15 slot myths. While there are many myths about online gambling, one area of gambling where misconceptions are particularly prevalent is slot machines. Myths about slots abound with regards to both online and land based games.
If you believe myths about slot machines, they can lead you to make poor decisions about money management, and make it less likely that you will be profitable overall.
Below are some common slot machine myths that it is time to dispel.
Slot Machine Results Aren’t Really Random
The first big myth about slots is that they are not truly random. There are many different forms that this belief can take, and many ways that it presents. That is why it needs to be discussed first.
There are two principal reasons why people make the assumption that slot machines aren’t random –
- The belief that the casino is cheating
- The Gambler’s Fallacy, and variations thereof
We will get into issues involving casinos potentially cheating later on in this list. So let’s focus on addressing the Gambler’s Fallacy.
The Gambler’s Fallacy goes by several different names, including the “fallacy of the maturity of chances” and the “Monte Carlo fallacy”.
The name “fallacy of the maturity of chances” is actually a pretty good description of what this cognitive error is. The Gambler’s Fallacy is reflected in these two belief statements:
If an event has been occurring with lower frequency, it is due to occur with higher frequency soon, and If an event has been occurring with higher frequency, is due to occur with reduced frequency soon.
So say that the event in question is you winning payouts from a slot game. If the Gambler’s Fallacy is affecting your thinking, these are the beliefs that you will hold, whether consciously or unconsciously:
If you have not been winning much for while, you are due for a win soon, or >If you have been winning quite a bit, you will probably be winning less soon, and should quit while you’re ahead.
Interestingly enough, the brain can also make the opposite logical error. Sometimes, you might believe the following instead:
If you have not been winning in some time, you are on an unlucky streak, and should stop gambling until your luck “turns around.” or even If you have been winning, you are on a lucky streak, and should continue to play while that luck “lasts.”
Both the Gambler’s Fallacy and its opposite are grounded in the following incorrect assumption:
There is continuity between the spins of the slot machine, and a causal relationship from one to the next. The truth is that there is no continuity between the spins. Each is a discrete event, with no connection to the spin before it or after it. The Gambler’s Fallacy is essentially a set of if/then statements. It can be expressed as:
If I have not been winning, then I am due for a win, or If I have been winning, then I am likely to start losing soon.
But you cannot have “then” in an if/then statement if you do not have a casual relationship between events. The “then” represents continuity.
Obviously, if we remove “then” from an if/then statement, the sentence falls apart.
What you end up with is simply:
If I have not been winning… and If I have been winning…
The blank space you see at the ends of these broken statements is a very accurate representation of reality. No matter what happened with your previous spin, what will happen with your next is a complete unknown.
Key Point: Slot games are random. The belief that they are not either reflects 1-the notion that the casino might be cheating (more on that later), or 2-the Gambler’s Fallacy.
Slots Cycles Don’t Exist
Now let’s jump into a complex topic. You may be surprised that I wrote “slot cycles don’t exist” as a myth. Surely slot cycles are the myth, right? Well… sort of. Let me explain.
Slot cycles actually do exist, based on the research I have conducted. But they are misinterpreted by many gamblers, and it is that misunderstanding which constitutes the slot cycle myth. I direct your attention to an interview with a Luxor slot manager, who states:
“Sure they get hot, they also get cold. Through the cycle of a machine it’s percentaged to pay out a certain amount over a period of time based on the number of handle pulls the machine receives. However, the hot and cold cycles are random and indeterminable.”
That percentage he is referring to is what is called “return to player,” or “RTP.” Naturally, there is no way to ensure that a slot game delivers the RTP which is required unless there is some form of “cycling”, nonetheless, the slot manager did emphasize that the “hot and cold cycles are random and indeterminable.”
Basically, there is an algorithm which the slot game uses to ensure that RTP is met over a very, very long period of time, but the results generated by that algorithm are random with every spin.
