Top 20 Questions and Answers About Online Slots

Q: Tell me about online slots and what should I expect?
A: Happy slots players have three characteristics: They’re optimists, always with a positive, winning attitude; they’re realists, accepting they won’t win every time; and they are disciplined enough to stick to their win and loss limits.

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Q: What are Payout and Hold percentages?
A: Online slots are programmed to pay out a certain percentage of all the money they take in. Hold percentage is the opposite of Payout percentage. If a slot pays back 95% then the hold is 5 percent.

Q: What is the payback percentage of the average slot machine?
A: Online slots return anywhere from about 80 percent to 99 percent of the total money put into them. But those are long-term payouts. During the relatively short time you are at a machine, results can fluctuate wildly.

Q: How does one find machines with a high payout percentage?
A: Every casino has a few machines with greater than average paybacks. One way to try and find them is to get to know the locals. People who play in a casino regularly usually know which machines are worth playing.

Q: Do gambling slots have “hot” and “cold” cycles?
A: There are periods when an abnormal number of winning or losing combinations appear, but it is not possible to predict when those hot and clod cycles start or stop. Astute players try to recognize the mode and play accordingly.

Q: What is a Random Number Generator (RNG)?
A: It is the computer program that determines which symbols line up on the reels. Each random number generated corresponds to a reel combination. Whatever random number was generated the split second you hit the “spin” button (or pulled the handle) will result in the corresponding reel combinations that appear on your screen. The RNG doesn't care how much you bet, whether you bet one coin or maximum coins, whether you pulled the handle with your left hand or hit the spin button with your fist, whether it's your first play or last, whether you’ve been winning or losing, or whether you are playing with or without your slot-club card, and wearing your lucky charm won’t affect it either. After all, the Random Number Generator is a computer robot that just continually generates random numbers. If you happen to be the lucky person that plays the very split second the RNG generated a number that corresponds to the combination for the jackpot, you'll be the big winner.

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Q: Do online slot machines have the worst paybacks in the casino?
A: Definitely not! Many slot machines pay back more than roulette, more than certain bets at the craps table, and much more than what you can expect in the keno lounge, at that big wheel of fortune, or when making parlay bets at the sports book.

Q: Is a machine that hasn’t paid for a long time due to hit?
A: No online slot is ever “due” to hit. The Random Number Generator controls when and how much is paid out and the RNG has no memory, it doesn’t care what happened before or what will happen next.

Q: Should I play one coin at a time or maximum coins?
A: How many coins you play should depend on the pay table and on your goal. If a machine pays a jackpot of say, 800 coins for a single coin wager, 1,600 coins for a two-coin bet and 2,400 if you insert three coins, there is no real advantage to playing maximum coins (unless you wouldn’t be happy winning less than 2,400 coins). But if there is a bonus for playing maximum coins (i.e. supposing the jackpot paid 800 coins for one-coin play, 1,600 coins for two-coin play and 4.000 coins for three coin play), then it’s prudent to insert three coins every spin, just in case..

Q: Do dollar and higher denomination online slots pay better?
A: Generally, the higher the denomination the better the payback percentage you can expect. Nationwide, the average payback percentages as reported in a recent survey: Nickel machines: 90%, Quarter machines: 92%, Dollar machines: 94% and $5 machines: 96%.

Q: Is it better to insert coins or play off the credit meter?
A: It depends. Casinos count on people playing off all their credits, because that number on the meter doesn’t seem like real money. As long as you are aware of this, the credit meter makes things more convenient and keeps your hands clean. Hand inserting coins slows down the speed of play, allowing you to stay at a machine longer without increasing your risk.

Q: How much advantage is there in joining a casino’s slot club?
A: Inserting your slot club card into the machine enables the casino to track how many coins you run through the machines and that determines how many comp points you collect. Those points can be redeemed for meals, merchandise and other freebies. Therefore it is smart to accumulate points while you’re playing, but never play just to get points. Casinos operate slot clubs for only one reason, they want to entice players to wager more, play longer and lose more. Don’t fall into that trap.

Q: What are the odds of hitting the jackpot?
A: The higher the jackpot, the greater the odds. Look at this simplified example for the explanation: Imagine a machine with a $1,000 jackpot accepting $100 single coin bets. One pull and you win $1,000 or lose $100. If, on the average, players hit once every 11 spins, the return would be $1,000 for $1,100 wagered, or almost 91 percent. Now if multiplied by 100 the gambling slot would offer a $100,000 jackpot, but it would require 1,100 spins at $100 each for a total of $110,000 wagered and $100,000 won = the same 91% return percentage. You might want to risk $100 for one chance in 11 to win $1,000, but do you want to risk $100 for one chance in 110,000?

Q: Are specialty online slots, such as Wheel of Fortune, Piggy Bank, etc. worth playing?
A: Referring to these types of slot games, one casino executive boasted: “The concept is how to make losing fun”.

Q: What size bankroll is recommended?
A: To estimate your bankroll requirements, use this rule of thumb: (For this calculation winnings are not taken into consideration). Six spins a minute means 360 spins per hour. If you do not replay your winnings, for each hour of play you would need 720 coins for two-coin play. So, per hour, your bankroll requirement is $18 for nickel machines or $90 for quarter machines, if you play one coin per spin.

Q: Are slot tournaments a good deal?
A: Tournament play is not like normal gambling slots play. The machines are modified to play without coins. The participant who accumulates the most credits within a set time limit is the winner. If the entry fee is low and includes accommodation, a welcome cocktail party and dinner on awards night, slot tournaments can be great fun, even if you don’t win any money.

Q: Are all online slot machines of the same name programmed for the same payout percentages?
A: Not all slot machines of the same name are programmed to pay equally well. There might be 25 identical Double Diamond machines scattered around a casino floor, each one programmed for a different payback, ranging from 85% to 98%. Only the slot manager knows which is which, and he won’t tell.

Q: What is important when analyzing a pay table?
A: It depends on whether you want to stretch your bankroll so you can play longer, or you hope to “hit and run”. If you hope to make a small bankroll last a long time, select a pay table with a modest jackpot but with a good range of small to medium payouts. If you hope to “strike it rich” the trade off will be a large jackpot but less frequent and smaller secondary payouts.

Q: Can casinos lower the payout percentages on busy weekends?
A: It’s not as simple as flicking a switch to change payout percentages. In order to do this the RNG chip would need to be changed. That requires an involved procedure, which is done only if a particular machine proves to be not performing according to original specifications. There is no instant way for casino management to manipulate payouts.

Q: Is there a slot system that works?
A: There are methods of play that will improve your chances of winning, but no system can guarantee certain success. If you are determined to become a more proficient slots player visit