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Is a Slot Machine Ever Hot, Cold or Due to Pay Out?

Every slot player needs to know the truth about "hot" and "cold" slots. Some players will stay on a machine thinking it is "due" to pay since it has been cold for a while. But how sound is this strategy?

If you are like most players, you have no doubt been in this situation: You have been playing a slot machine for a while and winning; then the slot seems to turn cold and stops paying out. But you keep playing since the slot must be "due" to pay anytime. You feel the slot "owes" you and must pay you sooner or later after all the beating you've taken.

That is how average slot players think. After all, is not a slot machine programmed to give back a specific percentage of the wagers put into it? How else can it do this but by keeping track of wins and losses and paying out at the right time to keep the balance?

The answer is that the slot machine doesn't have to keep track of wins/losses to be able to give the required payback percentage. The odds that give a slot the desired payback rate is already programmed into a computer chip inside it. This chip is what decides where the reels stop at on each spin. Nothing in the chip tells it *when* to pay. All it has are the unequal numbers of symbols on the reels. From these various symbol combinations are made during random selection. Most of the results are in favor of the casino (i.e. non-paying or low-paying) and a few are in favor of the player (jackpot, high-paying). Since the numbers in favor of the casino are more numerous, they will appear more often in spins. You will always lose more often than you win. But that's in the long term; in the short term, anything can happen. You can win big or you can lose. In the long run, all players will collectively receive whatever is the payback percentage of that particular machine, say 92%.

The long term factor works like this: Imagine you are in a contest with a hundred boxes to choose from. Three of the boxes have cash prizes in them; the rest are empty. You may get lucky and pick one of the winning boxes. But since the probability is 3 out of 100, you know that most players will make the wrong choice and lose. You also know that the fact you won doesn't change the probability of someone else winning or losing.

So slots do *not* follow some kind of payback "schedule" to fulfill this obligation. It doesn't have to. Each spin already has the payback percentage odds built into it and in the long run that payback rate will apply regardless of what may happen on an individual spin.

What this means to the player is that there is no such thing as a "hot" or "cold" slot machine. Each spin is totally independent of other spins and the odds are the same each time. If you hit twenty losing spins in a row, the chances of hitting the same kind of result are the same as if you were winning. Above all, a slot machine is not bound to pay you simply because you have been losing to it.

The safest way to deal with the seeming "coldness" of slots is to stop playing when you're losing. Don't worry about missing out on a chance to win if you do. Your odds of winning tomorrow will be the same as they are today.