is inevitable!
Wow, so many losses have past! This means a win is sure to come up soon. Because, you just can’t keep losing forever!
This strategy is not only applicable to slots, but to nearly every casino game that is played. As an example, when there is string of outcomes in roulette such as 20 blacks, there is an urge to think that the next number will land on a red. After all the odds of continuing on a string of blacks is extremely low, right?
The logic for this thought process is based on the fact that a machine cannot always lose. They’ve got to make a payout, otherwise the slot machined is rigged.
How does it work?
So remember, how I wrote that slot machines are driven by Random Number Generators, and that the outcomes in the “long run” are evenly distributed. Well, it’s this concept that is driving how this theory works.
It’s the reference to “long run” that is being relied upon as the key to thinking that a win is inevitable after a string of losses. Some people may have fixed in their mind, that if a payout ratio percentage is 95% then from a sample of 100 games played 5 must be winning outcomes, whilst 95 are losses. And if we applied this to a real slot machine, we can sit and count one hundred plays, and examine the wins and losses. As we play more we can extrapolate the payout ratio and thus determine when a win is inevitable. If there are too many losses then a win must occur to meet the payout ratio programmed in the slot machine.
This logic is very similar to counting cards for blackjack. Card counters in blackjack can determine the odds of a win and loss after many hands have been dealt and by knowing what cards are left in the deck. So if it can be applied to blackjack, then at least some part of this method can be applied to slots. This sounds quite reasonable!
Busting the Myth
The error in this strategy is defining “long run”. Long run is not simply limited to one hundred plays of the slot machine. Long run is in theory billions and trillions of plays. It is not confined to one hundred. So, whilst you can physically sit at slot machine and play it one hundred times, you cannot play an exponential length of time to see any skew in deviation of the payout ratio average.
There’s also the problem of not knowing what outcomes have occurred in the past. Without being able to pull together ALL the data, it impossible to extrapolate.
Do not look for strings of losses to find the inevitable win. It doesn’t exist and placing larger bets on when that inevitable win will come, will lead to inevitable losses. Also, avoid playing at machines for a large length of time to attempt to build a data set for extrapolation. The length of time that you will need will exceed the time of many many lives.
Myth 4. Slot Machines are Rigged
“Slot machines are rigged” is a very broad statement, but essentially comments that suggest slot machines are rigged implies that the slot machines are giving the players no chance at all. That no wins will ever occur. I can understand that this thought may arise, especially when on a losing streak. And/or in believing myth strategies mentioned in points 1 to 3 are true, and when they don’t hold true then the slot machines are rigged.
How does this thought come about?
When a slot player goes in playing with the strong belief that they can win in the long run, and that they have a full proof strategy of winning, then coming out with losses and believing that slot machines are rigged is completely understandable.
Busting the Myth
However, for reasons explained in the previous myths, slot machines are programmed with algorithms and there are strong controls and governance in place to protect the players. Each play of the slot machine is not manually manipulated. It’s physically impossible and not cost effective for casino’s to continually manipulate slot machines.
When playing slots, do not fall for any of the previous myths. They will only leave you with dejected and perhaps resentful of the gambling industry. Yes, there are many things that can be improved upon for gaming experience, but believing that slot machines are rigged is not one of them.
Myth 5. Casinos can change the payback ratio anytime they wish
Yes, it can get upsetting when a hit hasn’t come for a while. And when this occurs generally suspicion will arise. One of these suspicions is that the casino has changed the payback ratio and has made it harder to payout to players.
Busting the Myth
Slot machines have a computer chip that links to a central server that determines the payback percentage. The chips are preset by the manufacturer. It is not the casino that presets the payback ratio but the manufacturer of the slot machines.
In order to change the payback ratio the manufacturer would need to be called in plus written approval by gaming commission auauthorities would need to be requested.
The chip would need to be changed which is very expensive.
If you think that payback ratios are being amended on an ad hoc basis, then go back to the basics and remember that playing slots is for fun.
There are many slot myths out there. We have listed what we think are the top 5. If you have any more to add, please add them in the comments section!