Understanding how slots work is vital, whether or not it is your first time playing these casino games. Upon launch, a slot will present an attractive interface designed to make playing straightforward for new and seasoned punters alike. However, beneath the colourful thematic, storylines, and soundtracks, there’s a lot of code that goes into fulfilling any online slot, however simple it may seem.
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Slots and Random Number Generators
Random number generators (RNGs) are at the core of online slot games. These are sophisticated codes and algorithms programmed to provide pure random numbers. Randomness is perhaps the most important aspect of slot games, and most gambling agencies have laws that require providers to develop games with random generators. This provides players with a fair chance of winning and prevents casinos from reverse-engineering the software in their favour.
When a player bets on a slot and clicks the spin button, the RNGs go to work, scrambling numbers and combinations from the existing range. Keeping slots results random gives both players and the casino a fair chance of profiting. Many independent auditors test slot games for fair results. Popular labs include eCommerce and Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance (eCOGRA) and iTech Labs, so players should look for fair play certificates from such organizations.
Randomness eliminates the chances of a casino fixing their games, so a player could potentially spin a combination resulting in life-changing wins. There’s no telling if you’ll profit from your first consecutive attempts or play several attempts without making it to the paytable. Also, game providers and host casinos have no way to determine when a player will strike a winning combo or how much they’ll get paid. Note that some sites don’t have fair play certificates, so it is crucial to review all offers to avoid such red flags.
Slot RTP (Return to Player)
Most slots are marketed based on their return to player percentages and come with RTPs ranging from 75% to 99%. The return to player percentage is a vital aspect of review when playing real money slots. More importantly, you should understand its meaning and relevance. As the name suggests, RTP is the return you’ll get from your bet. It is an average payout calculated over thousands, even millions of plays. Note that the RTP never gets to 100% because the difference represents casino house-edge/profit.
For instance, a popular slot like Starburst from NetEnt comes with an RTP of 96.09%. Theoretically, this means you’ll get £96.09 back if you bet £100, and the casino will walk away with £3.91. While it might seem like the game is already rigged, you should remember that the RTP is calculated over thousands of games. A player can spin life-changing wins from any game, regardless of the average RTP. Microgaming’s Mega Moolah progressive jackpot slot is one example that shows RTP is nothing more than marketing.
Despite its 93% RTP, which is considerably lower than most noteworthy titles, players have bagged millions in cash prizes. You can go on a losing streak on a 99% RTP slot and win consecutive times playing a game with 80% RTP. Still, it is advisable to choose high RTP slots because they feature a smaller house edge. This means the losing streaks are shorter, and you have a better chance of spinning a win now and then. Overall, if you play slots consistently, you’ll lose to the casino, but you can also spin massive payouts, which provides the needed balance.
Slot and Variance
Slots are often classified based on variance. Also known as volatility, variance is used to measure how often a slot game will result in a winning combination, and in turn, its average payout. You can find high-variance slots, medium-variance slots, low-variance slots, and a few that fall in between the three categories. Low-variance slots offer slow, simple gameplay with few variables (reels, symbols, paylines, etc.).
Most offer frequent hits, but the payouts are lower. Conversely, high-variance slots play faster and have more variables. They offer a slimmer chance of winning but tend to offer huge payouts, which coax punters into playing them. Below are key takeaways about slot variance:
- High Variance Slots have rare win frequency and big win size (high risk, high reward)
- Low Variance Slots have often hits and small wins (low risk, low reward)
- Medium Variance Slots have average hits and wins (average risk and reward)
There are various other things you should learn about slot games and how they work. Active paylines, number of symbols, reel design and arrangement, and betting limits all affect the likelihood of winning. However, RNGs, RTPs, and variance are the three foundations of online slot games.