How to Win at Slots?

Slot machines are the most popular casino game. Its odds are based on math just as the other casino games. However, players are often confused about the functioning of odds and if they can take any measures to boost their odds. The outcome of the slot machine is random. The odds of it are set so that the house has an edge. Apart from a few cases, slot machines aren’t a game of strategy. In this blog, you will come to know how slot odds work and how it can affect your winning chances.
How to Win at Slots?
Blog - December 27, 2019

How Does the House Have an Advantage in Slot Machines?

Casino games benefit from paying out less than the actual odds of winning the wager. In case of table games, this can be quite simple, for instance, with double zero roulette. Numbers 1-36 along with 0 and 00, the odds against any number is 37-1. However, the house will pay single-number winners with just 35-1.

What Are the Possible Outcomes?

Slots odds work just like roulette example. The only difference is that there are several possibilities when it comes to this. There are numerous reel combinations. Also, there is an open field of software designers for assigning the payout of each winning combination. This is the winning combinations along with payoff works together to decide the odds.

The total number of possibilities makes the math which goes into the odds of slots tend to be more complicated than a table title.

  • Just with a 3-reel title having 10 symbols in every reel, there are 1000 probable combinations;
  • In case the spaces between the lines are used like stops the number of combinations is going to increase to 8000;
  • Bigger reels hold 20 icons and 20 spaces. Thus, the combinations can be 64000.

Changes in virtual reels allowed developers to make the reels behave like they had a specific number of stops. With hundred stops on every reel, there are over a million combinations. The Megabucks 3-reel title paid a jackpot amount of $39 million. It has the number of combinations of around 50 million. A majority of the modern titles have 5 reels, and it can be as long as the provider wants it to be. With over 100 icons on each reel, these have 10 billion combinations.

slot tips

A Simple Slot

If you have to find out how a title pays less than actual odds for giving the house an advantage, follow the example. A game of the same type had been used in early times following the invention of Charles Fey of the 3-reel slot in 1895. This contained a 7, 2 bars, 3 cherries, and 4 watermelons in every reel. This gives 1000 possible combinations and an RTP of 83.2%.

In the Example

  • Every reel includes 10 icons, and every one of them has one 7 which is the jackpot icon; 
  • Every reel also has 2 bars, 3 cherries, and 4 watermelons;
  • The 3-reel possible combinations are 1000;
  • Just one combination or 1x1x1 is going to be three 7s;
  • 8 combinations are going to be 3 bars, 27 is going to be 3 cherries, and 64 is going to be 3 watermelons;
  • 900 out of 1000 combinations have different icons.

In case the title had paid out true odds, the payouts set up would be such that every 1000 coins as bet would give you 100 coins as a payoff. It is a simple way to do this to pay off 170 coins for 3 7s, 30 for 3 bars, 10 for 3 cherries, and 5 for 3 watermelons. However, the gambling den needs to have an edge, or it will not be able to pay the bills and offer the title. Rather it pays 160 for 3 7s, 25 for 3 bars, 8 for 3 cherries, and 4 for 3 watermelons. When it is multiplied by the number of wins, the payoffs give a total of 832 coins. As it pays less than the game’s actual odds, the machine has an RTP of 83.2% or a tad less than the present-day 1-cent titles.

Present Day Slots

Present-day offline and online slots work in the same manner. The only difference is, these have more complicated mathematics.

  • Random number generator functions from a larger set which results in greater possibilities;
  • More than 4 reel icons are used;
  • Present-day real money and free slots have a greater number of paylines than the one-betway slot discussed above;
  • Developers have to make an account of the bonus events.

Examples and Explanations

Super Jackpot Party by WMS Gaming is one of the video slots which has 8 reel icons which form winning combination along with party guy and noisemaker icons which triggers the bonus event. All these icons are given a set of numbers, and the payoff value is decided as per 3, 4, 5 of a kind winners. This makes the whole calculations complicated in the above-given example.

The number of paylines can also make the math complex. Although, there are just one jackpot icons on the reels, a 30-line title means there will be 30 chances to line up the icons in a winning combination rather than just one. Thus, developers will have to make an account of every combination 30 times.

