Slot machines are a complex machine and they have microchips in them with tons of interesting things that make you wonder how they work. For most of the slot players, this is not important at all, as they only want to go spin the reels, land the winning combination of sevens on an active payline, have some fun and that’s it. Barely anyone is interested in the software of the slot machine, and almost nobody asks what does hit frequency means and that’s exactly what we will be speaking about in this article.
Not all the slot machines return money to the players. In fact, most of the players which are used to the slots system know that they have to spend a long time on the slot to get to the wins they imagined, and many of them never do. The hit frequency is closely connected and almost always relates to the Random Number Generator which is another metric for giving out random numbers which are connected to the symbols we are seeing on the reels. So, what does hit frequency mean?
Hit Frequency is how often a player of a particular slot gets some kind of a return from the same. Some people misunderstand and confuse this with the amount of the wins by the player, and hit frequency is not that. For example, you can spend three coins for a spin and win two – while this is counted in the hit frequency percentage, it’s most definitely not a win.
A single coin flip where you can bet head or tails has a 50 per cent hit frequency. This means that you should win 50 % of the time, or 50 times out of 100, at least on paper. In this example, you lose two pounds because of the house edge, and it’s exactly the same with the slots.
On a slot machine, you can hit something but still have a loss-making spin, just like the example we started with the three coins deposited and two won above.
The hit frequency is not the "win" frequency as it is with flipping a coin. In theory, you can have a machine with has 100% hit frequency, which means every spin will be a win and you can still end up losing. Don’t worry too much about this frequency as if there was a casino with such a hit frequency, not a single player would knock on their door. Imagine playing several hundred or several thousand spins and always getting a small amount of what you’ve deposited. You win, but you lose big.
In theory, you can find a slot machine with 100% hit frequency which will not rip you off and take part of what you’ve deposited, and you can do that by going to the change machine and play that one! The same amount of coins you insert will be returned to you, losing the whole idea of the slot and not being entertained at all.
The casinos don’t operate in such as way, as the managers and stuff that are working there know that the machine is programmed in a way to give enough hits but also give enough big wins, for the sake of them staying on the casino site and playing more. But how is this done?
Hit Frequency Explained
The hit frequency for most of the slot machines is around the 15% mark – they are ranging from 9% to 25%, meaning that for 100 spins you should have 9 to 25 hits. There are several slot machines that have a hit frequency of up to 30-40%, but for the sake of the numbers and counting, let’s stick to 15%.
A 15 per cent hit frequency means that one of every six spins will result in some money being returned to the player (again, not necessarily a win).
Let’s widen the range to 1000 spins where with 15% hit frequency should give you a hit, but one, two or three of these wins will be sustainable enough to keep the player playing and hoping for more wins. We are not speaking about the progressive jackpot here, as they are counted differently and from 1000 spins you don’t even have 0.1% of hitting the progressive jackpot. There are different factors here, and for this matter we have a whole article about the progressive jackpot and how it pays off, so check our blog if that’s what you are interested in.
You should know that this is all a chance and it’s not smooth at all – just like the return to player. When playing a slot with 15% hit chance, you won’t necessarily be going to win one, but you can go 10, 30 or even more spin without getting anything in return. Of course, this can tilt the other way and you can get several hits in a row even on the lowest hit frequency machines, then lose some more and win some and so on and so forward. But in the long run, you will find that the machine hits once every six times on average.
Finally, when you are able to understand the hit frequency and the return to player, you will understand the most important aspects of the slot machine, the insides of it, and how it functions. One thing is certain – the winning streaks will never be as long as the losing streaks because the winning streaks are explosively big, and you often get many times more than what you’ve deposited for that certain spin. You will also understand why the slot machines pay out big and then suddenly freeze up and don’t pay out anything.