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Slots Hit Frequency

Slots Hit Frequency

If you are a slot player, you have perhaps wondered at on one point or another how often you are likely to win while spinning the reels.  That’s where hit frequency comes into play. The term is used to describe how often a slot game will produce winning combinations. Let’s unpack this further, shall we?

Imagine a slot machine with a hit frequency of 8%. This means that players will land winning combinations about 8% of the time on average. The remaining 92% of the spins will result in losses. If this doesn’t sound like much, consider this. Many slots and video lottery terminals (VLTs) allow players to bet on multiple lines per single spin. This can result in one or more winning combinations in a single spin of the reels. It might feel like you’re winning frequently, but losing combinations will inevitably outnumber winning ones in the grand scheme of things.

Before we dive into the nuts and bolts of hit frequency, here is a sneak peek at what this article has in store for you. We’ve meticulously organized it into the following sections for a smooth read:

Now, here is where it gets interesting. Hit frequency varies widely across different slots and video lottery terminals. Some games have a hit frequency as low as 3%, while others, like video poker, award payouts nearly 45%. However, there is one peculiarity here that bears consideration. In video poker, almost half of these “hits” return just your original bet. On the flip side, a slot game with a measly 3% hit frequency could be your ticket to winning a massive jackpot. It is basically a trade-off between lower hit frequency and higher potential payouts. This is particularly true for slots with progressive jackpots.

Players often label games with low hit frequencies as “tight” because wins are few and far between. Meanwhile, games with a high hit frequency are deemed “loose,” as they produce more frequent, but smaller wins.

Key Takeaway: Hit frequency is all about how often you will win in a given slot game. Games with a high hit frequency usually offer smaller wins, whereas those with lower win frequencies tend to deliver larger jackpots. The bottom line is there is an interrelation between win frequency and payout size.

How to Calculate Slots Hit Frequency?

Alright, let’s roll up our sleeves and dive into the mathematics of slot machines. Calculating the hit frequency might sound like a task for a math wizard, but fear not! There are a couple of ways you can estimate this elusive number, even if you’re not a numbers person.

Using the Pay Tables

First up, pay tables. These are like the treasure maps of slot machines, revealing the value of each symbol. In online slots, you’ll find them in the help or options section. If you’re in a land-based casino, just look around the slot machine – they’re usually printed on the side or front.

Here’s what you need to do: check out the highest and lowest payouts, including any local jackpots from matching symbols or achieving specific goals. A big gap between the highest and lowest payouts usually signals a low hit frequency. Why? Because these machines are holding out for those big, rare jackpots.

Will Knowing the Hit Frequency in Slots Help You?

Absolutely! Understanding the hit frequency, along with the Return to Player (RTP) and the game’s variance, is like having a secret roadmap to the profitability of a slot machine. It helps you find a game where your odds of walking away with a hefty payout are better.

Calculation of Hit Frequency

Now, let’s talk about the actual calculation. Imagine spinning the reels of a slot machine with a 20% hit frequency 400,000 times. You would expect to win around 80,000 of those spins. Simple, right?

But here’s the catch: there’s no handy, automated calculator for slot machine hit frequency. Plus, software developers usually keep the hit frequency of their games under wraps. Why? Because if players knew that a slot had a low hit frequency, they might avoid it in favor of slots that hit more often.

Key Takeaway: While you can’t pinpoint the exact hit frequency of a slot machine, using pay tables and understanding the gap between the highest and lowest payouts can give you a good estimate. Knowing this, along with the RTP and variance, can guide you towards slots that potentially offer better payouts. So, are you ready to look at those pay tables in a new light?

Hit Frequency Types You Can Calculate While Playing Slots

When you’re playing slots, understanding the different types of hit frequency can significantly enhance your gaming strategy. Here are the key types of hit frequency you should be aware of:

  • Hit Frequency of Symbol Matches: This is the most common type of hit frequency, referring to how often you land a winning combination of symbols on the paylines. It’s the basic measure of how often you can expect to win anything at all, regardless of the size of the win.
  • Hit Frequency of Free Spins Rounds: Separating from regular wins, this hit frequency measures how likely you are to trigger free spins in a slot game. Free spins are generally harder to trigger compared to standard wins, with hit frequencies typically much lower than those for regular line wins, often around 5% or less.
  • Hit Frequency of Bonus Game Triggers: Similar to free spins, the hit frequency for triggering bonus games is usually low, around 1-5%. These bonus games often involve interactive elements and can lead to significant winnings, making them a sought-after feature despite their rarity.
  • Hit Frequency of Jackpot Wins: For slots offering progressive jackpots, the hit frequency for landing a jackpot win is extremely low. This is due to the massive payouts associated with jackpots. For instance, the odds of hitting a progressive jackpot can be as steep as 50,000,000 to 1.

It’s important to remember that hit frequency is a one-sided parameter, focusing solely on whether a win occurs, not on the size of the win. So, even small wins that don’t cover your bet size are counted as hits.

