You’ll find no shortage of blog posts and articles about how to win at slots online. Some of this is advice is better than others, but I personally think you should ignore all of it.
While some advice is sound, most slots advice is a bit too optimistic about increasing your chances of winning that lucky jackpot. In fact, you should probably avoid buying some kind of eBook that explains how to win at slots.
It’s crucial to take any gambling advice with a grain of salt, especially when it comes to slots. Keep reading below to learn why.
Playing Higher Denomination Slots Won’t Help You Win More Often
One piece of advice I see often is that you should play higher denomination slots because they have a higher payback percentage.
It’s true that they have a higher payback percentage, but that still doesn’t mean you’ll win more often.
Here’s how a payback percentage works, regardless of the denomination.
If you take every possible combination on the machine, both losing and winning, and add up the payouts for all of them. Then, compare those payouts to the amount it would cost to play all those combinations, and you wind up with the payback percentage for the game.
For example, if there are 1,000 possible combinations on a slot machine, and the winnings for all of them would equate to $950, the game would have a 95% payback percentage.
It doesn’t matter if there’s a 1 in 1,000 probability of hitting a $950 jackpot or two prizes with a 1 in 500 probability each of winning $475. The payback percentage is the same.
In an absurd example, you might have 950 combinations that pay off at $1 each, and 50 combinations that don’t pay off at all. In the long run, you won’t win on any of these machines. In the short run, you’ll usually win more money on the games with the lowest volatility, not the games with the best payback percentage.
This makes playing higher denomination games a fool’s errand.
Asking Other Players Which Games to Play Is a Fool’s Errand
Some people will tell you trust other players’ advice. I think that’s terrible advice, but that’s based on what I’ve personally experienced.
First of all, I live less than an hour from a casino that’s 90% slot machines. I know dozens of people who play there regularly, and here’s what most of them say about their trips to the casino to play slot games.
“I win about as often as I lose.”
Do you really think they could afford to buy the real estate and pay the electricity bill at a huge casino if all their slot machine players were winning as often as they were losing?
This is an example of irrationality and wishful thinking at its finest. Sure, people want to BELIEVE that they’re breaking even. That way, they don’t have to feel guilty about losing their money gambling on slot machines.
Ignore other players who tell you which slots are hot and/or cold. They don’t have any way of knowing. Also, slots get hot and cold randomly. Just because a game’s been running hot doesn’t mean it’s going to continue to run hot. It also doesn’t mean it’s going to cool off.
While I don’t think that listening to other players’ advice is 100% a bad idea, it’s still good to evaluate who you should listen to first. For example, it makes sense to trust another player’s word if you know for a fact that they are good at what they do.
But with slots, a game that isn’t based on skill, taking advice from someone who claims to win frequently should be taken lightly. Slot machines are completely random, after all.
Choose Your Slot Machine Carefully
I saw a (presumably) well-meaning post that suggested you should choose your slot machine carefully.
What guidance did they offer about how to choose your slot machine? Would you believe me if I explained that their advice was trite and useless?
They explain that the first thing you should understand is that all slot machines are different. They go on to explain that different slots have different soundtracks, symbols, and themes. They also mention that different games have different RTP (return to player) rates. (The RTP is basically the same thing as they payback percentage.)
Then, they suggest you find a slot machine game with a high RTP, but they don’t always explain HOW to do that. Some machines have it posted, but with most, you’ll have to Google it and find out for yourself.
And as I’ve already pointed out, that number isn’t as important as most writers say it is. Some casinos set their RTP at different rates, so it’s best to learn about that as well.
No, You Shouldn’t Bet the Maximum
I saw one page suggest that you should always bet the maximum. The idea is that by betting the maximum, you’ll get to play all the potential paylines on each spin.
Betting all the lines increases your probability of getting a payout. The problem with games which have lots of paylines is that they often have payouts that are lower than the amount it costs to play all the lines.
Here’s an example:
You’re playing a penny slot machine game with 25 paylines, and you can bet up to five coins on each line. This means you’re betting $1.25 per spin.
It’s easy to hit a win on at least one of those pay lines, but if it’s a win of five cents, 10 cents, or even a dollar, you’re still losing money on that spin.
Your brain, though, gets the same jolt of neurochemicals that make gambling on slot machines so addictive, even though you LOST money on the spin.
On some games, the bonuses and special features don’t get activated if you don’t make the maximum bet. You could make a convincing argument that you SHOULD always make the max bet on such games, but even that is a blanket generalization.
If you have a low bankroll, it just doesn’t matter. You can still play for the minimum and have a little fun.
No Deposit Bonus Codes Aren’t the Answer
I found a post on one site that suggested you take advantage of the no deposit bonus codes at online casinos to play slots for free.
This is probably the best advice I’ve seen so far, but it’s still not the best advice around.
A no deposit casino bonus is basically a free chip with strings attached. For example, you might get a $25 free chip at an online casino. You can use that to make a few spins on one of the slot games there. But you can’t cash out your winnings until you’ve made a specific number of wagers.
Most of the time, the payout percentage on the slot machine game is so low that you’re almost guaranteed to lose the entire $25 without any winnings to show for it. But what happens if you do beat the odds and win?
The casino usually requires you to make a deposit before allowing you to claim your winnings. They also have a maximum amount they’ll allow you to win, usually $50 or $100.
Where’s the downside?
The online casinos’ goal is to get you started. Most people don’t control their impulses well once they’ve gotten started, and they lose more money than they intended to.
The best way to avoid that is to avoid starting at all. Recovering alcoholics are fond of saying that if they don’t take the first drink, they won’t get drunk. That advice applies to slot machines, too.
If you don’t make that first wager, you can’t lose an excessive amount of money.
How Do You Create a Strategy for Winning?
I’ve previously written about how to win at slots, but I wanted to touch this time on some more advice to help you. The first piece of advice is to “create a strategy for winning.”
The first step in their “strategy creation” is to research the payback percentages for the slot machines you’re thinking about playing.
I’ve already gone into detail about why the payback percentages don’t really matter, but here’s something else to consider:
You can play two identical slot machines sitting next to each other, and they might each have a different payback percentage. The Wheel of Fortune slot machine you’re playing might have a 92% payback percentage, but the identical Wheel of Fortune slot machine on your left might have a 95% payback percentage.
That’s because the outcomes are determined by a computer program called a random number generator (RNG). The reels and symbols are just for show. And little to no amount of research can help you distinguish between one game and another.
The Only Advice You Really Need for Playing Slots
All slot machines provide the house with a long-term mathematical advantage. You shouldn’t play a slot machine with money you can’t afford to lose.
If you play a slot machine long enough, you’ll eventually lose your money. And because of how quickly most people play slots, you’ll lose more money playing slots than any other game in the casino, regardless of payback percentages.
The best advice is this:
Don’t play slot machines.
If you’re going to play slot machines anyway, don’t stress out about figuring out “how to win.”
The games are random. Your best bet is to gamble on slots with money you can afford to lose and quit if you get even a little bit ahead. Stay out of the long-term game plan if you can, because the house always wins in the long run.
I hope I’ve demonstrated why you should ignore all those how to win at slots articles you’ll find on the internet.
Even if you do pay attention to them, please don’t EVER pay someone for an eBook or a guide for winning at slot machines.
Such books are all equally worthless, and you’ll surely be losing your money to them. Remember, when you’re gauging advice about winning at slots, you should evaluate who is giving you the advice in the first place.
Good luck with your spins!
Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. ...
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