How to Know When a Slot Machine Is Ready to Pay

How to Know When a Slot Machine Is Ready to Pay

You can either play slots for money or fun. Even though the two are often interconnected and winning more often is more fun than losing, this article is more tuned to those who are looking for a way to tell when a slot machine is likely to pay. These kinds of players usually play more for money, than they do for fun, so if you are one of those competitive slot machine players, this article is worth a read or two.

Anticipating when a slot machine is about to payout is hard, but there are some bits and pieces of information we can use to at least increase our chances of not going home with empty pockets. Before we dive into the tips and tricks, we’ll go over some basics of slot games just so you familiarize yourself with the mechanics behind the slot game.

Slot Machine Wins Are Based on Independent Events

All slot games are based on probability and each bet made is an independent event, not correlated in any way to the past or future spin of the slot. That means that just because you’ve lost four times in a row, it doesn’t mean that the fifth one should have an increased chance of winning. You could easily get four losses in a row or four wins in a row. This is in no way connected to the behaviour of the slot machine, but rather to the core concept of the slot game’s design.

Any previous results have no value in gambling, so trying to track your performance based on past events is futile and dangerous. Slot machines have a bit of math to them, but again, this is also not a proven concept of when a machine is due to pay.

For example – if a slot machine has a hit probability of 40%, you should win roughly one out of every four spins. There’s no magic to it, just simple math. Even though there are superstitious gamblers out there, superstitions don’t pay in casinos, luck, probability, and a little bit of precaution might.

But not everything is gloom and doom. While you cannot predict when a slot machine will award you with a win, what we can do is try to maximize the wins that we do get, when we get them. Below, we’ll go over some basic concepts you should learn before playing a slot game.

RTP and Volatility

Always check the RTP and Volatility of slot machines when possible. An RTP rate represents the Return-To-Player rate, which is the return a player can expect after playing a slot for an extended period. Slots with a high RTP rate are those with a rate of 97% to 99.5%. A lot with an RTP rate of 97%, means the slot pays €97 for every €100 wagered. Players usually have the best chance of having a possible edge over the casinos with these slots.

Volatility on the other hand is how often a slot pays out. A low volatility slot means that the slot will award you more often, but with smaller rewards, whereas a high volatility slot will reward you less often, but when that win does come, it’s a bigger reward.

So before playing a slot, try to make sure to choose a slot that fits your expectations of what a good payout means.

On a side note, it is worth noting that slots are extremely diverse and their categorizations depend on their features:

  • Theme
  • RTP and volatility
  • Payline mechanic
  • Reels and rows
  • Bonus features
  • Jackpot
  • Provider

Of course, personal preferences play a huge role and the types of slots depending on the aforementioned features are listed in the table below.

CategoryType of Slots
ThemeWild West, classic slots, futuristic, ocean-themed, Aztec, Ancient Egypt, Nordic, Greek mythology, etc.
Volatility Low, Medium and High
Paylines15, 20, 35 paylines, Megaways, Cluster Pays, Megaquads, Infinity Reels
Reels 5, 6, 7, 8 or more reels
Bonus featuresFree spins, bonus rounds, Buy feature, Wild symbols, etc.
Jackpot Standard and progressive
Provider NetEnt, Yggdrasil, Microgaming, Pragmatic Play, Playson, Play’n GO, Habanero…..

Hot or Cold Streak

Some people like to believe that a slot machine is bound to pay after a long Cold Streak. Others believe that a slot machine should be played when it’s in a Hot Streak and has been giving rewards for a consecutive period.  Many people firmly believe in this theory, but unfortunately, there’s no solid evidence to suggest that this works or has worked in the past.

All slot machines have an RNG system, which means that this random number generator is the only thing responsible for whether a spin is a winner or a loser. While it may make sense, stay away from this strategy because it’s mainly based on false hope.

Zig Zag Strategy

This is another popular superstition amongst slot players. People believe when there are three same symbols lined up in a Zig-Zag pattern above the symbols in the middle the machine is bound to payout. A strategy like this sounds simple enough to be true, but once again, it’s purely based on superstition or false performance tracking.

Just like the Hot or Cold Streak strategy this one also has no solid proof behind it, so it’s best to steer clear of it.

Naked Pull Strategy

This may be the only solid strategy when it comes to slot machines or any other gambling game or scenario for that matter. It’s a popular strategy because it’s been discussed in the book Slots by John Patrick. Naked Pull is based on the idea of setting an upper limit of how many spins you are allowed before you decide to quit the slot.

The strategy suggests that if a slot machine awards nothing after the first seven spins, you should give up and quit. There is value to this strategy that it will save you money, but there’s nothing to suggest that this strategy will help you predict a win in any case. Putting a limit on your spending at a casino is always a good idea anyway, so there’s not much harm to trying out this strategy.


All in all, there’s no way to tell when a slot machine is due to payout. You can try applying some basic math, but it’s very unlikely that it will take you far, as all spins are a random independent event, and no spins or plays are indicative of the possibility of a payout.

By Filip Mishevski

As a person that has been involved in the gambling industry for over 5 years, Filip knows all the tricks and trades of online casinos and casino games. He’s here to provide you with the best content and help you have a fun gaming experience. His specialities include online slots, gambling regulations, casino game strategies, bonuses and promotions and much more.