Defining Hit Frequency and Its Importance to Slots

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When players play various slots, they’ll often look at how often a game is hitting and dub a slot “loose” or “tight” based on that. But what they may be experiencing is a game with a lower hit frequency.

Hit frequency is one key aspect that determines how volatile a slot is. When a slot is more volatile, it tends to pay less often, but more when it does. Conversely, when a slot is less volatile, it will pay players more often, but smaller amounts.

As you can see based on that definition, a slot’s hit frequency is a critical component of how volatile a game can be. Hit frequency is best described as the percentage of spins, over time, that will deliver a payout to a player. A hit frequency of 40 percent, for instance, means that out of every 100 spins, on average, 40 will deliver some sort of a payout.

Hit frequency can vary widely. A higher hit frequency can reach into the 50 percent range, whereas a lower hit frequency can get into the 20-something percent range. And since these are averages, you can still have a drought of dead spins on any of these, which of course would balance itself out over time with better runs on games.

Sites like Global Gaming Business magazine will review games and share their hit frequencies, among other things. This information can help players get a sense of what games are more or less volatile, along with other data shared like the return to player (or conversely, the holds games are designed to keep over time).

The hit frequency can be one of the defining elements that impact how a slot machine “feels” which is why some games can feel loose or tight without that actually being what we as players are detecting at all. Instead it’s how the game is designed to payout, and where the pays are spread throughout the game.


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