Do Win-Defining Slot Specs Really Matter?

Slot Machines

We have frequently talked about the appeal of slots on BTCGOSU, and anyone that reads our casino reviews knows that titles from this gambling genre dominate crypto-gambling sites by a wide margin nowadays. That is so because many offer life-altering prizes, and even though some players may not understand the gameplay mechanics of certain games, to win their mega rewards, all they must do is press spin. No skill or decision-making is necessary for most reel spinner’s base games or their free spins rounds, which dramatically boosts their appeal.

However, when we analyze reel spinners, we often spend considerable time and focus on talking about their game specifications. You know, their variance, RTP, and max exposure. The latter is a legit piece of info, as it is the win cap that a game has built into its prize generation algorithm, but the validity of the other two often gets hotly debated in gambling circles. That applies to discussions if they are applicable to single gaming sessions.

As many of our readers know, variance is the rate with which a slot produces winning combos, and RTP (return-to-player) is how much of the money wagered on its reels it plans to return to players over time. Yet, does the casual player need to pay attention to these when he decides to kill some time by spinning digital reels? We answer that below.

The Mathematics of Slots

The math model of any slot game consists of two simple concepts, winning combination probabilities and a pay table. A random number generator, a computer algorithm designed to spit out figures at random, is the engine behind how slots decide when their reels will stop spinning. It is crucial to note that this software continuously creates numbers even when no one presses spin. It takes a number, an initial, pre-programmed one called the seed, and runs it through a set of complicated mathematical equations to create a new figure. Then it takes that one and repeats this process, incessantly producing new numbers that no one can predict. The ones it comes up with correspond to symbol combos that get generated on the reel grid.

We do not want to get overly technical in this article. But configurations of slot games’ display get modeled and defined mathematically via a Cartesian grid of integers. Grid points stand for positions on a slot’s layout, and a payline is a finite set of, usually, a minimum of three that can get connected by a path that links adjacent points. The length of such a line is the cardinality of that set. Virtually everyone who has ever played a slot is aware that a reel spinner’s display most often has a square or rectangular grid layout. That paylines that connect winning symbols can be of any geometrical complexity and vary widely. That pertains to the configuration of a game. Then things like parameters and variables of the probability models and formulas of the probability of winning events related to paylines come into play.

Anyone interested to learn more in-depth how slot math works would be wise to pick up The Mathematics of Slots: Configurations, Combinations, Probabilities by Catalin Barboianu. It is a rigorous mathematical guide for slot manufacturers and players. Not a how-to-win manual.

Readers should also know that in 1984, Norwegian mathematician Inge Telnaes transformed the gambling industry by patenting a computer chip that determines the combination of symbols that appear on a slot’s grid configuration when the reels stop spinning. It allowed operators to tweak the likelihood of different outcomes forming on a game’s layout, setting the groundwork for how titles in this category now function. It permitted operators to set jackpot prizes to get produced once every ten million or one hundred million spins. Whatever they deem fit.

Do Online & Land-Base Slots’ Spec Differ?

Yes. Seeing as brick-and-mortar gaming locales have much higher overhead costs than gambling hubs, regulators allow them to house machines with considerably lower RTPs than those in the digital sphere. For instance, in New Jersey, casinos can feature reel spinners with return-to-player percentages of 75%. That is a stark difference from the internet sector, where the average RTP of slot games hovers around the 96% range.

That said, we have noticed that RTPs have been dropping in recent years. Evidence for this is that the Malta Gaming Authority, likely the top international regulator in Europe, lowered its RTP minimum from 92% to 85% in May of 2021. That came as a surprise to us and many in the industry. We have also noticed that many providers are now implementing sliding RTP scales for operators to configure as they see fit, with a 10% wiggle room. So, if a game has an RTP high of 96%, it can drop to 86% at some sites, and in specific markets, it can be even lower. Nevertheless, it almost never will fall below the 82%-mark. That means even the worst payout online slot should have a higher RTP spec than most low-level physical ones.

Can Slot Specs Help You Gauge Your Win Probability?

Yes and no. Online gamblers must understand that the math models in these products factor in millions of spins. In other words, timeframes that are longer than any human can physically play in one sitting. It is best to look at variance and RTP as guiding posts, with more emphasis placed on variance or hit frequency, if available than RTP. If a slot has a hit frequency of over thirty, that is a release that should give away prizes at a decent rate, and it is one to play.

Industry standards dictate that if a game has a high variance, churning out higher value wins but rarely then it will get paired with a lower than 96% RTP so that operators can more likely turn a profit on it. Low variance slots usually have higher than average RTPs, producing lower value wins but doing so regularly.

If you are only looking to spin reels for a minute or two, it is better to learn what is the most you can win on a given slot than wasting time with RTP and variance. That is so because attaining RTP and variance info is unlikely to play a massive role in your short-term gambling activity.

What Are Some Super Profitable Online Slots?

Naturally, gamblers looking to take home life-changing wins should stick to high variance releases with a super high max exposure setting. The ones we would recommend for those with such a goal in mind are Bonanza Megaways from Big Time Gaming and Sweet Bonanza from Pragmatic Play. According to many players, going after progressive jackpots like those in Games Global’s Mega Moolah or NetEnt Hall of Gods is a waste of money. But the truth is that gamblers also encounter astronomical odds when hoping to land a max prize on a high variance game.

For conservative players looking to only stay ahead, we would advise playing Derby Dollars AND Diamond Dozen from RTG. Both have low variance and an RTP of 97.5%. They also list a betting range from a penny to one hundred dollars at most operators, which is another contributing factor to why they are the perfect choice for players who want to have fun and stay out of the red. Please note these two are older releases, so they look and feel very rudimentary. Hence, that is something that most gamblers will have to look past if they opt to play them. So, keep it in mind before setting off to explore them.

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