7 Steps to Becoming a Better Slot Machine Player

by Jeff Harris
on October 22, 2017

Winning in slot machines is generally considered to be about luck because there’s nothing you can do to influence spin results. And this game isn’t like blackjack or poker where you can improve by studying strategy.

But while it’s true that luck plays a large role in slots results, there are some things that you can do to win more often.

Let’s look at seven tips that will make you a better slots player.

1 – Research Slots Payback

Slots payback, or return to player (a.k.a. RTP), indicates how much a slot machine will pay back over the long term. Here’s an example:

  • You’re playing a game with 95% payback.
  • You bet $100.
  • The game will theoretically pay back $95.

Of course, slot machine RTP doesn’t normally work out this neatly. But payout percentages give you a good indication of what to expect from a specific game.

Obviously, you stand to win more money by playing slot machines with higher payback. But how do you find the best payout percentages?

This is easiest to do with online slots because providers normally offer uniform payback across every internet casino. Here’s an example of how you search for online slots RTP:

  • I want to find out about NetEnt slots payback.
  • Google “NetEnt slots payback.”
  • One of the first websites features a list of NetEnt games and their payback.
  • Mega Joker pays the highest at 99.00%.
  • Relic Raiders pays the worst at 90.0%

You can easily find out about other online slots by switching the name of the provider during your Google search.

Finding slot machine RTP in land-based casinos is a more difficult task. The reason is because the same game can have different payback from casino to casino.

You can find lists of RTP averages in Vegas casinos. But you won’t find an organized list showing exactly how much every game pays.

Nevertheless, you might still get a general idea on payback by researching specific casinos that you visit.

2 – Pay Attention to Payout Frequency

Another concept that goes along with RTP is payout frequency, which refers to how often you’ll win payouts.

This is an important concept for slots players with small bankrolls. After all, you want to know how often you’ll win prizes and replenish your bankroll.

The only problem is that slot machines don’t list payout frequency. Instead, you must use clues to figure out how often you’ll get paid.

Here are some indicators that’ll help you figure out the frequency of payouts:

  • The number of small payouts (1 to 10 coins).
  • The number of big payouts (500 to 10,000 coins).
  • The size of the jackpot.

If you’re playing a game with several small payouts, one big payout worth 500 coins, and a jackpot worth 5,000 coins, the payout frequency will be high.

If you’re playing a slot with three small payouts, three payouts ranging from 500-10,000 coins, and a jackpot worth $100,000, then payout frequency will be low.

Some players don’t care about infrequent payouts as long as they have a chance to win big. But those playing with $20-$50 will extend their entertainment by playing games with high payout frequency.

3 – Read the Info Screen to Understand Jackpots & Other Rules

Slot machines have a help screen, which may also be listed under an info screen or pay table. In any case, you should always check this out so you can understand the rules behind slots games.

This is especially important with regard to knowing how to win the jackpot. Most slot machines have specific requirements on how you qualify for the top prize.

Here are some of the jackpot qualifications featured in various slot machines:

  • Play all of the pay lines.
  • Win the jackpot in a bonus round.
  • Play max coin size.
  • Jackpot is awarded randomly and has no requirements.

It’s important to know this information because you don’t want to play under the assumption that you qualify for the jackpot when you don’t.

Likewise, you may not want to bet more than you have to when a jackpot is awarded randomly.

The info screen will also fill you in on other important info such as what triggers special features, how to play bonus rounds, and the game RTP.

4 – Take Advantage of Slots Rewards

Both online and land-based casinos offer rewards to slots players. But they also differ in terms of what rewards they deliver and how the freebies are awarded.

Land-based casinos require that you sign up for the slots club before receiving awards. This can be done in a few different ways:

1 – Sign up at the player’s club desk in a casino.

2 – Visit the casino website and see if you can join there.

3 – Call the casino and ask to sign up over the phone.

You’ll receive a slots club card after you’ve signed up for the loyalty program. You use this card to pick up comps whenever you play a slots session at the casino.

Some of the comps that you’ll receive include free drinks, meals, hotel stays, and show tickets.

Online casinos begin giving you slots rewards as soon as you start playing for real money. All you need to do is make a deposit and begin spinning the reels.

You’ll then receive loyalty points that can be exchanged for rewards like cashback and free spins. The number of points that you must earn depends upon the casino.

This is why it’s good to shop around different online casinos and find the best rate.

