# Slot Machine Myths

21/01/2013

Being a game of chance, it is no surprise that slot machine myths exist. It only takes one superstitious person to experience something out of the ordinary and it becomes a sudden belief to a group of people. Probability can be tricky and because it is only a prediction of what is possible to happen next, does not yield any sure numbers. As far as slots are concerned, calculating the probability of winning is a lost cause, because the numbers just don't stick. In theory they should and probably do in the long run, but not on a case-by-case basis.

It is also important to pay attention to the payout tables. There are many slot machine myths about bigger jackpots, better winnings, etc., but they are all inconsistent with what's directly written on the machines. While it does make sense that the payout will be better when playing high denomination slots for example, it's important to also take into consideration the amount spent compared to what can be won. What can you get for what you put in?

Let's looks at some of the myths I came across:

Myth #1: A slot machine that has received extended play with no significant payouts is "due" to hit.

Fact: Every pull of the handle is independent from any previous pull and the machine does not have any memory of payouts; therefore, it does not matter how long you have played the machine. The chances of hitting a jackpot on a machine that's just been hit and one that has only paid out little amounts is the same.

Myth #2: If the machine feels cold to the touch, cold coins/tokens should be used. Likewise, if the machine is warm to the touch, warmed up coins/tokens should be used.

Fact: The temperature of the machine and/or coins has absolutely no bearing on anything. Because machines may be bought from many various suppliers, they are likely to work a little different, including how quickly they heat up etc.

Myth #3: If a slot machine has just hit for the top jackpot, it isn't going to hit it again for a very, very long time.

Fact: The random number generator (RNG), which is working at all times even when there isn't anyone playing the machine, decides when a machine will hit again. New numbers are being calculated by the millisecond and the deciding factor is whether or not you pull the handle while the right numbers have been generated.

Myth #4: The casinos loosen and tighten the machines at will.

Fact: While the casinos DO keep an eye on who wins/loses, they do NOT "tweak" the machines as doing so would be against government gambling regulations. The procedure of changing the payback percentage is long and a lot of paperwork is involved to avoid criminal charges.

Myth #5: The higher coin denomination the higher the payout.

Fact: The percentage payout does not vary all that much on higher end machines although it is true that nickel machines pay back less than quarter and dollar machines do. A recent survey showed nickel machines paying from a low of 85.2% to a high of 92.8% Quarter machines from a low of 91.1% to a high of 95.2% in downtown Las Vegas. Fifty cent machines from a low of 90.1% to a high of 95.4%, Dollar slots from a low of 90.0% to a high of 96.5% and five dollar slots from a low of 91.9% to a high of 97.3% at Lake Tahoe. The spread from quarter machines to five dollar machines, at the high end, is 2.1% hardly significant.

Myth #6: It's all in how you pull the lever that makes you a winner or loser.

Fact: Well, that was the case when they first came out but since then, how long or how fast you pull has absolutely no influence on where the reels stop. The random number generator is constantly calculating new numbers. As soon as you pull the handle, the position of the reels has already been determined.

I'm sure that after you have read the slot machine myths and the factual details of each, you will have a clearer understanding of how slot machines really work. It's easy to misinterpret things we don't fully comprehend and even easier when luck is involved. So, whether or not you'll need your lucky pendant the next time you visit the casino is up to you.