How Do You Know When a Slot Machine Is About to Hit?

Many people will tell you that they have identified ways to know exactly when a slot machine is about to hit. We asked Heather Ferris – CEO and Founder of Vegas Aces – to give us the lowdown.
Row of slot machines in a casino.

When it comes to slot machines, everyone has heard about the huge wins and jackpots lucky individuals have scooped. Yet these outcomes are completely a product of luck, with slot machine results being completely random. However, some things can help you understand how these games work and keep you on track. Below, we discuss how and when a slot machine is about to hit. 

1. Slot Machines Are Random 

The truth is that slot machines are completely random. No matter how many books or online tutorials tell you otherwise, slots are unpredictable. 

Any legitimate casino will have stringent policies in place to check that this is correct. They will choose games from developers who have worked long and hard to ensure this is common practice. After this, gambling commissions will check the casinos to see if the games are performing as expected. If this isn’t the case with your online casino, then you may be playing in the wrong place.

2. Each Spin Is Completely Random

Every spin you make on a slot game will also be completely unexpected. This is determined by what is known as a random number generator (RNG). Throughout history, they have taken a long time to develop into something that is both random and still usable. 

Alan Turing, the inventor of the computer, was the first to create one of these. It was added to the Ferranti Mark 1 in 1951, one of the first all-purpose computer devices. Unfortunately, it was so unpredictable that it was considered to be unusable. This led to the invention of the pseudorandom number generator (PRNG), though even this was far from infallible, often producing the same repetitive results. Today, several different types are in use, but they all serve one common goal: to make the spins on your slot completely random. 

3. Understand Gamblers Fallacy

In 1913 at the Monte Carlo Casino, one table had the roulette ball fall on black 26 times in a row. Gamblers at the casino bet and lost millions, believing firstly that the ball had to arrive on red, and that it must be proceeded by a long streak of balls falling on the colour. They questioned the random nature of the wheel and coined the term known as ‘gambler’s fallacy’. 

Gambler’s fallacy is the mistaken belief that a random event becomes more or less likely to occur based on the outcome of previous events. While the chance of black appearing 26 times was around 1 in 66.6 million, each bet is only made on its individual probability. Thus, on a roulette wheel, this is a little under 50/50 when you include the green 0 sections. Never forget the gambler’s fallacy in slot games. Whatever happened before has no bearing on the next spin. 

4. Know Your RTP

The best way to predict how much money you will gain playing a game is known as ‘return to player‘ (RTP). All slot games worth playing will have this listed in the small print. The higher the percentage is, the more money is returned to the player over the long term, with the rest going to the house. 

For example, if you played a game with a 95% RTP, over a prolonged period, 95% of the money you put in would come back to you, with 5% going to the house. Of course, this is a long-term average. If you have three spins, there is no guarantee you will come out with 95% of the funds staked. 

RTP should not be confused with volatility. This determines how the game pays out. High volatility slots will pay out infrequently, but dish out large amounts when they do. Low volatility ones will provide regular wins of small amounts. None of these impact the RTP. 

5. Check Progressive Jackpot Slots 

When playing progressive jackpot slots, make sure you check the small print. As they have high amounts on offer, some progressive games will increase your chances of winning if you bet the maximum amount. Once more, there is no guarantee you will win but it is something to be aware of. 

So, How Do You Know When a Slot Machine Is About to Hit?

The truth is that you don’t. To believe that the previous spins have any bearing on the one you are about to take is a gambler’s fallacy. You can use statistics such as RTP and volatility to get an average based on how much you may win, but even this is over a prolonged period of play.

The random number generators used in machines ensure that each spin is just that: Random. Checked by numerous bodies, all of them work just as they should. But it is this unpredictable nature that has made the slot game so popular. This is what provides the thrill. View the game as a form of entertainment, managing your bankroll and taking any win as a welcome bonus. Only then will you truly understand when a slot is about to hit and realise that you can’t predict it at all. 

Heather Ferris is the CEO & Founder of Vegas Aces, with over 15 years of experience in the casino industry. She’s also an adjunct professor at UNLV, as well as a table games consultant. Heather has been writing articles and making videos about the casino industry for a decade and her marketing business helps new table game inventors break into the industry.

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