Factors Influencing Your Slots Results

As most informed gamblers know, luck affects the outcome of the majority of wagers at online casinos. It is often said that luck favours the well-prepared, but ultimately it's the main factor in nearly every bet you place.

Of course there are various extremes, you can put your skills to the test and play blackjack according to sound basic blackjack strategy, or place an even money bet on Red at Roulette with 50:50 odds and end up losing at both.

On the other end of the spectrum you can put 25p into the Mega Moolah progressive slot machine and win £13 million like Jon Heywood did in October 2015.

While mathematics can be used to determine the odds, it can't foretell whether you'll win or lose and how much. Yet still it can be used to give you an idea of the results you can expect based on four factors:

  1. The size of your average bet
  2. House Edge (the difference between the odds of winning and the payout)
  3. Volatility (also known as standard deviation or swings in winning and losing that affect your bankroll)
  4. Decision Rate (depending on the math you choose to employ, this is either the number of rounds per unit time dealt at the tables or triggered by a player at a slot or video poker machine OR the number of wagers completed with a win or loss per unit time).

Let's consider your average slot machine session where you wager $1 per spin on a slot with a 95.5% return to player (RTP). The house advantage is therefore 5.5% which means they take $0.055 cents per dollar wager. Let's assume the volatility amounts to $7.16 per spin. These figures allow for 1:1 returns which are not counted as wins but rather pushes. Let's say you push the spin button once every ten seconds which equates to six times per minute and 360 times per hour. Or if you spin at a more rapid pace you can work it out at once every five seconds or 720 times per hour.

Due to the fact that the house edge moves in favour of the house it accumulates as your game proceeds, therefore the theoretical impact of a 5.5% house edge on a $1 wagers using the above decision rates is as follows:

1 hour of 360 spins: $1 x 360 x 0.55 = $19.80
1 hour of 720 spins: $1 x 720 x 0.55 = $39.60

So the faster you make decisions, the more you'll end up spending.

Volatility will either increase or decrease your bankroll on an ongoing basis. Obviously the changes in your bankroll will increase with the more bets you place, but growth will generally be slower than the rate at which the house edge affects your game play.

So if the volatility of a single $1 wager equates to $7.16, then over 360 wagers it will amount to $135.85 and over 720 it will increase by a factor of 1.4 or $192.12.

Combined, the size of your average bet, the house edge an volatility set up a range in which the majority of players will find themselves after any number of game play decisions. The laws of probability dictate that 34% of all casino players should be within one standard deviation above and 34 should be one standard deviation below the average cost of the house edge.

This means that for those of us who spin once every 10 seconds on our favourite slot, 68% of use will fall between $116 profit and $155 loss after playing for an hour. Of those of us who play faster and spin every 5 seconds, 68% will be between $152 up to $232 down at the end of our hour long game play session.

But ultimately, whether we end up in the black or red all comes down to luck...