How Slot Machines Work
If you love playing slot machines, you’re probably wondering if there is anything you can do to improve your chances of winning. While casino slots are always a game of luck, there are some small steps you can take to improve your odds.
If you’ve played a slot machine before, you know they are pretty straightforward. You put your money in, select your paylines and bet, and spin the reel. Some will have extra features like bonus rounds or progressive jackpots, but all function in this basic format.
Winning spins on a slot machine are decided by a program called a Random Number Generator, also referred to as an RNG. Contrary to what many people believe, the outcome of the spin is completely random. Each and every spin has the same chance of winning as the spin before.
You might hear people say they know when a machine is going to pay a jackpot because of the patterns in the symbols. Or maybe you’ve heard people refer to a slot machine as “hot” or “cold”. Though patterns and win streaks are bound to happen in any randomly generated game, they are never an indicator of what will happen on your next spin.
Random Number Generators
As we stated before, whether you win on a slot machine spin is dependent upon a program called a Random Number Generator. The RNG is a microchip within every slot machine. This microchip is producing numbers randomly, up to several billion times per second. When you push the spin button, your outcome is based on the number on the RNG at that specific millisecond.
The RNG program will be set to operate in the payout odds of that particular machine. Meaning, if that game has paying odds of 85%, the series of numbers generated will give 15% of your money to the house in the long run.
That doesn’t mean that you are predetermined to lose, simply that the majority of numbers in the RNG will be in-line with the odds of the machine. There will still be big jackpot spins in the Random Number Generator sequence. It is just a matter of hitting the spin button at that precise moment.
Increasing Your Odds of Winning
With the RNG as the determining factor in winning on a slot machine, you’re probably thinking there is nothing you can do to increase your odds of winning. Luckily, this is not accurate. While you cannot beat the RNG, there are a few things you can do to increase your odds of winning.
Keep in mind that slot machines are solely a luck based game. Any strategies discussed here to improve your odds will be mostly based on which machines to play. The actual spins of a slot machine can’t be predicted or controlled in any way.
Picking a Slot Machine
Play the Highest Denomination
Generally speaking, the higher the denomination of a slot machine, the better your odds of winning. This means that a dollar machine will have higher odds than a quarter machine. That quarter machine will have better odds than a nickel machine, etc. Pick the highest denomination you can afford within your set bankroll.
Play Max Credits
Even if playing on a machine without a progressive jackpot, playing maximum credits will give you the best rate of return on your money. If you are playing a machine with a progressive jackpot, these are almost always only available to win if playing max credits.
Stay Away from Progressive Slots
Slot machines with extremely high jackpot payouts tend to have worse payouts on all other wins. Since your chances of winning a super jackpot are incredibly slim, you will want to avoid these machines. In addition, with so many players, house advantages can be set high without deterring people from that game.
Choose Low Jackpot/Fixed Jackpot Machines
Look for a machine with a fixed maximum payout. This means that there is a set amount you can win based solely on the outcome of your spin. The lower your maximum payout amount (taking into consideration your bet and denomination) the better the odds of winning on that machine.
Limit Your Losses
Set Your Bankroll Amount
Anytime you are gambling, you should set an amount you are comfortable with losing. Your chances of losing are higher than your chances of winning. Accepting this fact and setting an amount your comfortable gambling, is an important step in managing your gambling finances.
You can set your bankroll parameters around specific periods of time that fit your needs. For example, if you can comfortably gamble $200 ever two weeks, you could leave your limit in that form. You could also split that amount into 2 or more separate sessions.
Set Win Limits
Set a specific amount you would like to win, to walk away from the slot machine. This is variable too. It can be an amount before you switch machines, or an amount when you leave the casino altogether. The important part is that you set this amount before you begin playing.
After you have been gambling, it’s much easier to make emotional decisions. Putting a plan in place before you begin is a critical step to managing your money.
Set Playtime Limits
After an extended period of time playing slot machines, you can go into an auto-pilot mode. This can cause you to make emotional choices and ignore your bankroll limits. Set a specific time to either stop playing or to get up and take a break. This is an important step in maintaining good money management while gambling.
Tips and Tricks
There is some debate about this topic and whether there is any merit to this claim. It is definitely worth a mention here though. Keep in mind this is only relevant if you’re playing in a brick and mortar casino.
Many people believe that the slot machines in highly visible areas have higher win percentages. If other players can see players winning frequently, it can entice others to play that slot machine. Many players feel that casino operators set the house advantage lower on these machines.
Steer Clear of Video Slots
This is more of a mathematical strategy. Video slots tend to have a lot more involved than just spinning the slot reels. There are video clips, bonus rounds, and other special features. These slow the gameplay down considerably.
Fewer spins means less money for the casino. The house odds are usually set slightly higher on a video slot machine to compensate for this fact.
Slot machines are a game based solely on luck. There are some things you can do to improve your chances at limiting big losses and maintain your money. You can pick games with the best odds to win, and avoid the big losses associated with emotional decisions.
Overall, your chances of losing on a slot machine outweigh your odds of winning. Keep these tips in mind to give yourself the best chance at overcoming this. Keep in mind that since you’re likely to lose, playing a game you get the most enjoyment out of is probably your best bet.