Slots are the bread and butter of every major and minor casino around the globe. There’s a lot more to the flashing lights and spinning reels than just dropping coins into a machine. These days you can play Price Is Right or Wheel of Fortune, spend time with Elvira or Elvis, and even ride to the moon with these one-armed bandits. One of the wonderful things about slots is that you can play at almost any monetary level, from one cent to over $500 a spin!
Each slot machine has its own set of combinations, jackpots, and coin play. You need to make sure that you know the ins and outs of slots play before you toss your money into a slot machine. The average slot return usually varies between 85% and 98%, with an average casino advantage of around 9%.
The slots courses listed below will help you find your way through all the bells and whistles of playing slots. You’ll learn the different types of slots games available, including progressive machines. You’ll also learn about slot machine myths and strategies. Above all else, playing slots is about having a good time. Remember to relax and enjoy the ride!
Slot Machine Basics and Strategies
There is at least one slot machine for every eight people living in Las Vegas. They tend to take up the majority of the floor space in your average casino. So what’s all the hype about? Well, in 2004 a lucky software engineer from Los Angeles won $38.7 million on a single spin of the reels. How’s that for incentive?
There are many different kinds of slot machines, single-line slots, multi-line slots, progressive slots, video slots, and online slots to name a few. They all work on the same principle.
RNGs and Payback Percentages
Each slot machine is governed by an RNG or Random Number Generator, which determines the combination of symbols that you see when you spin. This combination of symbols is based solely on math and is predetermined as soon as you hit the Spin button or pull the Arm. It has nothing to do with how often you spin, how much (or how little) has been paid out, if it’s your birthday, if you use a player’s card, or any other condition you can control.
So if slots are random, how do you play slot machines and win? The hard truth is; there’s no way to guarantee consistent winning when playing slots. However, there are some things you can do to improve your chances of winning. It all starts with understanding how slots work.
Each slot machine has a predetermined payback percentage. The average payback is around 90%. What does this mean? A machine that has a 90% payback rate will return 90% of players’ money throughout the life of the machine.
If 10 million dollars are played on this slot machine over several years, you could expect it to payback 9 million dollars over this period. This does not mean that every time you sit down at the machine it will return 90% of your money. If you’ve ever played slots before, you’ll know this isn’t what happens. Most of the payback occurs when the big jackpot combinations are spun.
Maximizing Your Chances of Winning
Payback percentages typically vary anywhere between 80% and 98%. The higher the payback percentage the better chance of return you have. Unfortunately, casinos don’t post the payback for each machine.
The good news is that there are ways to find these high payback machines, known as “loose” slot machines.
1. Try Machines in High Traffic Areas
Casinos like people to see winners. For this reason the higher payback machines tend to be located in higher traffic areas such as near aisles, cashiers, and restaurants.
2. Play Higher Denomination Slots
If you have the bankroll, higher denomination machines tend to have higher payback percentages than low denomination penny slot machines. If you’re looking for a higher payback, you’ll have better luck trying dollar machines than nickel machines.
3. Avoid Progressive Slots
You should also avoid progressive slots if you want to play slots with higher payback percentages. It’s true that you aren’t going to win millions on one spin at non-progressive slots, but these machines have a much higher payback in the short run. In general, machines with smaller jackpots payout more often.
4. Play Progressive Slots
Wait?! Didn’t I just tell you to avoid progressive slots? Yes, I did. But there’s an exception with online slots. More specifically, the Random Progressive Slots at Bovada Casino. Their slots have good-sized jackpots (sometimes $20,000+) that hit randomly.
Here’s the key though: You can qualify for the progressive regardless of how much you’re betting per spin. That means on a 20-line machine, you can play as little as $0.01/spin and hit the jackpot. I like to play at least $0.20 per spin on these in order to have a better chance of hitting free spins or a bonus round. But either way, that makes those progressives well worth playing and affordable for any budget.
5. Read and Understand the Payscale
All right, so now we know where the looser slot machines are located, but don’t just down and start spinning those reels. Make sure you read the slot machine instructions before you start to play. Even machines that look the same may have different play rules. Many machines pay special bonus jackpots when you play the maximum coins. Standard slot machines will often allow you to play 1 to 3 coins at a time.
A machine may pay different level jackpots for a good combination like “777”. For example, it may pay 100 coins for a 1-coin bet, 200 coins for a 2-coin bet, and 500 coins for a 3-coin bet. If you were playing this slot you would always want to play the maximum 3-coin bet. When in doubt, always play the maximum bet.
6. Take Advantage of Comps
Remember, even if you’re playing low denomination slots, you’re still a valuable player to the casino. That means, you need to take full advantage of all the free stuff you can get. Comps are complimentary (free!) items like food, giveaways, and rooms given to players as an incentive to play at that casino. You can earn tons of comp points while playing slots regardless of whether you’re winning or losing. Before you start playing slots, make sure you sign up for a player’s card with the casino and always use it when you’re playing.
7. Know When to Move On
At most casinos you will find a large variety of different types of slot machines, both in denominate and play. Your choices may run the gambit anywhere from penny video slots to high stakes slots. Which one you decide to play is ultimately up to you, but remember to move on if you’re not having any success. Sometimes all it takes is a new machine to turn your luck around.
Slot Machine Myths
We’ve gone over basic guidelines on how to play slot machines effectively. Now, let’s discuss a few myths you’ll hear about playing slots:
1. A machine that hasn’t hit for a while is due to hit big.
FALSE: Whether a machine hits or doesn’t is completely random and has nothing to do with the period of time since its last big payout.
2. Someone sits down at a machine you’ve been playing and hits, stealing your jackpot.
FALSE: The combination leading to this jackpot is extremely random. The odds of you hitting the same combination if you had remained at the machine are extremely small. You would have had to spin the reels at exactly the same time, down to the millisecond.
3. The slot machine has just hit a big jackpot and won’t hit again for a long time.
FALSE: A slot machine can hit its maximum payoff two spins in a row or it may not hit it for months. Remember that the payback percentage is set over a very long period of time. Don’t give up on a potentially loose machine just because it decided to give you some money.
I’m sure you’ll hear more superstitions and slot machine folklore as you become an experienced player. Never forget that slots are based on random numbers and payback percentages, nothing else. One more thing to remember, it’s a game so don’t play if you’re not having a good time. Good luck and happy spinning!