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The Hit Frequency in Slot Machine

The same principle applies to connected progressive slot machines each having an individual RNG – random number generator, which will signal to the main computer that the jackpot line has been hit, or that all machines are run by a central RNG. In reality, it doesn’t matter how these slot machines are arranged; the payouts will follow the programming in terms of what the casino gives and what the casino takes – and of course what the casino takes will be far greater than it will give in slot machine games. (What about in slot online!?, would be analyzed in another time and another article)

That is why slot machine games are still a source of income for casinos that have a high percentage compared to income from other games in casino gambling.

What Pays What

Over time there has been little change in the actual payback percentages on the various denominations of traditional machines. The traditional penny machines return about 85 percent, nickel machines return about 88 percent, the 25 cent machines return about 90 percent, the 50 cent machines return a little over 90 percent, the $1 machines return about 91 to 92 percent, and the $5 machines return about 94 to 95 percent.

Some casino venues are more generous than others. The Las Vegas Strip slot machines are tighter than the off-Strip casinos, which cater to Las Vegas locals. Tunica in Mississippi is more generous than Atlantic City. But the averages throughout the United States and Canada still tend to hover around the percentages I gave above.

If you read magazines that give the payback percentages of a casino’s machines and note some really high or low returns on $5, $10, $50, and $100 slot machines, this is caused by the fact that there are not as many of these machines in the casino, and thus the total amount of play is not as large as play on the 25 cent and $1 machines. The casino needs the long run for the percentages to work themselves out. The number of decisions is the key variable for the casinos. The more decisions the machine spews, the better-for the casino-and the worse for the player slot machine.

Now, with the new penny and nickel machines, the ones that give you the chance to play 50 to 100 coins, you are not getting a good deal-you are in fact getting a rotten deal. You might be putting in $2.50 to $5 in nickels, but that $5 is not being paid at the normal $5 rate; nor is your $2.50 getting a normal dollar’s payback percentage. These machines are money gobblers, as most just pay back the very low traditional penny and nickel percentages. The normal $5 machine will be paying 94-95 percent, but the $5 you put in the nickel models will be paying back about 88 percent-a radically worse return.

My advice is to skip playing these machines. You are not getting any kind of bargain on them, so dump them from your playing plan. If you play them, you will no longer be a low-level player but a much higher one who is foolishly giving the casino a much bigger edge on a lot more money. 

Hit Frequency

Not all slot-machine decisions return money to the player. In fact, most slot players have been trained to expect long stretches of play without any returns at all. A return on a slot machine is called a “hit,” as in “I didn’t hit anything” or “I was hitting like crazy all night.” The hit frequency is how often a player gets some kind of a return. It is not, as some would think, how often a player wins. A return of two coins for three coins played is considered a hit, but it is obviously not a win.

Most slot machines have hit frequencies between 9 percent and about 25 percent, which means that a player will get a hit, on average, 9-25 times out of 100 spins. Some of these hits will be for marginal returns, and fewer will be for decent or big wins.

In an informal study of slot players, I discovered that a slight majority want to be in on bigger hits, meaning bigger wins, instead of having frequent hits, and therefore they tend to prefer machines with lower hit frequencies but bigger payouts. I had thought it would be just the opposite, steady hits and less waiting time instead of infrequent larger hits with much longer waiting times, like in the internet based game such as judi slot online.

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