Myths vs. Reality Slot Tutorials

Does Getting 4 or 5 Bonus Symbols Mean a Bad Bonus is Certain to Follow?

Jungle Wild by WMS four bonus symbols
Written by Joshua

A common theory I see in slot communities over time relates to how you trigger a bonus (commonly free spins). Normally it takes three bonus symbols to trigger it, but many games include them on all five reels, only requiring three to trigger the bonus. Some believe if you get 4 or 5 symbols, it means the bonus that follows will be bad.

STATUS: How a bonus is triggered doesn’t have anything to do with the quality of the bonus that follows.

Generally speaking, when you trigger with more symbols, you either get more free games, a bigger payout for the trigger, and sometimes both.

On certain games, getting more symbols to trigger is a strategic advantage. On a game like Buffalo Gold (and really, the Buffalo series in general), having more games to start is a real advantage because you get more spins to get big wins, collect 2 or more coins for the retrigger, and so on. Interestingly, people never bring this theory up on games like this.

Instead, this theory often comes up on games where regardless of what you get as a trigger, the number of spins or the feature otherwise remains identical. An example of this is a game like Dancing Drums.

There’s three things going on here that likely reinforces this notion:

  • This tends to be something that happens somewhat rarely on those sorts of games, which makes the observations around them few and far between.
  • These tend to be volatile games, so underperforming bonuses aren’t unusual, and so it reinforces the notion when a rare trigger happens and then there’s not much that follows.
  • That leads to the third and final aspect: Confirmation bias. We tend to remember and observe things that fit within a pattern we believe we’ve spotted, while forgetting about ones that violate the so-called rule.

In the end, how a bonus is triggered doesn’t impact the bonus that follows (other than anything specified by the rules – more spins, bigger trigger payout). So you don’t have to stress that extra symbol coming out – in fact, on the right game where spin counts matter, you might just get that extra momentum you need to see something truly exceptional.

About the author


My name is Joshua, and I’m a slot enthusiast who works in tech as a marketer by day, and dabbles in casinos periodically during off-times. Know Your Slots will reflect my interests in understanding the various ways you can play slots, travel, casino promotions and how you can get the most out of your casino visits.

1 Comment

  • I’ve had 3 trigger bonuses on dragon link and dancing drums that were pathetic, and once didn’t win a single dollar other than my initial 25 dollar trigger and i’ve had 4-5 trigger bonuses on both machines that absolutely smashed the 1200 handpay threshold. RNG doesn’t care, if it’s time to pay out it will, if not, it won’t.

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