Interesting Facts about Slot Machine Hit Frequency


Perhaps you’re new to gambling or have been gambling for a long but are only now learning about game strategy, the concept of hit frequency may be perplexing.

Understanding what they are and how they operate can provide great insight into the games you already know and love to play. Gambling writers use a lot of jargon, some industry words and some made up by the masses, and understanding what they are and how they work may provide great insight into the games you already know and love to play.

Let’s start by defining hit frequency and comparing it to a few other pieces of gaming jargon.

What is Hit Frequency?

This is an industry phrase that expresses how frequently a game results in a win. A “hit” in this context is any payout. This applies to all wins, from a single credit to a big progressive prize.

You can calculate the hit frequency of any casino game. It is just the percentage of total plays that offer the player a reward. However, the word is most commonly associated with slot machine play.

Slot machines do not display hit frequency information. This causes confusion when writers discuss a game’s hit frequency, because most of the time it’s something you have to feel for. The magnitude of a game’s payouts might also give you an idea of its hit frequency. Larger-than-average jackpot games tend to pay out less frequently, making them low hit frequency slots. Slots that pay out lower sums tend to pay out more frequently, resulting in a greater overall hit frequency.

Payout Percentage vs Hit Frequency

Slots people use a lot of jargon, which might be intimidating at first. People who are new to slots or gambling in general may confuse the notions of hit frequency and payback percentage.

According to slot magazines and on gambling message forums, slots are created first with hit frequency in mind, and payback percentages and reels are designed around that basic premise only later.

When we talk about payout percentage, we’re referring to the percentage of bets placed in a game that are eventually returned as winnings. The hit frequency and payout percentage of a game are two alternative ways of looking at the same statistics. While the payout percentage indicates the relative expense of a game, the hit frequency indicates how volatile a session playing that game will be.
A low hit frequency slot is certain to have high volatility, which means you’ll be risking more money to pursue greater prizes. Slots with a high hit frequency, on the other hand, are certain to be valued less, but they cost less to chase as a result.

Gamblers tend to prefer one form of game over another: either they desire frequent wins and don’t mind if those wins are less valuable, or they seek out highly volatile games that are more expensive but potentially more profitable.

Now that we’ve all agreed on what hit frequency is and how it influences slot play, I’d like to explain the most significant secrets of volatility and statistics as they pertain to slots.

When Should You Play a Slot With a High Hit Frequency?

Remember the general rule; there are exceptions, and the key to navigating slot hit frequency is to apply what you learn to the real-world game in front of you.
When you want to make your slot bankroll last as long as possible, you should play slots with lower but more frequent payouts. A slot that hits 10% of the time will keep your bankroll safe for longer, allowing you to spend more time at the slots and boost your entertainment value.

Another compelling reason to play a higher frequency slot game is if you receive the majority of your enjoyment from winning. This isn’t true for every gambler, but those who just want to win and enjoy the excitement of even a modest reward should seek out these games.

When Should You Play a Slot with a Low Hit Frequency?

Players who wish to pursue progressive jackpots or play games with big fixed payouts will almost always have to settle for a slot game with a low hit frequency. Progressive slots are especially guilty of the crime of low hit frequency, with the argument that the game must somehow pay for the ever-increasing prize.
Since the flashiest and newest licensed slots in Las Vegas are frequently low hit frequency slots with high fixed jackpots, players who want to play the latest and best slots must usually settle for one with a low hit frequency.

The Slot Machine Hit Frequency Secrets

The four mysteries of casino game hit frequency are detailed below to assist casino gamblers in understanding how this cryptic statistic influences their bottom line.

Secret #1: Casinos do not change hit frequency based on crowd size or anything else

True, slot machine designers create games with a wide range of payback percentages and other variables, and casino management can adjust these settings, move the games around, and make a few other changes to maximize their profit or control play for other purposes. The conspiracy theory aspect of this myth comes into play when people claim that casinos would change games on the fly to pay out more or pay out less based on the crowd or some other circumstance.

Slot machines are designed to make a profit and they do an excellent job doing it. Casino employees do not need to make changes to games in order to gain money from them; in fact, because slot statistics are recorded and analyzed over lengthy periods of time, making too many unscheduled changes may affect a casino’s bottom line.

Secret #2 - It Makes No Difference What a Slot's Hit Frequency Is

Most casual gamblers will be surprised by this, but it’s true. Even if you knew the hit frequency of every slot machine on the floor, it wouldn’t help you much in terms of odds. The finest thing that information could do is assist you in making an informed selection about which game to play. However, there is no certainty that choosing a specific hit frequency game would help you win more or make you lose more.

Slot machines generate revenue without the necessity for deception on the part of the game’s designers or operators. A thorough understanding of hit frequencies will not help you overcome the built-in advantage casinos have over their players on almost every wager they make.

Secret #3 - Higher-Denomination Slots Do Not Always Pay Out More Money

People who believe they will receive larger or more payouts when playing high-denomination games are falling into a frequent trap that increases the casino’s earnings.

It seems obvious that a more expensive game, such as a $1 per credit slot machine, will pay out more frequently than a nickel or quarter machine, and this is true. Because the per-spin bet is higher, your losses in the game reflect a larger portion of your bankroll. It’s basically a wash. This goes back to my axiom that a higher hit frequency does not imply larger winnings.

Secret #4: You can't tell a slot's hit frequency just by looking at it.

There was some truth to the rumor that slots near the doors, elevators, or aisles paid out more or less frequently; nonetheless, I believe that’s a very sloppy approach for casinos to entice consumers back to the floor. Modern game design and casino design have eliminated this technique, if it ever existed in the first place.

Today’s real money slots are more precisely positioned than this, and games with variable hit frequencies are likely far too mixed up among themselves to allow for any worthwhile planning based solely on slot location.


After reading this article, you should understand what the term hit frequency means, how to tell a little bit about the hit frequency of any slot you find, and when you might prefer to play one type of game over another.

Don’t be taken in by the myths and misinformation about hit frequency in slots. It’s all too easy to get caught up in gambling conspiracy theories and misinformation. Bad gambling advice is sometimes worse than gambling ignorance.