Most casinos are similar in terms of how many points they award for your slots play. But you can find some separation if you look long enough.

5 – Look for the Best Online Slots Welcome Bonuses

In addition to delivering loyalty rewards, online casinos also offer players welcome bonuses. The typical parts of a welcome bonus include free spins and a match percentage bonus on one or more deposits.

Most casinos require that you make a minimum deposit of $20 or more to qualify for the welcome bonus. And you may have to make multiple deposits to earn the entire reward.

Here’s a sample welcome bonus:

  • 100 free spins upon deposit
  • 1st deposit – 200% deposit bonus up to $500
  • 2nd deposit – 100% deposit bonus up to $300
  • 3rd deposit – 50% deposit bonus up to $200

Overall, this bonus is worth up to $1,000 and 100 free spins. Most players don’t deposit the max on bonuses, but the large amount of cash is nice for high rollers.

Another factor to consider beyond the max amount is the wagering requirements.

Every welcome bonus has wagering requirements that must be fulfilled before you receive money. And the lower the conditions, the quicker you’ll be able to cash out the reward.

Standard wagering requirements are 20 times the bonus plus deposit amount. In the case of $100, you’d need to wager $4,000 [20 x (100 + 100)] before receiving your money.

If you can find a large bonus with 20 times wagering requirements or less, then you’ve found a good one.

6 – Have a Bankroll Plan

Most people don’t have a plan when they sit down to slot machines. And they’re surprised to find out that their $100 doesn’t go very far on a $1 denomination game.

This is why it’s important to have a plan for both your bankroll and what slot machines you play.

The best place to start is deciding how many hours you want to play slots for.

We all hope to be winners at the end of a session. But slots are negative expectation games, meaning you’re more likely to lose.

Because of this, I suggest having hundreds of units to cover your time at the machines. And a unit is the minimum bet per spin for our purposes.

The minimum spin cost takes into account the number of pay lines, coin size, and how many coins per line you must use. If the minimum spin works out to be $0.30, then $100 would equal 300 units.

The next step involves figuring out how much time your units will buy you on the machines.

As a general rule of thumb, you can play for about an hourwith every 100 units you have. But this can change based on how fast you play and the machine you’re playing.

Let’s look at a quick example below:

  • You have $100.
  • The minimum spin is $0.25, which gives you 400 units
  • You’re betting $150 (600 units) per hour.
  • The game’s payback is 92%, or an 8% house edge.
  • You stand to lose $12 per hour (150 x 0.08), or 48 units.
  • You would theoretically last for 8.3 hours (400/48) with this bankroll.

But slot machines are more volatile than this because they must offer larger payouts at the top.

This is why I suggest doubling the units lost per hour, which would be 96 units in the example above.

In any case, I suggest planning out what machine(s) and how large of bankroll you’ll have before a session.

7 – Look for Growing Progressive Jackpots

One of the best ways to gain more value from slots wagers is to chase progressive jackpots after they’ve grown larger. The reason  is because you’re betting the same amount of money to win a bigger potential prize.

Let’s check out an example:

  • Microgaming’s Mega Moolah jackpot is seeded at $1 million.
  • The minimum bet is $0.25 per spin.
  • Mega Moolah payback starts at 88.1%.
  • The RTP rises along with the jackpot amount.

Mega Moolah’s top jackpot has grown over $20 million in the past. I’ve seen it worth over $10 million plenty of times too.

This means that players are getting far more value from each bet as the jackpot continues growing.

Of course, this is an extreme example that involves online gaming’s biggest progressive jackpot. But the key is that you should wait before jumping in to play for a progressive payout.

Another point here is that you should only follow this tip if you enjoy chasing progressive jackpots. After all, the odds of you winning are still extremely low.


Many slots players fall into one of two classes:

1 – They believe that there’s absolutely no strategy in slots games.

2 – They rely on superstitions in hopes of winning.

Both types of players are wrong because there are real techniques that you can use to win more in slots.

The biggest step that you can take toward improving is looking for the best payout percentages.

This is especially easy in online slots, where you can search by provider to find the top paying games.

Another thing that’ll help you greatly is to pick up rewards. Online casinos automatically dole out rewards, but you must sign up for the slots club in land-based casinos.

You’ll still need luck to win even if you follow all  the steps that I’ve outlined in this post. Slot machines don’t have any real strategy once you push the Spin button.

But you’ll at least stand a much better chance of winning by paying attention to the 7 steps listed here.

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