Have you ever noticed how certain slots are more likely to score a winning combination than others? Despite chance being an important component in the process, there are other factors that contribute to this. One such is the hit frequency of a given game. We all know that online slots are programmed to function in a certain way but rarely do we think about that, preferring to simply watch the reels spin with the goal of maybe earning some cash at the end of our gaming session. Hit frequency often goes unnoticed by the general gambling community, being overshadowed by other factors, such as RTP and house edge values.
However, it is no less important than any of them for the general experience and it plays a large role in how you play the game. To better explain how hit frequency works and the effect it has on your favorite games we have prepared this guide so that you can have a better understanding of this important factor. We have also included information about other aspects that also have a hand or are closely related to hit frequency and if that interests you then read on.
Hit Frequency Explained
Hit frequency is a relatively simple concept to understand and we are sure that you will get the hang of it after reading this guide. Basically, hit frequency refers to how often a slot game will form a winning combination as opposed a losing one. As you already know, not all spins will result in a win and not all will result in a loss. While this is true for all slot games, certain titles appear to hit more winning spins than others and this represents the notion of hit frequency.
The range of this frequency is quite large in the online gambling industry, which is primarily attributed to the large number of games available to the general player base. With thousands of games featured in the online gambling industry, there is bound to be a difference between all of them and the hit frequency is one of several.
About the hit frequency itself, there are some things that you need to take into consideration. Hit frequency implies the formation of a winning combination, but that also includes rewards which are less than the bet itself. For example, if you put down $1.00 on a slot spin and the machine returns $0.50, technically you have formed a winning combination. However, you have not won any money and are actually $0.50 behind. So you did not win anything in terms of your balance.
Hit Frequency Additional TipsFurthermore, hit frequency is not an aspect of slot games that is discussed often and neither slot developers nor the online casinos that offer the games publish the numbers. Most of the data that we have is gather informally by players from their own gameplay sessions and is not what one would call precise. It is assumed that modern slot games feature a hit frequency between 9% and 25%, depending on the game in question. This means that on average the game will hit a winning combination between 9 and 25 times for every 100 spins.
As you can imagine, these numbers indicate the hit frequency in the long term, over the course hundreds of thousands or millions of spins, more than any one player can have in a single gaming session. Due to this, you should take this information with a grain of salt, as it will not apply in the short term. However, if you play for long enough, chances are that the hit frequency will become more noticeable.
While hit frequency deals with the average percentage of winning spins from the total number of spins, volatility refers to the tendency for how a slot game rewards its players and the two tie in together to for the reward structure for a title. When talking about volatility, we mean how often and how much a slot pays on a smaller level, rather than referring to overall averages. While these are metrics are somewhat difficult to predict with accuracy, there are some tendencies that can be observed.
In terms of volatility, slot games are separated into two categories – high volatility and low volatility titles. High volatility means that a game may go for long periods of time without rewarding the player only for a spin to offer a significant payout. Low volatility games, on the other hand, offer payouts more often but these come at a lower value to compensate for the increased win rate.
Much hit frequency, not much attention is paid to volatility and there is rarely official information on the subject. Information is gathered by players and its reliability cannot be verified. However, any piece of data is useful to you if you wish to optimize your gameplay. Understanding volatility gives you a better idea of how a slot functions and whether it is suitable for your style of play and budget.
RTP is one of the most fundamental aspects of gambling and it is one of the primary means that we have at our disposal to judge the fairness of a game. While not the focus of our discussion in this article – we have a separate one for RTP where we go into more detail – it is still important and contributes to the current topic.
RTP constitutes the total percentage of all money that a casino game pays out as winnings to players. However, there is a catch. The percentage of all money paid out is lower than the total amount that goes in. This is how casinos make their revenue and continue to be in business for years or decades. The RTP percentage shows the share of the total turnover paid out as winnings over a long period of time, not unlike the hit frequency. It is meant to be a long-term measure of the fairness of a game.
Judging games by their RTP is simple enough. Basically, the higher the RTP percentage the fairer the title is. By fair, we mean the closer the game gets to having true odds rather than casino odds. In a perfect world, all casino games would have an RTP percentage of 100% and pay out the same amount of money that they take in.
Return-to-Player Additional TipsHowever, in our world, things are somewhat different. There are certainly titles that have RTP values of 100% or even slightly over, but these are only a few and they do not come in the form of slots. Slots generally feature RTP values of between 85% to 97%, though there are exceptions to this statistic. Each game comes with its own unique RTP value and the thousands of unique slot titles vary quite a lot in what percentages they pay out.
