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How Are Slot Machines Programmed? (and How to Win)

How slot machines are programmed can play a massive role in the overall enjoyment and experience of the player. But, have you ever wondered how slot machines are programmed and whether or not there was a way to potentially improve your chances of winning?

Well, you're in luck! In this article, we will discuss how slot machines are programmed and how to win.

Unfortunately, online slots are often the target of myths that players believe, such as the belief that some slots are fixed. As a result, it's not uncommon for slot players to spin the reels hoping to win a fortune on the assumption that spinning the reels for a certain amount of time we'll land them a big win.

However, that is farther from the truth. Online slot machines are created with a Random Number Generator (RNG), ensuring that the winning numbers are randomly selected. That means there is no guarantee that a player will win after a certain number of spins. However, you could still win, but you will not have the ability to predict precisely when.

Are Slot Machines Really Random?

Slot machines are programmed to work randomly through the use of a technological chip called the Random Number Generator chip. This chip is what fuels online slot machines and gets the reels spinning to form random winning combinations that no one cannot predict. 

RNGs work as algorithms. A computer programmes them to generate random numbers without any specific method. Therefore, due to the random nature of the results, you won't be able to predict if or when you could win.

Another prevailing myth about slot machines is that if a slot has recently paid out, it will be a while before it pays out again. However, slots cannot do that. They cannot tell whether or not a payout has been made and hold out on paying out more.

It is mathematical equations that determine your ‘luck’. The RNG determines what symbols will appear next as soon as you spin the reels. 

Looking Back At The History of Slot Machines

Until the 20th century, the term "slot machines" was only used to refer to vending machines because they needed a nickel (5p) to operate. Then from the 20th century onwards, it was exclusively used to refer to casino gambling machines.

A mechanic in San Francisco, Charles August Fey, a born-in-Bavarian inventor, invented the first coin-operated gambling machine in 1894. He built the 4-11-44 from his basement and sold it at a local saloon, where it became so successful he started creating more machines.

But, it wasn't until he built the Liberty Bell that slot machines became extremely popular.

They are now built and developed by well known online slot game developers such as Microgaming, Pragmatic Play, NetEnt, Eyecon etc. Casino operators then buy the slot games from them and offer them in their various locations. Most of them become such popular hits that they are known globally. Think Starburst, Mega Moolah, Gonzo's Quest, and Fluffy Favourites.

Can Slot Machines Be Controlled?

The short answer is no. Slot machines cannot be controlled. As we have mentioned, slot machines are programmed to be random using an algorithmic chip known as the Random Number Generator (RNG) chip. As a result, it displays a random set of symbols and random paylines, with nothing predetermined.

The only thing you can control with slot machines is the amount you want to bet and the number of paylines you want to play on (for those slots with more than one payline).

Online slots come with betting mechanisms where you choose the amount you want to bet for. They also have currency receptors where your slot machine is programmed to accept a specific currency depending on your location.

Then there are paylines. A video slot machine will have a button for activating its different paylines. Paylines on the reels are patterns along which a winning combination must be formed. A slot's payline can either be straight or zigzag.

The number of paylines is different for each slot. For example, the Jurassic Giants slot has 4,096 paylines. However, most slots generally have 5 to 25 paylines. 

Odds Of Winning On Slots (RTP) Explained

Casinos use the phrase Return to Player (RTP) to describe the percentage of all the money you bet that a slot machine will theoretically return to you over time. For example, if you bet £100 on a machine with a 90% RTP, you might expect to win about £90. 

Of course, this is a purely theoretical mathematics method used by computers that are designed to calculate a slot machine’s RTP. Nevertheless, an RTP can be a good indicator of the odds of potentially winning on a slot game.

In general, the higher the RTP, the more likely that you might get some money back. As a result, RTP has become the one thing that a lot of slot players consider when choosing a game.

Is It Possible To Tell If A Slot Machine Is Ready To Pay?

There is a prevalent myth that you can tell when a slot machine is ready to pay. Because slot machines use the RNG, it is impossible to tell whether or not they are ready to pay. However, an RTP can be a good theoretical indicator of how often a slot is likely to payout. 

