Slot machines are the loudest and most colorful attractions in a casino. With their fun themes and large jackpot values, they’re designed to pull you in and drain you of your money in small increments. Though slot machines always favor the house, there are a number tricks you can use to better your chances and beat the slots.
1. Be Smart with your Money
- Research slot payouts. There are a number of websites that will tell you the payout percentages of slot machines at different casinos. While the casinos do not make this information available to the average player, some insiders get access to this information and publish it online or in specialty magazines and newsletters.
Percentages can range anywhere from 80% to 98% and spell out your best chances of success. Choose the slot machines with the highest percentage of payout to increase your odds of winning.
- Know your limit. Set a "lose limit" and a "double my money" amount before you enter the casino. If you're winning, stop when you have doubled your initial amount. If you're losing, stop when you reach your lose limit.
- Make a long-range plan. If you'll be vacationing in a gambling town or spending several days to play, it's best to figure out how you'll budget your funds to cover the length of your visit. Here's what you can do:
- Decide how many days you'll make it to the casino and how long you'll gamble during each session.
- Divide your total bankroll by the number of days and then divide that daily allowance by the number of hours you plan to play each day. This will tell you how much you can afford to lose per hour.
- For example: You arrive in Atlantic City with a $2000 bankroll and plan to stay for five days. That allows you to wager $400 per day. You decide that you want to play a total of four hours per day. This means you can afford to lose $100 per hour.
Have a few back-up plans in place. You may be surprised at how quickly you can go through your bankroll by playing the slots. And with ATMs conveniently located throughout the casino floor, you may find yourself spending more than you intended on your quest to strike it rich.
Bring a pre-determined cash amount with you to gamble and leave credit and debit cards at home or in your hotel room to reduce your risk of overspending.
Buddy up. Make a pact with a friend that you'll stop each other from spending more than an agreed-upon amount.
Play with coins. Playing with coins rather than feeding bills into the machine will extend the time of your play.
- Pocket any winnings you earn. Play only with the money from your initial bankroll; that way, you won't walk away empty-handed.
- Join the club. Join the slot clubs if you are playing at a land-based casino, or take advantage of bonus money offerings that online services give to their loyal customers. These offers are based on how many coins you play in the slot machines or your rate of play.
Compare the benefits of different casinos or sites and choose the casino that offers the best benefits or freebies for your level of play.
Some casinos even give some of these points back as cash, making your gambling dollar stretch even further.
Be sure you always have your club card inserted in your slot machine before you spin. You want to get credit for every bit of your play time.
2. Have a Strategy
- Choose machines with the smallest jackpots. The bigger the jackpot the harder it is to hit, so you're better off choosing a machine with a smaller jackpot.
Double check the machine's maximum jackpot. Two machines might look exactly the same, but one may pay out a 1,500 credit jackpot and the other 10,000 credits, so be aware of the maximum you can win on your machine.
- Play the highest denomination possible. Play the highest denomination slot that you can afford, as these machines pay back at a higher percentage. In other words, dollar machines pay more than quarter machines, which pay more than nickel machines, which pay more than penny slots.
- Play max credits. Most machines only pay bonuses and progressive jackpots when the maximum credits are bet. Even on non-progressive machines, the jackpot payout for the maximum credit bet is typically markedly higher than on any other level.
Since you can't win a progressive jackpot if you don't bet the maximum, it makes sense to spend your money wisely. Most casinos have several banks of progressive machines, each with different payout percentages and jackpot amounts. Always choose the combination of highest payout percentage and biggest jackpot amount.
- Bet the maximum amounts if you choose to play progressive slots. You cannot win the jackpot if you don't. Look around the casino for the biggest payout in your betting range. There are oftentimes several banks of progressive machines, each with different payout percentages and jackpot amounts. Always choose the combination of highest payout percentage and biggest jackpot amount.
- Play in a premium location. Machines that pay out more frequently (known as "loose" machines) are typically located in high visibility areas to attract maximum attention when players win and entice others to play.
- Play to suit your style. Some people believe the odds are better on the simpler machines with a single payout line. Others gravitate toward machines with bonus features, such as free spins, bonus rounds or extra features for the right combination on a payout line. Remember that luck plays a major role in your slot success, so while your strategy is to win, you want to have fun while you play.