The Slot is the most popular casino game, and contributes 70% of a casino’s revenue. Its popularity is surging to the point that in some countries it is even surpassing table play. This makes it all the more important to understand how slots work and how to choose which ones to play.
Some players believe that it is possible to beat the slot machine by studying ’near misses’ and timing their pushes of the spin button so as to avoid missing a winning combination. This, of course, is not possible, as the software determines which symbols will appear on a reel based on probability and does not respond to a player’s actions in any way.
In one experiment, Kassinove and Schare manipulated the frequency of near-misses on a four-reel slot machine simulation that participants played for money. They found that the more near-misses a participant experienced, the more likely they were to persist in gambling (using self-report measures). More recent studies have replicated and extended these findings. But there are some concerns about the relevance of these results to a real-world setting.
Unlike traditional casinos where patrons drop coins, online slots allow players to use advance deposits or credit meters and thus blur the distinction between playing for money and playing in free “social” casinos. This may lead to a more dangerous situation where players can be more easily drawn into playing for money when they think they are using the same rules of engagement as they would in live casinos.