Synopsis: Are slots really random? Explanation on why slot machines are not quite as random as both land based and online casinos say they are. Are slot machine payouts really random? Are all slot machines rigged as to when they payout to the player?
Please note that the article below is my opinion only, from what I have experienced from playing slots, both at land based casinos, and several different popular online casinos - all of which shall remain nameless.
Playing slots, pokies, fruit machines, one arm-bandits, poker machines, whatever you like to call them, depending on where you come from, is a popular pastime for many seniors and retired singles and couples.
What Casinos and Slot Machine Technicians Will Tell You:
Online casino slot games are said to use the same kinds of random number generator programs as land-based casinos. They just serve up your results via animation that is sent to your computer via the Internet.
Casinos will often tell you that slot machines use a computer to generate random numbers, and these determine the outcomes of the game. When players press the "Play" button, the machines computer generates what is known as a RNG, a gaming term that is an abbreviation for "random number generator". Random number generators (or pseudorandom number generators) are special algorithms that are used in computing when an outcome needs to be as random as possible.
Slot machines often display a series of spins where players appear to be only one symbol away from a win, therefore leading them to falsely believe that they almost won. Slot games do not work on any kind of cyclical basis - and slot machine jackpots don't become due.
Slots are not random and I will never be convinced otherwise, I have been playing slots for many years and seen so many different examples of them being NOT random, making it incredibly difficult to believe that slot machines are totally random, here's why:
Screenshot of the Mad Mad Monkey online slot game.
On some progressive jackpots linked to a bank of slot machines, the jackpot has to be won before a certain amount of money is reached. Now, if this is the case, how are they REALLY random if they have to hit before the jackpot reaches a certain amount? Totally random means they can hit at ANY time. If they have to hit by a certain amount they have to be programed to do that.
I was once asked in an "anonymous" online casino survey, "If I felt like I received enough playing time for the amount of money fed to the slot machine!" Now, why ask something like that if it is beyond their control to "adjust the settings"? Was it because if a player was losing their money too quickly - resulting in a shorter machine play time - then the machine would "compensate" by paying out more before the end of the playing time? This time of play adjustment would then allow casino patrons, both on and offline, to "feel" they had value for money due to the adjusted extension of playing time on the machine.
What I don't get, if you have a win on one particular slot game and then move onto several others, they will all be dead. For every win I have had I then lose constantly until the money I won and some has been played back, no matter what slot I play before I even begin to get above my deposit back again - it is the same pattern each time and that does not appear random to me. It's as if all the online slot machines are linked to a central computer - For example: If you are continually losing, when playing online slots, switching to another slot game doesn't matter as all the games you try do not payout as well. The only so called random thing is if your players account has been deemed worthy of a win for a change. It would be extremely easy, and fast being a computer, for a "central computer" to check the deposits, as well as wins and losses, your account has had over a certain amount of time and money deposited. Your account is then compensated for the losses with smaller, or medium amount, wins that will always see you losing over the long term.
Have you ever noticed that you miss out on a good winning combination because just one reel wasn't in the right position? Then lo-and-behold on the very next spin the symbol you needed is right where you needed it to be on the previous spin! Random? Nah! Teaser? Yes!
When in a bonus game and, for example, you have to select 3 symbols from a group of symbols in order to reveal the bonus money, number of free spins, or number of free spins and the winning combination multplier factor, "beneath" the symbols. Once you have made your choices and the selections are revealed all the other symbols may be revealed as well - often with a better option than the ones you picked. Rest assured that had you picked the "better options" you would still have made the EXACT SAME choices - So it's no use saying, "If only I had picked that symbol..." As you don't know what's "under" any symbol at the start of the bonus pick, the computer can, and does, calculate the amount of free spins etc. it is going to give you, and then reveals whatever it wants to "under" those symbols you both did and didn't choose. Nothing is actually ever "under" those symbols to pick from, the machine simply changes the icon picture to whatever its current calculation amount tells it to reward you.
Have you also noticed that after a modest win, or payout, assuming you keep playing the same slot machine, it almost seems as though the game NEEDS to win that payout back before giving you another, abeit smaller payout.
Have you ever been playing the slot machines, at for example $1 a spin, and you get a reasonable size payout win and wish you had bet $5 like you were a few minutes ago? Well rest assured had you been betting $5 a spin the win would not have been 5 times as much as your $1 spin - the machine would not have been "ready" to payout that amount at that time.
In my experience it seems quite obvious that slot machines have to have some sort of computer coded system at play to ensure you can't win over and over again - Which is why when you do win big it is always followed by a long cold losing streak.
When bonus round occurs it ALWAYS seems the bonus round happens 2 or 3 more times in a short period after the first bonus round, then no bonuses for ages - and lots of cash gone.
Also in my experience, any big wins I've had in the past have come when I've spent a small fortune on that particular slot - almost as if the slot is forced to bring you back in line with the payout figure percentage rules.
Left to right paying slot machines are designed so high paying symbols are frequently on the 1st reel, slightly less frequent on the 2nd reel, less again on the 3rd reel, less yet on the 4th reel, and very rarely on the last reel. It is another trick by slot manufacturer's to gives you the feeling of possibly winning and missing out on the last couple of reels.
The online casino wants to keep you as a player - when playing you may seldom get any wins - then when you are near your last money in the machine you receive a moderate win - just enough to make you come back to that casino for more.
I've played them long enough to believe that they're not random, but as I said, it's my opinion from my personal observations, and you're entitled to yours. Next time you are playing slots stop and wonder why those top slot symbols and/or scatters mysteriously vanish after a while - short-term random, sure - long-term random, not so much...
Recently Disabled World received an email from Dave M. stating his opinion. With his permission we have added the content of his email below:
Hi, I have just been reading an article by Jungle Jim on slot machines that was posted on your site, which was very illuminating, and everything he says seems to be quite accurate. Although the article is from a few years ago I found the contents gave quite a representative appraisal on online slot machines and land based slot machines.
My own area of interest however is the online slot machines.
Over the past few months I have been conducting my own research being a mathematician I was interested to find out if these forms of gambling were in actual fact random number generated as the major casino's , bingo halls and other gambling establishments claim them to be.
Firstly I played an online popular slot machine after joining a popular bingo hall and online company. And low and behold after depositing a modest sum had a virtually immediate win followed by subsequent wins giving me a substantial reward on my investment.
Then as if a button had been pressed to say OK this person has won enough and is now "hooked" when trying other slot games those wins accrued from a previous slot game was starting to be eroded away quite rapidly with a succession of totally win free blank spells apart from very low denomination pay outs.
So before the "winning pot" had been exhausted I returned back to the original slot game to try again after a day or two. And low and behold it subsequently eroded the rest of the winnings paying absolutely nothing in the way of substantial wins, only small denominations until it was all gone, this in my opinion is a very systematically heavily controlled form of gambling which also in my opinion is not random at all.
I went on for the next several weeks to play and document all the wins and losses from some free game plays to see if there was any difference between them and the paying games and over a period of time playing the free games found that these games always paid substantial wins consistently.
However in between when switching back to the paying money slot games it was always whittling whatever I deposited away, without any substantial wins whatsoever. This I documented and found over a period of time that the wins I initially procured was taken back three fold.
So my research has concluded and justifiably concurred with Jungle Jim's opinions that online slot machines are not random number generators at all and are in my opinion being governed by the operators and companies that are running them.
So, are slots really random? What do you think? Can you add to the above lists on how you think slot machines may be cheating? If so contact us, as we'd be interested in more opinions.
It has been said; Slot players don't lose because they never win, they lose because they don't quit when they're ahead...