Slot machines are different than table games like baccarat and blackjack regarding how they operate. Slots operate electronically, meaning you never get to physically see how they work.
This setup leads many players to make up their own opinions on how slot machines function. Some of the most-popular opinions have turned into widely believed myths.
The truth is that slot machines are more straightforward than many gamblers know. But the mis-beliefs continue to hang around.
Some of these misconceptions are harmless and won’t hurt your bankroll. Others, however, will cause you to rapidly lose money if you subscribe to them.
Below you can read about nine slots myths that are not only false, but can damage your bankroll.
1 – Slot Machines Are Pure Luck
Slot machines are among the most-random games in the casino. You spin the reels and hope that fate shines upon you in the form of a big payout.
This random nature leads the majority of gamblers to believe that slots are pure luck. While they’re not entirely off in this belief, slot machines do include some degree of skill.
Choosing games with high return to player (RTP) is the main thing you can do to boost your chances of winning. RTP (payback) determines how much a game will theoretically pay out over the course of time.
Here’s an example:
- You’re playing a slot machine with 95% payback.
- You bet $1,000 on this game.
- 1000 x 0.95 = 950
- You should theoretically win back $950 on your bets.
Of course, slot machines rarely work out this neatly in terms of how much they pay back. But the point is that you should pay attention to RTP and pick games with high payout percentages.
Some slots even include skill-based bonus rounds that give you a chance to win more money. The better your skill with bonuses, the higher your payback will be.
Here’s an example on how this works:
- You’re playing a World War II pilot-based game.
- The bonus round sees you shoot down enemy planes.
- You control a cursor to accurately hit your enemies.
- Good aim will increase the number of planes you hit and bring you more prizes.
You can even find specific slots that offer over 100% pay back if you play them at the right time. Mystery progressive and bonus accumulator slot machines both fall into this category.
A mystery progressive slot pays its jackpot at an exact amount. For example, one of these games could deliver its progressive prize at $500.
You would improve your chances of winning this jackpot and boost your RTP by playing when the prize is worth close to $500.
Bonus accumulator slots see you accumulate points by earning special scatter symbols. You release the bonus upon hitting the required number of points.
For instance, you might need to collect 500 points worth of scatters to trigger a bonus. Jumping on the machine at between 400-450 points will significantly boost your chances of winning.
Slot machines don’t have the same degree of skill as video poker or blackjack. But you can see that there’s definitely some skill involved to winning, especially when dealing with certain types of games.
2 – It’s Worth Playing More to Earn Better Comps
Online and land-based casinos both offer comps when you play slot machines. A casino awards you these comps for playing with them.
Some players believe that it’s worth extending their sessions just to earn upgraded rewards. The may feel like quitting after two hours of play, yet stay for an extra hour just to collect more comps.
But doing so isn’t worth the potential losses, even if one goes from a free meal to the penthouse suite. Casinos know the math on how much the average player loses versus what they gain in rewards.
The sad fact is that the house almost always ends up winning on these deals. Here’s an example to illustrate why:
- You play a slot with 94% RTP (6% house edge).
- You bet $3,000.
- 3,000 x 0.06 = $180 in theoretical losses
- Comp rate is 0.2%, which is fairly high by industry standards.
- 3,000 x 0.002 = $6 in rewards
- 180 / 6 = 30
- Your theoretical losses are 30x higher than the comps.
You can clearly see that the comps you’re earning in this situation are nowhere close to what you stand to lose. And while you might get lucky and win in some of these scenarios, the more likely result is that you’ll end up losing big.
The best way to treat comps is by letting them come naturally as you play. Don’t go out of your way to extend a gambling session in pursuit of bigger rewards.
3 – Slots Pay Less When You Use a Player’s Club Card
On the opposite end of the spectrum are gamblers who think that comps are worth next to nothing. Furthermore, these players will avoid using their player’s club card under the suspicion that affects it their payback.
As you may know, land-based casinos require you to sign up for their rewards program in order to receive a player’s club card. You then insert this card into a machine so that it awards you loyalty points.
However, certain gamblers believe that using this card triggers a game to lower RTP. The idea here is that casinos rip players off with payback to make up for the rewards they’re giving out.