When it comes to the bonus events, almost all present-day slot machines have events that stop a regular play, with no more bet, you will get a bonus wheel spin, free spins, wild, pick’em events, and a few extras. Bonus events are calculated for the overall return of the title.

Outside Look

Players won’t get to see the random numbers that are being generated, which determine if they are going to win. As a matter of fact, there are various other things that you can’t see, which plays an important role when it comes to winning chances.

  • Odds of the game cannot be seen;
  • It is possible to tell if one machine pays higher than the other;
  • The paytable can be seen which gives you an idea about the volatility;
  • The bonus offered can be checked, and this also gives a clue about volatility.

Casinos do not display the payback percentages for individual games, and it is highly unlikely for the punter to calculate the odds as the random number details are considered to be proprietary and aren’t revealed. In fact, even when the machine has the same game, it is not possible to know if the payback percentage will be the same. The software developers offer different versions of the title to the casino operators, and everyone have their own payback percentage. You might come across two slots machines which look identical yet have a different payout percentage.

Nevertheless, a slot machine that has a huge jackpot would normally pay less on small wins than a title with a smaller top prize. This implies that titles with bigger jackpots are usually more volatile. However, this is not true always. Even if the big jackpot rarely occurs, the game can have a regular percentage with lower payouts, but it is only a starting point.

Additionally, games which have free spin bonuses are more volatile than titles that feature the pick’em bonus. Variance is important when it comes to choosing what you expect out of the game. If you are the kind of player who would like to increase the big win and accept fast-draining as a part of the game, then you should look for high volatility slots.

Nonetheless, if you are looking for games that provide frequent small wins and greater playing session time but hardly pays a big amount, you should opt for a low volatility title.

How Can Slots Be Random While Being Programmed?

When a gambling den gets a slot machine from a software developer, it can select from a range of targeted payout percentage. The same game is made available by the manufacturer in the 87-93% version. Here, the operator will have to decide which is going to be the best choice for the game mix.

Titles which have targeted payout percentage in the programming causes misconceptions for the players. When the question arises as to how a game can be both random and programmed. The answer is slots are programmed for a targeted percentage in the same manner as table title. The odds of the games will be set. Thus, they are going to give a good payback percentage.

Table Analogy

Take roulette as an example as the math is not complex.

  • Double zero roulette contains 38 numbers, 0, 00, and 1-36;
  • The odds for a specific number on any spins is 37-1;
  • The casino is going to pay 35-1 on a winning one number;
  • The difference of 2 unit between 35-1 payoffs and 37-1 odds is kept by the house;
  • Divide the 2-unit difference by 38 different possibilities, and you are going to receive 0.0526 for 5.26% house edge.

This is how roulette is programmed. Thus, in the course of a thousand wagers, the casino is going to keep 5.26%. The results might be random. One number can come up 3-4 times in a row. With time, the odds of the game are going to lead to a percentage edge.

Slot Reels

Here is an example with symbols and outcomes driven by a random number generator that have been set up with payoffs that are slot-like by using a few roulette wheels.

  • 3 wheels of roulette have been lined up, and each of them has 100 segments;
  • Each segment has a symbol and each wheel will get a 7 icon, 5 Bars, 10 cherries, and so on;
  • There is a dealer to spin and then drop the ball on every wheel;
  • The combination for the three-wheel is 1 million or 100x100x100.

It has the same number of probable combinations as a gambling machine that has a random number generator with a set of 100 numbers on every reel.

Here, it is very easy to calculate the probable combinations which have the ball landing on the same icon of each wheel. Since there is only 1 7, the possible combination is 1x1x1, for the bar, its 5x5x5, and for cherries its 10x10x10, for a combination of 3 symbols.

No computer software is being used. There is only the physical equipment, but it provides the equivalent of programmed odds and combinations. This is how the odds function on a modern slot machine that is computerized. These don’t force games to pay the exact percentage. They only allow normal odds of the slot generate long-term results to a percentage like table games.

