Slot machine hits and payouts are heavily debated by casino patrons. There have been multiple accounts, most of which have not been verified, on what triggered the win or a jackpot.
In this article, we take a detailed look at what causes slots to hit and payout to players.
Slots hit and payout following a random yet predetermined model. The return-to-player rate (RTP) decides on how much money will be paid back to players out of everything wagered. The variance decides how frequently wins will occur. So you generally end up in a couple of scenarios. Slots that hit often but pay very little each time versus slots that hit rarely but pay out much larger amounts.
When Does a Slot Machine Hit
A quick answer to the question on when slots will hit: there is no set rate. The frequency of hits depends on the slot's RTP and variance.
To give a satisfying answer on when a slot machine hits, we will bring up the RNG algorithm present among all digital titles across physical and online casinos. A random number generator (RNG) algorithm determines which symbols will appear on the reels after each spin. Thanks to RNG, slots broke out of its mechanical 3-reel limitations by adding more reels, gameplay mechanics, jackpot payouts, and other innovative features.
No online slot machines as well as digital slots use a simple RNG function to come up with their results. These random functions that are present in any programming language or scientific calculators provide "simulated randomness". To achieve a "semi-authentic randomness" or "acceptable randomness" that satisfies a regulation office's requirements, software providers use PRNG for their games.
Pseudorandom number generators (PRNG) create results from an initial value or seed. Take note that the process of a PRNG is not "random" since the results need to be replicated. Instead, the generation of the seed adds the "semi-authentic randomness" factor since it is taken from objects influenced by the physical world. An example of a seed generator is the system clock where the nanoseconds between each second are used to create that initial value.
A slot machine hits when the PRNG algorithm uses a favorable seed with the highest possible payout. Keep in mind, there are no other external factors that can generate a specific seed such as the time of day (or night) or amount of money spent on a slot machine. Operators or other casino staff also have no means to force a slot machine in generating a high-payout seed.
Rumors about a slot machine paying out at a specific time are true if it is using the system clock as its seed generator. This does not mean that a slot machine will give out a good seed in the evening or within a specific hour of the day. Slots will have the same payout at any time of the month as well. In just one minute, a slot machine can get more than 1,000 results. It is virtually impossible to find the right time or moment to spin the reels and get a high-payout seed. In addition, various slot machines have different seed generators apart from just their system clock.
How RTP and Variance Determine When a Slot Machine Hit
RTP and slot variance are two factors that can affect a slot machine's payout. Return-to-player (RTP) is a statistical measure of how much you are going to get back. If you are to spend $100 worth of bets on a slot machine with a 95% RTP, you can expect a return of $95. In regards to the RTP, a slot machine hit occurs frequently among games with higher RTP rates.
Slot machine variance is a measure of a game's volatility. High variance games are at the riskier end of the balance scale where there are very low wins that have higher payouts. Low variance games are the opposite that frequently gives you wins with small payouts. Medium variance is the most balanced of slot machines that offer equal wins and payouts. There are also mid-low and mid-high variance that leans towards both ends of the risk spectrum with their respective risk-vs-reward rates.
As you can see with the variance rates, riskier titles tend to have fewer slot machine hits. You can expect more slot hits with low variance titles though, but with a lesser return.
You can use the RTP and slot variance data to get a clear grasp on how often you can get slot machine hits. For example, high RTP and low variance slots will likely get you numerous slot hits after spinning the reels several times. Low RTP and high variance slots are the opposite where you can expect fewer slot wins after several spins.
Can a Large Payout Change When a Slot Machine Hit?
Payouts cannot influence the PRNG algorithm of a slot machine, including progressive jackpot prizes. If a lucky player happens to win the biggest possible payout of a slot machine, they have the same slot odds of winning the same largest prize on the same slot cabinet or digital game. Slot machine hit probability will stay the same regardless of how much was spent or won from the game.
With large payouts not directly affecting the PRNG, it can still influence slot machine hit indirectly. Certain casino software allows operators to adjust the RNG of their slot games, which is a reasonable reaction when a machine is bleeding money and not generating revenue. There is a chance of low slot machine hits among titles that gave large payouts. However, this only occurs among a handful of casino platforms, and operators are at risk of losing paying customers if they were found to manipulate their slots to pay out less.
There is no period as to when a slot machine will hit since it uses a PRNG algorithm to determine what symbols will land on the reels. However, you can get a clear grasp of how often a slot machine hits based on its RTP and variance.
This article was published on January 28, 2022, and last updated on October 25, 2022.