Ask a hundred slot players for advice on winning and a thousand different opinions get voiced. They have strategies, favorite machines, lucky charms, best times to play, and ideas on what not to do by the dozen. Sifting through so much “wisdom” to find real gems may not be easy, but it can be worthwhile if it turns up a few that actually work. Following are some of the best tips available.
- Play with a Purpose – Many slot players enjoy the games simply because they are fun and entertaining. Others are set on “making a killing” or “getting the big win.” The reason a player sits down can have a huge effect on how much is bet, won, lost, and taken home. If the objective is to play as much and as long as possible, it is best to select games with high payback percentages, plenty of bonus possibilities, moderate top jackpots, and low betting minimums. On the other hand, low odds machines will never satisfy someone who wants to get rich quick. That’s what the “progressive jackpot” slots are for, and the maximum bet should always be played. A bankroll may not last long, but the big win, if it comes, will reward the risk many times over.
- Keep It Real – Much of what passes for slot machine “strategy” is nothing more than superstition. It should be ignored. This includes “hocus pocus” techniques such as “Passing my hand over the reels as they spin makes the bonus symbols appear” and unscientific assertions like “The machines pay more if you bet one credit at a time.” Treat any off-the-wall statements with skepticism. Thinking positive thoughts, visualizing a jackpot with eyes closed, standing up to play, tapping the display screen, talking to the machine… the slot machines are just not paying attention.
- Forget the Past – On today’s electronic shots, a random number generator determines where the reels stop. That means, just like dice, slot machines have no memory of the past, and neither should players. Every “spin” is an independent event, disconnected from the previous ones. That means no machine is ever “due to hit” or “tapped out.” Whether a jackpot has just been hit or has not been paid for a long time has no influence on the future.
- Manage the Money – Slot players should be aware of two numbers before starting to play: how much they are willing to risk and how much they want to win. Running off to the ATM for more funds when a bankroll is depleted should never be an option. Quitting while ahead is always a good decision—in fact, it is the only way to win. Far too many losers are created by continuing to play after a win has been achieved.
- Know the Odds – The best indicator of what machines to play is the “X Factor.” Payout tables show the top prize as a factor of the winning bet, such as 5,000X or 25,000X. The higher the X, the tighter the machine will be. Slots offering lower odds typically yield longer play and more frequent small payouts.
- Don’t Be Fooled by Reels – A jackpot symbol may be one of 24 showing on a reel, but the probability of it coming up on the payline is not 1-in-24. Nor does its position on the previous spin above or below the payline mean it is “getting close.” Where a symbol comes to rest is a function of the number of “stops” that have been programmed for it. The blank space on either side of a jackpot symbol may have ten of more stops, making them appear on the center line ten times more often than the jackpot. Don’t allow the appearance of an impending winner be mistaken for the “reel” thing.
- Join the Club – This is one tip on which almost all players agree. If a casino has a slot club or rewards program, sign up for it. There is no cost to join and it is the only way to gain access to the many comps and bonuses that are awarded to loyal patrons. Some clubs offer new members extra incentives, such a lucky draw for bonus cash, free coupon books for meals and entertainment discounts, and even rebates on losses within 24 hours after joining. It simply makes sense to take advantage of everything the casinos are willing to give away. Hitting a jackpot is not the only way to win.