Myths vs. Reality

Is There a ‘Best Time of Day’ to Play Slot Machines?

Mohegan Sun overhead slot floor
Written by Joshua

Some slot machine players are convinced that playing at a certain time of day will make a difference in their ability to win or lose.

STATUS: Slot machines don’t factor time into paybacks.

I’ve already covered in depth how casinos aren’t manipulating slot machine payouts based on locations, casino’s whims or whether they’ve paid lately. But some players claim to always win at a certain time of day, for instance, with the belief that this is because the casino is setting things up that way.

The RNG in a machine doesn’t know what time it is, just like it doesn’t have a memory of previous spins. It’s actually against gaming regulations for external factors like previous spins or historical payout to be used to calculate what future spins will pay. So this one can be chalked up to confirmation bias.

I’ve mentioned that phrase before, but haven’t really defined it, so let’s take a moment to do so.

What is Confirmation Bias?

The idea behind it is simple: If you have a certain belief, you’re more likely to recall and store examples that lend credence to that belief or theory, and more likely to throw away examples where it doesn’t work out.

For instance, if you’ve had some major handpays late at night, and also some massively poor sessions late at night, but you believe casinos are more apt to pay at night, you’ll be more likely to remember the handpays and forget the routings. Even not obvious or guaranteed examples can and will be used to support the position.

Confirmation bias has its basis in psychology, and has been studied heavily. Gamblers tend to be a superstitious folk, and so anything that may lend credence to a superstition that make people feel lucky or that they’re more likely to win can pick up steam very quickly. The inverse, that casinos are somehow cheating players, also pick up steam for similar reasons.

While most of the superstitions are harmless, they’re just that, superstitions. Games are programmed to pay over time, through millions of spins, based on a math model, not what’s on the clock.

So don’t feel like you have to go to a casino at 3 a.m. to win. You’ll be just as likely to win at 3 p.m.

About the author

Joshua

My name is Joshua, and I’m a 30-something 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, games that give you a potential edge, casino promotions and systems and how you can get the most out of it.

2 Comments

  • This isn’t entirely accurate. Even a truly random outcome is subject to the laws of averages. While you can never guarantee an outcome, you can increase the likelihood of being present when that outcome occurs. Busier times of the day result in a greater number of spins being played on the slots. Conducting more spins increases the overall likelihood of a win. This does not guarantee that wins will occur on the slot you are playing while you are playing it but it does increase the possibility to a certain degree.

    • I appreciate what you’re trying to say, but just because there’s more players and spins numerically happening, it doesn’t improve your chances of winning on a particular game, because it’s still subject to the randomness of the game, and that still comes down to one person and one machine. And further, if there’s 100 people in a casino and 20 people winning, vs. 200 people in a casino and 40 people winning, it’s the same ratio – more numeric winners, but the overall odds are going to be the same. So no, your possibility doesn’t increase based on how many people are playing in the casino.

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