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Is There A ‘Rhythm’ to Slot Machines and Bonuses?

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Written by Joshua

I recently received this comment on one of my posts:

Hey Joshua! Just got back from a Carnival cruise and played some slots.

My question is I was playing a slot and was alternating bets 88 to 8.80 from lowest to highest. I would play the lowest when the bags of money were at there lowest amount showing and then when the bags grew to larger amounts I would play the higher amount and would hit the higher bonuses. It worked out – I took 200.00 to 1750.00 hitting bonus after bonus.

I had to leave to eat and came back after and couldn’t get it to hit a bonus. Does it get out of rhythm or was that just the luck of the draw?

Mike via comments

Slots don’t have a rhythm – the way a random number generator (RNG) works, every outcome must be possible, and the chances of hitting the bonus on any given spin are the same from one spin to the next.

Now, as far as those bags, they are what are known as “perceived persistence” – they suggest that something is progressing, but if you look at the pay tables you’ll see there’s a line that discusses that the size of the bags have no indication of when a bonus will hit – they’re more of an indicator of how long it’s been since a bonus has hit, but the bonus is not specifically closer to hit because of that.

One way you can tell the bags themselves have no actual meaning as to when the bonus will come is that most of the time, they are the same size regardless of your bet size, as you saw when you raised your bet along the way.

If there was value to the bag, it would be locked to the bet level, since otherwise there’d be a way to game the system by betting higher when more value is available. Games where that value, or equity, can be developed over time tend to lock that value to the specific denomination and bet level.

So in the case of your situation, you got lucky, which is great! But that doesn’t mean the machine was off its rhythm – it was just the luck of the draw at the time you pressed the spin button.

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.

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