Using Probability When Hitting the Slot Machines

Using Probability When Hitting the Slot Machines

Unfortunately, reeled machines are not like poker, so math and counting is not the key to big wins. Video slots are games of chance, and the majority of them use RNG (random number generator) engine and algorithms that produce outcomes of spins.

Thus, the majority of factors that influence the wins a player can get in a slot machine are out of a player’s control. Nonetheless, there are some calculations and basic parameters that can be taken into consideration to increase the probability of hitting a win in a reeled machine.

#1 Analyze Technical Characteristics of a Selected Game

When a player decides to play a slot, he or she should make a small analysis to understand the grid and its structure. The number of reels and paylines, as well as the number of symbols, are important and they influence the hit probability. Moreover, this information can be used to calculate the chances for a payout.

#2 Calculate Possible Combinations

There is a formula that helps to calculate the percentage of payouts of a certain slot. Take the number of reels and the number of symbols that may appear on one reel to find out the number of possible combinations.

E.g. a three-reeled machine with six different symbols has 216 combinations (6x6x6). Five-reeled games with seven symbols have 16,807 combinations (7x7x7x7x7).

Once the number of combinations is determined, it is important to find out how many of them are winning ones and get a percentage of hit frequency.

E.g. a slot with three reels and 6 symbols that create payouts with three jokers, three identical symbols, two jokers, and one joker have 96 winning combinations. The size of a win depends on the exact combination though.

To find out the percentage of hit frequency divide the number of winning combinations by the number of all combinations. E.g. 96/216 = 44.444%. This means that less than half of all spins can result in a win.

Certain software providers indicate the hit frequency in technical info, so there is no need to do such calculations if their games are selected. Nonetheless, the majority of slots do not give players this information, so a user should do the math on their own.

Outcome: the higher the hit frequency is the better chances of getting a winning combination are.

#3 Pay Attention to the RTP and Volatility

On top of hit frequency, there are two more essential parameters – RTP and volatility.

RTP is a theoretical return to a player. The RTP percentage shows the amount of wagered money that is going to be returned to a player. E.g. if a slot has the RTP of 96%, it means that $96 out of wagered $100 is going to be paid back to a player.

Volatility can be low, low-medium, medium, medium-high, and high. Low volatility means that payouts are given quite often, but their size is usually small. On the contrary, high volatility offers big payouts, but winning combinations are not that common.


Despite being games of chance, a careful analysis of the abovementioned parameters can allow players to pick a slot that can give them good chances of getting payouts and understand the probability of hitting a winning combination on spins.