Facts and myths

You may be thinking a big win is going to make things better for you and your family, but your chances of winning are less than you think. Know the facts on gambling and your chances of winning.


Myth 1

There are "hot machines".


Poker machines don’t keep track of play results. Each play result is drawn from all possible combinations and is independent from previous plays. Each game is random. This means there are no “hot machines”.

Myth 2

Venues know when a poker machine or jackpot will go off.


A venue does not know when a poker machine or jackpot will go off. The software that is used to generate poker machines and jackpot prizes is based on a complex mathematical random number generator that ensures that prizes are awarded at random.

For deterministic jackpots, these must go off before reaching a certain level. However, knowing precisely when the jackpot will go off is still random. Obviously, when a jackpot gets close to that prescribed level there is the knowledge that it will go off soon. However, deterministic jackpots are strictly monitored and controlled.

Myth 3

Some machines are due to pay.


Poker machines are designed to pay out randomly. They follow no set pattern and there is no way to predict the outcome of the game. There is no technique, no combination of button pushes, no change in bet amounts that will have any effect.

Myth 4

Venues turn off or switch variation on a poker machine when it is ‘hot’.


Venues do not know when a poker machine is going to pay out due to the randomness of each spin. This means there is no such thing as a ‘hot’ poker machine. The Return to Player (RTP) variations allowed for games in clubs and hotels are from 85% to 92% and for casinos it is 85% or higher. Poker machine games are programmed with multiple variations but there are strict conditions on when they can be changed. Sites are permitted a change once per month and all games with the same name and same denomination must have the same variation.

Myth 5

Players can control the outcome of a game.


It is impossible for players to control the outcome of a game. The outcome of each spin is determined as soon as players hit the play button.

Myth 6

I have had a losing streak. If I keep playing I will win.


What you win on each play is not dependent on previous plays. The game will not compensate you with a big win if you have had lots of small losses. The results from previous plays are not used to determine future results. Your chance of winning a prize is the same for each play and your chance does not increase the longer you play.

Myth 7

The poker machine has just paid out after a big win. It is not likely to pay out again for a while.


The chances of winning are always the same. The number of past wins and losses has nothing to do with when the next payout will come. All payouts are random – there is no pattern even if it looks like there is one.

Myth 8

When the screen shows a series of near misses (plays where the symbols almost line up) the chance is the machine is about to pay out a big win.


There is no such thing as near misses. The symbols are just pictures that are displayed randomly during play. They are absolutely no indication that the machine is about to pay out.

Myth 9

Poker machines are programmed to return a certain amount back to each player.


In Queensland clubs and hotels, poker machines are programmed to return between 85% and 92% to players.

An 85% return means that for every dollar bet on a machine, around 85 cents is returned to the gambler. This return is likely to be achieved over the life of the machine, usually 3–4 years. You cannot expect to receive 85 cents for every dollar you bet in a single gaming session. The money you place in the poker machine is the cost of the entertainment.

Myth 10

Venues can alter poker machines to control their behaviour.


All venues are independently monitored through licensed operators. These licensed monitoring operators (LMOs) ensure that all poker machines are operating as expected by verifying that the software running in a poker machine is the approved software and that all meters which keep track of game behaviour (e.g. turnover, total wins etc.) all add up correctly. Thus any manipulation by a venue on a piece of software to modify its behaviour would be caught by the LMO.

Myth 11

Poker machines are not secure.


A poker machine’s hardware and software are tested against National Standards, which stipulate the technical requirements for an EGM to operate in Queensland. This information, along with other minimum technical requirements, can be obtained from the Office of Liquor and Gaming and Regulation website.

Myth 12

Poker machines are not tested properly.


All poker machine’s hardware, software, artwork and mathematics are tested by the Office of Liquor and Gaming and Regulation’s Technical Unit or Licensed Testing Facility Operators (LTFOs). All testing is done against relevant National Standards and technical requirements for security, integrity and fairness. As a result rejection rates of products due to issues discovered during testing is frequently high, which would indicate that issues are caught on a regular basis before being sold into the Queensland marketplace.

Myth 13

A poker machine can be tricked into winning by changing how much you bet each game.


Each outcome of a spin is randomly generated by a computerised Random Number Generator.  Each spin is independent of previous spins, and the poker machine does not remember what happened in the last game. It all happens by chance.

Myth 14

You can’t lose too much money on a one cent machine.


Depending on how you play – you can lose a lot of money in a short amount of time.  Take a look at the maths around how much you can spend...

In Queensland you can play 20 games per minute.

  • If you play one cent per line, in a minute, you can spend 20 cents. 

  • If you play 10 cents per line, you will spend $2.00 in a minute.

  • If you play 10 lines per spin at 10 credits per line, you will spend $20 in a minute.

For most of us that is a lot of money you can lose on a one cent machine.



In summary, poker machines are computers that run computer programs. The outcome of a spin is randomly generated by a program - a Random Number Generator (RNG).

If there is a win, you get paid credits. If not, the poker machine waits for the button to be pressed again. There is no strategy for winning on a poker machine. You can never predict how a play will end.

None of these factors will make a difference:

  • The last time the machine paid out.

  • Anything you or anyone else does to the machine.

  • How much you bet.

  • How long you have been playing.

  • Past and future plays.

  • The time of day.

In Queensland clubs and hotels, poker machines are set to return between 85% - 92% of the amount bet to the gambler. The return to player is achieved over the life of the machine, usually 3 - 4 years. This means you can’t expect to receive $0.85 for every dollar that you bet in a single gaming session.

When you play the pokies, expect to lose. They are programmed so that it is impossible to win over time. They are designed to make money for the gaming venue – not the player.


  • There is one poker machine for every 112 people in Queensland.*

  • In 2015-2016, players spent $2.27 billion on poker machines.*

  • Poker machines use ways to enhance the hope of winning, like ‘free spins’ designed to make you think you’re getting close to a bigger win and keep you playing for longer or the offer of multiple lines which imply an increase in odds. But no matter what, the odds are the same and the more you play the more you lose.

  • The odds of winning the major prize or jackpot do not change from game to game, whether or not multiple lines are being played – the odds stay the same.

  • In Queensland, the odds of winning the top prize on a poker machine (playing maximum lines) is up to 1 in 7 million.

* Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation (OLGR) annual statistical report for liquor and gaming in Queensland, 2015-16. Population growth highlights and trends, Queensland, 2015 edition, Queensland Government Statistician’s Office, Queensland Treasury

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