Myths vs. Reality Slot Tutorials

Slot Randomness and Stopping Reels Revisited

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Written by Joshua

I’m not one to respond to criticism, and quite often comments that go through the site’s approval process don’t get published. If they don’t contribute to the conversation in a productive way, I’ll leave them out, because like the posts on the site, the comments are part of the running archive of information.

I’ll happily respond to people who post when I make a mistake, or have a contrasting point of view. I sometimes edit posts I’ve written if readers tell me I’m unclear, and I certainly can get things wrong on occasion, so I will fix that up too. And then there’s the typos, which try as I might, sneak in. Those get fixed too, just to be transparent.

Having said that, I did have a very lengthy comment recently submitted to the site on a post I wrote previously about stopping the reels. The comment began with the encouraging opening line of:

You’re a complete and utter idiot

So this is probably gonna be good. And indeed it was, a long-winded, rambling mess of a comment that at times wasn’t even understandable. But then I got to the end, and his assertions, that are worth hashing out here.

You are an idiot you and all the people that push this bull**** idea that it’s random it’s not random the symbols have fixed positions and half the machines when you sit stop the reels they jump forward they don’t stop where they are which should be f***ing illegal

Let’s take each of the points in turn, shall we?

It’s not random – the symbols have fixed positions.

Just because the reels have a set number of positions, and there’s a finite number of outcomes, it doesn’t make the outcome of a given spin any less random. If you go to Google’s Random Number Generator and tell it to pick a number between 1 and 100, the number it picks in that range will be random. So one can be true while the other is true.

Now, the fact there are finite outcomes is how a slot machine succeeds – by having a set number of outcomes, the mathematical calculation can be performed about how much a slot will pay back over time as a percentage, and conversely how much a casino is theoretically expected to win as a percentage over time.

On any given spin of a Vegas-style slot machine, any outcome can be selected at random based on the hitting of that spin button to start the reels. I’m not pushing anything, despite what the commenter asserts – this is simply how a slot machine works.

Every slot machine gets certified to follow the gaming regulations of each market, and to offer an example, Nevada requires any outcome to be possible on any spin of the reel, with the RNG ultimately determining which outcome is selected when the spin button is hit to start the reels.

Note that I didn’t say stop the reels, which leads us to that other part:

Half the machines when you sit stop the reels they jump forward they don’t stop where they are which should be f***ing illegal

Slots are not skill-based games. You can’t use skill to stop the reels based on what you see at the time. The reason the slots move forward is to get to where they are supposed to stop, based on when you hit the spin to start the reels.

So, no, it shouldn’t be illegal, because that’s not how they’re designed to work. If you don’t like how they work, you can play other games in the casino, or perhaps it’s simply better to just not play at all.

So in the end, this commenter simply doesn’t understand how slots work, or if they do they don’t seem to accept that’s how they work, given how they want stopping the reels to do something else. In part of the comment I didn’t republish he claimed that stopping the reels leads a game to just stop paying out. This violates that RNG point earlier, so there was no point rehashing it further.

But needless to say, this is another example of someone believing the worst in the casinos and game makers, when they can make a lot of money just doing the basics without having to rig the games. We need to accept casinos are set in favor of the house, and slots are among the most so.

Gambling is an emotional ride, and the more we avoid falling into conspiracy traps, the easier we can understand what’s going on and hopefully make wise choices while at the casino.

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.


  • Button slappers, reel stoppers, machine rubbers, and the dreaded screen knockers. All should be outlawed at casino. Nothing more irritating than someone plopping down next to you and knocking on the screen in an arbitrary way about 7,000,000 times and slapping the button with such force it shakes your machine.

    “BUt LaST tiMe I diD thAt it HiT tHe BOnUs!”

    • I hear that for sure – some people have gotten aggressive enough on a machine near me that I have to move – that aggression tends to make me agitated in turn, and it’s just a bad vibe for me overall.

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