Does Stopping a Slot Machine Reels Change the Outcome?

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Some players wonder about something dubbed “skill stopping slot machine reels,” an idea that you can stop the reels at just the right time to get a bonus or big line hit. This is particularly the case on games with very predictable reels that you can spot the sequence over time, like stacked symbols or a bonus symbol that follows an identifiable set of symbols on the reels.

However, slots are NOT skill-based, so this isn’t something that happens. There aren’t any tricks in the book that will let you do something to the machine to make something happen that it wasn’t already set to do based on its design.

Slot machines work under the structure that a wager is made, you press the spin button to start the reels, and an outcome is revealed. As such, stopping a slot machine’s reels does not change the outcome, because the outcome has already been decided.

Instead, stopping the reels simply brings that outcome to light faster, as we don’t know what that outcome is until the reels have stopped and the game confirms the payout.

If you ever watch what happens when you stop the reels it isn’t instant in most cases – a few more symbols go by before it stops, which is the few symbols it needs to drop into place what is already determined. Or, the game will jump to other symbols if it does do it instantly, as you’ll notice all the symbols swap out in a somewhat abrupt manner.

The only other thing that stopping the reels will do, aside from concluding the spin faster, is allow for the next spin to be started more quickly as well. A differently timed spin means a different outcome, either good or bad, but again it doesn’t impact what outcome was selected because that happened at the start of the spin. So it is in fact the timing of pressing the button, or the “micro-second” as Brian Christopher always says, that determines the outcome. 

So stopping slot machine reels is more player preference and entertainment value than anything else. It won’t help or hurt your slot payouts, so you don’t need to worry about that aspect of things, and can focus on what’s fun for your personal play!


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