What Are The Odds Of Winning On A Slot Machine?

Winning Odds For 3-Reel and 5-Reel Slot Machines

Although every win at slots is totally random, you can still estimate your winning odds and calculate the probability of landing a lucky combination. As you probably know, each slot has a certain number of reels. The majority of slot machines features 3 or 5 reels. On each real, you can see symbols (images), both regular and special ones. Why are we telling you all this? Because these characteristics affect your winning chances in a direct way.

You can try all slots for free now.

Which Slots Pay Out Most Frequently

The fewer symbols each reel has, the higher are your winning chances. The problem is that you don’t know how many images each reel contains. Once the reels stop spinning, you only see the symbols on the visible part of the reels but you don’t know how many symbols there are in total. Luckily, some software providers indicate this information in slot specifications.

Let’s take an example. On Slot A, each reel has 10 symbols. On slot B, each reel has 20 symbols. Obviously, Slot B will generate winning combinations more often than Slot B.

The more consecutive symbols a winning combination contains, the more it pays. If you’re playing a classic 3-reel slot machine, the maximum payout is triggered by 3 identical symbols. In a 5-reel slot, the highest paying combination consists of 5 symbols. Chances of landing the highest-paying combination are better on a 3-reel slot than on its 5-reel counterpart.

This takes us to an obvious conclusion. To maximize the probability of hitting a payout, you should play 3-reel slots with a small number of symbols on each reel. This is when you’re guaranteed to have the best chances to succeed.

How To Calculate Your Winning Chances

For a more precise estimation of your winning chances, you can use the mathematical formula below:

N = 100%/(Bni)

N – chances of landing a winning combination;
i – number of reels in a slot;
Bn – number of symbols on each reel.

To see how the formula works, let’s take a 3-reel slot machine, with 10 symbols on each reel. For this slot, the probability of landing a combination of 3 identical symbols is 0.1% (see below).


Note that this probability is pretty high! For a 5-reel slot, this value will be lower. Let’s take a look:


As you can see, two additional reels drastically diminish your chances of landing a 5-symbol winning combination.

What Makes 5-Reel Slots So Popular

As we just discovered, slot machines with 5 reels are less profitable for a player than their 3-reel “colleagues.” Logically enough, this must have affected their popularity among gamblers. Why didn’t that happen? The reason is pretty simple.

To make up for lower winning chances, 5-reel slot machines offer generous bonus symbols, risk games, and free spins.

Extra bonuses boost the attractiveness of the game in the eyes of players. The more paying symbols a slot features, the higher are your chances of landing a lucky combination or triggering a bonus round. As for 3-reel slots, they tend to lack special symbols and free spins.