/ / Demystifying payback and frequency in slots machines

Demystifying payback and frequency in slots machines

July 18, 2012 61 0

Frequency and payback are some of the most used terms by slot machine loving players. Regrettably, these terms often cause confusion to many players. It is with this view, that this article shed lies on the true meaning of frequency and payback.


By definition, frequency in slots machines is the sum percentage of spins that will give back to the player. Calculation of frequency is based on the number of times each symbol is one the wheel and the frequency of the winning combination occurring. As an example, a machine with a low hit frequency will have a winning combination show up after fifty spins whereas a high frequency combination will have a winning combination realized after maybe eight to ten spins. This means that machines that offer hit frequency will pay out small wins frequency while the reverse is true. However, it is imperative to note that this correlation has no effect on a machine payback. Machines known to have a high payback might have very low frequency since it pays more for higher winning combinations. Conversely, you can have a slot machine with a low payback characterized by small wins. You can also check our article about common slot machines myths, for more information about myths that reduce the quality of slot gaming of many players.


Payback is the percentage of money that a slot machine returns to a player in the long term. The programmer sets the payback as per the specification of a casino. Once this is done, it is cast in stone and cannot be reversed by the casino owner. Generally, payback percentage range from 75 to 99%. In some countries, such as the United States, local governments regulate the minimum payback per slot machine. This is done to prevent unscrupulous Casinos from swindling unsuspecting members of the public. The common term for machines with small payback is tight machine whereas the generous ones are known as the loose machines. Patrons are attracted to loose machines and often you will see casinos advertising that they have the loosest machines meaning that their machines have a higher payback percentage. Although rare, some casinos offer a payback percentage of 99%. It is not possible to determine the payback of a machine; however, looking at the pay table will give you an idea. If in the pay table there are many combinations returning small wins, it means that there are high chances of the machine hitting a large win frequency compared with one having fewer combinations.

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