Aug 1, 2017

Real Jackpot Odds on Slot Machines

Assuming that the player follows the optimal strategy, the chances of getting the various final combinations in video poker are no mystery. The theoretical odds of winning combinations, for a particular level or as a whole, is very easy to find for anyone interested in this issue.

By multiplying the probability by the possible win at each level, we can find the percentage returns or another very important value - house edge.

Hidden Numbers

When it comes to online slot machines where payouts at various levels are arbitrary, the values are rarely published. There are exceptions even in this case, but typically the chances are unknown. In this respect, we can only guess. Why? Because we are simply not capable of playing so many games on one slot machine to find its frequency. So if we get a jackpot, it's the just pure coincidence. A game that one player finds very promising may be unattractive for another player.

The accompanying table that tells us that our slot machine has average returns of 92.61% will only serve us to find that we will never reach that value in the short run and hides the actual properties of the machine.

If we take into account all the possible combinations of stops of individual reels, each game has 373,248 possible final combinations. A player would therefore have to play more than 373,248 games to get the relevant results of the final combinations.

Our Real Chances for a Jackpot

For example, in the 373,248 games that we can call a cycle, a jackpot with a payout of 833 to 1 occurs on average in 8 cases. If consider that one round lasts five seconds, we would have to play 130 games per hour. Our chances of hitting the jackpot are then 13.96 percent. The chances of missing any jackpot are far lower, exactly 0.03 percent. Our chances for eight jackpots are therefore 45.30 percent or 40.74 percent, respectively.

Let's consider a 4-hour session. You’re keeping the pace and playing one game in 5 seconds. Overall, you will thus play 2,880 games. Your chances of missing the jackpot are then 94.01 percent. That means you’ll hit it in 5.80 percent of the games, which is a decent chance. Don’t despair - it is not much, but it’s better than nothing!

Let's leave behind the highest jackpot with the 833:1 payout and look at our chances of hitting the second highest jackpot. Its payout is 320 to one and we’ll miss it at 78.12 percent. In that case, however, we have a great 19.29 percent chance of hitting the jackpot. The chances of hitting two of each are then 2.38 percent of cases.

Chances to Win Progressive Jackpot

As you probably know, winning a million jackpot is not something that happens to you every day. And you're right. For example, the chance of winning a jackpot on a Megabucks slot machine is 1 in 49,836,032. Just for comparison, the chance of winning a Powerball lottery is 1 in 292,201,338. In the following table, you will find the chances of winning for selected progressive jackpots.

Game Probability
Caribbean Poker 1 in 649 740
Jack or Better 1 in 649 740
Progressive Blackjack 1 in 4 392 609
Bonus Keno 1 in 8 764 410
Let 'em Ride 1 in 649 740
Roulette Royale 1 in 1 874 161

And what about online slots? Sadly, no publishing company does declare the probability of winning the jackpot on online slot machines. However, these chances are generally thought to be in the order of tens or hundreds of millions to one.

If we brush up on basic knowledge of mathematics, we can try to estimate the probability of winning:

  • Average winnings: € 5,073,220
  • Let's calculate that 2% of each bet is in the jackpot:
  • The maximum bet is € 6.25
  • For each maximum bet, € 0.125 (6.25 * 0.02) goes to the pot
  • 5,073,220 / 0.125 = 40,585,760

On average, a player must place 40,585,760 bets. The chance of winning the jackpot can be estimated at 1 in 40,585,759. Of course, this is an estimate, and the real probability may be different.

Small Versus Big Jackpot

Note that the highest jackpot (833 to 1, i.e. 2,500 credits for a deposit of 3 credits) is generally considered low. Many other online slot machines offer far more profitable payouts. But here you have to be careful. The higher the possible win, the lower your chances of achieving it.

Let’s assume that our favorite slot machine pays a jackpot of 3,333 to 1 (10,000 for 3 credits). Our terms are the same as in the previous example. Now we hit 2 jackpots per 319,928 games and we lose 319,928 games. Thus, the return rate would be the same, up to two decimal places.

With a payout of 3,333 to 1, we will not hit the jackpot in 98.47 percent of the 2,880 games. Our chance for a successful round is thus only 1.52 percent. The odds of hitting 2 or more jackpots are only 0.01 percent.

Another indicator is the percentage of effective returns in case you do not hit the jackpot. In both cases, the odds of hitting the jackpot contribute to the returns by 1.78 percent. So, instead of 92.61 percent, you will not hit the jackpot in only 90.83 percent of cases. But if you've never hit the second highest jackpot, your chances are even worse.

Other gambling games have far fewer possible results. Because they have fewer results, the game must be approached in an even more sophisticated manner. Never forget the lazier you play, the greater edge the casino will have.

Even if the chance to hit the jackpot are tight, you can always anjoy playing non-jackpot slots. Check out our guide on how to win on slots and play like the pro.

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