When considering these types of hit frequencies, also remember the relationship between hit frequency, volatility, and RTP (Return to Player). For example, slots with high hit frequency often have low volatility and may not offer large payouts frequently, whereas slots with low hit frequency might be more volatile but offer the chance of larger wins.

Understanding these different types of hit frequencies and how they relate to a game’s overall profile can help you choose slots that align with your playing style and risk tolerance. Whether you prefer frequent small wins or the thrill of chasing big jackpots, there’s a slot game out there with the right hit frequency for you

Is Hit Frequency Linked to Slots RTP Percentages?

When it comes to understanding slot machines, two terms often pop up: Hit Frequency and Return to Player (RTP). While they may seem related, they’re actually distinct concepts with different impacts on your gaming experience.

Understanding RTP in Slot Machines

Return to Player (RTP) is a term used to describe the percentage of all wagered money a slot machine or VLT (Video Lottery Terminal) is expected to pay back to players over time. For instance, if you play a hundred $1 bets on a machine with an RTP of 90%, you might theoretically get back about $90 in wins. It’s crucial to note that RTP calculations are based on the long term, which means short-term outcomes can be wildly different.

Interestingly, RTP is essentially the flip side of the house advantage. If a slot has a 20% house advantage, it typically has an RTP of 80%. This means over time, the machine will keep 20% of all money bet and return the other 80% to players in wins.

The Role of Hit Frequency

Now, let’s switch gears to Hit Frequency. It’s the measure of how often a slot machine will stop on a winning combination. This is calculated separately from RTP and tells you about the frequency of wins, not their size or your overall expected return. When slot machines are designed, hit frequency is usually the starting point, followed by the adjustment of payout percentages and reels.

The Difference Between Hit Frequency and RTP

The key difference lies in their focus:

  • Hit Frequency looks at how often a player can expect to hit a winning combination.
  • RTP, on the other hand, is concerned with how much of the total wagered money will be returned to players over an extended period.

It’s like comparing frequency with average returns. While a high hit frequency can make a game feel more exciting with frequent wins, a high RTP offers better long-term profitability.

Misconceptions and Realities

A common misconception among slot players, especially those new to gambling, is conflating hit frequency with payout percentage. While both provide insights into a game’s dynamics, they address different aspects. Payout percentage is essentially the same as RTP, indicating the long-term payback of wagers. Hit frequency, conversely, sheds light on the unpredictability of a gaming session.

What Does This Mean for Players?

Remember, even if you’re playing a slot with high hit frequency and/or high RTP, there are no guarantees of winning. Both metrics are statistical tools designed to provide a general idea of a game’s behavior, not to predict short-term outcomes. The most crucial aspect is to enjoy the gaming experience and play responsibly, keeping in mind that the outcomes are ultimately down to chance.

Key Takeaways:

  • Distinct Concepts: Hit Frequency and RTP (Return to Player) are distinct aspects of slot machines. Hit Frequency measures how often a slot lands on a winning combination, while RTP indicates the percentage of wagered money returned to players over time.
  • Impact on Gameplay: While Hit Frequency offers insight into the frequency of wins, RTP provides a long-term view of profitability. A game with high hit frequency might offer more regular wins, but these are not necessarily large payouts.
  • Common Misunderstandings: Players often confuse Hit Frequency with RTP or payback percentage. It’s important to recognize that these terms describe different elements of slot machine performance.
  • Design Considerations: When designing slots, hit frequency is typically considered first, followed by the setting of payout percentages. This approach underscores the fundamental difference between the two metrics.
  • Player Experience: High hit frequency can make a game feel more engaging with frequent wins, but it does not guarantee larger payouts or better overall returns, which are more influenced by RTP.
  • No Guarantees of Winning: Regardless of a slot’s hit frequency or RTP, outcomes are always down to chance, and there’s no guarantee of winning in the short term.
  • Responsible Gaming: The most important aspect is to enjoy the gaming experience and play responsibly. Understanding these metrics can help manage expectations but should not be used to predict short-term outcomes.

Does Slot’s Variance Affect the Hit Frequency?

The relationship between a slot’s variance (or volatility) and its hit frequency is one of the core dynamics in slot game design and player experience. Here’s how they interact:

  1. Close Relationship Between Variance and Hit Frequency: In video slots, there’s a significant connection between hit frequency and volatility. Generally, slots with low hit frequency are more prone to high volatility. Conversely, those with high hit frequency tend to exhibit low volatility.
  2. Understanding High Volatility and Low Hit Frequency: When a slot machine has a low hit frequency, it means wins are less frequent, but potentially larger. This is indicative of high volatility. High volatility slots often offer the chance for bigger wins, but these wins happen less often, making the game more unpredictable and, for some, more thrilling.
  3. Low Volatility and High Hit Frequency: On the other hand, if a slot has a high hit frequency, it means players can expect to win more often, but the payouts are generally smaller. This is a characteristic of low volatility slots. They offer more frequent wins, but these are typically lower in value, providing a more stable playing experience with less risk per spin.
  4. Balancing the Gameplay: This relationship between hit frequency and volatility is quite predictable. If a slot allows players to win often, the average size of these winnings can’t be too high, resulting in low volatility. Conversely, less frequent wins in high volatility slots are balanced by the possibility of larger payouts.
  5. Impact on Player Strategy: Understanding this relationship can help players choose slots that align with their playing style and risk tolerance. If you prefer frequent small wins, a low volatility, high hit frequency slot might be your best bet. If you’re after big wins and are comfortable with longer dry spells, a high volatility, low hit frequency slot could be more appealing.

