‘Hot and cold' slots is a commonly exchanged piece of sage advice, handed down from gambling veterans to novices. It's a double edged piece of wisdom that promises that your luck at gambling on the slots goes through phases of success and failure simply due to the way the games are designed. Players can then make a choice about whether they should give up and leave with what they've won if things start to turn sour, or push through the hard times and hopefully hit that winning streak that lies ahead.
But is the idea of a hot and cold slot a myth or is there still some truth to it? And if there isn't any truth to it, then how did it even come about? In this quick guide we'll run through the problems with the hot and cold myth and set you straight, so you can start betting smarter.
For clarification, the idea of hot and cold slots doesn't make any sense with modern online slot games. However, the myth does have origins that held some truth. The reels of old style slot machines have to be mechanical, due to them existing in the real world. Because they're mechanical, real world slot machines inevitably end up following certain patterns. Real world slot machines actually have periods where they don't pay out much, which is a conscious decision on behalf of the slot creator in order to not pay out constantly to spread their losses and to keep players playing.
When slot machines transitioned to a digital format, this restriction no longer existed. Online slots have no moving parts and although they appear to spin and land on symbols in the same way their real world equivalents do, there's no actual reel movement happening. Eagle eyed players will notice that the reels of an online slot aren't consistent and the position of the symbols on the reels appears to random. That is precisely correct and is a consequence of online slots being governed by random number generators (RNG).
Since online slots aren't real, there are a lot of subtle changes going on behind the scenes, which the average user is going to miss. As mentioned before, online slots are controlled by RNG. What this means is that the symbols which an online slot shows are randomly generated. The system isn't completely random, as low value symbols have a higher chance of appearing than the super high value symbols and scatter symbols, but they're all set to randomly appear at different rates based on their value.
When you press the ‘spin' button to begin your round of slots, the reels will play a spinning animation and then will select a specific set of symbols to land on the reels at random. All of this is animated very well to make it look like the reels are spinning. There are a few other factors which affect the randomness to make it more consistent and fair.
Return to player rate (RTP) and volatility are additional rules which the slot has to follow, which makes online slots fair. The RTP of a slot determines on average what percentage of their wager a player will get back. If a slots RTP is 97%, then on average a player will get back 97p for every £1 they wager, with the payouts going above or below the RTP as it averages out, which allows for players to lose and win back money.
Volatility also feeds into RTP. Slot volatility controls how close to the RTP percentage your payouts will be on each spin. Effectively, if a slot is highly volatile, players will receive fewer payouts but they will be very big payouts, and on low voltaility slots, your payouts will be very often but of a very low amount.
We've now established that online slots work differently to real life slot machines. They aren't mechanical, they don't actually spin and they're controlled by random number generators which have checks in place to make each spin have a certain probability of giving you a big win. Online slots don't have a memory of what they've already spun and aren't creating the next lot of symbols based on what was previously spun. Every single spin has a chance of being a huge win or a loss.
With online slots, it's nonsensical to think that there are certain periods of losing or winning more at any time. Every moment you play, you have a chance of winning, it's simply whether or not the RNG creates that outcome. So now you know that, you can play much smarter when it comes to your slots.
If you're on a losing streak, don't hang in there. Go and find another slot game and see what happens. And if you're doing particularly well on a slot, bear in mind that things can change in an instant, so be prepared to take your winnings while you're ahead and don't get caught up in the idea of the slot becoming hot once again. On any slot at GoWin casino, you can see all the information for every individual game, including its RTP and volatility, so you can make the right decisions about which slots are worth your time.