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The near miss effect

Having a couple spins at the pokies can be a great past time. This article takes a closer look at the way some of the machines behave, the effect this has on those who are playing and the types of games likely to exhibit these patterns. 

What is a near miss? 

The name itself is a bit of a misnomer since it should be called ‘near win’. It is when a player is only one symbol away from triggering the feature round or hitting the jackpot. It’s narrowly missing out on winning, or also a losing spin that feels like a win, triggering releases of feel good hormones such as dopamine.

What is the near miss effect?

Usually, a string of wins encourages gamblers to continue spinning. However, the effect of a near miss supposedly makes players want to continue playing with the idea that a big win is just around the corner.

Nearly missing out on scoring a goal is what makes us stick it out and keep trying. This works in a similar manner with pokies, encouraging players to keep going for gold.

Near misses and volatility

Some pokies line up a lot more near misses than others, especially video pokies where the key to big winnings is in the feature round. The more near misses, the higher the volatility of a game. The higher the volatility, the bigger the payouts yet, the fewer and far between.

Does the near miss rate affect any other factors?

The near miss rate is designed to engage players, to give them something to look forward to. In highly volatile pokies where the payouts are fewer but far between, it’s important to keep the player interested. That is precisely why games with high rates of near misses are so incredibly entertaining.

A near miss is just like any other non-winning spin so it doesn’t indicate that any of the other rates will be affected. More near misses don’t mean a lower payout rate or hit rate.


A fair warning, near misses are designed to encourage longer game play sessions. So in the face of a high rate of near misses, keep a close eye on your balance.  

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