Slot Machine Secrets
Slots have the worst odds in Las Vegas (house advantage is about 10%), so if you lose you have been warned. Table games, like blackjack, craps or baccarat will give you a much better chance of winning. The casinos fill the place with slot machines because they take in the most money from them. However, a major plus to playing them is that you can spend a lot of time playing and not risk much if you play the nickel or dime machines (quarter machines can add up fast). They are also a source of mindless entertainment, which for many is one of the reasons we like to go to Las Vegas.
That being said, here is some advice for you avid slot players who are set on winning that multi-million dollar jackpot. The higher you bet per slot pull, the better your odds of winning. A one dollar machine has much better odds than a nickel machine. Always play the maximum coins. There is something called a “sweetener” in almost all the slot machines that will give you more money back if you win. It won’t change the odds, but you win more back per coin placed in the machine. In many cases you may win 5 or 10 times more if you play the maximum number of coins.
The higher payout machines tend to be hidden and not in the front of the casino or in high-traffic areas (avoid buffet area slots, bar slots, those near restroom, etc.). The best paying slots are almost always in the high-slots room. Unfortunately, you will not find any quarter slots in this area. Most start at $5 min. However, they will give you the best possible slot machine odds.
If you want the best slot machines don’t play on the Las Vegas strip. For most people this is not an option and the difference is really not that much. Slot machines off the strip are made for locals who remember when a machines pays or not. The slot machine makers figure that people staying in a hotel won’t remember if a machine has better odds, since they most likely don’t come back very often. Locals however tend to know a good machine when they see one and come back often for them.
If a machine has recently paid out it could mean it is a “loose” machine and *may* payout big again sooner than other machines. Don’t keep playing a losing machine. Go on to another. Casinos will rarely put two loose machines next to each other, so if a machine is winning don’t play the one on either side of you. If you are losing on a machine stop after about six loses in a row and move to another machine. A good machine to pick is one that recently paid off well. If you see someone winning big, wait for them to leave. Another way to pick a machine is look for a jackpot left on the reels as the last spin. Have a preset spending limit each day and be sure to stop when you hit it. You can always play again the next day or on your next trip to Vegas. However, never stop on a winning streak. Hotels can vary a lot in how loose or tight their machines are set (within the legal limits). A study was done by the Las Vegas Advisor comparing various hotels and showed that the The Palms had the loosest slots in Vegas. You might give them a try on your next trip. Green Valley Ranch is known to be a slot player’s paradise since they have the most kinds of machines. You will be in slot heaven at that hotel, which is located off the Las Vegas strip in Henderson (about 15 minute drive from the main strip).
TOP TEN SLOT PLAYING TIPS
1.) ALWAYS INSERT YOUR SLOT CLUB CARD
Using your card can increase the payback of the machine you are playing by as much as one percent. It just takes a few minutes to join a slot club and there is no down side. It also qualifies you to get rated, which translates to free comps at hotels. Do this before you risk any money in the casino.
2.) PLAY ONLY WHAT YOUR BANKROLL CAN HANDLE
You will need to have an estimate of the cost per hour a machine will take. This depends on the type of machine, payout rate, and how you bet. The following examples are based on an average of 8 spins per minute and a 90% payout rate.
- Nickel Machine 2 coins:$5/hour 3 coins:$7/hour 5 coins:$12 hour
- Quarter Machine 2 coins:$24/hour 3 coins:$36/hr 5 coins:$60/hour
- Dollar Machine 2 coins:$96/hour 3 coins:$144/hr 5 coins:$240/hour
You then need to decide on the number of hours you will play over the course of your entire stay. If you start with a bankroll of $600 and plan to play an average of five hours a day for three days, then that comes to 15 playing hours. When you divide $600 by 15 it comes to $40 per hour. In order to stay within this budget you should not playing anything over a 3 coin quarter machine (e.g., $36/hour).
3.) BE CERTAIN YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR
Slot machines are like any machine and get wear and tear. They can also malfunction. One of the best ways to protect yourself against a malfunction is to observe the glass payout schedule and the paylines as you insert each coin to be sure the correct sections light, up, showing that they are properly activated. If you hit a winning combination that does not pay because only two of your three coins registered, you are out of luck. If one of your coins does not register, be sure to contact an attendant or press the change button and wait for someone to arrive. Don’t spin the reels until the problem is fixed.
4.) ONLY PLAY ONE MACHINE AT A TIME
Casino managers know that some people like to play two side-by-side slots at the same time, so they always put a loose machines with the tight one on both sides:
(loose machine)<->(tight machine)<->(loose machine)
At best, you will win from a loose machine only to lose your winnings to a tight on, or you will lose to two tight machines. Every casino has far fewer loose machines than tight one and they never place them together.
5.) NEVER PLAY NEXT TO SOMEONE WHO IS WINNING
If the winner’s slow is loose, the machines on either side will be tight. You might consider waiting for the winner to leave and then playing the same potentially loose machine.
6.) STAY WITH A HOT MACHINE
Don’t leave a machine that just paid a big jackpot. It may be a hot machine that could continue to pay out nicely. Don’t abandon the machine unless it has not paid anything for 5 or 6 consecutive spins.
7.) OBSERVE OTHER PLAYERS WHO ARE WINNING
Watch players who are hitting jackpots and winning regularly and keep and eye and ear out for sudden big winners. Many times, big winners cash in and leave their machine while it is still hot. If you see that happen and you are on a cold machine, move over to the hot machine and give it a try. Many slot players think a machine will turn cold after a big payout, so they leave. The truth is that it is more likely to still be in a hot cycle.
8.) ABANDON A COLD MACHINE
If after six spins the machine has paid very little, abandon it. Don’t throw good money after bad. If the machine next to it is available, move over and try the new machine that may be loose. Remember, tight and loose machines are usually next to each other.
9.) NEVER LEAVE A MACHINE THAT OWES YOU MONEY
Sometimes when you hit a big jackpot, an attendant has to make the payoff, or you may run into a situation where the machine runs out of coins. Stay with the machine no matter how long it takes to get the attendant to arrive. Occasionally a machine malfunctions and you can’t redeem your credits, or the bill acceptor gets hung and eats your dollars without give you credits. Stay with the machine. If you leave the machine to get an attendant you will have trouble claiming what is rightfully yours.
10.) REMEMBER TO PRESS THE CASH OUT BUTTON
Most slot machines accumulate credits as you play, and you must press the CASH OUT button in order to convert the credits into actual coins. Even if you have just won a hand-paid jackpot, before leaving the machine be sure to press the CASH OUT button and be sure the credit meter reads zero. If it doesn’t , call an attendant because the machine may need a hopper fill, or the coin mechanism may be jammed. On cash ticket machines, always check the ticket slot. If you are distracted when you leave your machine and forget to cash out or retrieve the ticket, someone else will get to enjoy your winnings.
REMEMBER THE MOST IMPORTANT RULE:
QUIT WHEN YOU ARE AHEAD AND NEVER QUIT DURING A WINNING STREAK.