Are Slots Due to Hit After a Dip in Payouts?

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Loose slots sign Fremont Street

We’ve talked in the past about whether you should move machines after a jackpot, but what about the reverse? If a machine hasn’t paid out in awhile, does that make it more likely to pay? That’s the crux of today’s question:

Question: do slot machines become “due” to pay out after a long losing streak so they can maintain their proper payout percentage setting? For instance, after a long streak of losses, does the machine go “I am set for 90% payout and I have returned only 85%, so I need to pay out a big win to get it back up to close to 90%?”


Thanks Henry for the question! And the answer to your question is pretty simple – a machine does not course correct, regardless of whether it’s above or below the long-term expected average.

In the short term, a slot can favor positive or negative outcomes – that’s the randomness aspect of things. But because the range of outcomes is built with a specific house edge in mind, the more outcomes that are completed, the more and more likely the game will approach its long term target.

With that in mind, third-party lab testing of games is conducted to ensure the game is meeting that expectation within an expected range, since randomness won’t normally make it 100 percent perfect.

Testing will often examine a game after 10 million outcomes are decided, as that is a high enough number for most games to ensure they land within the expected range based on the game’s payback percentage and design.

The terms “hot” and “cold” or “loose” and “tight” for slots are often all describing what has happened on a slot – not what can happen on a slot. Regardless of a slot has just been through a cold spell or hit a jackpot, the next spin can still be any of the possible outcomes the game has in its design.

So, staying at a cold machine isn’t necessarily needed since you won’t necessarily suddenly start to win as a result of it being cold, but the same could be said for a hot machine too. Play however much feels comfortable to you, and play based on your budget and preferences.

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