In the following section, we’ll apprise you of the basics to the hit frequency metric used by online (and offline, for that matter) casinos. If you are at all familiar with the RTP, or Return to Player metric, then you have a good base from which to spring to understand and appreciate the hit frequency.
Basically, the latter is used by casinos to give the player an idea of their chances at winning with the particular video slot in question. Although popular with Classic Slots, since these tend to be the ones that lack all the glorious graphics and riveting templates - you can of course also find it being used with the 5 reel video slot. More specifically, it tells you with what percentage, once you press “play”, the reels will spin and land on one of the multitude of possible winning combinations.
So, how should you read the value? Let’s take an example: for a particular slot, the hit frequency might be 10%. What this means is pretty straightforward, if you spin the reels, then you stand a chance of landing a winning combination of any kind one out of ten tries. If this seems small to you, then you should keep in mind that slots in general don’t have a very good return to player or probability of winning when compared to all the other games at your average casino - that honor, of being the most likely to pay out, belongs to the table game Blackjack.
Now, how do you make this play more to your advantage? By utilizing one of the prime features of nearly any modern-day video slot: the ability to wager money on several paylines per spin. This reality is the genesis of that old veteran mantra: always utilize all of the paylines available in any video slot, and if you are trying to keep your expenditures under control, simply vary the coin denominations. Ultimately, it boils down to a numbers game: you will realize the number of winning combinations - as well as the number of losing combinations - on each and every single spin you take. This last is especially important because of the way we all succumb to the more positive aspects of human psychology: although getting more winning combinations by betting on multiple paylines may make it seem like you’re winning more; in reality, you will actually end up losing more in the long run. Why? Because there are simply more possible ways to win than there are possible ways to win, since the latter hinges on a small subset of the former. Thus, keep this in mind every time you encounter a video slot that advertises how many different ways there are to win - this can only be true if there are many more ways to lose. It’s similar (if not identical) to picking a blue marble out of a huge cache of red marbles. The more there are of both, the more there are of the ones you want, but also, the more there are of the ones you don’t want.
As a general rule, you can find hit frequencies that span a wide range; and they are not exclusive to slots, alone. After all, even in games such as poker and Blackjack, probability is involved, and it always skews against you since you want particular combinations, or subsets of the whole. Since RTP is so closely related to hit frequency, let’s pin down precisely what the former means in layman’s terms. The Return to Player advantage is just an encapsulation of the House advantage, except in reverse. What does this mean? That if the Casino House has an advantage of 40%, then the RTP value is 60%. Thus, the game in question will, over time scales long, retain 40% of all the money invested into it, while returning 60% of it in wins. This is a mathematical result that stands more and more true as the number plays on the machine goes to infinity; as a result, it could help the intelligent gambler understand the need to play high RTP games with a starting bankroll of sufficient size, and employ a gambling strategy that finds a balance between prolonging gameplay and maximizing the size of the win per the win.
The above example of hit frequency is a bit egregious, as you simply won’t find a casino game with such an atrocious result! Otherwise, no one would play it when you’ve got table games, video slots, specialty games and video poker options with far better RTP values and hit frequency values. For more realistic values, consider video slots that have hit frequencies in the 3% range, vs. poker with the same way up there in the 45% range. Just in case you’re thinking of activating a late night poker run with reckless abandon at this seemingly fantastic hit frequency, remember that 50% or more of those poker wins simply return your original investment to you - which , although perhaps exciting, puts you in the red since you spent time to make back what you wagered in the first place.
As for the rationale of video slots having such low hit frequencies, remember that most of these tend to be the ones with gigantic jackpots, such as Megasaur Slots, which is a continuously growing progressive cash pool. The low frequency is further buttressed by the fact that you can win a bunch of free spins in most slots, courtesy of the scatter symbol and feature games that can be unlocked. As a general rule, the lower the hit frequency in the video slot, the bigger the potential jackpot that you can win.
Insofar as player perceptions are concerned, low hit frequency games are sometimes panned by players who don’t understand what this entails - that you miss out on the chance to win substantially larger jackpots. Additionally, it tends to engender thoughts of “loose” and “tight” machines; when in reality, they are anything but. The characteristics are certainly deceptive, because low hit frequency games can have wins that appear to be distant from one to the next; conversely, high hit frequency can have many modest wins close together (seemingly; but if you played for long enough, you’d see that this isn’t precisely true). All in all, before we get to the next section of examples, keep in mind that hit frequency is a measure of the frequency with which a winning combo will pop up as you play the game in question.
