How to Win at Slot Machines
Believe it or not, there are things you can do to increase your chances of winning money on slot machines. We’re not talking about hacking the slot machine’s computer or cheating in any other way–there are some simple behaviors and attitudes that you can bring with you to the casino to make it more likely that you walk out with money in your pocket.
Too often, advice on the Internet about slot machines is stuffed with nonsense about loose machines or probability. Casinos make tons of money on slot machines every year–do you think this is an accident? Slot machines are designed to separate you from your money, but if you play them responsibly, you may actually walk away in the black.
Here are the DO’S and DONT’S of winning at slot machines.
1. DO manage your bankroll and stick to betting limits.
Before you walk into the casino of your choice to play slot machines, set betting limits and limits on how much you can lose. By making these decisions before you hit the casino floor, you’re limiting the impact of the flashy lights and free drinks on your decision making. Bankroll management means a lot of things, but most of all it means limiting your losses.
2. DO bet max at progressive slots.
Some people say that you should always bet maximums on slot machines, but this is only true for progressive jackpot machines. The reason is obvious–why are you playing a progressive machine that has longer odds unless you’re playing it to win that huge progressive jackpot? If you spin and win the progressive jackpot without betting max, you’re gonna feel terrible about yourself. Always bet max on progressive machines.
3. DO choose loose slots with high payback percentages.
Though not every machine has a legitimate posted payback percentage, it is your duty as a slot machine gambler to seek out those machines that do and play them. You won’t find a payback percentage much better than 98%, and you should drop a few coins in every 98% machine you find. The casino still has an edge, but you’re more likely to enjoy a few small wins along the way.
4. DO look for extra slot bonuses and casino comps.
If you don’t join the slots club you’re an idiot. The casino uses your slot card to track your play and pay you comps–you may even be surprised with a free or discounted room on future stays, as long as you are tracking your play with the casino. Use all the comps you can get, because they don’t come often to slots players, and it is the same as putting money in your pocket.
5. DO study pay tables and choose slots with the highest payouts.
If you don’t read a slot machine’s pay table, you’re asking for trouble. This is as essential as using betting limits and joining the slots club. Ignoring the pay table is a great way to screw up your bet and miss out on a jackpot. As for choosing the machine with the highest payouts–this isn’t always 100% true. Often, machines with lower jackpots have better odds, so this one’s pretty much your call.
6. DO relax and have fun when playing slots.
Why are you in the casino? You know you probably aren’t going to be the next million dollar slot machine winner–if you’re in the casino for any reason other than having a good time, you shouldn’t be there. Relax with a drink or two, talk to the slot machine players around you, and try and enjoy yourself. Ignore the pressure to win and realize that time spent in front of a slot machine is time spent away from the office.
7. DON’T try to win lost money back.
This is a classic slot machine gambler mistake. Once you’ve reached the point in your slot session that you’ve noticed how much money you’ve lost, it is time to push away from the carousel. Trying to win that money back usually just digs the hole twice as deep. People don’t realize how much money they can lose, especially on higher-denomination slot machines. If you’re upset about how much money you’ve lost, you should end your slot machine session.
8. DON’T play high-roller slots with a small bankroll.
For our purpose, “high-roller slots” are any slot machines where a single bet costs more than you intended to spend. Stick to your betting limits and your bankroll arrangement. If you can’t afford two coins per spin on a $1 slot machine, don’t start playing that machine. You can easily pump $1500-$2000 through those machines in just an hour of play. Watch your betting amounts.
9. DON’T believe in slots myths about cold and hot machines.
The pressure to believe colloquial slot machine advice is really high when you’re sitting in front of a one-armed bandit. Other slots players are muttering about tight machines and paybacks and you’re just trying to have a good time. If you believe the hype, you’re likely to pump more money into a machine than you intended, and you can get burned really quick. Remember, there’s no such thing as a “hot” or “cold” slot machine.
10. DON’T play at the first slot machine you find at a casino.
Casinos arrange their slot machines in a specific pattern, “hiding” the machines with higher payback and trying to entice casual gamblers to pump money into machines with lower payback and higher jackpots. If you jump in front of the first bank of slot machines you see, you’re probably playing on machines with a percentage in the low 80s, or even worse. These machines are designed to attract attention away from the more lucrative machines on the casino floor.
11. DON’T get frustrated or angered when you lose a spin.
This goes back to the old “you’re here to have fun” thing. If you find yourself getting angry at a slot machine or frustrated by your losses, that’s a good sign that you shouldn’t be gambling anymore. Frustration at casinos is an ugly thing–fueled by rage over losing money and five or six watery whiskey and sodas, people get in big trouble fighting or arguing on the casino floor. Getting mad is a great way to get kicked out of your favorite slot machine spot.
If you follow these simple “DO” and “DON’T” suggestions, your time spent gambling at slot machines will be more fun and potentially more rewarding.