How Video Slots Work

Random Numbers

There are many myths and misconceptions when it comes to how video slots work. In fact we would go as far as to say they are in fact the most misunderstood of all of the casino games. In this section we present you with the facts and dispel the fiction.

Please note that the odds calculations below are just examples and in no way relate to a specific brand or machine. They are listed purely to illustrate the idea of how the odds are calculated.


The first point to note is that all slot machines including video slots are a pure game of chance. There is nothing that you as a player can do to alter the outcome. The games are run by computer programs which ensure that over time the casino will always win. Of course over the short term you may win or lose.

There is so much misinformation regarding how they work that we deiced to give you the inside scoop straight from the inside of a major slot manufacturer. We hope that after reading this you have a better understanding of video slots.

How the Combinations are Decided

When you press the spin button the machine shows all the reels spinning, in reality the outcome has already been decided. The stop position and resulting symbols for each reel is randomly decided by the random number generator independently from the others. Once the reels stop spinning you can see the result, either a win or a loss.

How the Odds Work

Video slot machines can have anywhere from 20 to 100's of symbols on each virtual reel. Of course the higher paying symbols will appear less than the lower paying ones.

For example if we have a game with 40 stops per reel and the jackpot symbol occurs only once per reel then the odds of hitting the highest prize is 1 in 102.4M.

As with most video slots you can play more than one line at a time so the example above would be 1 in 5,120,000 if you were playing 20 lines at once.

Through extensive mathematical testing the slot machine manufacturers can see how their reel placement will control the overall pay out percentage of the game.

About Random Outcomes

Every spin you make on a video slot is in no way related or effected by the last. Each spin has exactly the same odds of winning.

It is quite possible although unlikely that you could hit the top jackpot two spins in a row. For this reason it does not matter if you play a game that has just paid out or a game that has not paid out for a week.

Another point worth noting is that the symbols positions on the virtual reels never change. They a permanently placed to ensure the correct payout percentage.

There are a lot of systems for sale that claim to be able to beat slot machines. They are all useless, there is no way to predict or beat a randomly generated outcome.

Comparison of 3 Reel and 5 Reel Slots

Three reel and five reel slots are quite different in several aspects. The most obvious is the difference in reel numbers and the spinning reel versus video screen format. Other major features that are different include the number of lines and the reel weighting.

Video slots do not need to use reel or symbol weighting as the odds can be determined by the amount of symbols on the reels. Three reel slots have a limited number of symbols per reel so they have to have weighted reels to have any chance of working for the casinos.

It is a very common misconception that spinning three reel slots have much better odds that video slots. This would be true if the reels were not weighted. In reality the odds are very close to the same when you compare a wide selection of games. In the end it really comes down to what entertains you the most. In our opinion video slot machines win this hands down.

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