As an example of a video slot with an average hit frequency, we shall take a look at Megasaur Slots - if only because it has a jaw-dropping $900,000 jackpot. As a progressive, this value can actually reach even higher as more and more players opt into the real money version of the game. On average, it has a hit frequency of about 40.5%, which means that a gamer will hit a winning combination every 40.5 times out of every 100. The breakdown results in winnings of some kind every 2.46 rounds - although it’s important to keep in mind that this doesn’t, of course, mean you’ll win the huge progressive jackpot.
So what is Megasaur Slots all about? It’s a Real Time Gaming video slot with 5 reels and 25 paylines, and it has a bonus round, scatter symbol, multiple wild symbols and a feature guarantee that has a chance of unleashing the gigantic $1 million progressive jackpot right into your casino account. Somewhat uncharacteristically, you are restricted to just three different coin denominations when you place a bet at the beginning of the real money game: $1.25, $2.50, $5. The two substitute symbols mentioned earlier are the green Megasaur and the red Megasaur; they are both grouped wild symbols that are restricted in the reels on which they can appear - reel 2 for the green Megasaur and reel 4 for the red Megasaur. Their special power is the ability to make other symbols transition into substituting wilds when you enter the bonus round.
The other special symbol is the Megasaur scatter; it is repped by the super-volcano (which, according to some theories, is what actually killed the dinosaurs of a certain era). Landing just two of these super volcano icons can net you 300 times your wager; the hit frequency of the game makes it worthwhile to play because of prizes like this. It’s not the progressive; but where else in life can you make this much return on your investment in so short a time?
The scattered super volcano, for five on the reels, is worth 300 coins; for four on the reels you get 10 coins, for three on the reels the prize is 2 coins, and for two of a kind of the super volcano symbol you get 1 coin. Included in the hit frequency of the game is the possibility of winning either the Minor Jackpot, the Major Jackpot, or the Mega Jackpot - all of which are separate from the progressive. The substitute symbol will not be outdone, and so when the red Megasaur appears to replace a symbol in a winning combination, it doubles the payout.
The triceratops symbol, for five on the reels, gets you a 1000 coin reward; this is doubled to 2000 coins with the wild red Megasaur icon. For four triceratop dinosaur symbols you get 500 coins, which is doubled to 1000 coins with the substitute. For three of a kind of the triceratops you get 100 coins, and for two of a kind you win 10 coins. The next high paying symbol is the blue diplodocus; for five of a kind on the reels you win 750 coins, which is doubled to 1500 coins with the red Megasaur wild symbol making an appearance. For four of a kind of the blue diplodocus dino you get 250 coins, which is doubled to 500 coins with the wild. For three of a kind you win 50 coins, and for two blue diplodocus dinosaur symbols you receive a 5 coin payout. The last of the character symbols covers both the pterodactyl and the velociraptor dinosaurs; for five of a kind either of these are worth 250 coins; for four of a kind they get you a 100 coin payout; for three of a kind you win 25 coins and for two of a kind your prize is 2 coins. When the red Megasaur substitute shows up, these become 500 coins for five of a kind and 200 coins for four of a kind of the velociraptor symbol or the pterodactyl symbol.
The red Megasaur wild symbol even doubles the values of the poker symbols in the game. For the King and the Ace, five of each is worth 150 coins; four of a kind of each is worth 30 coins, and three of a kind of either the King or the Ace is worth 10 coins. When the red Megesaur symbol also shows up you win 300 coins for five of either the King or the Ace, and 60 coins for four of a kind of either the King or the Ace symbols. Next there’s the Queen and the Joker poker symbols; for five of a kind of either, you win 125 coins; for four of a kind you win 25 coins and for three of a kind you get 5 coins. The substituting wild enhances these payouts to 250 coins for five of the Joker or the Queen, and 50 coins for four of the Joker and the Queen symbols. The final symbols pay out the least - but they, of course, part of what makes the hit frequency of Megasaur Slots so high relative to other video slots. The 10 and the 9 symbols, for five of a kind of either, gets you a 100 coin payout; this is doubled to 200 coins with the wild. For four of a kind of 10 or 9, you win 20 coins, which is doubled to 40 coins with the wild red Megasaur symbol making a substitution. For three of a kind, 10 or 9 is worth a 5 coin payout.
When you enter a casino, you ought to be able to find the hit frequency and RTP values for each machine - you can also just check them online before you play. When an online casino really has their stuff together, they can even provide hit frequency values for special features, particular winning combinations, and for every game inside. Ultimately, the proper way to look at this metric is as a gauge of the slot machines risk (or any other game, for that matter). The greater the hit frequency, the more likely you are to land a win - or rather, the better your chances of landing a win for every bet you make.