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How Do Online Slot Games Calculate Odds?

Online slot games are a relatively simple, fun way to pass the time.  While it appears that it’s all about pushing a button and waiting for a random outcome, there are ways you can gain an edge.  Having a solid understanding of how online slot game’s odds are calculated can help you have a better chance of winning.

There are odds of winning top prizes, different ways winning combinations are paid, and payout percentages on certain outcomes.  If you’re playing in a casino online, payouts directly correlate to the number of reels on the game and the number of symbols on each reel.

How to calculate odds in online casino slots

It’s simultaneously very easy and very hard to calculate the number of possible combinations for a slot game.  How many combinations there are depends on the number of reels and the number of symbols on each reel.

Let’s look at some examples.  If a slot machine has three reels and six symbols on each one, the total number of combinations is 6x6x6 = 216.  For the same three-reel game with 20 symbols, the number of combinations is 20x20x20 = 8000.  If this given slot offers payouts when the cherry symbol lands on the pay line, your odds of winning on any particular spin are 1/20 x 1/20 x 1/20, which gives you a probability of 1 in 4000.

Things to keep in mind about casino odds

The house always wins

Every online slot game you play will have a “house edge.” This means the game has an advantage.  The higher the house edge, the lower your chances of winning.

Betting odds are the likelihood of an event happen

Betting odds are simply another term for probability.  If your odds for a game are 2/1, you win an average of $2 for every $1 you bet.

The odds are better in short-term play

Players who play short-term have better winning odds than players who play long-term.  The goal is to minimize your overall betting amount and allow the variation in slot spins to work to your advantage.

The grind

Getting stuck in the grind is every gambler’s downfall.  This term essentially refers to the process of repeatedly betting small amounts with the goal of turning a profit. It’s also a good way to go broke.  It can happen with long-term gameplay when you’re certain that the more spins you make on the slot machine, the more likely your odds are of winning.

After all, if your probability of a winning spin is 1 in 20 and it’s your 20th spin, this should be a winner, right?  Wrong.  Your odds of a winning spin are 1 in 20 on each spin and each bet individually.  Those odds do not mean the slot pays out every 20 spins.  That would be too easy.

Payout percentage controls by regulatory bodies

The payout percentages of online casinos are monitored by various regulatory bodies to ensure that they’re not engaging in unfair or illegal practices.  Most large online casinos also have their games regularly audited by third-party organizations to ensure fairness.  With regular auditing, you can easily calculate the house edge on any particular game by looking at the payout percentage for the slot you’re interested in playing.

Is there a way to have better winning odds in online slots?

While it’s possible to calculate the odds and payout percentages for online slot machines by knowing the number of reels and symbols, it’s impossible to change these odds.  There is no mathematical calculation for increasing the frequency of high payouts or winning spins.  But knowing the odds of a certain slot puts you in a better position to profit from your bets on each spin.  The edge you gain from knowing how to do this calculation is in choosing the best slot game to play.

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