A near-miss is when you something almost properly arranges to lead to something good – a bonus, a great line hit, or so on, but it doesn’t quiet happen.
In the image above, you can see a great example from Wicked Winnings II – the Raven is the top paying symbol. Getting five of a kind is a big pay – getting clumps of ravens makes it enormous.
Then there’s bonus symbols. You need three for the bonus. One… two… and there’s the third oversized symbol peeking from the top – missed it by one space! So close, right?
Not so fast. Games are programmed to factor in near miss elements quite often. Psychologically, a near miss is exciting – it almost happened, and you want to keep playing to make it happen! At least, that’s what some studies say, especially when combined with players stopping the reels.
Slot manufacturers build near-miss elements into their reels all the time, with the hopes it keeps players engaged, feeling like a win is nearby. Sometimes it’s deemed they go to far, although near misses themselves are not illegal.
As such, it’s helpful for players to remember that a predetermined set of combinations are designed by the slot manufacturers, with near misses a lot more often than actual big wins or bonuses, and that will appear on the reels as part of keeping you entertained and engaged.
Seeing a near-miss does not improve your chances of winning shortly thereafter, because as we know the next spin’s outcome is not influenced by the previous one.
Like many things with gambling, understanding how it works can allow us to keep the upperhand from the more insidious sides of gambling, and firmly remember we’re in control of when the button is pressed and nothing more. We can’t stop the reels to a bonus (or a near-miss that implies we almost got one), and keeping playing won’t be any different.