Slots Odds Explained – House Edge, Win Probability and Payouts

Slots odds represent the chance you have of winning when spinning the reels. Unlike most other casino games, slots probabilities aren’t easy to determine since they rely on many factors. However, knowing how these odds work and what payouts you receive is very important if you want to master online slot games.

Our experts break down the math, present top games, and give you all the information you need. Continue reading to learn all about slots odds.

Slot Machine Odds

How do Online Slots Games Work?

To better understand the odds of winning, we have to take a closer look at the inner workings of online slots games. While it’s very easy to learn how to play slots, since all you have to do is set the bet and spin the reels, understanding the odds is much more difficult.

The basic recipe here is that slot machines have a number of symbols on each reel. These are randomly shuffled around so that when the reels stop spinning, the screen shows a mix of symbols. If the final symbols match and are aligned on active paylines, starting from left to right, you receive a payout.

The slots payouts depend on the symbols that create them. Since some symbols are more common than others, wins with rare symbols pay significantly more. This is why the same game can have small and large payouts throughout the session. Plus, some symbols can also trigger bonus features meant to generate more wins.

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Slots Odds Explained

While the results in slots are random and determined by a random number generator (RNG) within the game, there are some fixed parameters that determine the chance of winning. For example, the number of symbols for each type is fixed. More matching symbols on the reels can result in more frequent wins. Furthermore, the payouts for the combinations are also set.

You can think of it as being similar to roulette odds. In European roulette, there are 37 possible outcomes but only one winning number each round. The payouts are determined based on how many numbers you bet on. In slots, there are generally thousands of possible outcomes, if not even millions, since the symbols can appear very shuffled on the standard 5×3 grid.

Here, we also have to take into account the various bonus features, such as wild symbols, free spins, win multipliers, and other types of rewards that can provide more wins. Not only do we have to determine the slots’ probability of landing a combination, we also have to consider the bonuses and their payouts.

So, the question remains, how do we establish slots odds for online games? Well, developers will put the games to the test and run millions of hand simulations. By keeping track of the results, they can determine the slots’ win percentage. If this needs adjusting, the developer can add or remove symbols, or change the payouts, but only before releasing the game. Once a game’s available online, the casino has no way of changing its mechanics.

When testing, two factors stand out that can affect the slots chance of winning – the RTP and the volatility.

What is the Return to Player (RTP) in Slots?

The return to player rate is the best indicator of the slots’ winning percentage. Please note that this is over an extended period of time and that short-time results can vary greatly. Basically, the RTP is the result of the developer running simulated spins and tracking the results. In most slots, the rate is somewhere between 80% and 95%, but some games can exceed 95%.

The basics of the return to player percentage indicate that if you bet $100 on a game with an RTP of 94%, you’ll win back $94. But again, this is for long-term results since the rate was determined over millions of spins.

The slots’ house edge is basically the difference between 100% and the RTP. So, the game with a 94% payout rate has a house edge of 6%. It doesn’t make it one of the casino games with the best odds, but the chance to win big is present and often represents a major incentive to spin the reels.

What is Slots Volatility?

The level of volatility in a slots game indicates how often and how big the payouts are. While there can be deviations, a low level of volatility will generally provide frequent payouts of a small size relative to the size of the bet. This can be with a hit frequency of around 40-50%, with payouts equal to the bet.

A high volatility results in larger wins but only once in a while. These are often slots with large jackpots or special features with big payouts but they’re rarely triggered.

The volatility level can range quite a bit and some online casinos will highlight it to give players a better idea of how the game pays.

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The Best Slots Odds

With hundreds, and even thousands, of games available at the best slots casinos, it can be difficult to find the options with the best odds. Below are some recommendations from popular developers that are fun to play, easy to find, and provide good probabilities to win.

  • Quest to the West – 97.53% RTP, Medium Volatility
  • PayDirt! – 97.50% RTP, High Volatility
  • Domnitors – 97.31% RTP, Low Volatility
  • Lucky Lady’s Clover – 97.31% RTP, Low Volatility
  • Dim Sum Prize – 97.18% RTP, Medium Volatility
  • The Angler – 97.10% RTP, Medium Volatility
  • Monster Pop – 97.07% RTP, Medium Volatility
  • Jack Hammer – 96.96% RTP, Low Volatility
  • Dead or Alive – 96.82% RTP, High Volatility
  • Terminator 2 – 96.62% RTP, Medium Volatility

Can You Improve the Slots Odds?

Online slots have fixed mechanics and there’s really no strategy that can improve the odds. You can only use some winning slots tips when selecting the game and when establishing your bankroll.

For example, we recommend going with slots that have a high RTP percentage and low-medium volatility. This provides good returns throughout the session, which will help you avoid busting. Some casinos will list the payouts, but it might be better to just search for the RTP of popular slots and compare them in a quick odds table.

Moreover, setting a bankroll in advance is a great habit for gambling responsibly. This should be done based on the game volatility as a high volatility level will require more spins for the best results. Since the game doesn’t pay as often, your bankroll should be enough to cover losing streaks between big wins.

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Vlad Grindu

Vlad has more than a decade of experience in the gambling industry, specializing in analyzing and reviewing online betting platforms. He is an expert in casino games and sports betting, providing detailed guides for major publications in the iGaming industry, including and Covers. Vlad has a Master’s Degree in Economics and enjoys the occasional esports game.