Tips For Beating Slot Machines

While there isn't much you can do to win at slot games, there are some things you could look out for in a slot game that might improve your winning chances. 

The majority of modern slots feature 5 reels, multiple paylines, and a variety of bonus features. They also come with different volatilities, from low to high, and varying Return to Player rates.

Consider Playing Slot Machines With Fewer Reels

Usually, the most popular slots consist of 5 reels or more, and they most likely offer larger payouts than your regular, old fashioned 3 slot reel machines. However, the bigger a potential payout in slots, the less frequent it may occur.

So, if you're looking to make frequent wins throughout your game, consider playing slot machines with fewer reels, perhaps 3 reels. You might be more likely to land winning combinations, but your payouts won't be as large as they could be when playing on slots with 5 or more reels.

Be Sure To Understand Slot Volatility

Understanding how slot volatility works is another way you could increase your knowledge on slot games. 

The lower the volatility, the more likely you might hit frequent winnings. But, if you want to potentially win more significant amounts, then your best shot would be slots with high volatility. However, it is worth bearing in mind that they may occur a lot less frequently, due to the high volatility.

Look For A High RTP Slot Machine

An RTP percentage rate describes the percentage of winnings from a slot or game that will potentially be returned to players over time. These are different for each slot machine, but the ones on the higher percentile usually have higher returns. 

So, what you should be looking for is anything from 90%, but the average is usually 96%. So, anything around 96% and above is a good indicator of how well the slot could pay. 

Play on Maximum Paylines

Theoretically, you could potentially increase your chances of landing winning combinations if you are playing on more paylines. But, keep in mind that the amounts of payouts you might get will depend on your bet ranges, the volatility and the RTP of the game.

Some slots might have 5 paylines. Others might have thousands of paylines. Therefore, keep the number of paylines you play on within a reasonable capacity of your budget. 

Go for Slots With More Bonus Rounds

Video slots usually come with bonus rounds triggered by landing 3 or more particular symbols on a payline or anywhere on the reels. 

These bonus rounds tend to offer some lucrative payouts. For example, if you trigger x amount of free spins, the reels will automatically spin for free for that x amount, and you're likely to scoop up some potential wins with it. 

Lastly, there are no limits to how many free spins you can trigger with some slot machines, as long as you keep meeting the conditions that help you activate them.

Smaller Jackpots

Jackpots refer to the most significant amount that a player can win in a single spin of a slot machine. Bigger jackpots, though exciting, tend to be almost impossible to win. However, smaller jackpots may have a slightly higher win rate.

Study the Paytable

This might sound intimidating, but it is relatively easy. The paytable is a guide on how your chosen online slot works in terms of features. But, first, you need to know which ones pay the most and how they produce those potential payouts.

Paytables will also inform you whether the game has any special features such as bonus symbols, multipliers, or scatter symbols. For example, in games that feature special symbols, you might be offered a bonus round where you could potentially earn bonuses like cash prizes or free spins.

Leverage Casino Bonuses 

Everyone likes a good deal, and online casinos often have one or two promotions when you join. These either help you save on some money, give you free spins, or they may entitle you to some lucrative awards and gifts. Of course, these are usually subject to wagering requirements with some terms and conditions, so it is essential to read the fine print first. 

We have multiple ongoing promotions, always remember to check our promotions page to see the latest offerings here at Wizard Slots!

Is There Any Skill To Slot Machines?

The fact is, a slot machine cannot be beaten or tricked statistically. A slot machine is an entirely luck-based game controlled by a Random Number Generator, so you can't predict when or if you could win.

However, knowing how to play your chosen slot machine or how it forms winning combinations, what bonus features it has and how to trigger them might increase your odds of winning. 

Though placing your whole bankroll into a single spin might seem enticing, we recommend setting a gambling budget that you can afford to lose and sticking to it. With budget-friendly bets, you'll be able to play longer even if you do not see that many wins.

Try out your luck with our online slots today and see exactly how the RNG, volatility, and RTP may work in your favour. We have a selection of online slot games you can choose from. Whether you're looking for slots with jackpots, bonus rounds or free spins, we've got it all.

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  *All values (Bet Levels, Maximum Wins etc.) mentioned in relation to the slot games are subject to change at any time.