Slot machines have existed for more than 100 years and they generate as much as 70% of casino income. The basics of the game don’t generally change, but the technology has evolved a lot.
The old versions used reels that would actually spin after you pulled the handle, and the numbers painted on them gave the result.
Right now in every slot machine there’s a microcomputer called Random Number Generator (RNG). It constantly generates numbers ranging from 1 to several billion, hundreds of times per second, whether the machine is in use or not.
These numbers determine what the reels are going to show. When you spin by pushing the button or pulling the handle, you ask RNG to give the newest numbers it has generated.
If someone plays on the same machine after you and wins a lot of money, it doesn’t mean that you would have won it if you had stayed there. The generated numbers only apply to this specific moment.
You cannot predict when the machine will hit the jackpot – it can go days without doing it or hit it multiple times in a very short time. Playing faster doesn’t increase your chances.
In a three-reel slot with 10 symbols and 2 blank spaces between them, there are 30 different positions of each reel. That means 30 to the power of 3, which equals 27,000, possible outcomes.
1 in 27,000 is your chance of winning a jackpot. RNG generates number so often that it hits the combination frequently, but the chances of spinning right at that moment are low.
Playing on slot machines with lower hit frequency and higher payback percentage is slightly more beneficial.