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Misconceptions about slots in casinos

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It's no secret that profits from slot machines make up most of the gambling industry's income. But that wasn't always the case. At their start, slot machines were only begrudgingly placed on the casino floor to entertain the spouses of high rollers. They only generated around 30 percent of a casino's profit. From these humble beginnings, slot machines have come to dominate the gambling world. Almost any recreational gambler has spent some time feeding quarters into a slot machine.

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As the game type has grown in popularity, several misconceptions have been passed from player to player, becoming almost gospel. This is because many people don't understand the inner workings of a slot machine. As a result of this lack of knowledge, they come up with their own ideas to explain a win or a loss. The introduction of video slot machines has only intensified the speculation about how the games work.

Here we'll dispel some of the mystery surrounding slot machines by explaining away a few of the major misconceptions associated with this popular casino pastime. Knowledge is your greatest weapon against the casino, and knowing the truth can only help your gaming. Perhaps this information will help you enjoy your time at the slot machines a little more!

The slot machine you just left hit a jackpot. If you'd stayed it would've been yours!

This, unfortunately, isn't true at all. Modern video slot machines do not have a list of outcomes that they follow. There is no hidden program that says a jackpot will hit in the next 5 spins.

Instead, video slot machines use a special computer chip known as a Random Number Generator, or RNG. The RNG is constantly generating random numbers each microsecond, even when no one is playing the game.

When you hit the stop button, the slot machine quickly grabs the random number of that microsecond and compares it to a list of every possible outcome in the game. The outcome that corresponds to the random number is the outcome that appears on the screen. Because the RNG is running all the time, there's no telling which spin will yield a jackpot.

Each and every spin has a completely random outcome.

The number of icons on each reel can give you the odds of winning.

This is another misconception. Video slot machines are all controlled by computer chips. Because of this setup, Video Slots no longer need a static reel makeup. The computer chips inside the machine can control, and alter, the number of stops on any reel. You may only be able to count 10 icons on each reel of a three-reel machine. This might indicate that the odds for winning would be 1 in 1,000 (10 x 10 x 10 = 1,000). However, the controlling chips could actually program 256 stops on each reel, holding them all in the game's memory. This puts the actual odds of winning nearer to 1 in 17 million. It's those massive odds that allow slot machines to offer such large jackpots. With so much of the outcome dependent on computer chips, the odds are hidden and can't be calculated by simple observation.

Casinos can press a button and make their slot machines tighter or looser.

False once again, thanks to computer chips! The only thing controlling the payout percentage of any given slot machine is the chip inside it. Casinos have no control over this percentage whatsoever; the manufacturer sets the payout percentage at the factory. If a casino wanted to reduce how often a machine pays out, the machine would need to be opened and the controlling chip replaced. Most areas with legalized gambling regulate slot machines, requiring large amounts of paperwork to make a microchip change legal. Such exchanges are costly and time consuming. It's much easier for casinos to choose the payout percentage when purchasing the games, ensuring the proper microchip is installed at the factory.

A slot machine is due for a hit if there's been no recent payout.

This is untrue, as well. Machines can't be predicted, thanks to the RNG. Each spin is an independent event. Slot machines can't keep track how often they've paid out or not. Every time the reels spin, the outcome is completely random. This misconception can be extremely hazardous to follow, too. Playing a machine that's not paying out in the hopes that a jackpot is due will only eat away at your bankroll.

Slot machines are sensitive to the temperature of the coins used to play them.

Completely false. Slot machines dedicate their processing power to maintaining the icons on the reels and generating the random outcomes of each spin. The coin slot of a slot machine is a simple mechanical device. It doesn't sense temperature at all. So play coins of any temperature!

Using slot club cards reduces how often a machine pays out.

This is perhaps the most damaging misconception out there. The RNG controls every outcome. The card reader only keeps track of the money you put in the machine. There's no connection between these two components. This might not seem like a big deal, but consider that every time you use your club card, you're earning comps (customer loyalty benefits such as drinks, meals and rooms) as well as betting on slots. Avoid using the club card and you could be missing out on more than just an easy way to wager.

There's no better tool in your gambling skill set than knowledge. Gather as much as you can to make the most of your gambling fun.

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