Slots and the Random Number Generator

Picture this: You've been playing slots for hours and hours and then, just when you quit, someone else who takes your place wins the jackpot. You want to kick yourself and you say over and over, "If only I'd kept playing at that slot, I would've won the jackpot!"

If that ever happens to you, you'll think you're very unlucky. But the amazing truth is, ALL slots players miss jackpots ALL the time! Surprised? Don't be. We'll explain why. It's all in how slots work.

The Random Number Generator

You've probably heard of this, but do you really know what an RNG is and how it works? A random number generator is a computer chip installed in every modern slot machine and similar games (video poker, video blackjack, video keno, etc.). This chip has a record of numbers in it which correspond to the symbols on the machine's reels. From these numbers, it generates a series of numbers at every moment even when the slot machine is not in use. Now when someone makes the slot machine spin, the prevailing series in the RNG at that exact moment is "captured" - that is, the information is taken from the RNG to the reels. The reels then spin and stop at the symbols represented by the numbers in the series.

This should tell you several things about slots. First and foremost, jackpots can happen anytime and they do occur all the time! As you look around, examine the slots, drop coins in and press the button or turn the lever, you already miss several jackpots. Every time you make the slots spin you could be missing a jackpot by a millisecond. It happens all the time. Remember: the RNG-generated series of numbers that prevail at the very moment you press the button becomes the result; the spinning of the reels is just courtesy to you. So if someone else hits the jackpot on the machine you've been playing, don't feel bad. If you'd stayed on, you'd have had to press the button at the exact billionth of a second to hit the jackpot yourself.

The RNG mechanism should also tell you that slots are never "getting ready to pay" as many think. That just doesn't happen, at least not with the new slots that have RNG in them. It is true that slots have payout percentages that they must follow. But these are made possible by the odds built into the numbers in the RNG. Some symbols are more likely to be chosen than others since the numbers are "weighed" unequally. This is why lower paying symbols get on the payline more often than the higher ones. But - and here is the key - in the long term, the RNG will draw just the kinds of numbers that will cause the slots to pay out in the required percentage. Don't worry how they do it - gaming regulatory boards make sure of it.

Finally, the RNG should tell you that slots are NOT rigged. Why? Well, simple stupid. They don't have to be. The odds are stacked up so much against you that it just makes no sense for casinos to bother cheating you!

So with that, relax and don't take your slots too seriously. The jackpot may come but remember it is there all the time. It's really just a matter of luck who hits it and when. In the meantime, enjoy the slots!