How Is Programmed Slot Different from Random One?

Slots are programmed, as well as random, and this can be difficult to believe. One of the common confusion is random result is not like the equal result. A game doesn’t need to be programmed for the jackpot icon to show up quite often as a bonus symbol or a cherry.

The odds of the slot are set in such a manner that blank space shows up much more often than the winning icons. Thus, there will be more small winners than a big winner. A title with 3 reels will have more losing than winning spin, while in a 5-reel title, there will be more wins but for an amount lesser than the bet size. It is the programmer who sets the game’s odds, and then random chances take its own course.

Streaks are quite normal. For instance, a 3-reel game that comes with a hit-frequency of 12% and there will be a winner in every 8.333 spins. For the first spin, the chance of 88% states it will lead to a loss, 77% chance, you are going to lose twice in a row, and 68% chance you will lose thrice in a row. There is a 7.8% to lose when you spin 20 times in a row. A gambling machine with a 12% hit frequency for a long time will have a streak of 20 or more.

For the pick’em bonus features, your choice makes a difference but not in some way you can control and predict. Over a long period, the programmers know that the bonus is going to give an average payback. This average can be built into the calculation for a payback percentage. There is a random result that contributes to the odds driving an average for long-term.

slot advantage

Conquerable Slot Machine

Some Las Vegas slot machines that have RNG aren’t designed to test skills. There don’t have a strategy for overcoming the house edge.

Games cannot be conquered in the long run. However, a change can be expected as online, as well as land-based casinos, are trying to reach out to the millennials. Some of the international markets, skill has already been a part of the mix. In Japan, game parlours have a game which is a combination of slot and Pachinko. Skilful play can improve the results of these. Nevertheless, Las Vegas is the trendsetter when it comes to slot development. The RNG is designed to give the house an edge. Thus, there are some beatable games which have made it to the casinos.

Banking the Bonus

Till the late 1990s, there had been a series of games where you could collect symbols and gold coins on-screen until you reached the point of activating a bonus. Players could search for slots which had partially achieved bonus free territory and play when sufficient trigger was completed to give the player an edge. These are rare these days. Casinos having older equipment still serve such games.

One such example is Piggy Banking. This 3-reel slot by WMS Gaming had banked bonus setter. It has a Dotmation screen at the top of the reels. Each time the reel had blank space, a coin was added to the piggy bank is animated in orange dots. As Break the Bank icon lands on the payline, an animated hammer will break the bank, and you will collect the amount which is displayed. It was later discovered that when you play with enough coins in the bank, you can have an edge.

Hunting for Jackpot

Players say that they beat slots by searching progressive jackpots that are larger than usual. Slot payback percentages are lower enough to make an oversized jackpot small enough to beat the house edge. Yet, if you wait to play a title until the jackpot reaches a size, you are going to play with a lower house edge.

The method for jackpot hunting:

  • Make daily round and chart jackpot amount on various machines;
  • Note the payoff amount when a person is winning the jackpot. This will give an idea about the average size jackpot;
  • Play only when the jackpot has reached an average to get lucky.

The Thing to Be Careful about When Hunting Jackpot

If you are new to playing such games, you should know to delay it till the jackpot exceeds a certain amount. Nevertheless, there is no guarantee when it comes to the profit and no guarantee that you will hit the jackpot in no deposit slots or regular ones. The average amount of jackpot prize doesn’t reveal the break-even point. Also, waiting for the jackpot amount to be of a certain size will not increase the winning chances.

Bonus Events Based on Skill

Bonus events deal extensively in regards to skill-based games. Even if completely skilled-based titles haven’t been launched in Nevada, you will find skill-based bonuses. The ones marketed in recent times are Centipede of IGT where you are going to play the older version of the arcade games in the bonus events and Zuma by GTECH based on a known online game.

Even though skill brings about some difference, these aren’t beatable slots. If you are a grandmaster of Centipede, the house will have an edge. Apart from the variation by jurisdiction, the max of 4% of the overall payout of the game is based on skill, and higher house edge makes it improbable for you to gain profit.

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