But as you can see from the point discussed about, comps aren’t worth anywhere near what theoretical losses are. It would be extremely petty of casinos to lower RTP just because they’re giving you a few drinks.
Gambling establishments make considerable money from their edge on slot machines. This is especially true with land-based casinos, which often have between a 5% and 12% advantage on any given slot.
They don’t need to bilk you in terms of payout percentages when considering their profit margins. You’re free to use your player’s club card at any time without affecting your winnings.
4 – You Need to Bet the Max Coin Size to Win the Jackpot
One slots myth that’s particularly bankroll damaging is the idea that you must bet the max coin size to qualify for a jackpot. Those who believe this will always raise their coin size to the highest amount possible.
But most modern slot machines don’t require you to wager the highest coin. Instead, they either require you to play every payline or don’t have jackpot requirements at all.
The best thing to do is read a game’s help screen before playing. The help section explains all the rules and what qualifications (if any) you need to meet to qualify for the jackpot and bonuses.
If this is the case, then why do people still believe they have to bet the max coin? This concept dates back a couple decades ago, when three-reel, single-payline games (a.k.a. classic slots) were more common.
Given that classic slot machines don’t have many betting options, operators require gamblers to bet the highest coin size to qualify for the top prize.
The slots world is much different, though, because multi-payline games are the norm. Some slot machines have up to 100 lines, which creates numerous winning possibilities.
Just imagine thinking that you have to bet the highest coin on a 100-line game. Assuming the max coin is $1, you’d be risking $100 per spin.
This scenario paints the picture on why thinking you must bet the highest coin is so harmful to your bankroll. You can normally get away with using their lowest coin size (e.g. $0.01) as long as you play all the paylines.
5 – Online Slots Pay Less After You Cash Out
Online casinos are located far away from most of their customers. This lack of connection leaves them more open to negative rumors, including the idea that online slots pay less after you cash out.
You’re supposed to be able to withdraw funds from gaming sites, provided you meet the minimum cashout requirement. But some gamblers think that you’ll be subjected to lower RTP after your first withdrawal.
Here’s an example on this thinking:
- You deposit $100 at an online casino.
- You run your bankroll up to $150.
- You withdraw the entire amount.
- A month goes by and you decide to deposit the minimum $100.
- This casino’s online slots will now pay you less.
This scenario makes players not want to cash out until they hit a big prize. In fact, some gamblers who fall for this myth may never want to play online slots at all.
But I’ve never heard of any proof regarding internet casinos lowering payback just because you make a withdrawal. Any online casino that is caught doing this would immediately subject themselves to a major scandal and destroy their reputation.
Most gaming sites are like land-based casinos in that they hold licenses. A jurisdiction has a right to revoke this license if the operator is caught doing anything nefarious.
Secretly programming slots to offer lower RTP definitely qualifies as doing something crooked. Online casinos already have the edge in slots, meaning they don’t need to punish you for making a withdrawal on top of things.
6 – Jackpots Pay Out in Cycles
All slots jackpots are programmed with specific odds of occurring. For example, a jackpot may be programmed to hit on 1 out of every 2 million spins.
Some players take these odds literally and think that the jackpot must pay at exactly 2 million rounds. In other words, these gamblers believe that slots payouts are delivered on cycles.
Anybody who believes in payout cycles is likely to play the same game religiously in pursuit of the top prize. But the truth is that jackpots and all other slots prizes are paid randomly.
The odds merely act as a guideline on when payouts are delivered on average. The jackpot described above is supposed to pay an average of once every 2 million spins.
However, there’s no guarantee that a prize will be delivered anywhere near the specified odds. Here’s an example to illustrate this point:
- You’re playing a slot where the jackpot odds are 1 in 500,000.
- You hit the jackpot after playing just 40,000 spins.
- You continue playing the same game for years.
- Your next jackpot doesn’t come until after 800,000 spins.
Don’t play slots on the assumption that winning a big prize is all about the volume you put in. Instead, realize that you can randomly win any payout on any spin.
7 – Somebody Can “Steal” Your Jackpot
Continuing off the last point, some gamblers believe that another player can steal their jackpot if they leave a game. This belief goes back to thinking that slots pay out in cycles.
I discussed how slot machine odds don’t equate to exact payout guides. Nevertheless, many players think that they must stay at a specific slot machine in case it’s ready to pay out.
