How To Use Probability When Hitting the Slot Machines?

 December 30, 2021

By  BC Editorial Team

As we know, slot machines earned their nefarious reputation for a reason. To the uninitiated, slots seem just as simple in their operating characteristics as they look. However, the reality couldn’t be more different. What initially looks like a simple mechanic turns out to be an ingenious application of the randomly generated numbers (RNG) to create the outcomes we see on the screen. That randomness is often the biggest cause of slot losses.

However, you’d be pleased to know that RNG mechanics are mostly limited to lower-quality online slots. The traditional ones still largely use a set of wheels programmed to pay out if they position themselves in a correct combination. That means you can use probability to discern at least some of the slot’s secrets.

All you need to do is follow a few basic steps, including determining the number of slots, calculating the overall number of possible combinations, finding the number of winning combinations, and determining the payout percentage. The best part is that you can apply some of these steps in OLG Slots online games too. Follow these tips and use your newfound knowledge to beat the odds!

Identify the Number of Slots

The first thing you need to do is find out how many slots the slot machine in question has. That’s not as easy as it seems because there’s no way to tell just by looking at the reels. The best way to figure it out is to look up a technical data sheet on the manufacturer’s site. They usually list the pertinent information on their products. It’s very likely that the number of reels will be stated there.

If you can’t find one, try to ask around on various forums or websites. Chances are you’re not the first person to try this approach, and someone with more experience than you has already uploaded the slot blueprints, or at the very least, has a private copy in their possession.  Once you get the plans and find the number of wheels, it’s time to enact the next step.

Calculate the Possible Combinations

You’ll need to know the number of wheels in order to understand how many possible combinations a slot machine can produce. The number of possible combinations equals the number of symbols each wheel has multiplied by the number of wheels. In simpler terms, if your preferred slot has a set of 3 wheels and each one contains 6 symbols on them, then 6 x 6 x 6 equals 216 possible combinations. If you’re dealing with a five-wheeler with 7 symbols, then the number would be 16807 (7x7x7x7x7), and so on.

Find the Number of Winning Combinations

Now that you know how many possible combinations a slot machine can produce, it’s time to find out how many of them are winning ones. To find out, you need first to determine what kind of combinations result in a payout. For the purposes of this argument, let’s assume once again our machine has 3 wheels with 6 symbols. Through trial and error, you find out that the winning combinations are 3 jokers, 3  exact symbols, 2 jokers, or 1 joker – the amount paid out depends on which winning combination has been generated. Through a bit of simplistic math, we can then deduce that the maximum number of all winning combinations equals 96.

Determine the Payout Percentage

If you’ve made it this far and haven’t fallen asleep, then congratulations – you’re almost done! Now that you know the winning combinations and how many of them there are altogether, you can find out the payout percentage. To do that, divide the amount you get back after hitting the winning combination by the total possible winnings.

For example, if you played one slot machine ten times, betting $20 per spin and got your $200 back, that would mean the return to player ratio is 100%. In reality, however, no slot machine has such high RTP, so we need to decrease the amount paid out by a bit to account for the house edge. We can do that by multiplying it by the payout percentage at which our preferred machine operates. If it, for instance, has a payout percentage of 97%, then $200 would be multiplied by 0.97 to result in an actual payout of about $195.


The above steps may seem like unnecessary trouble, but they can prove quite helpful if you’re planning to use slot machines as your personal source of income. Even if you’re not going to play them for money, it can be quite enjoyable to try and predict the results even before you hit the spin button. So, next time you see a slot machine, don’t forget to follow the above steps and use probability to predict whether your chosen machine is worth both your time and money! Good luck!

BC Editorial Team


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