How Online Casinos Manipulate Slot Odds
A slot is an opening or place in something. For example, you can put letters and postcards through a mail slot at the post office. A slot is also a place in a line, or a position, such as the chief copy editor’s slot at the Gazette.
For decades, slot machines had actual reels that spun and allowed players to see what symbols were on them. But today, most of them are just images on a video screen and the actual reels have been replaced by computerized ones. The symbols on the reels are simply a visual aid to let you know what the random number generator inside the machine is picking. The RNG generates a sequence of numbers every millisecond and, depending on the signal it receives — anything from a button being pushed to a handle being pulled — it will pick one of those locations on the reels to stop at.
There are dozens of possible combinations on each of the video slot’s five or more reels. The paylines can run straight across the symbols, in V’s, upside down V’s, zigzags and other patterns. The odds of a particular symbol appearing on the payline are determined by the weighting given to it by the casino. This means that if one of the paying symbols on a payline is above a blank space, it will appear more often than the lower-paying symbols.
Another way that casinos manipulate the odds is by placing “hot” machines at the ends of their aisles. The logic is that people tend to keep playing the same machine when it’s hot, so those at the end of the row will get a lot of play. But this doesn’t always happen, and a machine that appears to be due to hit can quickly go cold.
A third way casinos manipulate their customers is by using a practice called taste. A small payout, such as 15 coins, is made to keep the player seated and betting. While this may seem low, it’s required by regulations to give the player a chance to win the bonus mode and potentially walk away with a jackpot.
There are many myths surrounding slot machines. Many people believe that a machine is “due” to hit after losing for awhile, and this belief is partly why casinos place so many hot machines at the ends of their aisles. However, the fact is that no machine is ever “due” to hit, and just because a machine has gone long without a winning combination does not mean that it is close to hitting.