How to Check Odds on a Slot Machine
Slot machines were originally placed in casinos as a method of providing a distraction to casual players. Slots don’t require skill or knowledge in the same way table games do, and they don’t require large amounts of money to place a bet. This “experiment” turned out to be a huge success, and slot machines now contribute to over 60% of annual casino profits.
What are a slot machine’s odds?
The odds of an individual slot machine are dependent on the setup of the virtual reel. Each stop on the physical reel can correspond to multiple stops on the virtual reels. Each stop corresponds to several different virtual stops, and these numbers determine the odds of a reel stopping on a particular symbol or combination of symbols.
For a typically weighted slot machine, the top jackpot symbol for each reel will only correspond to one virtual stop, giving the largest payout the lowest odds. So, the chance of hitting the high jackpot winning on a traditional slot machine is 1 in 64 for each reel. If the machine has three reels, your odds are 1 in 643 or 1 in 262, 144. In contrast, small jackpot images that small payout amounts will have more virtual stops and, therefore, higher odds.
Physical machines operate on a payback percentage. This is the percentage of money put in the machine that is paid back to the player. This is sometimes called the return to player ratio.
Most slot machines have a payback percentage between 90-96%. For a real money casino, this means that they will retain approximately 10% of the bets placed on a slot game. The rest will be paid back to players over time, whether in small or large jackpots.
The computer on a slot machine, or programming in the case of an online game, has the odds built-in. Most of the time, the casino can’t change the game’s odds without replacing the computer chip, despite reports to the contrary about casinos “tightening up” machines. Slot machine algorithms are similar to those in video games, particularly when it comes to online versions. These algorithms are complicated software versions of artificial intelligence. Many argue that this technology makes slot games even fairer.
The most reliable way to find payback percentage data on slot machines is to look at the gaming reports for your jurisdiction. These records contain the most reliable data on what to expect from different casinos and different games. Sometimes they directly report the payback percentages, as well as the average winnings from various bet denominations.
Penny slots in Nevada, for example, have an average payback percentage of 90.17%, whereas quarter slots payout is 93.06%.
Run a search for individual games
If you have a specific slot game in mind, you can often find the odds of that game by running a Google search.
Check an online slot game’s help screen
Most online casinos provide odds right on the info screen of each game. Scrolling through help screens for the game will often provide you with the payback percentage.