Chance & Superstition

Modern slot machines do not have physical reels. Instead, the outcome of each spin is determined by a random number generator (RNG). The spinning reels displayed on the monitor are simply there to make the game more interesting.

A random number generator is constantly forming new number combinations, regardless of wether someone is playing or not. As soon as you hit the spin button on a slot machine, the number combination generated in that very instant is used to to determine the outcome of your spin. So, while you are watching the reels spin, the result has already been decided.

This is why there is no point crying over spilled milk if someone happens to hit the jackpot on “your” machine two spins after you left it. The machine was in no way predetermined to pay out the jackpot that day. Instead, the person who sat down and started to play right after you simply managed to hit the spin button in the exact millisecond when a jackpot awarding number combination was spat out by the RNG.

This slot hasn’t paid out in a long time – I must be close to winning

Video slots have a preset payout percentage, but this percentage is calculated over a long period of time. If a slot machine has a stated payout percentage of 95 percent it means that over time, $95 will be paid out for each $100 that goes in. A common misconception among slot players is that this time frame is very short. So, if they know that a slot machine has been fed money all day without paying out an major prize, they erroneously believe that the machine is getting “hot” and is destined to deliver a big payout within soon. In reality, you could keep feeding the machine all day long without receiving any big payout. Likewise, a slot machine will not turn “cold” just because it just paid out a jackpot. Since the payout percentage is calculated over time and the outcome of each spin is determined by the random number generator, it is not at all impossible for a video slot to pay out plenty of big wins within a short period of time.

Common slot superstitions

Here area a few examples of widespread slot superstitions that you may come across when socializing with your fellow slot aficionados. Some of them are slot-specific, while others are more general and is applied to a lot of different games in the casino. Of course, from a scientific point of view, none of them will have any affect on the random number generator.

  • Pulling the lever instead of using the start button will increase my chances of winning.
  • Pushing buttons / pulling the level while the reels are spinning will help me secure a win.
  • Blowing on the coin before putting it into the machine will increase my chances of winning.
  • Heating up the coin before putting it into the machine will increase my chances of winning.
  • Coins are more lucky than bills.
  • Bills are more lucky than cards.
  • This slot machine is more likely to pay out big wins during certain days of the week.
  • This slot machine is only generous in the evenings, when it has been fed all day.