Romancing the Reels: Slot Machine Myths

This article on Romancing the Reels: Slot Machine Myths will explain how slot machines work and how "romancing the reels" may not help you win while playing them. Well, basically because they run on Random Number Generators (RNG's).

The Random Real Number Generator (aka, Random Number Generator—RNG) is constantly cycling through millions of number combinations, ready at any point to be virtually stopped. But the only way to create a virtual stop is to press a button or pull a lever.

The results of a slot machine “spin” are actually determined at the start of the game, not at the end.The suspense of the spinning reels is for your entertainment benefit, and has nothing to do with the actually outcome of the game.

Every time you go to play online slots or a slot machine at a casino, the above happens. Each play is what the industry calls an “independent event”, meaning the result has not been influenced by or has any bearing on past or future events.

This is hard news for some folks to hear. We feel you. We don’t want to believe it either. But it’s true. None of the following have any impact on the outcome of a slot machine:

  • Jackpots: Slot machines are just as likely to trigger a sequential jackpot as they are to have a lengthy cold streak.
  • Good luck dances: No matter how you shake, rattle, or roll it, a slot machine can’t see or respond to your attempts to summon the good luck gods. But the people sitting next to you can. Proceed only if you’d like a few machines to yourself.
  • Types of wagers: The size of a wager has no bearing on the result of the game. The two aspects of the machine are in no way tied to each other. This also means that changing up a wager while you’re playing won’t “jar” a machine into a winning streak. Placing smaller wagers can guarantee you have a bit more time to play, however, like we say in our article “What is a House Advantage?”: the longer you stay, the more likely you are to lose.
  • Streaks: Slot machines can’t streak, and it isn’t just because they weren’t wearing clothes to begin with. Since numbers are randomly generated, payouts (or lack there of) are as well.

The above applies to mechanical, video, online, and mobile slot games; and really any casino game that features random, independent events (like roulette or craps).

All in all, there is little-outside of cheating or performing your own Oceans 13 casino heist-you can do to influence the result of a slot machine. As long as you remember the slot machine’s real purpose-entertainment-then you can appreciate a win and a loss for what they are: randomly generated moments.