RNG, Hit Frequency, and Payback Rate Explained


Slot machines are the most popular among punters everywhere around the world, and it really shows, as 70% of casinos’ income comes exclusively from these. As the times changed, so did the technologies behind the machines, and nowadays we have the most sophisticated mechanisms that run the reels and bring us joy or anger, depending on the outcome of each new spin. 

Did you ever stop to think what really makes the modern slots random? It is referred to as RNG, and it stands for the Random Generator. 

RNG or Random Number Generator

RNG is not some mystery machine that’s operated by some cosmic forces, it’s simply a special type of microchip, designed to generate random strings of numbers all the time. 

Not all that it generates random numbers all the time, it also does so at an incredible rate of billion, hundreds of times per second. Yes, it as fast as the speed of light and it’s made to guarantee that the outcome of each spin and each bet is completely random. 

No matter which type of slot we’re talking about here, classic slots, progressive slots, and video slots all have RNGs which generate random numbers in order to determine the position of the reels. 

Another important fact about this wondrous microprocessor is that nothing can affect any of its processes! Whatever you do, it simply won’t budge, as its hit frequency and the payout ratio remain completely intact. RNG always generates random numbers for as long as the machine is on, and they will provide values that give out different symbol combos on the reels.

This means that the machine is impartial and accurate at the same time. 

Hit FrequencyHit Frequency

Quite often you will hear about this “hit frequency” when a slot machine is being discussed, but you probably don’t know what it means…

To put it simply, it is a number that signifies how often a winning combination lands on the slot that’s in question. The higher this number is, the more often the slot will render and show a winning combo on its reels. 

In theory, this means that slots with high hit frequencies should be the ones to go to, but in reality, it’s not that simple. If you approach it all mathematically, you have very slim chances of hitting a jackpot while playing a slot, namely 27,000 to 1. 

These chances mean that the winning combination does get generated relatively often indeed, but you need to keep in mind that you still need to press the spin button at the precise moment in order to score a jackpot, and mathematical chances for that are a lot slimmer…

Payback Rate

Once again, we’re speaking of a number, but this time around it express the payback of a slot machine in exact percentage. This is much easier to understand in terms of mathematics, as the number will simply grow with the amount of money you feed into the slot. 

Connect the Two

So, how exactly are payback rate and hit frequency connected, you might ask. Imagine if all the slots had the same values for these two? It would be a rather boring world, wouldn’t it?

Slots that have a high hit frequency are also commonly referred to as the loose ones, and at the same time, you should never forget that these exact machines don’t have a high payback percentage. 

On the other side of the spectrum, we have machines that are known for low hit frequencies, and that is why they are also sometimes called tight machines. Of course, the tight ones always have a better payout rate than their loose counterparts. 

How to Choose Wisely?

All things considered, it is obvious that you will be left puzzled and wouldn’t know how to choose your next slot. 

If you want to apply some basic strategies next time you pay a visit to a betting venue, it would be fair to say that it makes sense to go for a tight machine.

Why would you do that? Well, a higher payback percentage is still way better than higher fit frequency. Also, don’t forget that the same game can have varying values in different casinos. 

by Matija Dagovic Matija