Top 5 Slots Machine Myths: Busted

Explore myths relating to both online and offline slots

Online and Offline Slot Machine Myths

Slot machines have the ability to both award big money prizes and leave players broke. But gamblers are a superstitious lot. Even the most rational players think that there are conspiracies on when slots pay out and how often. After all, with so much of the mechanics or software of a slot hidden to players, conspiracy theories can take hold. There are many myths surrounding slot machines, as we're here to dispel the biggest ones.

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MYTH 1: Slot Machines That Haven't Paid Out in a While Are Due to Soon

Let's start with one of the most common misconceptions on gambling: slot machines MUST pay out if they have gone through a barren spell.

Both online and land-based slots are programmed to pay out at least something over the long term. The arrangement of symbols means the frequency and amounts can differ, but there is no memory in a machine that tells it to pay out following a long, non-winning run.

All video slots are programmed with pseudo random number generators (PRNGs). These ensure that every single spin is random and separate from the last. Players have the same mathematical chance of winning on any given spin. Of course, it doesn't stop gamblers from waiting near a machine that hasn't paid out in a while for the current player to vacate the chair.

MYTH 2: Slots Go On "Streaks"

Just as some players think that a barren run will automatically come to an end, they can also believe that a slot machine is prone to streaks. Some think that these streaks can be series of "cold" losing spins or "hot" winning ones. But again, video slots do't work like that. Machines are programmed with RNGs that ensure every spin is fair and independent.

MYTH 3: All Slots Have a Poor House Edge

Some players think that all slots offer a bad deal for gamblers. But not all slots are created equal.

Unlike roulette, where the house edge ranges from 1.35-5.26% depending on the variation, slots can swing between 1-12%. And online slots tend to have higher return to player percentages (RTPs) than their land-based cousins.

The key is to hunt out the right games. Even games with high payouts can be also be volatile. This means that the player may go through long spells without a win before a large jackpot hits.

MYTH 4: Progressive Jackpots Are for High Rollers Only

Progressive jackpots are special slots prizes that are triggered at random or by accessing a unique bonus game. Many of the biggest jackpots can only be triggered when playing the max bet. However, there are plenty of slots where even small-stakes gamblers can win the big prizes.

The confusion is surrounding how jackpots are triggered. When a progressive slot is played, a kind of lottery ticket is purchased by the gambler. This gives the player a chance of activating the jackpot. The more they buy, the better their chances. But even a small spin bet can give a player the chance of winning a large prize, so it really does not matter if you are a low stakes player or a high roller.

MYTH 5: The 'Skill Stop' Button Has an Effect on Stopping the Reels

Many online and offline video slots have a 'STOP' button which lets players bring the reels to a halt early. But there is no skill involved here. By hitting this button, you are simply speeding up a process that was already determined once you started spinning the reels.

Each video slot spin is programmed at random. Once the player hits spin, the RNG completes an algorithm, which determines where the reels will stop. Whether you stop them early or let the spin runs its course, it will result in the same outcome.

Understanding the Gambler's Fallacy

The gambler's fallacy, or Monte Carlo fallacy, is a belief by gamblers that luck will balance out over the long term. So, if a player goes through a period of losses, they believe that continuing to gamble will result in a period of wins.

The belief is wrong, however. Every gamble is independent from the last. A long run of wins won't bring a loss, and a long run of losses won't bring a win. Roulette players will obsess over the history of a wheel's spins, then bet on the numbers that appear the most often or bet on red when black has appeared 10 times in a row.

The problem with that theory is that a gambler would have to play for years to work out if there is a long-term pattern. By that time, they may have already gone bust.

How Random Number Generators (RNGs) Work

Random Number Generators, or Pseudo Random Number Generators (PRNGs) are the main building block of a video slot mechanism. They ensure that every spin of the reels is random.

When you hit the spin button, the RNG calculates an algorithm which is assigned to a set of numbers. That set of numbers corresponds to a specific pattern of symbols across the reels. There are millions of possible combinations that can come out.

RNGs are regularly audited by approved testing labs to ensure the spins are totally fair and, therefore, that the casino is legitimate. If the algorithm is faulty or weighted towards a particular outcome, the player won't get a fair spin. Tests put RNGs through their paces over thousands and thousands of spins.

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