To look at this another way, imagine that you are playing a slot game which is set to pay out once per 30,000 spins or so. Because the RTP is guaranteed, you can feel pretty confident that somewhere in roughly 30,000 spins, someone will win. But, there is absolutely no pattern to when that occurs. It is equally likely to be the first spin, the last, spin 10,425, spin 24,858, or any other spin within that cycle.
Hopefully, this clarifies what slot cycles are and are not.
Key Point: Slot cycles exist to ensure RTP, but that does not mean that you can predict when slots get hot or cold during those cycles.
You Can Predict When a Slot Will Get “Hot” or “Cold”
I’m including this as a separate point, even though I have just gone over it. I am doing this both for emphasis and so that the point jumps out for those who are skimming.
Yes, a slot which has paid out a bunch of wins recently can be called “hot.” Yes, a slot which has not been paying out recently can be called “cold.”
But to get more specific, that term only applies to that time period in the past. The slot has been “hot” or has been “cold.” But in the present or the future? There is no way to make a determination until the events unfold.
Right now, the slot is neither hot nor cold. It simply is.
If you prefer to think in terms of Schrödinger’s cat, you could state that the slot is both hot and cold, with the concrete reality only being selected at the moment that it is observed. However you choose to look at it, hot and cold can only be used to describe a slot’s past behavior.
Key Point: Looking back at past data, you can spot “hot” and “cold” periods for slots. But those terms never apply to the present, nor are they meaningful descriptions. They describe coincidental outcomes, not a real, measurable “state” of the machine.
Another Player Can “Rob” You of a Win on a Slot Machine
You are walking away from a slot game, and suddenly you hear a flurry of noise from the machine. That guy who just sat down won, right after you stepped away. Your seat was still warm when he sat in it!
“That guy totally stole my jackpot,” you think to yourself. “What was I thinking getting up when I did? I could have had all that money!” Could you though? Maybe, but probably not. Here is why.
First of all, as I described in great detail, the results from a slot machines are random.
Secondly, the random number generator (RNG) which produces these random results does not stop running in between spins, but continues running. Billions of results may be produced before seconds have passed. Thus, even the difference of a fraction of a second in timing between pulling a lever one moment or the next could mean the difference between winning the jackpot or not.
Chances are good that had you stayed in that seat, you still would not have claimed the jackpot. But who knows? Well, you don’t, and you never will. This just serves to emphasize all the more that slot machine results are random and unpredictable. You cannot even predict what “might” have happened in the past had a few factors been different.
Key Point: If a player wins a jackpot right after you stepped away from a game, that does not mean that you would’ve won it had you chosen to continue playing.
A Lever is Better Than a Physical or Virtual Spin Button
This next one is a myth which pertains specifically to levers and spin buttons on traditional slot machines in brick-and-mortar casinos. According to the myth, taking the time to pull the lever instead of pressing the spin button makes you more likely to win.
I have no idea what the origin of this myth is, since it doesn’t seem particularly intuitive.
Regardless, it is not true. By extension, that also means that you are not somehow less likely to win at an online slot machine then you would be at an offline one simply because you do not have a lever to pull. Instead of worrying about levers vs. spin buttons, you should instead look at RTP and other relevant statistics which might provide you with actionable information. This can help you select a game.
Key Point: No, pulling a lever does not make you more likely to win a payout than pressing the spin button online or offline.
A Warm Coin Makes a Physical Slot Machine More Likely to Pay Out
Another odd myth from the world of land-based slot machines concerns the physical temperature of the coin you insert into the machine.
As the theory goes, if you rub the coin between your fingers to warm it up before inserting it, the slot machine is somehow more likely to sense the coin and react to it, producing a payout.
This is another myth which I cannot imagine the origins of (though it is so pervasive that I suspect research would reveal them).
There are also a number of related myths. Some people, for example, believe the exact opposite. They think that inserting a cold coin rather than a warm one is likely to generate a payout.
It gets even more bizarre. There are gamblers who think that inserting a coin which is older or newer could make a difference in whether they win or lose.
