Pachinko is part skill and part luck. That means winning in pachinko requires both skill and an element of luck. You cannot rely 100% on just luck or completely on your strategy.
RNGs and the Power of Luck in Pachinko Parlors
Pachinko uses random number generators (RNGs). These computer systems or algorithms are designed to help ensure no one can predict where each ball will land. This is where pachinko borrows a leaf from RNG games like slot machines and video poker. Unfortunately, that means you need lady luck to dance in your favor to win because the game is down to chance.
RNGs ensure pachinko has no pattern or basic strategy you can follow like in blackjack or poker.
Every time you launch the balls, you’re shooting in the dark. This unpredictability makes pachinko outcomes random. And that’s where luck comes into play.
That is not to say pachinko is a game of pure (100%) luck. If that were true, that means there is absolutely nothing you can do to improve your chances of winning. The opposite is actually true – there are strategies and tactics you can use to boost your winnings odds in pachinko.
Pachinko Strategy – Using Your Skills to Win More
Players can use their experience and knowledge of pachinko to launch and control the balls to land in good pockets. This is especially true when it comes to controlling the speed at which pachinko balls are launched onto the main playfield.
Old-style and vintage pachinko machines are mechanical. You can use good techniques to hold the level and shoot pachinko balls so that they can land in the right pockets. That’s why old-school pachinko is considered more skill than luck. Well, although you cannot reduce the role of luck to 0%, you’re more likely to win with great pachinko skills and strategy.
That being said, you can use various pachinko strategies to increase your probability of winning …
- Whenever possible, only play new pachinko machines
- Put on some earplugs to boost your focus and attention
- Bring more than ¥10,000 to make sure they are enough for your spins.
- Skip pachinko machines that have had numerous jackpots recently
- Pick a pachinko machine that has been played more frequently during the day
- Know when to quit (preferably when you have won more than lost)
Is Pachinko Pure Luck?
No, pachinko is not pure luck. While winning in pachinko is down to chance because of the RNGs, you can still use some tactics to increase your chances of winning. You can control the speed at which you shoot the pachinko balls to favor certain pockets. For instance, launching the balls slowly can help you win a pachinko jackpot in some machines.
You can also control the direction in which you shoot the pachinko balls. In old-school pachinko, the way you hold the levers can also impact where the balls lands. Clearly, you need to sharpen your skills to hold, aim, and shoot the balls towards the best pockets.
For a lot of pachinko machines, you need rote skills. These are skills you can improve by memorizing the ball movements and practicing frequently. That’s why pachinko is not 100% luck – manual, psychological and strategic skills can help you win!
House Edge and the Element of Luck in Pachinko
Unless you’re a rookie to the world of pachinko, you should know that it’s a cross-breed between a slot machine and pinball. Random number generators make winning at both slots and pachinko random. That’s why they are called games of luck. Thankfully, most pachinkos have elements of pinball, as well. That gives you some control of the ball and the outcome.
Still, pachinko gives some mathematical advantage to the parlor.. The average house edge of pachinko is roughly 4.38%. That means for every ¥100 worth of pachinko balls you play, you should expect to win around 95-96 balls back. The pachinko parlor will take 4-5 balls as profit. That might seem a lot but slots do much worse. They have a house edge of between 7% and 25%.
Pachinko differs from slot machines (and lotteries). Although they all have house edges, you can do something to reduce that of the pachinko. That’s because pachinko is not pure luck. You can down the house edge by using skill to control the direction and speed of the balls.
Is There Skill in Pachinko?
The short answer: yes. There are a few strategies, psychology, and skills you can learn to be good at pachinko. It would be best to understand, however, that pachinko is primarily a leisure game.
Pachinko differs from games of pure chance like slots or lottery, where you only need to pull a lever or purchase a ticket. In pachinko, you can practice and learn a few skills to win more balls. For instance, you will need good technique and skill when turning the machine’s handle so that you can aim the shots better.
The Best Pachinko Skills
Pachinko is approximated at 80% luck. That’s all thanks to RNGs. Lucky for you, the rest 20% is down to skill. But what skills can help you improve your chances of winning at pachinko?
- Skill #1 – Bankroll management – It takes skill to manage your pachinko bankroll wisely. It’s recommended to cap spending to ¥5,000- ¥10,000 per pachinko machine unless it is a Shindia. Setting win and loss limits can help you get a handle on your bankroll. Of course, you should never chase losses.
- Skill #2 – Observation skills – Smart players know how to inspect a pachinko from top to bottom. Look for any features, dents, or operational mistakes that can help you win.
- Skill #3 – Aiming or shooting skills – Skilled pachinko players know how to precisely aim and shoot the balls. It takes weeks, if not months to steady your hands and perfect your shots and aims.
- Skill #4 – Patience – Pachinko parlors can be noisy and fast-paced. Patience is a skill you can use to stay focused and avoid rushing your shots.
- Skill #5 – Strategic thinking – You can reduce the effect of luck by using strategic thinking. For instance, you insert more balls into a pachinko that is likely to pay out. Targeting high-paying pachinko pockets is another strategy.
Is there a strategy to pachinko?
Yes, there is a strategy to pachinko. With its noisy and flashy nature, pachinko might intimidate newbies. But, it’s actually an easy game to understand and play. This is especially true for players who want to experience the authentic Japanese gaming culture.
