Research

When is the Best Time to Play Slot Machines?

Everyone has heard the stories. An eagle-eyed gambler walks into the casino and watches as another player plows money into a slot machine. After emptying their pockets, they leave without winning a thing. The astute gambler then heads over to the slot in question and, within a few minutes, hits the jackpot. Quite simply, he knew the slot machine was about to pay out, and he capitalised on his knowledge to scoop the big bucks.

Author: Editorial Team July 2, 2021

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Unfortunately, that’s not actually the way slot machines work: the best time to play slot machines doesn’t exist. The thing is, a slot machine isn’t programmed in any way to pay out at a specific point. It won’t give out a jackpot every time $20,000 has been wagered, nor will it give out a jackpot if you play at a specific time of the day. It might go against what someone has told you in the past, but slot machines are completely random, and can pay out at any time.

That’s right – a jackpot can come on any spin. It doesn’t matter whether the jackpot paid out on the previous spin, or whether it’s not paid out for six months. Every spin of the reels has exactly the same chance of being a winning one. So, there’s no need to lurk around casinos, spying on other players. Instead, pick a slot and sit down, as there’s nothing you can do to alter the chances of winning the game’s jackpot.

Why Do People Think There’s a Best Time to Play?

One important thing has led to the belief that there’s a best time to play slots and win: confirmation bias. If you are told a story that slots pay out at a certain time, you’re likely to think back to the times you’ve played slots and remember that you actually scooped a big win at a time corresponding with the theory, or that you won the jackpot after watching someone else play for hours.

The thing is, while you recall the wins, you fail to recall all the other times you played at a certain time or after a big spending player and didn’t win, which almost certainly outnumber the winning occurrences. You’re looking for a way to validate the theory, and your previous experiences allow you to do this, even if other experiences go against the theory.

Now you believe the theory, you tell your friends, and through confirmation bias, they also start to believe that it’s correct. They then tell their friends, and the whole theory really starts to get some legs. Before long, everyone has this idea that there’s a best time to go to a casino and win, when in reality, it really doesn’t matter when you choose to play.

It’s also important to acknowledge that there’s an inherent suspicion of casinos, and that also plays into the theory that machines are somehow processed to only pay out once the casino has made its profit. However, there’s nothing a casino can do to change the odds of a slot hitting the jackpot, and this is because each slot uses software called a random number generator (RNG).

What is a Random Number Generator?

A random number generator is a highly complex piece of software used to make sure every spin of the reels is random. We won’t go into specifics regarding exactly how it works (learn more here), but you just need to know that it’s a complex algorithm that creates a sequence of numbers that can’t be predicted, thus ensuring that nobody knows what is going to spin in on the reels next. There’s no way that casino employees could tamper with the RNG of a slot.

RNGs are used in all land-based slot machines, aside from the older machines that work mechanically. They are also used within online slots, and that’s what we’re going to look at next.

Winning On Online Slots

So, when is the best time to play slot machines at a casino online? The answer is exactly the same as land-based slots: there is no best time to play slot machines online. Aside from being virtual, as opposed to physical items, online slots work in exactly the same way as modern land-based slots, utilising the same technology to make every spin random and give every player the same chance.

This is perhaps most important to understand when it comes to progressive jackpot slots. Many people watch the value of the jackpot rise, and think that the higher it gets, the more likely the slot is to pay out. In reality, you’ve got exactly the same chance of winning when the jackpot is $500,000 as you do when it’s $5,000,000.

So, when you’re next in a casino, regardless of whether it’s on the Las Vegas Strip or online, ignore the voice that tells you there’s a best day to win at casino games, and just accept that whenever you play, you’ve got exactly the same chance of winning.