positions on the first reel X 20 symbol positions on the second reel X 20 symbol
positions on the third reel=odds of 8,000:1. Over the several million times your
carrot, machine is played, once in every 8,000 plays it will produce three carrots,
one on each reel, perfectly aligned across the center of the viewing screen.
a machine had four reels, the odds of hitting the jackpot would be 20*20*20=160,000:1.
For five reels the odds would be 3,200,000:1.
Are the odds really that bad?
Yes. But does that mean you would need to put 8,000 into a three-reel machine
to win 4,000? No. The reasons are two fold:
1) When you play a three-reel
slot machine you don't know if your coin is the 1st to be inserted into that machine
or the 7,999th.
2) If the machine is set to pay back 80% of the money put
into it, you should receive many small pay-offs before hitting the jackpot. You
still might have to pull the handle 8,000 times, but it wouldn't cost you 8,000
Let's explore this further. Assume you're playing a three-reel dollar
machine. The reason you're playing that particular machine is because you saw
a sign in front of the casino which stated, "Our íš1 Slots Pay 97%."
You interpret the sign to mean that if you put in íš100 you'll get back at least
íš97. Well, you could be right, you could be wrong. Your first coin could win the
jackpot, your tenth coin could win the jackpot, any of your coins could win smaller
payoffs, or perhaps none of your coins will win anything.
If this dollar
machine really pays back 97%, it will return íš7,760 for every íš8,000 put into
it. In other words, the machine will only retain $240, which doesn't sound like
much profit for the casino. But you don't care about whether the casino makes
profits, so your question is : Whose $240 will it retain? Yours? The next player's?
Who knows? It may very well take $100 of your money and only give to play the
machine, it may give back $30 for $1. There is no way to tell who the machine
will pay. The machine may experience periods when it returns $3,000 before returning
any money. Or, conversely, the machine may experience periods when it generates
several jackpots in a matter of minutes or even seconds.