When does a slot machine become “due?”
How can you tell when a slot machine has become “loose?”
Warning: You might be disappointed.
Random and Independent Gambling Events
If you really want to know how to tell when a real money slot machine becomes due, you must familiarize yourself with some probability concepts.
The most important of these concepts is the concept of the random, independent event.
In most gambling games, every bet you place is on a random, independent event.
The word “independent” is important here. It means that what happened in the previous event or the previous serious of events doesn’t affect the probability of what’s about to happen.
Here’s an example:
If you bet on a single number, the probability of winning is 1/38.
If that number comes up three times in a row, what is the probability that the ball will land on that number on the next spin?
It’s still 1/38.
The previous spins of the wheel did nothing to change the number of ways to win or the number of possible outcomes.
Every time you play a slot machine, the spinning of the reels is an “independent event.”
What if a Slot Machine Has Been Running Hot or Cold?
Slot machines do run hot or cold sometimes. That’s the nature of random events. Sometimes you’ll see a sequence of wins or losses. It’s the result of variance.
Suppose you’re playing a machine where the slots probabilities are programmed to provide you with a hit frequency of 30%.
You can expect to win something roughly one out of every three spins on such a machine.
The best way to think about games getting hot or cold is that such phenomena are only visible in retrospect, or after the fact.
They have no predictive value.
Also, slot machines aren’t programmed to “catch up” after a big win, and they’re not programmed to start having winning results after a long cold streak.
They just have random results determined by the random number generator in the machine.
There are no hot or cold cycles for you to use to predict when a slot machine is going to payout.
An Example of Bad Advice About Casino Slot Machines
I read a book about winning at slot machines written by John Patrick a few years ago. I don’t know how he managed to fill an entire book with such ineffective and trite advice, but he did.
One of his first pieces of advice is to have a “naked pull” limit.
A naked pull is when you pull the lever on a slot machine and don’t win anything at all. His suggestion is to quit playing any slot machine where you get seven naked pulls in a row.
Here’s the problem with that advice:
It has nothing to do with the probabilities of winning or losing.
You can easily lose seven times in a row on a slot machine game and then have a winning spin.
But that’s not because the game has become “due.”
It’s just because every single spin of the reels is an independent event.
You could also see a situation where you lose seven spins in a row, then lose seven more spins in a row, then win seven spins in a row.
It’s more likely that you’ll see mixed results throughout your playing session, but none of that has any effect on the probability of winning.
None of that provides a clue about whether a slot machine is about to hit.
Does the Zig Zag Method Identify Slots That Are About to Hit?
A few years ago, the big slot machine strategy was the so-called “zig-zag” method.
Here’s how that worked:
When you look at the front of a slot machine, you see the three symbols across the payline.
But you also see the symbols above and below the payline.
Sometimes winning symbols will appear in various places on the lines above and below the payline.
This has a kind of simplicity about it that’s attractive.
But it has no bearing on the outcomes of the next spin.
Modern slot machine outcomes are determined by a computer program called a random number generator. The symbols are really just for show. Every combination of slot machine symbols corresponds to a number.
The random number generator program cycles through these numbers at a rate of thousands of times per second. When you pull the lever or hit the spin button, the machine shows the symbols and pays off based on whatever number it stopped on.
And don’t make the mistake of thinking that there’s some kind of predictive pattern to the cycling of the numbers. The computer program isn’t going through those numbers at a rate of one per second or 120 per minute or anything like that.
It’s running through thousands of numbers per second.
You have no way of timing that.
Can I Use My Intuition to Predict When a Machine Is About to Hit?
I know there are many superstitious gamblers, but there’s no scientific evidence to support these beliefs. In the absence of evidence to the contrary, I’m going to suggest that people can’t predict the future.
Recently, James Randi died. I bring that up because he was a famous skeptic who was formerly a stage magician. He specialized in debunking dubious claims from mediums and psychics.
He launched a foundation, the James Randi Educational Foundation. For decades, they offered $1 million to anyone who can demonstrate any kind of paranormal psychic abilities in a controlled, scientific setting.
If you want some entertaining reading, spend some time reading about how cold reading works. That will give you some insight into the world of psychics and mediums.
I have a friend who believes that he has psychic powers. He is, admittedly, one of the better cold readers I know. He’s convinced himself that he really does have special powers.
I’m not sure if he thinks he can predict which slot machine is going to hit or not, but I bet he would make a guess.
And, due to the random nature of such machines, he would occasionally be right.
But he wouldn’t be right about it any more often than you or I.
This Is Starting to Sound Hopeless
Well, yeah – it is hopeless. This may not be what most slots gamblers want to hear but there’s no getting around it.
You can’t even make an educated guess.
Anyone telling you otherwise is delusional or trying to sell you something. Either way, you should stay away from such claims.
Life is hard enough when you live here in reality with the rest of us. When you start living in a fantasy land in your mind where you can predict the outcomes of a slot machine, you make life even harder for yourself.
How can you tell if a slot machine is about to hit? Believing this is possible is one of the biggest mistakes gamblers can make.
You can’t, It’s that simple.
Any other conclusion is just wishful thinking. I’m surprised at how many people delude themselves with wishful thinking, but it happens all day, every day.
When it comes to slot machines, pick any machine you like, put your money in, and cross your fingers. You might get lucky.
But it won’t be because you had any insight about whether the game was due.
It’ll just be dumb luck.