How Modern and Old-Fashioned Slot Machines Work

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Slot machines are the most popular games in any casino. However, very few people understand how they work. Some people show complete misunderstanding of the matter, while others try to use it for their own profit.

This article will help you to understand how slots really work. When you get enough information about internal construction of a slot, you’ll be able to determine how slots are attractive for you depending on your personality. Slots can bring you a lot of fun and enjoyment, but there is a number of reasons why slots are an extremely profitable game for casinos. It is interesting that operation algorithm is not the only reason.

Slot machines use Random Number Generator

The first coin-based slot machines used random number generator, just the same like modern ones or any other casino game. A roulette wheel, a deck of cards or dices are, in a sense, random number generators. Modern slots use computers to generate random game scenarios which determine winnings.

It is crucial to understand that any spin outcome is truly random. Games are not based on any cycles, even jackpot can’t be prognosticated. There is no way to say if the slot is about to pay you big or rob you. You may have some feeling about that but, in fact, it is as impossible to predict a spin outcome as to guess a card out of a deck.

Casino always wins

It’s true, it’s true for any casino game. Casinos make profit thanks to the mathematical expectation and enormous turnover. Any winning pays much lower compared to the odds for it.

Consider a roulette. The odds for a specific number are 37 to 1, but the winning is 35 to 1. You don’t need to be a genius to figure out how casino makes profit in this case.

Slot machines operate under the same pattern.

Normally, slots have 3 or 5 reels

The reel is the image which spins on a slot screen. Each real displays several symbols, when these symbols stop in a certain sequence, you win. The smaller odds for any combination are, the more it pays.

In the past, there were real spinning wheels in the slots, but the modern slots are based on the computer random number generator. You see only a picture generated by a computer on your screen. However, it is a random number generator which determines the outcome both for mechanic and computer-based slots.

The position where mechanic slot reels stop is called “stop”

It was possible for reels to stop either on a symbol or on a blank space between these symbols. The odds for any symbol to appear where approximately equal back then. Nowadays, the things has changed and the odds may vary.

The first slot machines had only 10 “stops” for a reel, modern slots have got from 30 to 50 “stops”. The more “stops” each reel has, the smaller odds for a win are, as a result the payouts are higher. When you play a game with 10 stops with equal chances for each of them, your odds for a specific combination are 1/10 x 1/10 x 1/10 which is equal to 1 out of 1000. If the payout for this specific combination is much lower than this value, you lose money playing this game.

These odds are adjustable through the algorithms in modern slots.

Algorithms determine how often a reel stops in a specific position

Imagine you play a slot with 10 symbols at each reel. However, one of those symbols is special; it comes only once every 100 spins. In this case the odds for 3 symbols of this kind are 1/100 x 1/100 x 1/100 which is equal to 1 out of 1.000.000! If you are offered $1 million for $1 bet, you won’t lose playing this game in a long run. This is the offer casinos like to make to attract new players, and players like to accept it.

The other symbols appear in the half of all spins. The odds to get all symbols are ½ x ½ x ½ which is equal to 1 out of 8. If the payout for such combination is 2 to 1, casino has huge mathematical expectation, while player thinks he wins quite often.

Actual odds list

Any modern slot machine has its actual odds list which determines odds for any combination, not only for the winning ones. Obviously, this list is designed to give a casino positive mathematical expectation. Slot machine and software developers keep this list as a secret, that’s why a player will never know precise data for a particular slot RTP and some other figures. We only know the figures provided by independent auditors.

The last but not the least thing for payouts percentage

This is the mathematical expectation which shows how much a slot pays in a long run. For example, the RTP is 97%. It means casino takes $3 for every $100 in bets. The actual RTP is somewhat different compared to the stated RTP. It is important to mention, the less spins you make, the bigger this difference is, but in an endless distance actual value should be equal to the stated one. Anyways, casino always wins.

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