Top 10 Myth-Busting Facts About Slot Machines

Debunking Common Slot Machine Myths

Slot machine myths cost players a lot of money each year. Put another way, slot machine facts can save players a lot of money. Common misconceptions about slot machines appear everywhere in casino lore, so today we are debunking myths about slot machines.

If you’re new to slot machines, then you’re lucky. It’s easier to teach the uninformed than to correct the misinformed. In either case, sit back and we’ll give the facts on the most common misconceptions about the one-armed bandits.

Key Takeaways:

  • Common slot myths include hot streaks and cold streaks, which are versions of the gambler’s fallacy. RNGs assure each spin is divorced from every other spin, so previous results don’t change the odds.
  • Players spread misconceptions that the time of the day you play affects the odds. They also spread misinformation about the location of slot machines in casinos. In truth, these myths don’t stand up to logic.
  • It’s easy to misunderstand how the return to player (RTP) or house edge works. It’s also easy to confuse how a player can affect the outcome of the game, so players must have the facts about how slot machines work.

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Can you debunk the most common slot machine myths?

Yes. Browse through the 10 common slot machine myths, then see each of them debunked. When you stop to think about most of these, it’s easy to separate slot machine misconceptions from facts.

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Slots Run on Cold Streaks and Hot Streaks

In retrospect, players can pick out hot streaks and cold streaks in their slot sessions. That’s assigning order to chaos, though. Slot machines do not have pre-designed cold streaks or hot streaks. RNGs do not allow that to happen.

True random number generators (RNGs) create a random result for every spin. The RNG creates thousands of results per second. When a player pushes the “Spin” button, the RNG selects the last results. Every single micro-second would have a different result. Thus, the game results are random.

People can design RNGs that aren’t truly random. These are huge loops of numbers tied mathematically to results. However large the loops of numbers, those results would contain hot streaks and cold streaks. But those are not the RNGs that professionally designed slot machines have. In licensed slots, results are truly random.

Thus, if you think a slot machine is on a hot streak, that is no reason to start playing. If you think the game is on a cold streak, that’s no reason to end the session. The next result is totally divorced from all previous results.

slot machine myths debunked - time of day

Playing at Certain Times of the Day Increases the Odds of Winning

Another myth is the idea it’s better to play in non-peak times. According to some players, casinos offer better odds during non-peak times of the day or week. Therefore, you’d find better odds at the casino on Tuesday at 9:30 am than Saturday at 7:00 pm.

In this logic, management wants to entice players to show up at the casino during these non-peak hours. To do so, they give them better odds, which drives traffic. This might be the case if casinos advertised this fact. Instead, players have to spread this fact through word of mouth. This falls into the conspiratorial line of thinking, where the enlightened few recognize the truth.

Unfortunately, it goes against all the logic that we know about casinos. Operators advertise their winners because it’s an advertisement to other people to visit the place. Casinos simply wouldn’t hide big winners or better odds. It would be far better to have big winners when the casino is full, so other visitors would notice the windfall and play more.

Of course, casinos can change the odds on a slot machine. All US states that have land-based casinos have laws that stipulate a slot machine must be inactive for a certain number of minutes before the casino can reprogram new odds. This keeps casino operators from changing the odds during a gaming session. Such practices are highly illegal in the United States and could cost a casino its all-important gaming license.

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Slot Club Membership Affects Your Chances of Winning

People spread the rumor that slot club membership affects your chances of winning, but that’s not the case. Slot club membership unlocks various rewards, including comps and cashback. That’s not the same as unlocking better odds when they hit “Spin.”

Slot clubs reward players for volume play. It’s a way to lure new players, loyal customers, and VIP high rollers. Like a credit card, the more you use the slot machine, the more rewards you receive.

Certainly, slot club rewards are a way to lower the “effective” house edge. If you receive free hotel stays, free meals, free shows, vacations, and other prizes, it gives you more money (or goods or services) than you’d otherwise have. It does not affect the slot machine’s odds, though.

Certain Techniques Can Trick the RNG into Giving You a Win

Another misconception is players can learn tips and tricks to fool the RNG into giving the player a win. This is the 21st-century version of the old slot machine cheats of yesteryear. In these myths, cunning players can spot reels aligning (through the zig-zag method) or otherwise trick a machine into giving out wins.

First, tricking a slot machine’s RNG is illegal and would land a person in prison. Slot cheats like Tommy Glenn Carmichael are only known because they got caught and went to prison. He used light wands, monkey paws, and other contraptions to win, but security caught him doing so.

In the new myth about RNGs, players can trick the software into giving you a win. While this isn’t entirely out of the realm of possibility, the only people who could do so would be world-class hackers. While hackers always succeed in Hollywood movies, their success rate in real life is much lower. In fact, they leave a trail when doing so.

Perhaps if you were a state-sponsored hacker in a foreign country, you might get away with such actions. A random person in Las Vegas designing software to trick RNGs is going to have state regulators and FBI agents visiting their home. If you’re a great software programmer, use your skills to make an honest living.

