Believe it or not, the world’s first slot machine was designed and put into use all the way back in 1894. Since that point on, these brightly-colored boxes full of hope and despair have been taking money from millions and millions of casino-goers worldwide.
Just about everyone who has ever entered a casino has tried their hand and giving the slot machine a spin. Perhaps it’s simply for the fact that you don’t need to have any real knowledge of how it works in order to win.
In this article, I’ll lay out the top 5 slot machine myths that still persist today.
1 – Streaks
It’s in our nature to recognize patterns. In fact, there is biological proof that we recognize, consciously or subconsciously, when things are following a trend. Unfortunately, sometimes our instincts lead us down the wrong path.
While it might seem like some slot machines are programmed to go on “hot” or “cold” streaks, the reality is that every slot machine spin is completely random. If you have experienced a run of good or bad fortune on a slot machine, you can simply chalk it up to good ol’ fashioned luck…or lack of it.
Another mistake people make is thinking that following a long “cold streak” (which doesn’t exist), that a win is going to happen because it’s “due.” This would be an example of the phenomenon that seems omnipresent in casinos worldwide: the Gambler’s Fallacy.
Similar to the reason why slot machines don’t actually go on hot or cold streaks, the concept of randomness pops up here again. In this situation, it’s important to recognize the one fact that seems to evade all those: slot machines are programmed to be totally random.
If the last spin turned out to be a jackpot winner, you might think that you aren’t going to see that happen again for some time. The truth is that you are just as likely to see a jackpot on the next spin as you would be if you had been playing for days without hitting one.
The important thing to remember is that each spin is independent of one another. They don’t build up over time. Don’t just sit there thinking that it’ll eventually hit the jackpot simply because it’s time.
2 – You Can’t Improve Your chances
But wait, I thought it was all random?!
When it comes to the individual spins themselves, yes, the results are simply random. However, if you’re talking about whether or not you’ll actually win some money during your slot machine session, that isn’t so random.
The first thing you need to be focused on is selecting the best machines. Slots do not all pay players out at the same rate and the variance can be pretty significant. For example, some machines can pay out players in the low 80% range, while some have an RTP (return-to-player) up to 98% or above.
If you start off your slots session at a low-return machine, you’re simply just starting out in the hole. Look at the details of the machines, or do some research beforehand to find out which machines are the most favorable to players.
The next way you can improve your chances of winning real money playing slots is by using your membership card, which often includes bonuses you can use specifically for slots. These aren’t actually going to improve the odds of hitting a jackpot or getting paid out, but it will afford you some free or discounted spins.
Before heading to the slot machines at your local casino, ask a staff member about any bonuses or promotional deals that they might be offering. You might be surprised at how generous some of the membership perks can be, depending on where you’re playing.
3 – Online Slots Aren’t Worth it
Not only do online slots give you just as good a chance at winning as their land-based counterparts, but they might even offer better odds. Don’t believe me? Check out this list of some of the best online slots out there today.
For some players, online slots can understandably feel more pre-programmed than physical machines. When you lose, it can feel as if the game is rigged. However, there has been plenty of research on the topic and the general consensus is that you have just as good of a chance on these, if not better, than if you were to go downtown to the casino.
To further the defense of online slots, all you have to do is look at the RTP. Some sites offer a return up to 99%, and even higher in some cases. How can they afford to give this much money back? I’ll explain a few reasons.
Online casinos can provide better odds to their players simply because the costs associated with running the operation are much lower than a real casino. You no longer need to purchase a real machine, pay someone to maintain it, find a building to put it in, etc. The lack of these costs means the savings are passed onto gamblers.
Similar to the idea of looking around at a real casino to find the games with the best odds, the same research is required when looking at online casinos. Do your best to not just find games with the highest RTP, but also consider the impact bonuses can have on your chances of winning.
Online casinos are notorious for offering very generous bonuses to their players, so whether you’re looking for a deposit match, free spins, or some combination of the two, it’s likely out there somewhere if you’re willing to look around.
4 – The Lever/Button Debate
Some slots enthusiasts swear that there’s a difference in the results when you use the lever vs. the button, and vice versa. The truth is that there can actually be a somewhat significant discrepancy in the outcome based on your strategy, but it doesn’t have anything to do with the machine itself.
Mathematically speaking, even on the most favorable slot machines you’re set up to lose. If there’s a slot with a 99% return to player, which is extremely high, that’s still a built in 1% loss. To put it in simpler terms: the more spins you make, the higher the odds that you’ll lose money.
So what does this have to do with the button or lever question? It all comes down to the number of spins.
If you’re playing with a lever, it takes just a few seconds longer to get your results. This is solely due to the fact that it takes longer to pull the lever (even though it seems insignificant) than it does to press the button. Over a long session, playing with the button only is going to mean more spins, and thus, more losing. This is strictly speaking statistically, of course.
Most experts recommend playing with the lever for this reason alone. It might not seem like it matters, but if you’re playing long enough, it can definitely have an impact on your bankroll.
5 – Different Times of the Day Have Better Results
If there’s a theme of this article, it’s that people overestimate the variability of slot machines. While it’s certainly true that slots can be reprogrammed, it’s a long and laborious process that most casinos aren’t going to do regularly.
It doesn’t matter if a casino is hosting a big event or entering the busiest time of the day, the odds on the slot machines aren’t going to change. If there is a chance, which will inevitably happen, it’s not going to happen for any specific event.
The bottom line is that no matter the time of day, the event that’s taking place that week, or any other outside factor, your odds are going to be the same.
Slot machines are always going to be somewhat controversial simply for the fact that they’re programmed by humans, and humans are notoriously deceitful. Rest assured that no, you aren’t getting screwed by the house.
While there have been instances where casinos have tried to rig the games, it happens very, very infrequently. The best advice if you’re trying to win? Place a great deal of emphasis on game selection, play slow, and let the spins fall where they may.
Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. ...
The information found on Gamblingsites.org is for entertainment purposes only. It is a purely informational website that does not accept wagers of any kind. Although certain pages within Gamblingsites.org feature or promote other online websites where users are able to place wagers, we encourage all visitors to confirm the wagering and/or gambling regulations that are applicable in their local jurisdiction (as gambling laws may vary in different states, countries and provinces).
Gamblingsites.org uses affiliates links from some of the sportsbooks/casinos it promotes and reviews, and we may receive compensation from those particular sportsbooks/casinos in certain circumstances. Gamblingsites.org does not promote or endorse any form of wagering or gambling to users under the age of 18. If you believe you have a gambling problem, please visit BeGambleAware or GAMCARE for information and help.