Casino Roulette Strategies

Odds of winning in a casino

Winning At Slots - What Are My Odds?  February 18, 2016 – 10:49 am
Craps – Will You Make Your

First of all you should know that slot machines, as with many casino games, are a type of game for which there is no “winning strategy” - technically speaking they are a negative equity game, or –EV game for short. Unlike a game such as poker (against real opponents, not vs. the house) where proper application of skill can make a game profitable in the long-term, most casino games are designed to make this impossible.

Why Can’t I make a Consistent Return at Slots?

Let’s look at why, in the case of slots, there’s no way to make money long-term. For simplicity let’s imagine a game where there is only one pay-out, the “jackpot”, paid out for matching five symbols, of course the same logic will apply to complex modern machines as well. In this hypothetical machine there are five symbols available on each line and you need to match five of the same to win the jackpot on a $1 machine.

The lines are controlled by random number generators, and over time the five different symbols will come up equally often on each line. So the chance of hitting, say a cherry on one line is 1/5. The chance of hitting a cherry on the second line is also 1/5. Therefore the chance of hitting five cherries in a row is 1/5 x 1/5 x 1/5 x 1/5 x 1/5, or 1/3125, or 0.032%. Your odds of winning are better than this, as you can hit five bells, five whistles or five of any other set of symbols, so on this machine your odds of any set of five are actually 5 x 0.032%, or 0.16%. So once in every 625 spins of this hypothetical machine, you’ll hit your set of five identical symbols for the jackpot.

Now if the jackpot payout was $625, the machine would be a break-even proposition, as on average you’d pay $1 624 times without winning anything, and then you’d hit once in every 625 spins for the $625 prize, breaking even overall. Of course pay-outs are set by the casinos at a slightly lower figure, usually between 90% and 98% of this frequency, so for example if this imaginary machine was set for 95% pay-outs, the jackpot would actually be $594.

Of course you can get lucky and hit jackpot on your second spin, walk away and keep the money, technically making a profit. But long-term there’s no way to beat the law of averages, and the house edge will be sustained over any short-term variance in results. Rarely, certain machines are reported as paying out just above 100% over a given month, but this is again just the variance inherent in randomness, and will not be sustained over larger samples.


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