First of all, there is no strategy to playing a slot. We simply put money in, push a button or pull the handle, and hope for a win.
Yes, I know that there are machines to watch for better chance at bonuses – Gazellions by Aristocrat, for example, or progressives that hit randomly within a certain limit. But even then, you are just barely improving your chance for a bonus, of which could be a dud anyway. This will be covered later anyway.
We also need to realize that we can’t affect the outcome in any predictable way, nor tell from the outside which games are the highest-paying. So, please be aware of the following truths in an article from John Grochowski that will help you in your slot play, with my own two-cents thrown in here and there.
1 – The games are as random as humans can program a computer to be. Results are determined by a random number generator (RNG), and what you see on the reels or screen is just a user-friendly interface to display the game being played out on the RNG. The reels are just entertainment, so treat it as such.
2 – It doesn’t know how much you’ve wagered, and it has no record of past results. You see, it’s a machine – each event is a separate event, without any connection to the previous one. So, it doesn’t remember not paying out, or how much money you put in, or what the previous person won. They are neither “due” to payout or going to get “cold.” These are human perceptions in a very, very small sample of data. Just sit back and let it go.
3 – Games with lower-denomination bets almost always give lower payback percentages than games at higher denominations – over the long run of the machine’s life.
Even in the video age, where multiple pay-lines means penny games can have $5 maximum bets that exceed the traditional $3 on three-reel dollar slots, $5 slots give a higher percentage back to the player than $1 slots, which pay more than quarter slots, which pay more than nickels, which pay more than pennies. But that doesn’t mean you are going to win on higher denominations, it just means you might have a better chance.
4 – Your chances of hitting a large, lifestyle-changing jackpot are greater on reel-spinning slots.
Three-reel slots, especially those with a single pay-line, are designed to be more volatile than five-reel video slots. You have many fewer winning spins on the reel-spinners, but nearly all of them are for at least several times the size of your bet.
On video slots, more frequent small wins are a big part of the overall payback. Three-reel slots put more of their return into bigger hits. If you’re playing a three-reel slot, you’re more likely to hit a big jackpot than on a video slot, but you’re also more likely to lose your money quickly. Which experience you want is up to you.
All those small paybacks do add up, and help keep you in your seat longer on video games.
5 – Players should never play a progressive slot machine without making the wager necessary to be eligible for the progressive jackpots.
On progressives, a percentage of wagers are added to the jackpot, or spread across multiple jackpots on many modern games.
On three-reel slots with single jackpots, you usually have to bet maximum coins to be eligible for the jackpot. On video slots, you’ll sometimes be asked to make a separate bet to be eligible for the jackpots. Just keep in mind that progressive games put a larger percentage of their overall return into the jackpots, and usually pay less on the base games. Playing “Quick Hit” type games, for example, should be played with Max bet.
6 – On games with mystery jackpots, those who bet more credits per line have a better chance of winning the jackpot.
Some progressives don’t require max coins bets, nor do they require separate wagers to be eligible. Players who bet minimum coins per line are playing for the same jackpots as those who bet the max. On such games, the jackpot isn’t triggered by a combination of symbols on the reels – it’s just launched as a complete surprise to the player, even sometimes after losing spins. These are mystery jackpots, and it’s a mystery how you win. One common method is for a random number generator to select a jackpot amount. Then the player whose bet pushes the jackpot to that level wins it. If you bet more credits, your bet pushes up the jackpot by more cents, bringing you more chances to win. Without such programming, casinos couldn’t offer the same pot to players betting different amounts. Please keep in mind the amount the meter moves is slowly incremental.
Per dollar played, slot players get more comps and free play than table games players. You can’t overcome the house edge, but you can take everything the casino will give you. Don’t increase your bets for the sake of comps, but if you play your normal amount and the casino buys your lunch and gives you a few bucks in free play to boot, so much the better. Taking your card in and out depending on your perception of the machine being “hot” or “cold” has nothing to do with the RNG – two seperate systems.
You can’t overcome the house edge with slot club freebies, but you can narrow the gap a bit with a little smart play. Let’s say your normal amount of play brings you $5 in free play. On a double points day, you’ll get $10 instead, or $15 on triple points days. Any chance to decrease the house advantage should be taken.
That’s all for now. Now, go hit some Jackpots!