Blackjack and poker players have used math to gain an edge over the house as well as against opponents. Can you apply similar mathematical strategies to win at slots and gain a true advantage over the casino?
We take a close look at the relationship between slots and mathematics to answer the question of whether number crunching helps a player make bank with any type of online slots. And if there is a mathematical way to win online slots, can you live off of it?
Can You Use Maths To Beat Online Slots?
You will not find any strategy that guarantees your chances of winning the jackpot or the biggest possible payout on any slot games. Players have the notion that the results generated by any online slots can be influenced like mechanical slots. However, all slot programs do not have any opening that lets a player change the RNG of the game to their advantage.
Hackers cannot get into the online slot's algorithm or code to change its result unless they can breach advanced security protocols on a software provider and operator's site. Even if they can find a way, they need to have a casino run the tainted online slot to make a profit.
On the other hand, understanding the underlying mechanism of any online slot game can put you in a better position to make bank on your spins. Knowing how much a slot frequently pays out and the amount of each win allows you to find a betting strategy to turn the odds slightly in your favor.
Key Concepts The Mathematics Of Slots
We break down four algorithm elements present in all online slots to give you a clear picture of their inner workings.
Random Number Generation
Every time you flip a coin or roll a dice, you are creating a random result. How can an online slot create a random result or determine the symbols that appear on its reel in each spin? Each land-based and online slot uses a random number generation (RNG) algorithm to decide whether a spin results in a win or miss.
Take note that recreating the RNG of a coin toss or dice roll is not as simple as a 50/50 or one in six formula probability calculation. In the real world, entropy needs to be considered since many factors can affect the result of a physical RNG such as wind speed, surface tension, and force input.
Online slots use PRNG to recreate real-world random results which involve running a seed or value through a complex algorithm to create multiple possible results. Seeds are generated by various physical occurrences such as the system clock of a computer where the online slots are running on.
Return-To-Player Rate (RTP)
Out of all the mathematical concepts on the list, the return-to-player (RTP) rate is the one every player wants to know. As the name indicates, this data determines the percentage you can win back when you play certain slots for a long period.
To illustrate, let take Thunderkick's 1429 Uncharted Seas slot which has a high RTP of 98.6%, the house has an edge of 1.4% edge. About $98 can profit for every $100 that goes into the online game. Players are given a higher edge through the different features of the game such as its expanding wilds and the possibility of winning up to 100 free spins.
It is important to understand that RTP measures the success rate of profiting from a game based on how long you play. You are likely to get a $98 profit from spending $100 on 1429 Uncharted Seas if you play the game for a long period.
Payout rates differ across every online slot game. Certain slots tend to have frequent wins with a low payout. You can also find slots that hardly gives any wins, but their payout can reach triple or quadruple your bet. Variance is the measure of the profit rate in each online slot game, which also equates to the risk involved.
A good chunk of online slots has a medium variance that strikes a good balance of win and payout rates. Low variance once tends to have progressive jackpots that have life-altering amounts that can reach millions of dollars, but winning them is nearly impossible. Certain slots tend to advertise their low variance factor to keep punters to spin the reels as much as possible for small payouts. Meanwhile, the best online slots that have the highest possible payout are those with high variance.
Slot variance is a way for a software provider to cater their games among different types of punters. High variance is suitable to anyone looking for low-risk games while people willing to part with large amounts of money for bigger payouts tend to enjoy low variance slots.
How many times were you able to get symbols lineup on the slot's payline in your last session? 10? 50? Hit Frequency is a measurement of the slot's ratio of winning and missed spins.
It is important not to mistake this data as the RTP since the measurement focuses on the winning frequency only. You might encounter slots with high hit frequency and a low return on your bet. Other slots may also have the same hit frequency with a mix of wins that double or triple your bet.
Getting a slot's hit frequency comes down to adding up all the possible wins in one spin. Take into account the various symbols within a slot and the number of paylines possible. Keep in mind of doubling the paylines for both ways slots that count matches made from left to right and from right to left. Adding all the possible winning requirements will give you a slot's hit frequency.
Can Any Of The Above Be Cheated?
One way of cheating involves a direct method that manipulates the online software itself. Cheaters need access to a specific online slot game within an active casino site to change the RNG and make bank. While the method may have worked in the late 90s, most online casino platforms have state-of-the-art online security to prevent this method of cheating.
Another way of cheating is through gambling software or bots that attempt to recognize the RNG patterns in each slot. Upon recognizing the pattern, a bot will spin the reels when a seed that has high payout results is generated. Unfortunately for cheaters, every licensed casino platform uses an AI algorithm that sifts through the betting patterns of each player to detect the use of bots or suspicious bets.
Bottom line, it is mathematically impossible to cheat a slot's RNG, RTP, variance and hit frequency. You can still use the four mathematical data of each slot to create a profitable strategy. One example is to place large bets on medium variance slots with high hit frequency to get the most out of any wins. Even if you managed to beat the slot machine algorithms, you would end up winning so much that this attention would get you banned from the casino, unlike with Blackjack and Poker.
Math cannot be used to create a formula that opens the door to frequent high payouts or progressive jackpot wins. Knowing the mathematical concept of a specific slot puts you in a better position to profit out of your bets in each spin. We hope you are not disappointed and still enjoy spinning the reels of your favorite online slot.
This article was published on January 13, 2021, and last updated on May 26, 2022.