Nothing could be easier than playing slots in an online casino, or offline, either. That doesn’t mean there’s nothing to learn or that no preparation is necessary.

In fact, these five tidbits are things every player should know before they play the slots.

Slot Games are random and never “due” to win or lose.

Results on modern slot machines are determined by a random number generator. 

All the RNG does is generate random numbers. It doesn’t know if its numbers have led to a winning or losing combination. Separate programs compare the RNG’s output to a map of symbols corresponding to the numbers and make the reels stop in the designated position.

Meanwhile, the RNG goes on generating numbers, oblivious to whether you’re on a hot streak, cold streak or something in between.

Given that setup, the odds are unchanging with all outcomes possible on every spin. If the game has been cold, it’s not due to payoff. And if the game has just paid big, it doesn’t have to go cold to make up for it.

Time, the odds of the games and random results will lead to profits for the casinos. But for players, past results yield no clue about future outcomes.

High coin denominations usually pay higher percentages but that’s offset by higher bets.

For generations, higher denomination slots have paid the highest percentages. Dollar slots pay more than quarters, which pay more than nickels, which pay more than pennies.

That’s a tradition that carries over into online play as casinos give the best shot to win to players who bet the most. 

The difference is narrower online, where penny slots often pay more than they do offline. 

Nevertheless, the highest overall payback percentage isn’t the whole story in choosing how much to bet. The cost in total wagers also must be considered.

Imagine you bet one cent per line on a 40-line slot that pays 90 percent. Per 100 spins, that’s $40 worth of wagers and an average loss of $5.

Now imagine you’re playing a nickel game instead, betting five cents per line on a 40-line slot that pays 92 percent. Per 100 spins, that’s $200 worth of wagers and an average loss of $16.

You’re getting a higher payback percentage on the higher-denomination slot, but also absorbing higher average losses because you’re risking more money.

Let your bankroll be your guide when you decide whether to risk more to chase higher potential rewards.

Games without bonuses give you the best chance at big jackpots but also can take your money fastest.

On three-reel games with no bonus events, the entire attraction lies in what you can win on the reels. All of the payback comes on the reel spins, and you have a better chance at a big jackpot than on games that incorporate bonus events.

The bulk of games we play online or offline include bonus events such as free spins, pick a prize rounds and wheel spins. There’s variation from game to game, but roughly 30 to 40 percent of payback comes in the bonuses.

That leaves less of the return coming from the basic reel spins, including big jackpot combinations.

Jackpot hunters might like the no-bonus games, but the chance at a big jackpot comes with tradeoffs.

Bonus games usually have more small paybacks to extend your play, or “time on device” as it’s referred to in the slot industry. In addition, time you spend in bonus events means times you’re playing the games without making additional wagers. On a non-bonus game, you’re making new wagers on every play.

The chance to win big on a non-bonus game comes with a bigger chance to lose fast than you see on bonusing slots.

No playing method can change the odds of the games.

You’ll sometimes hear of players who start by betting small and then increase their bets when they think the game has been primed for serious play. Other players might increase bets while winning and decrease bets on losing streaks.

Still others might try hitting a repeat bet button on some spins and switching to a max bet button or bet one per line button on others. Offline, they might vary between pushing buttons and pulling handles.

None of that makes any difference in results. The reels are still going to show the combinations that correspond to randomly generated numbers, and the slot odds remain the same on every spin. Nothing you can do can change that.

You don’t have to bet the max to get the full payback percentage on most modern games.

There’s an old casino adage that recommends you make the maximum bet on slots to get the highest payback percentages. The now-defunct chain of Trump casinos even had a cartoon character called Max Coins – a walking gold coin with a top hat – to bring home the message.

The adage was true enough when three-reel games with one payline ruled the slots. On most games, all payoffs were proportionate to bet size except for the top jackpot. On that top prize, there was a disproportionate leap when you bet the max. If a one-coin bet was worth a 1,000-coin top prize, you might get 2,000 for two but leap to a 5,000-coin bonanza for a maximum three-coin wager.

Because of that leap, the payback percentage was highest when you bet the max.

When video slots with multiple paylines rose to popularity, it quickly became apparent most players wouldn’t make maximum bets that involved so many coins. Manufacturers adapted and most video and online slots do not have the disproportionate jackpot jumps. 

Cover all paylines, but let your budget be your guide when deciding how many coins to bet per line.