Published on November 20th, 2019 | by Sunit Nandi


Is it possible to beat a slot machine with maths?

If slot machines use mathematics to operate, does it mean that we can use maths to beat the slot machines? Whilst with some games of skill there’s usually some kind of an angle that can be used to beat the game, slots, sadly, don’t fall into this category. This is primarily because of Random Number Generators, RNG. They are little bits of computer code that make it virtually impossible for players to guess when to click the spin button and beat the slots. However, nothing is ever carved in stone! In 2014 a gang of Russian criminals got their hands onto some old slot machines and somehow managed to reverse the source code. Then they used mathematics to time the random number generator routines to beat the slots. Their system worked for a while, until they were caught by surprise and the casino industry once again tightened their security.

This incident caused mathematicians to confirm that a true random number generation algorithm would be impossible to design. However never to be beaten, they designed a new quantum random number generator. But until large scale production of these chips begins, the online gaming industry will have to rely on improved security practices.

What is a Random Number Generator?

Random Number Generators are computer programmes that use a mathematical formula to ensure that the outcome of each spin on a slot machine is completely random. There are different types of RNG’s but normally casinos use Pseudo Random Number Generators. These RNG’s don’t need external numbers or data to produce an output, all they require is an algorithm and a seed number.

They way they work on slot machines is this: Casinos assign a value to each of the symbols on a reel. For example, when a user is playing a five reel slot game with twelve symbols on each reel, the RNG assigns a value of 1-12 for each of the five reels. RNG’s then generate a sequence that doesn’t have any set pattern, thereby ensuring complete randomness.

Of course it’s possible to cheat Random Number Generators but the majority of online gamers have no idea how to do this. Casino’s ensure that the machines produce a completely random result by using the services of external companies like eCogra, a company that conducts regular tests on the machines.

And there you have it, the reason why it’s not possible to beat a slot machine by maths, unless of course, you’re a brilliant mathematician! It’s ironic however, that the oldest slot machines from the 1930’s had a true RNG built into the system. Known as a “fan clock”, a spinning blade driven by springs was released when a player pulled the handle of a slot game. Thanks to atmospheric pressure, humidity and mechanical variants, each spin of the slot machine was completely random.

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I'm the leader of Techno FAQ. Also an engineering college student with immense interest in science and technology. Other interests include literature, coin collecting, gardening and photography. Always wish to live life like there's no tomorrow.

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