Odds of Winning At Slots
There are a lot of factors which go into determining how often and how much you will win on slots. While these games have an in-built edge which will give the casino their profits in the long-term, it is possible for players to enjoy big profits in the short-term. This article looks at the main factors which determine the odds of winning on slots.
First below, the concept of payback percentage is covered, including some of the factors which might go into determining this. Next I have introduced time into the picture, in the form of a discussion on variance. Whether there is a jackpot in a slot has a big effect on your winning chances, both for regular wins and the jackpot itself.
Payback Percentages and Your Odds of Winning on Slots
Central to how much you can win from slots is the concept of payback percentage. This can vary considerably, and is generally in the 95% to 98% range online. This is the average amount of each bet that a particular machine gives back in prize money. The math here is simple, if you bet $100 a single time; you’ll get $98 back (in a 98% payback game). Of course, that is only an average, the real scores will vary, with many players losing more than $2, and some lucky players taking home significant prizes.
Many factors affect payback percentage. When you are playing live slots, games will often be configured to take a higher payback percentage for the smallest coin denominations, while the bigger bets are more favorable.
While the odds of you walking away with a win from any one particular slot depend largely on chance, the overall payback percentage is a significant factor in determining this.
Variance in Slot Games
When assessing the odds of winning on a particular slot, you should take the variance of the game into account. Some slots are high-variance and others low-variance. A higher variance game will take a lot of money in, and pay this out in larger amounts less frequently. A lower variance machine is the opposite of this, and will pay lots of smaller wins, though the biggest wins will be smaller.
Two machines could have exactly the same payback percentage, and be opposites when it comes to variance.
From the perspective of the player, the odds of winning would be very different. For the high variance game the odds of hitting a winning session might be low. If you do hit that win, it could be a large one. For the lower variance machine, most sessions will include a lot of wins, albeit smaller ones. Your session will not necessarily be profitable, though you will receive enough coins to keep your bankroll in play for a long time.
Reviews of slot games will often refer to the variance in the game. When you combine this with a the payback percentage score, you’ll be closer to determining how to assess the winning frequency for that particular game.
Another form of variance is that experienced by the player. You’ll naturally go through periods where your results are better than the mathematical average – and those where it is worse while playing slots. The more you play, the better your own results match the long-term average for a particular game. Deviations away from this average are known as your variance. This can only be factored in after your sessions have finished, since each spin is an independent random event.
How Jackpots affect the Odds of Winning
There are two separate factors to discuss here. First of all, the chances of actually hitting the jackpot. These are very small. The probability of hitting a progressive on any one spin are in the 10-million-to-1 or more range, and will depend on the particular machine.
Secondly, you will find that the presence of a jackpot affects the chances of you hitting the regular wins. The reason is that a part of the coins you spin are taken to feed the progressive jackpot total each time you spin. This naturally leaves fewer coins for the regular payouts – reducing the odds of you winning these.
The payback percentage of a jackpot slot will take into account those occasional huge wins. This means that the ‘real’ payback (and odds of winning) for regular players are necessarily lower than the rate advertised. Having the potential to win life-changing money is well worth the money to many players who enjoy jackpot machines.
Tips to Increase Your Odds of Winning on Slots
There are only a few genuine tips to increase your odds of winning. For 3-reel slots, you should play maximum coins – as this will get you bigger payouts for the top wins (improving the payback overall). For video slots, using maximum lines makes the best use of Wild symbols. The entertaining, feature and bonus round rich slots also have lower payback overall, compared to the simple games.
Whichever form of slot games you play, remember that entertainment is the key – along with the chance of winning some meaningful money.