# What Are My Odds Of Winning On A Slot Machine?

The nature of gambling is based on luck and chance and for this reason it is notoriously difficult to determine the odds of winning at a particular game. However, there are some factors that influence your chances of winning on slot machines and these factors, which include a slot machine’s payout percentage and its variance, will be discussed in this article. Understanding the inner workings of modern slot machines and the function of the Random Number Generator will also help dispel some of the myths that surround online gambling, such as the belief that online slot machines are more likely to pay out less than land-based slot machines and the myth that slot machines run on “hot” and “cold” cycles. Let us consider how slot machines used to function and how the introduction of video slots altered the calculations that determine a player’s chances of winning on a particular slot machine.

### The Inner Workings of a Slot Machine

To better understand the odds of winning on a slot machine a player first has to understand the way in which the slot machine operates. When slot machines were first invented, mechanical devices were used to determine the odds of winning. The number of icons a reel contained could be used to calculate the odds of winning. If you divide the number of icons on the reel by one, it gives you the odds of landing a particular symbol on that reel. Of course, in order to form a winning combination you would need to land a number of specific icons on the reels. In other words, if the machine had 3 reels, with 15 icons on each reel, you would divide 15 by 1 three times in order to calculate the odds of hitting 3 winning icons (15/1 * 15/1 * 15/1 = odds of forming a winning combination).

In modern slot machines the mechanical reels have been replaced by video screens and likewise the system of determining odds has changed completely. The mechanisms that determined where a reel would come to a standstill on olden day slot machines have been replaced by Random Number Generator programs in modern day slots. The belief that the odds of winning can be changed by a casino has been dispelled by RNG. The Random Number Generator (RNG) is a computer program that ensures the outcome of each spin on a slot machine is entirely random and is in no way influenced by previous spins. The RNG generates a random number that does not conform to any pattern and is unique. The random number is assigned to a position on the reel after the bet button is pressed. The reel spins with the number assigned to a symbol and stops at the designated stop. Every spin on the reels is therefore random. Online casinos are vigorously tested by independent auditors to make sure the RNG works correctly.

Many people are wary of gambling at online casinos because they are concerned that online gambling sites are not subject to the same regulations as land-based casinos. This is simply not the case as independent gambling regulators regularly inspect the RNG programs utilised by online casinos.

The use of the Random Number Generator also ensures that each spin is random and independent of the last. Some people believe slot machines go through “warm” and “cold” cycles and that machines that have just paid out a big jackpot are less likely to pay out as much as machines where the jackpot has not been struck in a while. You may perceive this to be the case, but in reality the odds of winning are the same with each spin of the reels.

### Payout Percentages

People often confuse payout percentages with the odds of winning on a slot machine. The payout percentage of a particular slot game refers to the amount the machine pays out to players compared to the amount that has been wagered on the machine. If a slot machine has a payout percentage of 92%, for example, that means that if \$/€/£ 100 is wagered, \$/€/£ 92 would be paid back to the players. It is important to bear in mind that the payout percentage is measured over an extended cycle and it does not mean that if you play \$/€/£ 100 on the machine you will get \$/€/£ 92 back. In fact, the payout percentage will probably not influence your individual game in any perceptible way. The machine’s hold percentage refers to the amount a casino makes off that machine. The hold percentage is calculated by subtracting the payout percentage from 100. In our example, the casino would make 8% of what is wagered at our 92% payout machine. This is similar to the house edge that applies to table and card games.

High denomination slot machines usually have a higher payout percentage. In other words, it may make more sense for you to play 1 coin per line on a 10 cents game rather than 10 coins per line on a 1 cent game. The problem with payout percentages of particular games is that casinos do not make this information readily available and without seeing the game’s specifications, it is very improbable that you would be able to determine the payout percentage.

#### Slot Variance

A slot’s variance influences your own individual game more than the machine’s payout percentage. Slot variance refers to the risk inherent to a game. If a slot has a low variance, the player is likely to receive regular, small winnings, but rarely big jackpots. If the machine has high variance, it is less likely to award the player with frequent small winnings and long spells with no winnings are to be expected. However, if you win on a high variance game the amount is likely to be much higher than a big win on a low variance game. In other words, the game’s variance refers to the frequency and size of winnings. The question of determining your odds of winning on a slot machine therefore also depends on your definition of winning. If you define any winning combination, no matter how small the pay out, as a win, than low variance slot machines offer you higher odds of winning. However, if your definition of a win only pertains to large amounts, your odds of winning such an amount are probably better on high variance machines, such as progressive jackpots.

#### Strategies for Winning

As mentioned above, your odds of winning on a slot machine are also influenced by your definition of what a win is. If you are a slots lover and enjoy accumulating numerous small wins, slots that offer low variance may increase your odds of winning minor amounts. Another guideline to bear in mind is that simpler games often offer better odds than extremely complicated games, although video slots with numerous paylines and special features remain more popular with slots lovers. The use of the Random Number Generator program has made it more difficult to determine the odds of winning on a slot machine than it used to be with mechanical slots. However, the payout percentages of slots are monitored by regulatory bodies to ensure that players cannot be cheated and that casinos retain only a certain percentage of the amount wagered on a slot.