Slot machine odds

slot machine odds

Have you ever wondered what your odds for winning on slots are? Here we break down your odds for winning at online slots and explain how winning sessions work in the context of the long run.

The extreme popularity of online slots has a lot of players shooting for big jackpots, but many would be happy with just having winning sessions here and there. What a lot of players don’t understand, however, are their actual odds for winning at these games. In what follows, we’re going to break down everything that you need to know to have a very good feel for how these games pay out, what the odds are of winning and how things look for you over the long run.

The RTP Percentage

The number one, most basic fundamental of understanding the odds of winning at slots is understanding the slots RTP percentage. RTP is an important measure for slots, and it stands for “return to player” as a percentage. The basic idea is that it’s a measure of how much of what a slot takes in is paid back out in the form of winnings. For example, if a slot has an RTP of 98.5 percent, then that means for every $100 that it takes in, a total of $98.50 is paid out in prizes. As a result, there is a house advantage of 1.5 percent.

What you need to understand about the RTP is that it’s the average over hundreds of thousands or millions of spins, so it doesn’t really apply to individual sessions because of the inherent variance and swings involved. In short, just because you play 100 spins for $1 apiece for a total of $100 in wagers doesn’t mean that you’re always going to lose exactly $1.50 over those 100 spins in a game with a 98.5 percent RTP.

Instead, what this means is that your average loss will be $1.50, but that’s the average of all of the wins and losses the game pays out over a very large period of time. If you’re particularly lucky, you’ll average much better results, and if you’re particularly unlucky, you’ll average much worse results. This is how players can have hot and cold streaks at particular slots, even if the slot itself doesn’t actually change. Understanding how you can over-perform or under-perform the RTP of a game over individual sessions (or even consecutive sessions) is the key to understanding slot machine odds.

Look up the RTP of your favorite slot machine in our RTP database

Long-term and Short-term Results

Winning sessions are very much possible, even when the house has an advantage, because of an idea called variance (or volatility). The point is that just because the average RTP is what it is, that doesn’t keep you from getting different results, particularly over smaller samples of just one session or even a few sessions. This is why virtually all players will have big winning streaks at times over the short term but still lose money overall in the long term. This is the thing that separates the short-term results from the long-term results, and it’s one of the key ideas that players should keep in mind when it comes to bankroll management, game selection, stake selection, etc.

Maximizing Your Odds at Online Slots

As you can see from our discussion of the RTP of online slots, your odds of winning over the long run are limited by the game that you’re playing. However, there are a number of different things that you can do to maximize your odds of winning by minimizing the effective RTP. Slots aren’t a genre of game that many people associate with strategy, but by employing certain types of strategies, you can really increase your odds of coming out on top in meaningful ways. You won’t be able to get an advantage against the casino in the vast majority of cases, at least over any significant period of time, but if you’re going to play these games, you might as well boost your chances of winning.

In the following, we’re going to look at two different strategies that you can use to improve your results by minimizing the effective RTP of your sessions with online slots. This will maximize your odds of winning at these games, and they’re your only real options for boosting your chances of coming out on top.

Incremental Gains

Before you get into trying to increase your odds of winning at these games, you have to understand that these strategies are about incremental gains. In most cases, you’re not going to get a major boost in overall payout percentage from any individual approach. Instead, it’s the combination of different strategies that will make a real dent in how much you will get paid out, on average, in the games you play.

Also understand that the numbers can be a bit deceiving. If you get a gain of 0.50 percent in your RTP, that might not seem like a lot. However, if you already had an RTP of 98 percent, then the house advantage was just 2 percent to begin with. Adding 0.50 percent to your RTP takes 0.50 percent away from the house advantage, dropping it to 1.5 percent. That’s a total of one quarter of the house edge that is gone, and that means your average losses will be cut by 25 percent by just going from a 98 percent RTP to a 98.5 percent RTP.

This is why the numbers can be a bit anti-intuitive and why you need to really focus on the incremental gains aspect of the situation. Very small changes in your habits and the approach you have to slots can give you much better odds.

Game Selection for Improving Your Odds

The thing about RTP that makes game selection so important for improving your odds at slots is that different games have different RTP levels. As a result, your actual chances of winning can be increased by simply choosing games with better RTP percentages than the slots you’re already playing with. This might sound super complicated, but it’s a lot easier than you might think.

The absolute easiest way to do this is to take a look at our slot database. It will list out the software providers for the games and their respective RTP percentages, making it really easy to pick out the best-paying slots from your favorite software provider. You can quickly and easily make a list of the slots that appeal to you the most along with their RTP percentages and other information to make your game selection a breeze.

Of all of the options for improving your odds at online slots that we’re going to list here, this is the one that will give you the most significant gains with the smallest amount of effort required. That’s largely because our slots database gives you all of the information that you need in a simple, easy-to-sort format.

Promotions, Comps and Bonuses

Any amount of extra value that you can get for playing slots that you were going to be playing anyway will improve your effective RTP. What we mean by effective RTP is that, even though it won’t change the RTP of the slot itself, you will get extra value on top of whatever your final result is, which is functionally equivalent to improving the RTP of the game you’re playing.


Your odds of winning at online slots are determined primarily by the RTP of the game in question, but also the volatility of the slot machine you are playing. While it’s unlikely that you’ll be a winner over the particularly long term, you can still hit significant winning sessions. Your odds of getting winning sessions can improve based on boosting your RTP and lowering the house advantage using methods like the two that we looked at above. In the grand scheme of things, it will make a significant difference in your odds of winning at the online slots you play, even if the increase in the actual RTP percentage seems minor at best.