Those who fear their jackpot being stolen will ask a friend to save their seat when they visit the bathroom. Or they may cover their seat with multiple clothing articles.
Doing either is unnecessary, though, because nobody can take your jackpot. It’s complete luck if somebody sits down at your previous machine and wins the top prize.
Remember that the RNG cycles through millions of payout combinations within seconds. The odds of you and another player pushing the spin button at the exact same time are virtually zero.
The only time you should worry about saving a slot machine is if you really love the theme and want to continue playing it. You don’t need to keep playing on the same game under the guise that it’s ready to deliver a jackpot.
8 – Slot Machines Run Hot & Cold
The biggest slots myth of all time is that games run hot and cold. A slot machine on a hot streak will deliver lots of payouts in quick fashion, while a game on a cold streak won’t offer many prizes.
This belief stems from a total lack of awareness regarding how slots payouts are determined. Each slot machine features a random number generator (RNG), which cycles through payout combinations to determine when you win a prize.
The RNG runs through so many combinations that it’s impossible to figure out when payouts are coming. Therefore, a slot machine on a hot streak is simply the result of you having excellent luck.
A game’s “hit frequency” is another factor that comes into play regarding hot and cold streaks. This term refers to how often a game is programmed to deliver payouts.
Slots with high hit frequency offer more small prizes in a short time span. Meanwhile, those with low hit frequency don’t offer as many payouts on average.
The latter category usually consists of slots with big jackpots. These games must make up for a huge prize at the top by paying out less often.
You can judge the payout frequency of a slot by looking at the following components:
- Jackpot size – A big jackpot indicates high hit frequency; a small jackpot indicates low.
- Number of large payouts – More big prizes lowers the payout frequency.
- Bonuses – More bonuses also lower the hit frequency.
- Small prizes – Several small payouts indicates high payout frequency.
Look for games with small jackpots and a number of low payouts if you want to find “hot” slot machines. Don’t, however, walk around the casino wasting your time and money in desperate pursuit of finding hot games.
9 – You’re Due for a Win (During Losing Streak)
Slot machines are highly volatile games that can see you go through long losing streaks. Even 50-payline games will see you lose several rounds in a row.
Of course, slots can also deliver big payouts and/or long winning streaks. This leads to the assumption that slots results must always balance out at some point.
Going further, some losing gamblers continue playing slots under the idea that they’ll big eventually. But this can wreak havoc on your bankroll if you’ve already lost lots of money.
Earlier I discussed how RTP pertains to the average amount that you can expect to win back from a slot. Many losing gamblers mistakenly believe that RTP must balance out at some point.
These same players will keep making bets while assuming that they’re due to start winning. However, nothing guarantees a win in the near future.
You could suffer a terrible slots losing streak and keep losing when luck isn’t on your side. Refusing to quit only increases the chances that your bankroll will vanish.
Everything goes back to the RNG. Slot machine results are delivered completely randomly, meaning there’s no certainty on when you’ll start winning again.
You’re perfectly fine to walk away from a game after a losing session. Never play in these situations under the belief that the odds have to balance out soon.
Most of your slots sessions will result in losses due to the house edge. But you don’t want to hasten these losses and drain your bankroll by falling for the nine myths covered above.
It’s important to understand that slots aren’t based purely on luck. Instead, RTP and hit frequency determine how much you’ll win in the long and short run, respectively.
Finding slots with RTP increases the chances that you’ll win profits over time. Playing games with high hit frequency boosts your odds of immediately winning.
You also want to thoroughly know the true value of comps. Playing just to earn more rewards is a bad idea, because the house holds a long-term edge.
On the same token, don’t fall for the myth that using your player’s club card will lower RTP. Casinos already make enough off slot machines and don’t need to lower payback just because you’re earning rewards.
Knowing the RNG is another step towards dispelling the myths covered here. The RNG cycles through numerous payout combos to determine your results.
This program ensures that payouts are decided completely randomly – not on a cycle or regular schedule. The RNG also guarantees that nobody can “steal” your jackpot.
In summary, cutting through slots myths is one of the most-important steps to protecting your bankroll. Preserving your funds helps you enjoy slot machines without taking on heavy short-term losses.