Have you ever felt that you could go happily end an online gaming session or leave a casino if only the Web master or shift manager would push the jackpot button for you?
You're not alone. Even slot players who understand how the games work sometimes wonder if maybe there's a little something they could do, a little adjustment they could make, that would change their luck.
Those feelings have led to a mythology surrounding slot machines that rivals Mt. Olympus.
MYTH: Slot machines that haven't hit in a while are "due."
FACT: Slot machines are never "due" to pay off. The combinations you see on the reels are determined by a program called a "random number generator." It continuously spits out numbers that correspond to reel combinations, and it is as close to random as humans can program a computer to be.
What that means is that previous results have no effect on your next spin. If a machine is programmed so that the top jackpot will hit an average of once per 10,000 spins, and you've gone 9,999 spins without hitting it, your chances of hitting the jackpot on the next spin are still 1 in 10,000.
If you've just hit the jackpot, your chances of repeating on the next spin also remain 1 in 10,000. Your chances of winning on future spins don't rise and fall with your past results. The odds remain the same.
MYTH: After a jackpot, machines must turn cold to make up the payout.
FACT: Players believe machines turn cold after jackpots. But the casinos are in this for the long haul, and they know the machines continue to pay at a normal rate after a big hit. Jackpots just blend into the background of millions of spins of the reels.
Let's say we're betting three coins at a time at a machine with a top jackpot of 10,000 coins, and that the machine is programmed to pay 95 percent in the long run. We hit the jackpot on our first pull. How low must the payback be over the next 999,999 spins to bring the overall percentage back to 95 percent for 1 million reel spins?
Would you believe a drop to 94.7 percent would do it? After a big jackpot, results remain random. There are cold streaks after jackpots, and there are hot streaks, too.
MYTH: More winning combinations hit when the player bets only one coin.
FACT: The random number generator doesn't know how many coins you've wagered.
It's on a separate computer chip from the coin-counting program. The percentage of winning combinations will be the same, regardless of how many coins you wager.
There's a little selective memory at work here. Many players have experienced cold streaks betting maximum coins, then switched to one coin and hit a winner or two.
"Aha," they say, "I win more when I bet one coin." But players who start by betting one coin usually don't start betting more in a losing streak. That leaves fewer opportunities for someone to say, "Aha, I win more when I bet the max."
In the long run, everything--winning combinations, losers, cold streaks and hot streaks shows up in the same proportions, regardless of how many coins you bet.
MYTH: Casino operators can hit a "jackpot button" to reward loyal players.
FACT: Operators will do a lot of things for a loyal customer. They'll schmooze you, feed you and put you up for the night. They won't give you a jackpot. There is no such thing as an operator-controlled jackpot button. Operators leave it to the random number generator to determine jackpot winners. They’re happy to leave the job of determining winners to pure chance and the random number generator.
Whether online or offline, the operator doesn’t know who’s going to hit the jackpot until the RNG says so. Neither do the players.
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