Best Pachinko Strategies – How to Boost Your Chances of Winning in Pachinko
While pachinko relies heavily on luck, you can still take advantage of some strategies to improve your gameplay. Not just that, tried-and-true pachinko strategies and tips can help you win huge payouts when you play. Remember, pachinko has no strategy that works 100% every time.
Pachinko strategy #1 – Learn the ins and outs of pachinko
A close relative of casino slots, pachinko depends almost 80% on chance. This exciting Japanese machine is a cross between pinball and slot machines where players use balls they insert directly into the pachinko they wish to play. The metal balls are then launched into the pachinko by pulling the lever. The aim of the game is to land as many pachinko balls as possible into certain pockets. Once they land into the pockets, the machine can either give you a jackpot or reward more balls.
Strategy #2 – Play new pachinko if possible
If you hear locals say Shindai, they are talking about ‘new pachinkos.’ These new machines are the gold mine for smart players who want to win money. They tend to reward big payouts, especially during grand openings. Shindais are normally advertised in front of pachinko parlors and on trains. A Shindai has no stats, so they payout without the need to accumulate tokens first.
Strategy #3 – Look for wavy payouts
Another way to choose the perfect pachinko is to check the payout trend. The smartest players pick the pachinko with erratic payouts. For instance, you want to choose one that paid out 2x today, 10x yesterday, and 3x the day before. The pachinko is likely to pay out more wins.
Strategy #4 – Concentrate on pachinkos with few wins
Each pachinko has two icons on top. It pays to carefully read and understand the statistics there. The small stat indicates the number of wins the machine has made so far in the day.
The larger number shows the number of spins the machine has had. Choose one with few wins and a ton of spins.
Strategy #5 – Make patience your BFF
Compared to other gaming machines, pachinko demands patience and time. Since pachinko’s pace is a lot slower than casino slot machines, it can take longer to land big wins. Some pachinkos pay out in the morning, while others give massive payouts at night. The trick to winning in pachinko is to understand the payout cycles. Use this knowledge to know the right time to visit the pachinko parlor.
Strategy #6 – Don’t go to pachinko parlors that are always empty
Some pachinko parlors are empty for a reason. Unfortunately, that reason is almost always negative. Common sense should tell you that something doesn’t add up when a pachinko parlor is always empty. The machines could be rigged. The staff could be rude. Either way, you want to avoid these parlors.
Strategy #7 – Manage your pachinko bankroll wisely
The last thing you want is to spend your whole paycheck at a pachinko parlor. That’s why bankroll management is the best skill or strategy you can have at a pachinko parlor. Don’t play more than ¥10,000 on any pachinko unless it’s a Shindai.
Strategy #8 – Cheating techniques
Although gray area, there are tricks that players use to cheat on pachinko. This is known as gotokoi in Japan. The term generally means any scams, cheating devices, and other illegal ways that players use to get pachinko balls. Notorious cheats mostly use two gotokoi strategies. The first group is a gang by the name of gotoshi.
They tamper with machines at pachinko parlors to scam them of money. The other group is the operators who modify the settings of the machines to rip off players.
Japan has a well-known history of gotoshi and gotokoi. Fake balls called yamidama were rampant between 1945 and 1954. It was a huge problem because players could simply bring their own pachinko balls to the parlor. During this period, gotoshi behaved like mobsters. The pachinko parlor operators came up with an ingenious solution to the problem. They introduced standard balls with ID marks engraved on them. They could also be sorted by size, eliminating the chances of outside balls being brought in.
Even today, some people get cheap balls from one parlor and try to use them in another gaming center. They are often caught at the door or when they try to insert outside balls. Some even ransack abandoned pachinko parlors for balls. Using a magnetic device is another gotoshi trick. The jishaku-tsukai uses magnetic force to drive balls into the winning slots. They showed up around 1945-1954 and almost bankrupted many pachinko parlors. Modern pachinko machines are built to be magnetic-proof.
What are the odds of winning pachinko?
The standard pachinko has a house edge of 4.38%. That is a lot lower than the house edge of Las Vegas slot machines like Megabucks or Cleopatra. With these casino slots, you are looking at a sinfully high house edge of 10% to 20%. With a house edge of under 5%, pachinko has good odds of winning for the player. Your payback percentage (aka RTP) hovers around 95%. That means for every 100 yen you put into the pachinko, you can expect to win back balls worth 95 yen.
The odds of winning pachinko are in the 2.5% (1 in 40) to 0.21% (1 in 480) range. That probability of landing the jackpot in the game is very low, lying between 0.025 and 0.00208. For most pachinko models, the odds of winning are set at 1 in 100 (1%), 1 in 300 (0.33%), 1 in 350 (0.29%), and 1 in 400 (0.25%).
Jackpot Odds in Pachinko
Landing balls in certain pockets can trigger a huge jackpot in pachinko. Most pachinkos provide different jackpot odds – we’re talking from decent odds of 1 to 40 (2.5%) to impossible odds like 1 in 480 (around 0.25%). In Japan, most pachinko machines set jackpot odds in 1-100, 1-250, 1-300, and 1-400.
Is pachinko more luck than skill?
Yes, pachinko is said to be 80% luck and 20% skill. Note that the game has the elements of both skill and luck. For most players, the game learns more toward luck than skill. Every outcome of pachinko is random and down to chance, which is where luck comes in handy. The skill comes to play when launching, aiming, and controlling the speed of the balls. Managing your bankroll and choosing a machine that pays out better also take skill.