Can You Find Which Slot is in Payout Mode?

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Brian handpay while sitting at Buffalo Link

States often (although not always) have payout requirements when it comes to slots. How does this impact the ability to find winning machines?

I read that states regulate the payout % so wouldn’t it be wiser to move on and find a machine in payout mode?


Here’s the question you need to ask yourself – where on a slot machine shows how much was wagered, and how much was paid out? 

Unless you’re a slot tech with a key to the machine and familiarity with how to pull up that information, none of us have access to that information.

On occasion, the slot makers will be “kind” and have a stats screen that may show things like biggest bonuses of the past week or of all time. But these random data points don’t give you enough of anything to know what the slot has actually paid out.

And here’s the other thing – even if we had that information, it wouldn’t matter, because slots don’t use that data to determine payouts. The payout is determined by the available set of combinations that can occur on the machine. Those combinations, over the long term, will within a statistical range of tolerance reach the payout it’s supposed to reach.

So, there’s no such thing as “payout mode” – what we consider payout mode is a perception of what has recently happened, which has nothing to do with what can happen. A machine that’s “hot” isn’t hot because of what it will do, but because of what it has done, and so finding a machine in payout mode just means you hit the button at the right time to get a payout. Nothing more, nothing else.

We overthink things as players. Slots are not a skill-based endeavor and are designed to make money for the casino over time. Anything else is window dressing in our minds, moreso than anything that we actually have any control over.

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