Newer Games Perform Better than Older Games

One of the newer rumors making it around the internet is newer slot machines perform better than older slots. That’s only the case if programmers program newer slots with better odds. The problem with that line of thinking is most games have multiple programmable sets of odds. Thus, the decision comes down to individual casino operators.

The science of casino gaming has advanced in recent years. With it, the science of slot machine design has advanced. Casinos are better at revving players up for gambling than ever. Gaming floors are more designed to lure people into gambling in them.

With that in mind, newer games are not likely to perform better than older games. When evaluating slot machines, players should treat each of them separately. No single general concept or trend sweeps the entire industry of slot machine development.

Let’s take the Buffalo Slot Series from Aristocrat Leisure for example. The first Buffalo Slot Machine had a high RTP and lots of fun features, so it became a huge hit. Since then, Aristocrat designed nearly a dozen updates to the game. Several of them became popular, while others did not.

Much of the reason for Buffalo Slots’ original popularity was the high RTP. Many of the games since have risen or fallen based on the game’s odds (and sometimes the jackpots.) The best Buffalo Slot games are the original ones, which have better odds. Newer doesn’t necessarily mean better.

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Slot Machines’ Location in the Casino Matters

A classic slot machine myth is the best slot machines are near the entrance/exit or other highly-frequently part of casinos. In theory, more people see these slot machines, so management wants people to see players winning. This spurs more play and helps the casino in the long term.

This myth has the aura of truth because casinos want to advertise their wins. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. Decades of casino managers have come and gone, and many casino employees are retired. If the best slots were near the front door, we’d know that by now. Multiple people would have confirmed it, instead of this being a slots myth.

The fact is, that casinos rotate their slot machines and other games at intervals. They moved them around, much like grocery stores rotate product displays. They’re always experimenting to see if consoles and gaming tables produce better at a different location. If gaming machines or tables are not drawing much traffic, they’re moved.

In that way, casinos are much like Walmart. They want to experiment with new configurations, finding the best combination to increase profits. If you see the casino staff moving slot machines around, expect that it has more to do with experimentation than a desire to place the best machines at the entrances and exits.

Progressive Betting Methods like the Martingale Assure You’ll Have Winning Sessions

One of the oldest gambling myths is progressive betting methods work the best. At least since the 18th Century, rumors have swirled that gamblers do better with progressive betting schemes like the Martingale. “Progressive” in this context means the bet gets larger or progresses as the betting sequence continues.

The most basic and enduring of these is the Martingale technique. In this system, if you lose a bet, then you double the size of the bet. If you lose again, you double the bet and so on. If you win, you go back to the original bet size. Thus, the betting sequence for a $5 original bet would be $5, $10, $20, $40, $80, $160, $320, $640, $1280, and so on.

If you do the math, the Martingale sounds like a can’t-miss system. Every betting system ends with a $5 profit. For instance, if you bet $5 and win, the betting system ends with a $5 profit. If you bet and lose $5 and then bet $10, then a win on the second bet would produce a $5 profit. If you bet and lost twice ($15 loss) and bet $20 and won, you would win $5 for the betting sequence.

Continue down the line and a winning bet always produces a $5 profit. Therefore, the Martingale produces a constant stream of small $5 profits. It seems to produce endless small winning sessions. Or does it?

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Fact: Why The Martingale System Doesn’t Work

The Martingale system has a couple of flaws. First, most people who start with a $5 bet tend to be low rollers or mid-stakes players. After five losing bets, they’re betting $80 to win $5. After six losing bets, they’re betting $160 to win $5. And after nine losing spins, they’re betting $1280 to win $5. This is the definition of chasing losses, which is what players aren’t supposed to do.

This increases the risk of ruin, meaning you could lose your whole bankroll based on bad luck. Anyone who’s ever played the slots knows that strings of five or ten lose spins is common. You’ll have a lot of small winning sessions, then one huge losing session that wipes out the profits (and then some.)

The second flaw is the bet limits. If you’re playing a slot machine with $5 bets, you could quickly reach the slot’s betting maximum. What happens when you exceed the maximum bet limit and can’t follow the system anymore?

Actuaries have run computer simulations to see which is better: the Martingale betting system or flat betting (say $5 every time.) The simulations show that, over a billion spins, flat betting outperforms the Martingale betting scheme. It does the same with every other progressive betting system, like the D’Alembert or Fibonacci systems. Just go with flat betting.

Online Slot Machines are Rigged

One online slot machine myth is the suggestion that slot machines online are rigged. The software is designed to help the casino and not the player, so you can’t trust any online casino. No doubt it’s the case that some online slot casinos are rogue operators. If they’re offshore operators, they might go rogue and never be held to standards.

That being said, it doesn’t stand to reason that every online slot casino is rigged. Word of mouth spreads, and it spreads very quickly on the internet. If a rogue casino has rigged games, the word quickly gets around to players. They give reviews on forums, social media, and site review aggregator sites. The rogue casino’s reputation becomes dirt.