Key Takeaway: The variance or volatility of a slot game has a direct impact on its hit frequency. High volatility slots tend to have lower hit frequencies with larger payouts, while low volatility slots offer higher hit frequencies with smaller, more frequent wins. This balance is crucial for game designers and informative for players in selecting games that match their risk preferences and playing style.

How to Identify the Hit Frequency of Slots

Identifying the hit frequency of slot machines can be a bit of a detective game, as slot providers often keep this information under wraps. However, there are ways to deduce and estimate the hit frequency that can help you choose a slot that aligns with your playing style.

Understanding Hit Frequency and Volatility

First, understand that hit frequency is closely related to a slot’s volatility. Slots with high volatility usually have a lower hit frequency (around 20%), while those with low volatility typically have higher hit frequencies (around 30-40%). Therefore, by determining a slot’s volatility, you can get a rough idea of its hit frequency.

Preference for Low vs. High Hit Frequency Slots

Choosing between low and high hit frequency slots is a matter of personal preference and depends on your risk tolerance. High hit frequency slots offer more frequent wins but usually with smaller payouts, ideal for players who prefer a steady game. On the other hand, low hit frequency slots offer less frequent but potentially larger wins, suited for those who enjoy the thrill of chasing big payouts.

Utilizing Demo Modes and Casino Bonuses

One effective way to gauge a slot’s hit frequency is by playing the game in demo mode or using casino bonuses. This allows you to play without risking real money and gives you a sense of how often you might win.

Tips for Identifying Higher Hit Frequency Slots

  1. Check the Pay Tables: This is where you can find the value of each symbol. In online slots, pay tables are typically located in the help or options menu. For land-based slots, they’re often printed on the machine.
  2. Analyze Payouts: Look at the highest and lowest payouts, including any jackpots for specific tasks or symbol matches. A wide gap between the highest and lowest payouts can be an indicator of a lower hit frequency.
  3. Track Your Spins: Keep a record of your winnings and feature triggers over a set number of spins to get a feel for the game’s hit frequency. This method can be time-consuming but offers a practical insight into the game’s performance.
  4. Consider the Game’s Features: Games with a multitude of bonus features, like free spins or wilds, can sometimes hint at a higher hit frequency, as these features often contribute to more frequent wins.
  5. Read Reviews and Slot Data: Often, reviews and forums can provide insights into a slot’s performance, including its hit frequency. Some websites and player communities share their experiences and analyses of different slots, which can be valuable information.
  6. Software Provider Trends: Sometimes, specific software providers have tendencies in their game designs. For instance, some are known for producing high hit frequency slots, while others focus on high volatility games. Familiarizing yourself with these trends can guide your slot selection.


While pinpointing the exact hit frequency of a slot machine can be challenging due to the lack of direct information from providers, using these methods can provide a reasonable estimate. Whether you prefer a game that pays out little and often or one with the potential for big but rarer wins, understanding hit frequency can significantly enhance your slot playing experience. Remember, the key is to find a balance that suits your playing style and ensures an enjoyable gaming experience.


What exactly is hit frequency in slot machines?

Hit frequency is the percentage indicating how often a slot machine stops on a winning combination. For example, a slot with a 20% hit frequency will, on average, land on a winning combination 20% of the time over a large number of spins.

Is there a difference between hit frequency and RTP (Return to Player)?

Yes, there’s a significant difference. While hit frequency refers to how often a slot machine lands on a winning combination, RTP represents the percentage of all wagered money a slot is expected to pay back to players over time. For example, an RTP of 90% means that, over a long period, the machine will return 90% of the money wagered in it as winnings.

Can I find out the exact hit frequency of a slot machine?

It’s often challenging to find the exact hit frequency as many software providers don’t openly disclose this information. However, you can estimate it by playing the slot in demo mode or observing the game’s volatility. Generally, slots with high volatility have lower hit frequencies and vice versa.

How does the variance or volatility of a slot affect its hit frequency?

Variance, or volatility, and hit frequency are closely related. High volatility slots usually have lower hit frequencies, meaning wins are less frequent but potentially larger. Conversely, low volatility slots tend to have higher hit frequencies, offering more regular but smaller wins.

Are slots with high hit frequency better than those with low hit frequency?

Whether a high or low hit frequency slot is better depends on your personal preferences and playing style. High hit frequency slots offer more frequent wins but typically with smaller amounts, ideal for players who prefer a steady game. Low hit frequency slots, while offering wins less frequently, often provide the chance for larger payouts, suited for players who enjoy the thrill of big wins.