Knowing the RTP value of a game is essential for you to have the fairest gambling experience, if that interests you, of course. But getting a hold of that information could prove troublesome, as not all software providers publish their RTP values, again, not unlike volatility and hit frequency values.
”Hot” and “Cold” Slots Fallacy
The ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ slots fallacy is often taken to be part of the hit frequency discussion and nothing could be further from the truth. When a slot game is continuously paying out significant sums of money it is thought to be ‘hot’ and expect to stop soon, while one that has not produced a significant result is considered ‘cold’ and expected to become ‘hot’ soon. The idea behind this logic is that the longer time that a game has not paid out, the more likely it is for it to give a positive outcome.
This is a fallacy because it implies that individual spins have an effect on the following ones. In truth, games are not programmed to be influenced in this way and if they were it would be considered tampering with the software of the machine. Modern-day titles use sophisticated Random Number Generation (RNG) systems, which produce truly random results on each spin regardless of what the outcome of previous spins was. This means that you can win the jackpot twice on two consecutive spins or make no winnings at all, depending on your luck at the moment. This is why slots are games of chance since nothing is certain. This fallacy, however, implies that a good payout is expected and all but guaranteed. Moreover, the fallacy also deals with the extreme short term, while the hit frequency statistic is only accurate in the long haul. For this reason, you should always ignore this ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ nonsense during any discussion regarding hit frequency and know that the RNG systems will always live up to the statistics over time.
FAQ About Slots Hit Frequency
While we have done our best to cover as much information as possible, there is only so much that we can include in a single article. You may still have some questions about this topic and to help you out, we prepared a short list of the most commonly asked questions regarding hit frequency and have provided our answers in a short, yet concise manner.
Does the hit frequency affect the RTP and house edge values?
The hit frequency of a given slot game is not factored in when calculating the RTP and house edge values. The RTP and casino advantage are based on the average percentage of funds that the game pays out. The frequency in which that happens is irrelevant as the average will always be the same. A high-frequency slot can payout the same amount as a low-frequency game in the long run, which is what the RTP value represents. Therefore, for the purposes of the house edge, hit frequency is not an important factor.
Which category of games is fairer – high or low frequency slots?
Typically, the hit frequency of a slot game does not really speak as to its fairness. Two games with different hit frequency values can be the same in terms of fairness provided that they pay out the same percentage of the total turnover. For this reason, you should first check the RTP statistics of a title before judging its fairness as that is your best indicator in almost all situations.
How to determine the hit frequency of a slot game?
Hit frequency is a difficult factor to determine, primarily due to the fact that there is no metric provided by software providers. All data on the subject is mostly gathered by players based on their experience with a given game. The only logical way of determining the hit frequency of a particular slot is to take a look at the pay table for winning combinations. If the payout ratios are higher than the industry average, odds are that this game is a low-frequency one. Similarly, the opposite is true if for high-frequency games. Additionally, you should take notice of the discrepancy between the payout for a 4- and 5-symbol combination. If the 5-symbol combination offers rewards up to 5x the value of the 4-symbol one, then the game is likely high frequency. However, if the 5-symbol combination pays 10x or higher than the 4-symbol one, odds are you are playing a low-frequency title.
How does the hit frequency of slots compare with that of other games?
The hit frequency in slots is much different than many other casino genres and arguably lower than most of them. Video poker is the closest genre to slots in terms of gameplay and anyone who has played either of them can state that it offers slightly more winning outcomes than the average slot title. Granted, the most common winning hands in video poker simply give you your money back, however, slots have the ability to return less money than you put in. Other games such as blackjack and roulette are more difficult to compare, as there are other factors in play, such as experience, decision making and multiple betting options. When you account for that, the odds change on a case-by-case basis and things become more complicated.
Should I play slots with a low or high hit frequency?
That would depend more on your bankroll and bet value than anything else. Playing low-frequency slots is more suitable for gamblers with a higher budget as there may be larger periods of time between winning spins. Similarly, high-frequency slots are better for budget players as they offer smaller rewards more often and will allow them to keep spinning for longer. Of course, that advice is viable if you want to optimise your gameplay to be as efficient as possible. If you find yourself enjoying a game you should stick with it, regardless of its hit frequency. Unless you are playing strictly for the money, your enjoyment of a title should come before anything.
Is hit frequency something that I should worry about when playing slots online?
Generally, hit frequency is not the largest factor to consider when playing slots on the Internet. There are larger things to take into account, such as RTP and the fun you have with a title. These should be more important than hit frequency, since not every hit can be considered a win. Moreover, there is no sure way to measure the hit frequency in a title and the best we can do is speculate on it based on the information at our disposal. For this reason, we recommend that you do not worry too much about this aspect of slot games and focus on other features that can have a more noticeable effect on your experience.