What slot machine tips can an expert slot machine player offer the neophyte gambler? That’s the question we asked ourselves when we put this page together. Below you’ll find some common-sense and practical tips about how to get the most out of your time on gaming machines.
Tip#1 – Understand How the Games Work
All modern slot machines use a random number generator to determine their results. A random number generator is a computer program which generates thousands of numbers per second. When you press the “spin” button or pull the lever, the number on the computer at that instant determines your result.
This outcome is an independent, random event. That means what happened on the previous spin has no effect on this outcome. If the game has lost 100 spins in a row, your chances of getting a losing spin on the 101st spin are just as good as ever. The games have no sense of history.
Different slot machine games have different features. You should know how the game works before playing. You don’t want to accidentally gamble more per spin than you planned to. You don’t want to be confused about what’s happening in front of you. Slot machine gambling is entertainment. It’s only entertaining if you understand what’s happening.
Tip #2 – Manage Your Bankroll
Bankroll management tips can’t make a losing player a winner. That’s pseudoscience at work. Win goals and loss limits are for chumps.
But it does make sense to plan how much money you’re willing to lose on a gambling trip. Stick with that plan no matter what happens. If you’re in Vegas for a week, and you have $700 to play with, budget it out at $100 a day. Plan to have two sessions a day for $50.
Once you’ve lost your $50 for that session, quit until the next session. In fact, quit gambling any time you’re no longer enjoying yourself. This is your money, and it’s fine if you want to spend it gambling. Just don’t waste it gambling.
Also, once you’ve lost, don’t chase your losses trying to win them back. That just ensures that you’ll lose even more money than you planned. That kind of behavior is the beginning of an impulse control problem. You could wind up a gambling addict if you’re not careful, and that’s even less fun than losing.
Tip #3 – Play the Highest Stakes You Can Comfortably Afford
This tip might seem like it’s at odds with the tip about managing your bankroll, but bear with me. It will make sense when I explain how payout percentages work.
Slot machines are programmed to pay back a certain percentage of the money wagered on average over a long period of time. For example, a game might have a 90% payout percentage. In the long run, every dollar wagered would result in a 90 cent win for the player and a 10 cent win for the casino. Of course, in the short term, anything can happen, but this payout percentage is what guarantees a casino a longterm profit.
The hold percentage is the opposite of the payout percentage. It’s the amount that the casino expects to win out of every bet. In the previous example, the hold percentage is 10%.
The hourly expected earnings for a casino is easily calculated once you know the hold percentage. You multiply the average number of bets per hour by the average size of each bet. Then you multiply that by the hold percentage.
If a player makes 600 spins per hour on a machine with a 10% hold percentage, she’ll face an expected loss of 10%. At a dollar a spin, that’s $600 in action and a loss of $60.
The higher denomination machines can afford to have a higher payout percentage. A penny player in the example I just gave would only lose $0.60.
But wait, you ask. Wouldn’t it be better to lose 60 cents per hour?
It would, but how much fun are you going to have? Remember that a slot machine is, by its nature, volatile. You’ll have some big wins and small wins, some big losses and small losses. If you’re playing for pennies, your big wins will be a few dollars.
Also, the casino increases the hold percentage on the lower denomination games and decreases the hold percentage on the higher denomination games. They want to encourage you to play the higher dollar games.
They might have their penny slot machines set to pay out at 60%, and their dollar slot machines set to pay out at 98%. Your chances of walking away a winner in the short term are much better on the dollar machine.
That being said, you should never play for more than you can comfortably afford to lose. If you’re gambling with money you need to pay your child support with, you’ll wind up losing money you can’t afford to lose.
Tip #4 – Slow Down
Since the more spins you make per hour results in a higher expected loss rate per hour, you should slow your play down dramatically. Use this extra time to take advantage of the free cocktails. Make conversation with your neighbors. Pray between spins.
Anything you can do to slow down your rate of play will result in more money in your pocket at the end of your playing session and less in the casino’s coffers.
Tip #5 – Try Video Poker
Not everyone likes video poker, but its similarities to slot machines make it a viable alternative. The payout percentage on almost all video poker games is way higher than you’ll find on slots, even if you don’t play well. If you learn the right strategies, you might even be playing at an advantage over the casino.
Start with Jacks or Better or Deuces Wild and practice online free before playing for real money. Those are the most basic video poker games, and most others are variants of them. Bob Dancer’s strategy books are a worthwhile investment if you decide you like video poker.
Slot machines are a negative expectation game, but you can still play smart. Treat slots as entertainment. Budget your money accordingly. If you do so, and you have fun, then you’re a winning slots player even if you don’t hit a big jackpot.