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Common Slot Machine Myths

Myths About Slot Machines

Slot machines are easily among the most popular games in both land based casinos and online casinos. They are also the games that, for some reason, seem to have far and away the most myths associated with them.

It’s tough to know why this is. It might be because a lot of people don’t truly understand how slot machines work, or it might be because many people have tried to make a quick buck out of selling so called “winning systems” that perpetuate many of the myths. It might simply be because slots are games of pure luck, and people attach all kinds of superstitions to them based on something they once heard.

Regardless of the reasons why they exist, the fact remains that there are lots of myths about slots that are regularly repeated. In this article we’re going to attempt to dispel the most common of these by explaining the actual truth.

General Slot Machine Myths

25 Cent Slots
Myth

Slot machines are programmed to have “hot streaks” and “cold streaks”.

Truth

Slot machines are programmed so each individual spin is random.

Slot machines can go on hot streaks and pay out consistently for a period of time, and also cold streaks where they barely pay out at all. However, they are not programmed this way. Each spin is entirely random, and such streaks are simply a result of a short term deviation from what is statistically likely. Anything can happen in the short term, just as you may see a run of 10 blacks in a row at a roulette table, but in the long run the results will always equate roughly to the expected payout rate.

Jackpot 7's
Myth

Slot machines that haven’t paid out for a while are due to pay out soon.

Truth

The chances of winning for each individual spin are always the same.

This is really just an extension of the previous myth. A slot machine will always pay out eventually, but there is no way of telling when that will happen because of their random nature. Again, it is important to recognize that each individual spin is entirely random. There is no point at which a machine suddenly becomes “due” to spin a winning combination.

Spinning Wheels
Myth

A machine that has just paid out a jackpot won’t pay out again for ages.

Truth

The chances of winning for each individual spin are not connected to previous spins.

You can probably see a theme developing here, and it will continue throughout the whole article. Many slot machine myths are related to some kind of theory that the chances of winning are somehow influenced by things that actually have no effect whatsoever. We’ll say it again – every single spin of a slot machine is a random event. There is actually no reason at all why a slot machine wouldn’t pay out another big win within minutes of paying a jackpot.

People Playing Slots
Myth

You can’t do anything to improve your chances of winning when playing slot games.

Truth

You can improve your chances of winning at slot games.

This might seem to somehow contradict what we’ve already said about slot machines being random. However, while it’s true that you can’t do anything at all to affect the outcome of any given spin of a machine, there are a couple of things you can do to improve your overall chances of winning when playing slots.

First of all, not all slot machines pay out at the same rate. Slots can have a payout rate as low as 85% or as high as 98%. You always have a chance of winning regardless of the payout rate, but the higher the rate the higher your overall return is likely to be in the long run. Therefore, you can technically improve your chances of winning by carefully choosing which slots to play.

Secondly, you can increase the overall value you get from your slots play by using a player’s card at land based casinos and by taking advantage of the bonuses and rewards available at online casinos. This won’t directly affect your chances of any given spin being a winner, but it can effectively give you extra money to play with. This extra money then gives you additional chances to get a winning spin.

Physical Slot Machine Myths

Fancy Slot Machine
Myth

Playing with a player’s card/loyalty card reduce your chance of winning.

Truth

Player’s cards are designed to reward loyal players, not punish them.

With myths like this you have to wonder if it was the casinos themselves who started them. Using a player’s card or loyalty card has absolutely no effect on your chances of winning. If anything, the opposite is true. By not using a card you are missing out on the extra value you can get in exchange for your playing activity, which may include free credits.

Entering a Coin
Myth

Pulling the handle gives a better chance of winning than pushing the button.

Truth

The odds of winning are the same regardless of how you spin the reels.

With some slot machines you have a choice of how to spin the reels; you can either pull a handle or push a button. For some reason, there is this myth that pulling the handle gives you a better chance of winning. This is simply not true. The outcome of any spin is ultimately determined by a random number generator (RNG), and RNGs are not at all affected by how the reels were spun.

Handful of Coins
Myth

The machines with the higher payout rates are hidden away in dark corners of casinos.

Truth

Casinos do not deliberately hide their highest paying machines away.

There is absolutely no logic to this myth at all. Casinos can decide which slot games they want to have on their gaming floor, and they are under no obligation to offer specific games at all. If they do decide to offer some games which have high payout rates it is because they want people to play them. If anything they are more likely to put them in a busy part of the casino, so that if players see other players winning they are probably going to want to play more themselves.

Bunch of Gold Coins
Myth

Slots pay out more during slow periods than they do during busy periods.

Truth

The payout rate of a machine is not changed for different times of the day.

This is another myth that has no logic. Even if a casino could easily change the payout rate of their machines, why would they want to put in the effort of doing so whenever they get busy or slow down?  It just doesn’t make any sense. Please rest assured that your chances of winning from any given slot machine are exactly the same regardless of whether you are the only person on the gaming floor or one of many.

Coin Into Machine
Myth

You’re more likely to win if you warm the coins up before entering them in the machine.

Truth

The payout rate of a machine is not affected by the temperature of coins used.

You would think that this myth is so bizarre that any vaguely rational person would immediately express their disbelief. However, there are actually people who believe this myth to be true. It seems that all sense of rationality disappears for some people where slot machines are concerned. Needless to say, this myth is basically nonsense. The modern machines are pretty sophisticated, but not to the extent that they measure the temperature of the coins being used and adjust their payout rates accordingly.

Online Slot Machine Myths

Online Slot Screen
Myth

Online slot machines are fixed by the casino to ensure that the house wins.

Truth

Online slots have a house edge like any other game; this doesn’t mean they are fixed.

The odds are against you when you play an online slot game, but they are against you regardless of what game you choose to play. The simple fact is that all casino games have a house edge, which means the odds always favor the casino. They don’t need to “fix” any of their games because they are always going to make money anyway.

This doesn’t mean you are always going to lose though. That will always be the more likely outcome, but online slot games are perfectly fair (and random) so you always stand a chance of winning with a bit of luck. It is worth noting, in fact, that the average payout rate of online slots tends to be higher across the board than the average payout rate of land based slots.

Spin Button
Myth

Using the auto play feature pays less than clicking spin button each time.

Truth

The payout rate of an online slot is not affected by how you spin the reels.

This myth is essentially the same as the one relating to land based machines where people believe pulling the lever gives a better chance of winning than pushing the button. It’s equally incorrect, as the RNGs used by online casinos have no way of determining how the reels were spun. Even if they could, there would be absolutely no benefit to anyone to make it better or worse to use the auto play feature.

Slot Machine
Myth

Playing slots with a bonus hurts your overall chances of winning money.

Truth

Random number generators have no way of knowing if you’re playing with a bonus.

Just as the RNGs have no way of determining how the reels were spun, they have no way of determining whether a player is playing with bonus funds or their own money. The payout rate of any online slot is always going to be the same regardless of whether a player is using a bonus or not.

7's Across
Myth

Only high rollers win the progressive jackpots at online casino slot machines.

Truth

Anyone can win a progressive jackpot.

The only slight hint of truth to this myth is that with some online slots the chances of winning the progressive jackpot are higher when the amount risked per spin is higher. In some others, you have to play the maximum number of coins per spin to have a chance of winning. This means that those playing for higher stakes may be more likely to win a progressive jackpot, but online casinos can’t control who wins a progressive jackpot. It all comes down to luck really.