The best advice is to research thoroughly before you deposit money in an offshore online slots casino. Read reviews and forums. Google online casino operators. Look on social media for reports on these sites. Do your due diligence, and only deposit cash in sites with a solid reputation. In fact, only do so with slot casinos that have recent good reports.

Only play at an offshore slots site that has licensing from a trusted authority. While these sites aren’t audited by US authorities, many receive licensing and testing from trusted foreign governments. Study a slot casino’s licensing and online reputation before depositing cash there.

95% RTP Means I get 95% of My Bet Back

That is not true. RTP stands for “return to player,” but it’s the expected or theoretical return. Thus, RTP is the expected payback or payout percentage. RTP doesn’t assure you win back that much; it means you can expect that return over a long period.

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The lack of assuredness is a good thing for gamblers. Volatility is a key factor in slot machines. If it weren’t for volatility, you could never expect to have winnings. If the RTP always assured 95%, then you would never have sessions where you won 105% or 150% of what you bet.

Yes, it means that an 85% return or a 50% return is possible. Volatility means that some game sessions will pay out much lower than the RTP, while other sessions will pay out much more than the expected return. This is the essence of gambling.

Whatever the return-to-player tells you is what you can expect over a long, long number of bets. RTP is what the averages would look like over millions or billions of wagers. When your bets are in the hundreds or thousands, anything is possible.

That being said, it’s better to find a higher RTP game. A 96% return is better than a 95% return because your odds of winning are better. That doesn’t assure a 96% slot machine will pay out more than a 95% slot.

You Should Avoid Slots with Recent Jackpot Payouts

Once again, we return to the original myth of slot machine payouts. Call it the gambler’s fallacy or the law of averages, but it’s a persistent myth that comes in many forms. The fact is: that every single spin starts over with fresh odds in a Class III slot machine.

If the jackpot on a Class III slot machine’s odds of hitting the jackpot are 1 in 400,000, then its odds of hitting a jackpot have not changed after a jackpot win. The odds will be 1-in-400,000 if it hasn’t hit in a year or if it hit earlier today. The random number generator still assigns the same odds of winning the jackpot.

Of course, if you’re playing a progressive slot machine, the jackpot might be much less after someone wins the jackpot. The size of the jackpot could affect your calculations of whether to play a shot machine. In fact, it should affect your decisions.

The upshot is: every spin is disconnected from every other spin on a slot machine with a true RNG.

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FAQs About Slot Machine Myths

Can you debunk the most common slot machine myths?

Yes. Browse through the 10 common slot machine myths, then see each of them debunked. When you stop to think about most of these, it’s easy to separate slot machine misconceptions from facts.

Do slot machines run on cold streaks and hot streaks?

No. Slot machines do not have pre-designed cold streaks or hot streaks. RNGs (Random Number Generators) ensure each spin is independent of the others, creating a truly random outcome every time.

Does playing at certain times of the day increase the odds of winning?

No. The idea that playing during non-peak times increases your chances of winning is a myth. Casinos do not alter odds based on the time of day.

Does slot club membership affect your chances of winning?

No. Slot club membership unlocks various rewards, but it does not affect the odds of winning. Slot clubs reward players for volume play with comps and cashback, not better odds.

Can certain techniques trick the RNG into giving you a win?

No. Any attempt to trick the RNG is not only ineffective but also illegal. RNGs are designed to ensure random outcomes, and attempting to manipulate them can lead to serious legal consequences.

Do newer games perform better than older games?

Not necessarily. Newer games may have different features, but their performance depends on the programmed odds set by casino operators. Players should evaluate each game individually.

Does the location of slot machines in the casino matter?

No. The idea that the best slots are near the entrance or other highly frequented areas is a myth. Casinos regularly rotate machines and their placement does not affect their odds.

Do progressive betting methods like the Martingale assure winning sessions?

No. Progressive betting methods, such as the Martingale, do not assure winning sessions. These systems increase the risk of losing large amounts of money and do not change the house edge.

Are online slot machines rigged?

No. While some rogue operators might exist, reputable online casinos use certified RNGs to ensure fair play. It’s essential to research and play at licensed and well-reviewed online casinos.

Does a 95% RTP mean I get 95% of my bet back?

No. RTP (Return to Player) is a theoretical percentage over a long period, not a guarantee of individual session returns. It indicates the average payout over millions of spins.

Should you avoid slots with recent jackpot payouts?

No. Each spin on a slot machine with a true RNG is independent of previous spins. The odds of hitting a jackpot remain the same regardless of recent payouts.

Conclusion about Slot Machine Myths and Facts

Now that you have the facts, spread them to the people you know. If they’re longtime players, they might debate the points with you. They may think they know better because they’re played for years or even decades. That’s okay because you’re confronted with the common misconceptions about slots and know better.

Refer to this page and others on Slots Guy for the full scoop. We plan to add to this page occasionally. Old slot myths crop up from time to time, while new misinformation must be corrected. Anytime you play slots online or in a casino, be armed with the slot machine facts.

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