RNG – The Software Behind Online Slots

Online slots have become increasingly popular over the past several years. They’re great for people who love to play but don’t live near casinos, or for us introverts who would rather not see anyone while we play.

What makes online slots different, though? What are your odds like? It’s important to understand how slots work so you can fully enjoy the game. Luckily, online slots’ functionalities are pretty simple, so let’s break it down.

The Random Number Generator

One of the biggest concerns people have with playing slots online is they fear the game can be easily manipulated. Skeptics think casinos can rig the algorithm to make sure players don’t get solid payouts.

However, this fear really stems from people not understanding the mechanics behind online slots. As the site John’s Slots outlines, all online slot games are powered by some form of random number generator software. Like the name suggests, these programs generate random numbers and apply them to the slot game.

RNG software does not have a memory, and that’s a very important thing to remember when you’re considering using online casinos. That means the program does not remember any previous spins, so the algorithm cannot rely on past plays to determine any outcomes.

Notable casino sites must have RNGs that are certified by the Technical Systems Testing (TST). That means these online games go through rigorous testing to make sure they adhere to standards.

Not all random number generators are the same though, and the way they operate depends on the software. RNGs can be boiled down to two categories: psuedo-random number generators and true random number generators.

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“Binary code” by Christiaan Colen (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Pseudo-Random Number Generators (PRNGs)

The name “pseudo” seems like a nice way of saying “sort of” random, but the actual way PRNGs work is a little more nuanced than that. Essentially, PRNGs use mathematic formulas and pre-calculated tables to determine results. That means there are certain contructs the generator cannot go beyond (i.e. a set range of numbers).

Ultimately, though, PRNGs have determined results. That means that, within its set table, when a test is ran, the program knows what number it will land on in its random sequence.

This makes them deterministic, but also wildly effiicient. PRNGs can process hundreds of numbers at once and get results very quickly. That’s what makes them the ideal generator for most scenarios.

There have been a lot of testing and developing of PRNGs over the years to make them truly random, which leads us to the other type of random number generator.

True Random Number Generators (TRNGs)

True random number generators get results from physical results attached to a computer for processing. This is, as random.org describes, like attaching a dice to a computer to read the results.

Obviously, these are a bit more impractical but do offer some interesting results. TRNGs can be attached to any physcial phenomena to determine their results, so testing the way they work can prove very interesting.

Ultimately, though, they cannot be relied upon to effiicently run online slot games. That’s why the far more efficient and just as effective PRNG has become so popular.

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