Gambling–and particularly successful gambling–is all about math. Every game in the casino is circumscribed and governed by probability and statistics. Despite this obvious fact gamblers are a very superstitious group. There are a number of superstitions related to slot machine play that are completely false and in some cases work *against* the player’s best interest.

There’s nothing wrong with superstitions and acquiescence to ‘luck‘ as long as you keep it in proper perspective. You might feel more confident with your ‘lucky rabbit’s foot‘ or whatever and that can help you gambling. As long as you don’t assume that your ‘luck‘ somehow invalidates the cold, hard math and probabilities of slot machine play it’s OK to have fun with it. Unfortunately, there are long-running superstitions that some longtime slot players have accepted as fact.


HOT‘ AND ‘COLD‘ SLOT MACHINES: From a mathematical standpoint they simply don’t exist. Slot machine outcomes are determined by a random number generator that can produce millions of different combinations. You might think a certain machine is ‘hot‘ or ‘cold‘ during a session due to your success (or failure) at the game. The machine isn’t really ‘hot‘–you just perceive it as ‘hot‘. What happened is that you were randomly ‘dealt’ the random numbers that corresponded to the reels you needed.

Many players like to switch from a ‘cold’ machine hoping to find a ‘hot‘ machine. There’s nothing wrong with this and sometimes you’ll have more success at the new machine due to a better location or more palatable players around you. Don’t do this thinking it actually makes a difference mathematically as the random number generator controls everything.

This is also 100% false. When I was living in Las Vegas I’d frequently encounter people who thought this was true when playing progressive video poker. As the jackpot grew they insisted that something inside the machine ‘switched‘ and made it almost desperate to award the jackpot. Nice story, but it’s not true. The flip side of this–there’s no downside to playing a machine after it awards a jackpot. I’ve seen players abandon a bank of video poker machines en masse after a royal flush was hit. In fact, I hit the royal flush. I kept playing the machine and five minutes later I hit another one. The random number generator doesn’t care about how much time has passed between jackpots meaning that the concept of a machine being ‘due‘ is nonsense.

SLOT MACHINES ARE PROGRAMMED TO GO ON ‘HOT‘ AND ‘COLD‘ STREAKS: Something of a corollary to the first item we discussed. There are people that admit that the specific spins of the reels are randomized but that the machines have been ‘programmed‘ to go on ‘hot streaks‘ when they serve up winning hands and ‘cold streaks’ when they don’t. You can definitely identify streaks after the fact but they were a random occurrence. Video poker manufacturers don’t ‘program‘ the machine to do anything to manipulate results. Casinos already have a ‘house edge‘ so they don’t need to.


Nope. The random number generator doesn’t care if you’re a member of the slot club, the country club or the glee club. You’re just as likely to hit a jackpot with a slot club card in the machine as you are without. In reality, the slot club is your friend. Just a moderate amount of play can get you some great freebies like free meals, free rooms and other perks. Some slot clubs offer cashback putting cold, hard cash in your pocket after a certain level of play.