There are also myths concerning the temperature of coins dispensed by a slot machine to a winner.
As an example, say you get warm coins from a slot game. You might think “Oh, these coins have to have been stored for quite some time in the machine to reach this temperature. I got really lucky, because this game must not pay out too often.”
But this is simply not how it works. Again, look at the stats for the machine to find out how often it tends to pay. Find out its RTP and whether it is a high or low frequency slot.
Of course, online, there are no actual physical coins involved in playing slots at all.
So if these myths confuse you in land-based casinos, just consider them something you do not need to concern yourself with when you play slots online.
Key Point: The temperature of coins going into or coming out of a slot machine has nothing to do with the frequency of payouts.
Slots Are Programmed to Punish You if You Win
Another slot machine myth which is common both online and in land-based casinos is that once you have achieved a certain number of wins in a row or you have won a certain amount of money, a slot game will switch to a new “mode” characterized by frequent losses.
There are a couple reasons why this is a myth. The first is that if this were a common practice, slot players would catch on and would begin to change their play patterns accordingly or simply just not play slots to begin with.
The other reason has to do with regulation. For an online or offline casino to stay on good terms with regulatory boards, they are not allowed to cheat. This is also true for casino software developers.
If a casino or software developer were to lose a license, it would mean a massive loss of business and reputation.
In short, it simply is not worth it for casinos or software developers to punish winning players.
Plus, this entire myth ignores the fact that punishing winners is unnecessary when the house always wins over the long term.
The house edge for slot games and other teams at the casino makes it so that the casino knows it will remain profitable. Neither small nor large player wins are a threat given that mathematical reality.
Key Point: There is a pervasive myth that slot games punish winners by entering “losing modes” to try and take their winnings back. There’s nothing to substantiate this myth.
RTP on Slots Can Be Adjusted on the Fly Without You Knowing About It (especially during certain hours)
Another way that some players believe that casinos may cheat their players is by adjusting return to player (RTP) without informing anyone.
It is commonly believed that these adjustments are made on a regular basis at different times of day or on certain days of the week.
It is also now technologically possible using server-based slot machines to alter settings even at land based casinos remotely at any time.
Naturally, online this is possible as well since everything is done “remotely.”
Players might even be tempted to believe that they have been singled out for these adjustments if they keep winning.
Indeed, I have seen players complaining about just this. They worry that the casino manager notices they are doing well, and then adjusts the game so that they won’t be able to keep winning.
There are two main reasons why you do not need to worry about this type of manipulation.
The first goes back to the regulatory concerns I mentioned before. If a casino were to start arbitrarily changing RTP on their slot games without filing the necessary paperwork (which is time consuming), it would probably cost them their license. Losing a license is a big problem.
The second reason you do not need to worry about this is because it simply wouldn’t be an efficient way to run a business.
Imagine for a moment that you run the casino, and that you have thousands of players online from around the world at a time. Are you seriously going to rest your business model on sitting there manually tweaking the system to cheat individual players every day?
Talk about time consuming and ultimately expensive. It simply is not a practical way for a casino to stay profitable.
It is much more sensible to rely on the house edge. This takes care of the matter completely, and requires no manual work on the casino manager’s behalf or by any of the staff.
Key Point: It may be technologically possible to modify RTP on the fly, but reputable casinos that care about their licenses are never going to do something like that. It also would not be practical for a casino manager to target individuals.
Online Slots Are Rigged
A popular myth concerning casino games in general and slot machines in particular is that they are rigged. This myth is particularly widespread when it comes to online slots.
Something about the presence of a physical slot machine in a land-based casino is at least slightly reassuring. We think that mechanics inside are responsible for determining our wins or losses.
Even physical slot machines now use random number generators just like online slots these days, so that perception that the machines are mechanical is illusory.
But that does not mean that online or offline slots are rigged.
Once again, it is a matter of regulations to the rescue. If the casino you are playing at is licensed, the games which it offers have to be random and fair in order for it to retain the license and all the benefits which go with it.
