I love slot machine systems. I don’t love them because they’re an effective way to win. I’m just constantly amazed at how foolish the superstitious can be.
Slots systems don’t work. Each spin of a slot machine’s reels is an independent random event. That means that the spins before and after have no effect on the results of this spin. Most systems ignore this fact, and, for that reason, most systems are equally worthless.
Are you interested in the various ways people try to set up systems to win at slots? If so, you’ll love the rest of this page, because I list and explain various slots systems I’ve read about. I also explain why they don’t work.
Money Management Strategies
A lot of gamblers use money management strategies to try to increase their chances of winning and decrease their chances of losing. These might make playing the slots more interesting, but they have no effect on your chances of winning and/or losing. One book about slot systems that I read was written by John Patrick, a big proponent of money management.
Patrick suggests keeping two principles in mind—naked pulls and loss limits. A naked pull might sound like something dirty, but in his book, a naked pull is a spin of the reels on a slot machine which comes out as a loser. You win nothing on a naked pull.
A loss limit is a percentage of your bankroll that you’re willing to lose in a single session. Once you’ve hit your loss limit, you end that gambling session.
Patrick suggests that a good default limit for the number of naked pulls in a row is between 7 and 14. If you hit your naked pull limit, you walk away from the machine and quit for that session. So if you decide that your naked pull limit is 10, you’d walk away from any machine where you spun the reels ten times in a row and didn’t get a win.
His suggested loss limit is 60%. If you have a $200 bankroll, you’d walk away when you had lost $120. He doesn’t explain how this helps you win more, but I guess it prevents you from losing your entire bankroll in a single session.
The Straight 60 System
This is the first and easiest system in Patrick’s book. Here are the rules for this system:
- You walk away if you have 9 naked pulls in a row.
- You walk away if you’ve won 60% of your bankroll or more.
- You walk away if you’ve lost 60% of your bankroll.
The idea is that a machine which provides you with 9 naked pulls in a row is cold, so you don’t want to keep playing it. The fallacy is that slot machines get hot and cold in a predictable manner. Remember—each spin of the reels is an independent random event. Having lost 9 times in a row has exactly 0 effect on whether or not you’ll win on the next spin.
Unless you’re going to never play a slot machine game again, it doesn’t help you to walk away once you’ve hit your win goal, either. It also doesn’t help you to walk away when you’ve hit your loss limit. Slot machines are always a negative expectation game, and you should think of your sessions at the machine as part of one long, lifetime session. That’s how the math is going to work.
On the other hand, using a system like this can be entertaining. It can also keep you from burning through all your bankroll in a single session, so that’s a good thing, too.
The Play and Run System
Another system touted by Patrick in his book suggests this system. You divide your total gambling bankroll into 5 to 10 smaller bankrolls, which you use to play 5 to 10 quick, small sessions. Of course, your goal is to quit once you’ve had a certain number of losing spins in a row. You also set a win goal and a loss limit. In fact, this system doesn’t differ much from the Straight 60. It’s just a way of arbitrarily dividing your lifetime play into multiple smaller gambling sessions.
Your chances of winning with a system like this are exactly the same as if you just played whimsically.
The Zig Zag System
This isn’t from John Patrick’s book, but I don’t know where it originated. The idea is that you’ll scour the casino floor looking for games which have winning symbols showing on the face, but where they aren’t lined up in a winning combination. Instead of being on a payline, they’re on the game’s face in a zig zag pattern.
The assumption is that a game showing these symbols on the front is getting ready to pay out a big jackpot. You increase your chances of winning by only playing the games that are most likely to provide you with a winning result.
The problem with the zig-zag system is that it ignores reality. The symbols on the front of a slot machine are just for show. The outcomes are determined by a random number generator, which cycles through thousands of numbers every second. Each spin of the reels is a random, independent event. What happened previously has no bearing on what happens next.
What if You’re Desperate to Win at Gambling?
You can definitely win money at slot machines, but you can’t do anything to increase your odds of winning. If you’re desperate to win, then you might have a gambling problem. Don’t play. Seek help instead.
If you think it would be interesting or fun to get an edge when gambling, consider playing a game where you can get an edge via some kind of strategy. Video poker might be a good choice, but it requires study, skill, and discernment. Sports betting is another gambling activity where a smart player can get an edge. Counting cards in blackjack is another option. Learning how to play poker at an expert level might work, too.
Your best chance of winning at slots is to just enjoy the game while you can. Don’t play with money you can’t afford to lose. You’re always more likely to lose at a slot machine than you are to win. That’s the nature of the game. No slots system can change that.