Slot Machine Algorithm: Full guide

The Slot Machine Algorithm: What’s Happening Behind the Reels?

If we lifted the lid on a slot machine, what would we find? If we looked closely, we’d see the mechanics—real or digital—but what if we zoomed in closer? What does the actual algorithm look like?

Enough with the questions; let’s get some answers!

To examine this topic, you need to understand the basics of Random Number Generation (RNG). This is what underpins everything, so let’s take a wander through the interesting world of the algorithms that underpin all our favourite online slot games and take a good look around!

Random Number Generation (RNG)

It’s no secret that online slot machines are working on an algorithm. In today’s society, we see this taking place in almost everything we do. The music we listen to and the news we receive is all being fed to us through an equation, and pokie games work the same way.

There is a lightning-fast, highly sophisticated process that takes place every time you hit the Spin Button. You might not be able to see it or hear it, but it’s most certainly happening. It works to determine the outcome of each spin and make sure the result is unpredictable, random, and fair. Without this, how would you know you’re not just hoping that you even have a remote chance of winning?

Reels, Symbols, and Paylines

A Random Number Generator needs input before it will be able to carry out its work. All components of an online slot machine help it do its job. This includes the reels, which are the vertical rows or columns that house the various game symbols. Speaking of symbols, these are the icons that spin when the reels are set in motion.

Typically, you’d be looking to land matching combinations to receive the corresponding payout. However, to achieve a win, you’d need these matching symbols to fall across a payline or win way. This is a marked-out line that moves across the reels and forms a pattern. All of these moving pieces are considered as the RNG does its work of delivering a fair and random result.

Pseudo Randomness vs. True Randomness

It’s hard to talk about the process of slot machine algorithms without looking at the distinction between pseudo randomness and true randomness. It’s really important to show the difference and understand how it’s being approached. Essentially, an RNG within an online pokie game is not creating a truly random result. This is because algorithms are not capable of this due to their deterministic processes. However, what they can do is learn to mimic the type of results you would get from a true random process. In this way, it’s still possible for online slot games to generate fair – and more importantly – unpredictable results for their players.

Components of Slot Machine Algorithms

Symbol mapping and weighting are ways creators can impact probabilities. If very high-paying symbols landed at the same frequency as very low-paying symbols, the unpredictability would be taken out of it and it would feel far less engaging. There is almost a type of storytelling that comes along with each different game, and if the crescendo of the story happens at the start, it will impact the game’s ability to feel interesting. Therefore, the algorithm in an online slot game will balance the results to create a more unpredictable process.

Payable Design and Variability

The way in which an online pokie game’s paytable is structured is also the job of the algorithm. It’s crafted to dictate two “v” words: variability and volatility. The more volatile a game is, the more likely you are to pick up winning variations that depend on player preference. The question is: how often do you want low-paying wins, medium-paying wins, and high-paying wins? All of this falls into the game's DNA.

How are Bonus Features Integrated?

Have you heard of free spins, rolling reels, multipliers or exploding wilds? These are all typical bonus features you might find in an online slot game. In the same way an algorithm affects the chances of a win or which type of win is landed, it also affects how often and which bonus features are triggered during the game. It’s usually aiming to release these at opportune moments in a way that feels fresh for the player.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Is there an algorithm to winning slot machines?

The job of the Random Number Generator (RNG) in each online pokie game is to make the results of every spin as unpredictable as possible. Slot outcomes are designed to be random and fair. When faced with theories about potential ways to trick the system, refer back to what you know about how Random Number Generation works and keep in mind it is not possible to influence the outcome.

Are slots 100% random?

The question of whether slot machines are 100% random requires an understanding of the difference between true randomness and pseudo randomness. Truly random results are not possible via an RNG in the way most slots generate randomness. However, RNGs can mimic true randomness in order to ensure slot games are fair and unpredictable.

What is the algorithm behind slots?

Inside most online pokie games, you will find some form of Random Number Generation, or RNG. This creates a random sequence of numbers to inform the result of the spin. Algorithms also play a role in informing the deployment of bonus features and symbols to give the game an appropriate sense of entertainment.

Can slots be predicted?

You cannot predict any result generated from an RNG. The RNG algorithm mimics true randomness, making your ability to predict the result of any such spin nearly impossible. Some people claim to have ways to predict how a spin will play out, but these are largely based on misconceptions. It would be smart to think about how any suggested tip or trick could be effective when you know how the RNG works entirely against the chances of situations like this occurring.

Is there a trick to hitting on slot machines?

The only trick that could marginally be labelled as effective would be choosing slot games that have more favourable odds than others. Due to the randomness generated by the RNG in most online pokie games, tricks and tips cannot be effective. Spins would need to randomly land perfectly for you to have any chance of feeling like a trick was possible, and even then, the chances of it working a second time are extremely low.

What slot machines hit most often?

The frequency with which a slot machine hits is directly related to its volatility level. This means slots with low volatility will hit more often with lower-paying prizes, while games with higher volatility will hit less often but with more significant rewards. This can be a good way to select your pokie choices if you are hoping to win more often. However, you will be targeting lower-paying prizes as a result.

What is the success rate of slot machines?

To understand the success rate of a slot machine, you’ll need to look at the RTP (Return to Player). Keep in mind that these numbers, which usually sit between 85% and 98%, are measured over a very long period of time, and will have very little bearing on the immediate results you will experience in any short-term use of the game.

What triggers a slot machine to win?

Although landing matching symbols across one of the game’s predetermined win ways is why a slot will deliver a win, it’s actually a result of the RNG. The Random Number Generation algorithm inside the slot will have reached that result and therefore caused the win to play out in the game.

Will a slot machine hit twice in a row?

Although it is technically possible for a slot machine to land the same result twice in a row, the chances of this actually playing out are incredibly slim. It’s important to understand that every spin of an RNG slot machine is completely separate from the last or any previous spin. It would be exceptionally unusual if this were to occur.

What time of day is best for playing slot machines?

The results of an RNG slot machine are not affected by external factors such as time of day or any previous results. The algorithm is specifically designed to mimic true randomness, so using any kind of hunch or trick can’t impact the results.