How to Use Probability When Hitting the Slot Machines

There are several reasons why slot machines have such a prominent place on the floors of most casinos. Slot machines are colorful and attractive, and casino guests don’t have to expend a lot of effort to feel like a winner if the machine pays out.

There is a slight difference between when you play slots in a land-based casino and when you play slots online. Slot machines on the casino floor make use of many wheels that are programmed to pay out if they land in the correct combination in order to win.

Online slot machines like on Bingomania, on the other hand, use random number generation or RNG and a series of algorithms that correspond with the odds of winning. The number is run through the algorithm to create a result that corresponds with the odds of winning.

When playing slots, those who try to calculate the odds of winning mathematically are far ahead of the game. Using probability can tell you whether or not the machine you’re using is worth playing. Here are some tips.

Figuring out how to win at slots

You can calculate the percentage that a slot machine pays by using the following formula. By using the number of reels and the number of symbols on each reel, you can calculate the number of combinations for that machine. For example, a three-wheeled slot machine that has a total of six different symbols on each reel will look like this:

6 x 6 x 6 = 216

This means that there is a total of 216 winning combinations. Once you determine the frequency that each symbol appears on each reel and divide this number by the total number of combinations, you can figure out the probability of that machine hitting a winning combination. Say, for example, your symbols would be a joker, a club, a diamond, a heart, a spade, and a bar. The payout combinations, for example, may look something like this:

Three Jokers = 30 coin payout
Three of any of the other Symbols (heart, club, diamond, spade, and bar) = 10 coin payout
Two Jokers = 4 coin payout
One Joker = 1 coin payout.

Of course, the chances of you hitting three jokers is higher than any of the other combinations because that is the only combination that wins 30 coins. For any other combination that is three of a kind and not a joker, there are five possibilities that must match. If a joker appears in any two slots, then the other slot with any other symbol would give you a total of 15 possible combinations. If the joker appears in any one slot, then it does not matter if the next two symbols in the remaining slots match. This gives you an additional 75 combinations. When those potential winning combinations are added together: 1 + 5 +15 + 75 = 96 winning combinations on this machine.

Playing Slot Machines with More than Three Reels

If you choose slot machines that have five reels instead, while the payouts may seem much greater because the number of reels and symbols has increased, however, the probability of winning decreases significantly. If you are playing a slot machine with five reels and the first reel hits a cherry, for example, you have a 1 in five chance that your second reel will also hit the same symbol. If you calculate that out across all five reels, the probability is ⅕ x ⅕ x ⅕ x ⅕ x ⅕ = 1/3125 or 0.032%.

Payout Percentage

Most land-based and online casinos will advertise that their slot machines payout with an average of 90 percent or higher. That means that when playing slots you will likely lose 10 cents for every dollar you play with on average. Because today’s slot machines are designed to go faster between spins, you may find yourself blowing through your cash before you know it. Keep track of your losses!

Other Probability Tips

The most important tip when gambling is to never bet more than you can afford to lose. Here are some other probability tips that may also help.

  • Find the newer machines in the casino – Experienced players have found that newer slot machines will payout at a higher percentage than those that have been around for a while. Casino managers want to entice visitors to give the newer machines a try and so they are programmed to be “looser” or payout more often.
  • Change your bet amounts – By varying your betting amounts, some experts say that you can actually increase your odds of winning. This is a way of exploiting the algorithm of the slot machine.

Say, for example, you start with minimum betting amounts of a quarter or other denomination on a slot machine initially, but your machine isn’t paying out. The solution could be to go to the next increment up and then back down again; it can sometimes get that machine to get a hit or even a Bonus. Try these tips out for yourself to see which slot machines will give you the most bang for your buck.