Calculating Slot Symbol Wins

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Jimmy Wednesday, March 14, 2018

How Do Slot Machines Pay Out Symbol Combinations?

For those that love to play slots most of what we write here will be common knowledge. This article is more for those that are interested in playing slots but do not know how exactly how slots are able to figure out winning combinations. You will see that we are building an extensive slot reviews section and each of these reviews is separated into sections, so you understand the features of each slot.

In this article we will explain to you how each of the slots that acwe review calculate winning combinations as part of library that we are building to explain exactly how each feature of a slot machine works. This is number 1 on our list because of course we all need to understand how slot machines calculate wins.

How do Slots Pay Out Symbol Combinations?

The majority of slots use reel 1 for the very first symbol in a combination. That means the start of any symbol combination MUST begin on reel 1. Each symbol must then run on consecutive reels adjacent to reel 1.

Winning Symbol Combination Rules

  1. Symbols combinations must start on reel 1
  2. Symbol combinations must be on adjacent reels

For example, let’s say we have a cherry symbol. The cherry symbol pays out for 2, 3, 4 or 5 symbols on a pay line.

  • 2 Symbol Combination: Reel 1: Cherry Reel 2: Cherry
  • 3 Symbol Combination: Reel 1: Cherry Reel 2: Cherry, Reel 3: Cherry
  • 4 Symbol Combination: Reel 1: Cherry Reel 2: Cherry, Reel 3: Cherry, Reel 4: Cherry
  • 5 Symbol Combination: Reel 1: Cherry Reel 2: Cherry, Reel 3: Cherry Reel 4: Cherry, Reel 5: Cherry

As you can see, the combinations run consecutively on adjacent reel from reel 1 to reel 5 and they are all adjacent to each other.

  • Here is another example of a 2-symbol combination:
  • Reel 1: Cherry Reel 2: Cherry, Reel 3; Bell, Reel 4: Cherry, Reel 5; Cherry

Notice that in this example on Reel 3 there is a ‘Bell symbol’ – this symbol prevents you from landing the 5-symbol combination because the Bell symbol breaks up the Cherry symbols on reels, 1, 2, 4 and 5. This is how all slots calculate combination wins.

  • 243 and 1024 Ways to Win No-Payline Slots

Even 243-ways and 2024-ways to win non-pay-line slots use the same principle using reel 1 as the start of a combination. The only difference is there are no pay-lines, so symbols can land in any position on the reels. If they on adjacent reels, this counts as a win.

How do slots fairly calculate results?

This is a great question because slots can be misunderstood as fixed. In a way they are fixed to win because if they were not, then the casino would not make any money. This is not to say the results are fixed because they are not. It is the way the slot is designed using mathematical equations that makes sure the house has the edge.

Blackjack, Roulette, Craps, Baccarat and all these styles of game have all been designed in the same way. The casino has the edge over the player, but the player still has a fighting chance to win despite the house edge.

Slots have been designed in exactly the same way. The number of symbols on the reels, scatters, wild symbols and other features are perfect for the slot operator to make sure the house has the edge over the play.

What is calculated to give the house the edge on a slot?

  • Number of symbols on the reels
  • Number features on the reels

If there are 20 bell symbols, but 30 cherry symbols, then more Cherry symbols will pay out. But because there are different numbers of each, this means there are 50 symbols on the reels. The more symbols on the reels, the less percentage chance there is of these symbols connecting into combinations. This is how the house gains its edge – very cleverly designed!

Random Number Generators

Even though the house the edge, every spin is random. This means a slot machine can have upswings and downswings. It is not uncommon for a slot to make a loss in 1 month and make a huge profit the next month. It is all based on probability and variation.

  • Probability
  • Variation

If the slot has a 4% House Edge, maybe in January it makes a loss of 8%. This is because the results on the reels are made random using a random number generator (RNG). Exactly the same could happen to a Blackjack table or a Roulette table of the course of a month despite the house edge being in favour of the casino.

Nonetheless, probability will eventually even out on the slot and the next 3 months it can make an 8% profit and the month after break even. This fluctuation is variance in probability – the variation of upswings and downswings in results.

It is the same as when you roll dice. The number 6 may come up 3 times in a row, but then you do not see 6 again for another 30 rolls. Random Number generators for slots work on exactly the same principle. They are long strings of unbreakable code that are encrypted and so complex that it would take years even for the most advanced code breaking technology to break. Even if a hacker was to break this code, it would be too late because the casinos change the codes every week or month. In essence, RNGs provide fair and random results on slots; while at the same time they are so well-designed manipulation from inside or outside a casino running the slot is impossible.

Return To Player

Return to Player is also seen abbreviated as RTP. This is basically the house edge written in the opposite way. For instance, the house edge is 4% so the RTP of the slot is 95%.

Happy slots gaming!