Myths vs. Reality Slot Tutorials

What is Decided at the Time the Spin Button is Pressed?

spin button reels spinning
Written by Joshua

I’ve written about how the Random Number Generator (RNG) works on the site, and a player had a practical question about it accordingly:

Is is true that a machine calculates how much it will pay on the instant the spin button is depressed? Doesn’t that make all of the free games, multipliers, etc. just entertainment as the machine cooks up different ways to show you how much you ultimately won?

Phil, via comments

Hey Phil – that’s not quite how it works. What’s determined at the time the spin button is (on a standard, reels first slot machine) what the reels will stop at. Now, for most practical purposes that ultimately means what the game will pay, because based on what’s on the reels where they stop, that determines the pays.

But if it’s three bonus symbols, or six hold and spin symbols, that doesn’t mean what follows next is pre-ordained. I’ve spoken with the game makers of various companies and quite often the bonuses are based on the RNG as well, so their determination happens in real time as each spin is performed, and therefore it’s actually a critical part of how it all goes down.

Now, there are predetermined bonuses. And there’s also a prize first approach to slots which has the prize determined when you hit spin, and as you describe it’s all just scripted bonuses or entertainment to show you how you a way you got to the prize.

And finally, we probably won’t know in some cases whether a bonus is a predetermined one or if it’s all being done by the RNG, because the slot creators can create an effective experience going down either path.

But as far as the actual wager is concerned, more often than not, the only thing specifically determined by it is where the reels will stop. Everything else follows that.

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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