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How Do Online Slot Games Decide Who Wins?


Online slot games have grown immensely popular over the years due to their simplicity, exciting themes, and the potential to win real money payouts. However, many players often wonder about the mechanics behind these games, particularly how they decide winners. 

This article delves into the intricacies of online slot games, explaining the integral role of Random Number Generators (RNGs), the significance of Return to Player (RTP) percentages, and the impact of volatility on potential winnings. 

How Do Online Slots Decide Who Wins?

Online slot games use an RNG to determine the results of each spin. The RNG uses a complex mathematical algorithm to generate millions of random number sequences per second, creating an environment of complete unpredictability and fairness. Each time a player presses the Spin button, the slot uses the number sequence generated by the RNG at that exact moment for that spin. The number sequence then translates into a unique combination of symbols on the reels. 

The RNG ensures that each spin is independent, meaning past spins do not influence future ones. Whether or not a player wins is determined solely by chance, and the chances of winning on a certain slot game are the same on every spin of it. 

Can You Win Real Money On Online Slots?

Yes, players can indeed win real money playing online slots since they play using their own deposited funds. However, it's essential to note that, due to their random nature, winnings are never guaranteed. 

There are a couple of factors that can give a rough idea as to a slot's payout behaviour. These are factors that many players consider when trying to choose a slot game to play. 


The RTP of a slot game indicates the theoretical percentage of all the wagered money that a slot machine pays back to players over an extended period. Usually, the RTP ranges between 88% and 98%, though some games may have lower or higher percentages. 

For instance, a slot game with an RTP of 96% means that, in theory, it should average out as paying back £96 for every £100 wagered. However, this is a long-term average and doesn't guarantee that each player will get back 96% of their wagers in a session. 

Due to the random nature of slots, players may win more than the RTP suggests, they may win less, or they may win nothing at all. 

Consider Volatility

Volatility is another critical factor to consider when playing online slots. It indicates the theoretical behaviour of a particular slot game and gives players an idea of the size and frequency of potential wins. 

High-volatility slots are likely to land less frequently but award larger potential wins, while low-volatility slots are likely to land more frequently but award smaller potential wins, in theory. 

Again, the results may differ in practice due to the randomness of slot games. 

How Does An Online Slot Decide Who Wins?

As mentioned earlier, online slots use RNGs to decide who wins. These complex algorithms generate random numbers at an incredibly high speed, which are then translated into specific results on the slot reels. 

The RNG doesn't know which combinations result in a win. It merely generates the number sequences, leaving the game software to translate it into an array of symbols and then determine if that results in a spin's outcome being a winning combination or not. 

Is There A Strategy To Online Slots?

Since online slots are games of chance, there are no strategies one can use to secure wins. The RNG ensures each outcome is entirely random and independent from previous spins. While players can't predict or influence the results, understanding the RTP and volatility of a game can guide their game selection. However, ultimately, nothing is guaranteed. 

Are There Signals That A Slot Machine Will Hit?

Due to the RNG's unpredictability, it's impossible to know when a slot machine will hit. The outcomes are entirely random, with no discernible patterns or sequences. Some players might think they notice patterns, but these are mere coincidences, not signals of an upcoming win. 

Additionally, the RNG generates number sequences up until the Spin button is pressed. So, the outcome is only decided at this moment; therefore, there can be no prior signals. 

Does It Matter When You Play Online Slots?

Contrary to some theories, the time of day does not affect the likelihood of winning at online slots. The RNG operates independently of external factors such as time, ensuring randomness and fairness at all times. Therefore, whether you play in the morning, afternoon, or at night, your chances of winning remain the same. 

It's crucial always to play responsibly, understanding that wins are not guaranteed and losses are part of the game. Remember, the primary purpose of playing should be entertainment, not to make money.