Consider also that mechanical parts can develop faults more easily than a well-developed and well-tested electronic program.
If you choose to play at an online casino which has no reputation and no licensing, it is feasible that you could be playing rigged slots.
But so long as you do your research and sign up only for reputable casino sites, you can feel reasonably sure that the games you are playing are fair.
In fact, at some casinos, you can actually conduct tests yourself to make sure that the slots you are playing aren’t rigged.
“Provably Fair” technology is featured at many casino sites which use bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. If you spot a seal, you can verify the fairness of the games.
So that is a nice benefit of playing slots online versus in land-based casinos.
Key Point: Many new players worry that online casino games including slot machines are rigged. This is not a concern so long as you are playing at reputable sites which are licensed and/or have Provably Fair games.
Online Slots Can be Cheated
While there are many myths involving possible attempts by casinos to cheat players at slots, there are also myths involving players cheating.
When you’re playing at an online casino, what you have running in front of you is just a software program, after all. Software programs can be hacked. So you may wonder whether you can hack the slots are playing yourself and rig them to win.
Hypothetically, you could get away with this if you have the right skills and tools, at least for a while. There are two things you should know though.
- The first is that online casinos have very tight security. They have to, because they expect players to try and cheat. That means you will probably have a very hard time hacking an online slot.
- The second thing to know is that cheating is detectable. Casinos online monitor players much more closely than brick and mortar casinos do. Since everything you do passes through the site, all your actions as well as your wins and losses are tracked.
So if the casino notices statistical anomalies in your slot results, that is going to red flag your account for investigation sooner or later.
If the casino so much as suspects that you are cheating somehow, you can expect your account to receive an immediate ban.
So can you cheat at online slots? Maybe temporarily, but it is a myth to believe that it is a long term strategy for profit.
Key Point: You cannot cheat effectively at online slots for any extended time period. With the high security measures employed by online casinos, it is also unlikely that you would succeed in the first place.
There Is No Way to Increase Your Chances of Winning Playing Slots
Despite the fact that the majority of slot machines produce losses or wins solely based on luck (see below), that does not mean that you cannot in any way influence your chances of winning.
The main way that you can increase your chances of winning at slots is through careful selection of slot games to play.
The main statistic to check when you are evaluating games is return to player (RTP).
RTP tells you what percentage of gambler funds will be returned to players over an extensive period of time. The higher the percentage you see, the more funds will ultimately be returned to players. If you want to win more frequently at slots, you can look for high-frequency slots to play.
If you are okay with winning less often, but you want to have a chance at larger payouts, try a low-frequency slot.
The stake sizes you choose also can impact your chances of winning in a couple of ways. Playing the maximum coin size will often give you access to more possible jackpots than playing a lower coin size for a given slot game.
Staking a smaller percentage of your account on each spin allows you to take more spins before running out of funds. This could increase your chances of winning because you’re giving yourself more opportunities to do so.
How can you maximize the number of spins you take while still playing the maximum coin size?
The trick is to choose affordable slot games to begin with. You want the maximum coin size not to deplete your funds too rapidly so that you can take a large number of spins.
In other words, you want to avoid slots which are designed for high rollers, unless of course you are one.
Since the selection of slot games on the internet is massive, it should not be difficult to find a number of games you can enjoy and afford.
There is one other way that you can sometimes increase your chances of winning at slot games, which I will discuss below.
Key Point: While it is a fact that slots produce random results, you can still increase your chances of winning based on the games you select and the coin sizes you choose.
Slots Are Always 100% Luck Based
Another myth about slot machines is that none of them involve any skill to play.
It is true that the majority of slots do not entail the use of skill, and that traditional slots involve nothing more than luck, but to interest more Millennial gamblers, casinos both online and offline have been introducing slots which do involve skill.
Skill based slot machines still function mainly on luck, but have elements of skill. You will usually find these skill elements in bonus round mini games.
