# The Odds of Winning on a Slot Machine

It’s possible that you’ve played a slot machine and noticed that you don’t always win. In this article, we’ll explain the odds of winning on different pay tables and look at the “near miss” scenario. We’ll also look at the changes in slot machine odds since 2008. And last but not least, we’ll cover how to avoid the dreaded near-miss scenario.

## Probabilities of winning on each pay table on a slot machine

Several factors determine the probability of winning on a slot machine. Generally, a game with a pay table that pays out 12% of all bets will have a winner once every eight or nine spins. However, there is always a chance that the machine will lose more often than it wins. If you play for a long period of time, you’ll experience streaks of losses. Nonetheless, there are some tips that can help you make the most of each win.

The first thing to remember is that slot machine odds are based on math, just like any other game. The main difference is that slot machines have thousands of possible combinations on each pay table, so their mathematical calculation is more complicated than that of table games. Early three-reel slots, for example, had ten symbols per reel, so there were 1,000 combinations possible.

## Changes in slot machine odds since 2008

Slot machines have changed a lot since they first hit the casino floor. They’ve gone from a single symbol to 22 symbols, allowing for 10,648 possible combinations. But this has also limited the jackpot sizes. As the number of symbols increased, casinos incorporated electronics into their machines and programmed them to weigh the symbols based on how frequently they appeared on the reel. As a result, the odds that a player would lose a symbol became disproportionate to the frequency of that symbol on a physical reel. Some symbols would appear only once on a player’s reel while others would occupy multiple stops on multiple reels.

## Problems with “near-miss” scenario on a slot machine

Near-misses are common in games of chance, including slots. Just like in basketball, a close call can lead to a win or a loss. The same reasoning applies in slot machines. Near-misses are an opportunity to learn. Modern slot machines contain a pseudo-random number generator that cycles through 4.3 billion distinct values in a continuous process, at a rate of 1000 values per second. These values are correlated with reel positions. Practice does not improve these systems, but the visual aspect of near-miss can be used to exploit learning processes.

Earlier research has also examined the near-miss situation in slot machines. Researchers Grote and Strickland have conducted experiments that demonstrate that players’ behavior increases after near-miss stimuli. They concluded that near-misses increase the likelihood of winning, but did not find a causal connection between near-miss stimuli and winning outcomes.