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Slot Machine Myths Debunked

There are countless myths and superstitions that circulate about slot machines, most of which aren’t based in reality.

Out there on the internet, there are plenty of “strategies”, “theories”, and “tips” for playing slots that are plain BS.

I get it, everyone wants to give themselves the best chance to win, but ultimately that comes down to being in the right place at the right time.

There is little, if anything, players can do to influence their chances on slot games.

I wanted to run through, and in most cases debunk, common slot machine myths and superstitions.

Related: 95+ Free things to do in Vegas – A complete guide.

Slot Machine Myths

Casinos can change the slot payback percentage while you‘re playing

False. While casinos in Las Vegas can adjust payback percentages on server-based machines remotely, there are certain rules they must follow.

The Nevada Gaming Commission states:

“Once a game is initiated by a player on a gaming device, the rules of play for that game, including the probability and award of a game outcome, cannot be changed.” They can’t change rules or that machine’s payback percentage while you play.

Slot machines in Nevada must sit idle for 4 minutes before an adjustment to payback percentage or game rules can be made. When a change is made, the machine must be taken out of play with a message displayed on the screen noting an update is taking place. The machine then must sit idle for an additional 4 minutes after the change before play is allowed.

Older machines that are not server-based cannot be updated from the backroom and require operators to open up the machine and replace a computer chip to adjust the payback percentage. A much more cumbersome process.

If you’re running hot and the machine suddenly goes cold, there is no tomfoolery going on – just bad luck.

Fun Fact: Slot machines in Nevada are required to return a minimum of 75% of wagers to players per the Nevada Gaming Commission, although they returned over 90% in 2019.

Using a player’s card negatively affects your ability to win

False. Slot machines use a random number generator (RNG) to determine the outcome on any given spin. The RNG is continuously generating random outcomes in the background until a player presses spin, which locks in what the outcome will ultimately be.

Using a player’s card simply allows the house to track your play and doesn’t affect payback percentage, or game odds in any way.

Playing with free play negatively affects the game’s payback %

False. The same RNG is still churning out combinations in the background. A player using free play is no more or less likely to win than one playing with cash.

Someone hit a jackpot after you stepped away. Would you have won it had you stayed?

No. You’ve heard the horror stories though. A slot player gets up to use the restroom and come back to see someone else playing their machine. Worse yet, the new player hit big.

Would that have been your jackpot if you would have stayed? Most likely not. The RNG turns out hundreds of combinations per second in the background and the outcome is locked in when the spin button is pushed. You would have had to hit spin the exact millisecond the new player did to obtain the same outcome. Very unlikely.

Hot machines are less likely to hit again

False. The machine’s random number generator has no memory. Each spin is an independent event providing an equal chance of hitting a jackpot.

Cold machines are “due” to hit

False. Like the slot myth above, the nature of the random number generator dictates that every spin is a random and independent event from previous spins on that machine. There is no such thing as a machine that is “due”.

Slots are programmed to be looser or tighter depending on day of the week or time of day

False. Although slot payback percentages can be tightened/loosened by operators within the gaming commission’s guidelines, they are not going through the effort of adjusting payback percentages that often.

Pulling the handle gives you a better chance than pushing the “Spin” button

False. Regardless of how you go about it, you are simply stopping the random number generator which is constantly churning out combinations in the background. How you spin the reels does not affect your game odds one bit.

Online classes from slot “Gurus” make you more likely to win

Absolutely not. There are numerous “hucksters” that have garnered a following on platforms like YouTube that prey on folks that aspire to win money playing slots.

Don’t fall for it.

Not only are their “tips” and “strategies” utter nonsense, but their paid online courses are a waste of money. Steer clear.

Look, most of us are going to lose money playing slots. Treat it as entertainment. Have fun. Play within your budget.

Slot Machine Myths That Have Some Truth To Them

Some casinos have looser slots than others

True. In and around Las Vegas, slots in tourist centers like the Strip or on Fremont Street are tighter than slots in North Las Vegas or Boulder per statistics reported to the Nevada Gaming Commission. We parsed through the data to help you find slots more likely to pay out.

Keep in mind, even at “looser” casinos, the odds are still stacked against you.

A machine’s denomination affects your odds of winning

True. According to slot hold data from the Nevada Gaming Commission, there is a correlation between denomination and payback percentage. Generally speaking, the higher the denomination, the more player-friendly the game.

At the end of the day, slot machines are a game of chance that favors the house. There is nothing you can do to improve your odds on a given device beyond getting lucky and hitting the spin button at the exact right time. Good luck!

See also: Vegas pools locals and non-guests can access – For free or a small fee.

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barbara Casanova

Monday 31st of August 2020

My husband went to cash a ticket he left money in his machine I was watching it . A guy walks up to put money in i said thats being played he has money in it . He proceeds to put his money in i again say you can't just take someone's money and machine just as my husband walks back up the guy plays the machine and hits 900 jack pot security came . Nothing was done they let the guy take the money . What should have been done just asking


Friday 22nd of September 2023

@bruce goff, It is the law, the person that pressed the button gets the prize. A friend would split it, no question asked. Even if they are playing on their own money. You go as a team, you win as a team. This is how it is done. Good karma brings goodness. Poor karma brings life defeat.

bruce goff

Sunday 20th of August 2023

while playing a machine on my money last night, i let my 'friend' push the play button and on that play the machine jackpotted. now the casino says i have no claim to that jackpot, but rather my 'friend' has claim to it.

This 'friend' is apparently intent on keeping the jackpot as well. i find this situation to be very unfair and i can't believe that i won't get this jackpot when the wager that won it was entirely MY MONEY.

Is there anything i can do to right this seemingly wrong situation?

Wednesday 28th of December 2022

@barbara Casanova, call the police and file an official report for theft. they will pull the video feed, identify the individual and any data showing there was money being held on the machine. Arrest the guy and get you back what the funds that are yours. the rest would have to go through civil litigation but likely won't be awarded to you since the guy did put money into the machine (if he played on your money alone, you likely would have a claim to the jackpot).


Wednesday 9th of September 2020

That seems very odd.. security came but didn’t intervene?

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