Are Slot Machines Programmed to Show Near Misses?

Home » Recent Posts » Are Slot Machines Programmed to Show Near Misses?
Share this on:

Buffalo slot machine by Aristocrat two coins

A player asks in a recent question to us whether slots are intentionally set up to tease players around bonuses and near hits:

Are slot machines programmed to show you near wins and tease you into believing you almost hit the jackpot?

Jerry M.

By default, slots will have near misses because of the ways the reels are set up. And slot manufacturers can emphasize near misses with a higher frequency than direct line hits.

There are techniques for doing this, such as weighted reels, where certain reel spaces come out more frequently than others. But generally this isn’t overdone, because it would create frustration at some point for players who see so many near misses without an actual landing of a big win or bonus.

There is a psychological basis for doing these things. The anticipation of a big win or hit is actually more enticing than the actual landing of the big win, so leaning into that plays into the psychology of a player. Other studies have shown that after losing for awhile, a smaller win can become more exciting.

One thing slot manufacturers do is add anticipation elements, such as additional spinning and sounds once the second symbol has landed, or increasingly higher pitched sounds to make it sound great when cash on reels balls are landing to get you excited about a hold and spin.

These amplify the fact that a bonus or big line hit was almost achieved, and can lean into that anticipation of a win and the losing that leads to winning, all things that give players a dopamine hit.

So there’s definitely something there in that games are designed to amplify those near misses, but they also won’t be overdone as there is a point where the anticipation can switch to frustration. Anyone who’s played an old school Quick Hit machine where the two bonus symbols come out a lot without that third one landing will know what we’re talking about.

Have a question? Submit yours here!


Share this on:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Play Online Casinos

Sign Up with BetMGM Casino and get a Deposit Match up to $1,000, plus $25 in Site Credits on the house! Available in MI, NJ, PA & WV. US promotional offers not valid in Ontario.

Use code SWITCH2500 for a 100% deposit match up to $2,500, and 2,500 Reward Credits, with $25+ in wagers placed (MI, NJ, PA & WV).

New sign-ups with DraftKings Casino in MI, NJ, PA & WV will receive $35 Casino Credits, plus Play $5 and Get $50 Back in Casino Credits Instantly!

Sign Up and deposit $10+ at FanDuel to get a Welcome Offer of a $20 Bonus + Up to $1,000 Play it Again based on your net losses in the first 24 hours in MI, NJ, PA & WV!

Play Social Casinos

Ready to give Show Me Vegas Slots a try? Get 10 million coins to play Show Me Vegas Slots with promo code SWITCH!

New players to 88 Fortunes Slots receive 5 billion coins as a thank you for signing up!

Sign Up and get a Welcome Bonus of 2,000,000 FREE Gold Coins & 2 FREE Sweeps Coins. Get started today!

Sign Up for LuckyLand Slots and get a Welcome Bonus of 7,777 FREE Gold Coins & 10 FREE Sweeps Coins!

Online Game Spotlight
Double Patriot

Classic Everi Three-Reel Slot with a Fresh Twist

Play Online Sportsbooks

Sign Up to get a Bet $5, Get $150 in Bonus Bets if your bet wins!

Use code SWITCH1000 to get your first bet back in Bonus Bets, up to $1,000, if you lose.

​SIGN UP to get $150 instantly in Bonus Bets* (NC, $5+ bet required) or up to $1500 in Bonus Bets* Back if Your First Bet Doesn't Win (All Other Eligible States)!

New Players get a $1,500 No Sweat Bet, a $50 Bonus Bet with $5 deposit, & Get a No Sweat NBA SGP Every Day of NBA Playoffs! New players outside MA also get 20% Match up to $1,000 (25x PTR).

Social Game Spotlight
Kronos Unleashed Slot

Frequent Feature Livens Up Super Tall Reels

Dragons vs. Pandas Slot Machine

Two Sets of Reels Battle it Out