May 15th 2007
The world of slot machines is riddled with falsehoods. This isn't surprising, as many people have tried to take a piece of the gambling industry's pie by appealing to the part of every human who wants to beat the casino. Other slot machine myths have sprung up of their own accord, some based on false logic, others on no logic at all.

The first of our slot machine myths is the concept that slots run in pay and take cycles. The fact of the matter is modern slot machines run off of random number generators which take seed values from variables presented at the time of the spin. This means that the nanosecond upon which you pull the arm or hit the spin button, some very large pseudo-random numbers are drawn from the number generator, translated, and mapped to slot reel positions. This is what determines the position of the reels, not a cycle or position within a non-random set of occurrences.

Another of the common slot machine myths is the idea that you have any control over anything at all. I had to state that generally after I heard someone say if you deposit heated coins in a machine it can change the way it sets its reels... that one made me laugh, and then sit still in despair while I thought about anyone who might actually believe it. It's a myth, let it go, and go cool your pockets down Casanova.

It's also a common occurrence among slot machine myths to think a machine you've walked away from, which hits a jackpot a few minutes later, would have been paying you off had you stayed. We can identify this is a falsehood based on what we know about how slot machines and how they work. The reel positioning is determined by random numbers generated at the time of the arm pull or button press, it has nothing to do with being the '745th spin since the last jackpot or anything so simple.

Slot machine myths of a more technical nature need be dispelled too. It's wrong to think that a slot machine can stop on any possible set of symbols with equal probability. The truth is that as the random numbers are mapped into positions, certain positions are weighted by the machine so that they are more likely to occur than others. Modern slot machines simply weigh the probability of a specific outcome such that jackpots are hit a specific percentage of the time; hence, predefined payout rates.

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