Most of the time, successful application of skill in these mini games will not result in direct payouts, but may result in free spins or similar rewards.
Free spins give you more chances to win at no additional cost. So playing skill-based slots is yet another way that you can increase your chances of winning. So, if you have not been playing slot games because you believe that skill is never involved in them, now you know that that is not true.
Key Point: It is true that the majority of slot games do not utilize skill, but it is a myth that that is the case for all of them.
All Slots Have a High House Edge
Slots can have a very high house edge, ranging up to around 15% but it is a myth that the house edge for slots is always so high. In fact, some slots have those edges as low as around 2%.
The casino maintains its advantage easily since skill plays either a limited role or no role depending on the games you select. If you want to extend your bankroll as long as possible, try and lean towards slots which have a lower house edge.
Key Point: The house edges of slot machines vary from one to the next. While you may think of slots as “high house edge” games, there are slots which have house edges as low as 2%.
Slots Don’t Provide Good Value to the Gambler
You may be aware that casinos pull in the majority of their revenue from slots. This may lead you to believe that slots represent good value to the casino, but poor value to the gambler.
This is an oversimplification, however, and ignores the fact that some of the best values in the casino are available specifically to slots players.
To start with, VIP programs are often available to all players, but are aimed primarily at those who play a lot of slots. These programs can reward you with cash-back and other exciting benefits. You will likely tally up the most points by playing slots rather than mainly table games.
Online casinos also run daily and weekly promotions. Once again, the majority of these concern slot games. It is common for temporary promotions to be run on newly introduced slot games as well. Finally, there are also slot machine tournaments to be considered. Slot tournaments are often the highest value available at an online casino.
Here are the reasons why:
Entry to slot tournaments is frequently limited, keeping the pool of competitors on the small side.
An entry fee isn’t always required. When it is, it tends to be low.
Online casinos tend to generously reward a significant percentage of the competitors, not just the top player.
All of these factors combine to keep your risk to a minimum (or nonexistent) and to give you a great shot at taking away some kind of profit or reward, so the idea that slots exist only to bring value to the casino and not to players is definitely a myth.
Slots can deliver quite a bit of extra value to players in the form of promotions and tournaments. That is on top of the great entertainment value they already provide—plus the occasional jackpot!
Key Point: Slots may bring in the majority of casino revenue, but they also deliver excellent value to customers.
Slots Pay Out Less if You Join a Rewards Program
Because rewards programs do deliver so much value to players, another myth is that slots are programmed to pay out less to players who are members of VIP programs. If that were indeed the case, this is the sort of thing that regulators would catch on to pretty quickly. If they did, the casino engaging in such a practice would lose its license fast.
So how do you casinos make up for the profits they lose by paying out cash-back another rewards to VIP members?
In a way, asking this question is looking at the matter the wrong way. Instead, what you should ask yourself is, “What do casinos gain by offering VIP rewards?”
The answer is that VIP rewards programs attract new gamblers, increase engagement, and help maintain long-term loyalty of customers. All of these result in more players pressing the “spin” button on their slot games more often, and more money flowing into the casino.
This more than offsets the cash-back losses. So while VIP programs exist to reward customers, they ultimately reward the casino even more. It is a win-win scenario. Such a scenario makes it completely unnecessary to reduce slot machine payouts for VIP players.
Key Point: Being a member of a VIP program at an online casino does not mean that the slots you play are programmed to pay out less money or at a lower frequency. This is 100% a myth.
Where Can You Find the Best Slot Games Online?
We have gone over many slot machine myths now in detail. While there are other slot myths as well, hopefully this article has increased your understanding about how both slot games and casinos work. This understanding should help you to answer any other questions you might have about these exciting games of chance.
One theme we touched on a number of times in this article is the importance of finding a reputable online casino at which to play.
If you need a point in the right direction, take a look at our online casino reviews. You can also head to this page to see a comparison table specifically of slot casinos online and their features and promotions. Good luck, and have fun!
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