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Slot Odds: What Are Your Chances of Winning?

Slot machines are wildly popular, particularly in the age of the multi-billion pound online casino industry. In spite of this, there are plenty of sceptics out there who ask are slot machines rigged or it’s just a myth that they don’t pay out consistently.

It is always worth delving into this topic more deeply and understanding slot odds before you start playing yourself, so here is an unbiased explanation of how these machines work and what chance you have of winning each time you play.

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Reliably random

Randomness is innate to all slots, whether physical machines or virtual games are considered. Each time you spin the reels, you are effectively implementing a random number generator which will spit out a result chosen from a large pool of potential outcomes.

It is worth noting that in this sense, slots are not ‘fixed’ because they truly do use RNGs to either see the player to victory or take their cash for that specific spin.  Indeed there are strict regulations governing online slots operators in the UK which require that no trickery is used to prevent players from winning altogether; this is where RTP percentages come into the equation.

Importance of RTP

In a slot machine context, the RTP (return to player) percentage represents the proportion of the cash that a machine takes in over its lifespan which will be paid out to people who win.

Developers are required to publicise the RTP of the games they make so that players know exactly how much of the money that is pumped into it will be returned to them.

RTP percentages typically sit at anywhere from 75 per cent up to 99 per cent. This might seem very generous, but ultimately it means that although players can walk away with a hefty chunk of change if they get lucky, the operator is still the only consistent winner in the end.

Be aware that the RTP rating of a slot game does not have anything to do with the odds of winning, it is purely a representation of the cumulative proportion of cash paid out. This means that even if a machine has a 99 percent RTP, it can still offer very low odds of a win on a spin-by-spin basis.

Role of paylines

While RTP percentages have to be shown for each game, there is no clear way of knowing exactly what the odds of achieving a win on a given spin are. Thankfully modern games do give you more control over the odds of winning, even if putting a firm figure on this is tricky.

This is achieved through the use of paylines. While traditional slot machines would offer a single, straight payline, typically across the middle of the reels, modern video slots support a multitude of payline options.

By placing bets across multiple paylines, you increase your chances of securing a winning combination on each spin. Furthermore you may find that certain games will only let you unlock the top tier jackpot if you opt to place the maximum bet across every available payline.

Odds in isolation

The most important thing to remember about slot machine odds is that they do not change depending on how much you play a particular game; there is no cumulative benefit to feeding the same machine over and over, because there is no built-in trigger point at which a payout is inevitable. This is because operators are required by law to make sure that every spin is treated as an entirely isolated event, so that the odds of winning every time are effectively identical to avoid foul play.

This puts customers in an interesting position, as it may seem like the more you play, the more likely it is that you will win, even if in reality spinning the reels is very much like tossing a coin in terms of the consistency of the odds each time.

Being realistic

Calculating your chances of winning when playing slot games can be a challenging process, and while multi-payline games do give you a little more control, it is always a good idea to keep a level head and avoid allowing things like superstition and false assumptions to get in the way of having a good time.

The issue of slot odds is undeniably arcane and somewhat obscure, but playing in moderation and only wagering what you can afford to lose will let you enjoy the experience for what it is.