Slot Machine Tips

You’ll find a lot of myths and misinformation on the Internet about slot machines. We believe firmly that a well-educated gambler has more fun, so we’ve put together a list of slot machine tips that are based on facts rather than wishful thinking. If we manage to dispel some myths along the way, then we feel like we’ve done the society of Internet gamblers a great service.

Slot Machines Are Completely Random

Slot Machine ReelYou have no more control over the outcome of the spin of the slot machine reels than you do a toss of a couple of dice at the craps table (and we don’t believe any of that silliness about “dice control”.) or a flip of a coin. Once you understand this truth about slots, you can relax and enjoy the game for what it is. You won’t have to deal with the resentment and frustration involved when your “can’t miss” betting system or strategy fails to work.

Nothing you do influences the outcome of each spin. It doesn’t matter whether or not you’re playing with your slots club card inserted. It doesn’t matter if the jackpot hasn’t been hit in a long time. It does’t matter if someone else has been winning a lot on that machine over the last hour. Every spin of the reels is a completely random event and the past spins have no influence over the upcoming spins.

Denomination Makes a Big Difference

Your expected hourly loss is determined by the house edge, how many spins you make per hour, and how much you bet on each spin. For example, if you’re playing for a dollar a spin with a house edge of 5%, and you’re making 500 spins per hour, your hourly expected loss is $25.

The good news is that reducing any of those numbers reduces your expected loss each hour. So if you scaled back to playing for a quarter a spin, you’d only lose $6.25 per hour on average. If you slowed down your play to where you’re only making 250 spins per hour, you can cut that in half to $3.12 per hour.

Take your time and play for the lowest denomination that’s still fun, and you’ll lose less money playing real money slots.

Smaller Jackpots Are Easier to Win

The bigger the jackpot is, the harder it is to win. That should be common sense, but a lot of people don’t understand the math behind casino games. The math has to be set up in such a way that the casino is guaranteed a profit over the long run. The only way they can do this is by setting the odds of winning up in such a way that your expected return is negative. (The casino’s expected return is positive. Always.)

So if a casino offers a dollar slots game with a $100 jackpot, and your odds of winning that jackpot are 80 to 1, then the casino makes a profit. On the other hand, if the casino offers a dollar slots game with a $1000 jackpot, your odds of winning have to be much smaller in order for the casino to make a profit.

Would you rather face an 800 to 1 chance of winning or an 80 to 1 chance of winning?

Video Slots versus Traditional Slots

Video slot machines, with their multiple reels and insane number of paylines, generally offer a lower chance of winning compared to traditional mechanical three reel slot machines. All those bells and whistles that video slots feature eat into your expected change of winning. Scatters and wild symbols seem like a great deal for the player, but the actual mathematical result is that players lose more money per spin on video slots than on traditional three reels lots.

Some of this is just marketing savvy on the part of casino owners and slot machine designers, too. Compared to video slots, three reel slot machines can be a little on the dull side. Casino owners compensate for this by setting the payback percentages on the mechanical machines higher, so that some players will still play them. The bells and whistles on the video slots are so attractive that a lower payout percentage is acceptable to most players.


Playing slots can be a lot of fun, but keeping in mind a few tips about how they actually work will increase your enjoyment of the games. As long as you remember that you have no control over the outcomes, you can relax and enjoy the games. Also, if you can slow down and play for a lower denomination, especially on a more traditional three reel game, then you can reduce your mathematically expected loss dramatically.

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