How to Make the Most of Your Time Playing Slots

Slot machine games seem pretty simple: insert coin, pull a lever, wait, repeat. But, like any other kind of entertainment, there are ways you can maximize the value that you get from your dollar. These slot machine tips are presented in order for you to get the most out of your experiences at the one-armed bandits. Most of them won’t help you win, and that’s a simple enough thing to understand; slots are completely random and betting strategies won’t make much of a difference. But there are some tips and tricks you might find useful.

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Having a Winning Attitude at the Slot Machines

Slot machines are completely luck-based. Entirely random, no skill involved, you’ll win or lose based on what the random number generator is set to pay back. This can make the game extremely frustrating if you have the wrong attitude about it. What’s the right attitude?

The right attitude is to understand that slot games are a negative bet, and behave accordingly. Don’t play with money you can’t afford to lose, and don’t get upset if you have a losing session. You’re supposed to have a losing session. If you weren’t, then the casinos wouldn’t be in business.

Understand the Slot Machine That You’re Playing

Some slot machines have different payouts based on the number of coins that you bet. A lot of people give the advice that you should always make the max coin bet. This isn’t necessarily true.

Some machines offer proportional payouts. In other words, for all winning combination, the machine will pay back twice as much when you bet 2 coins and 3 times as much when you bet 3 coins. On these machines, feel free to play 1 coin or 2 coins or 3 coins or any combination or series of those bets, because it doesn’t matter how many coins you play when a machine offers proportional payouts.

A lot of slot machines, on the other hand, offer bigger payouts based on playing more coins. Progressive slot games, in particular, often don’t give you the opportunity to win the progressive jackpot if you’re not making the max coin bet.

So be sure you understand the machine that you’re playing. The math isn’t hard, just examine the payout chart on the machine before you decide how many coins to play.

ALWAYS Join the Slot Club

One thing you can and always should do to maximize your winnings and minimize your losses is belong to the slots club at the casino. It’s as simple as filling out a form and getting a card. You insert the card in a reader while you play, and ever time you insert a coin into a slot machine and make a wager, you get credit for it. Depending on which casino you’re playing at, you can earn comped meals, tickets to events, and even airfare and hotel stays. This is calculated into the payout for the machine, so by not taking advantage of it you’re denying yourself a portion of your winnings. This is obviously only available offline and not online.

Understand Slots Etiquette

A lot of times a player will stake out the slot machines immediately to the right and to the left of the machine they’re playing. So if you want to play on one of those machines, be courteous and ask the player if they’re playing on that machine first.

Keep In Mind What It’s Going to Cost You to Play Each Hour

Calculating your expected loss per hour at any type of gambling game is a simple formula. You simply multiply the number of wagers per hour times the wager amount times the house advantage.

On typical slot machine games, these numbers break down similar to this:

Denomination Wagers/Hour Amount Wagered/Hour Amount Lost/Hour with an 80% Payout Machine Amount Lost/Hour with a 98% Payout Machine
$0.01 600 $6.00 $1.20 $0.12
$0.05 600 $30.00 $6.00 $0.60
$0.10 600 $60.00 $12.00 $1.20
$0.25 600 $150.00 $30.00 $3.00
$1.00 600 $600.00 $120.00 $12.00

Keep one other thing in mind too. The higher the denomination, the higher the payout percentage. The reverse is also true: the lower the denomination, the lower the payout percentage.

Something else to keep in mind is the value of comp drinks. If you love premium beers like Heineken or Corona, or expensive liquor, you can drink them for the cost of a $1 or $2 tip to the waitress, and a minor hourly loss on the slot machines. This can, in fact, make your hourly expectation positive if you’re drinking enough.

A Final Note About Slots and Slot Machines

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with playing the slot machines if you’re smart about it. Don’t expect to win, and understand how much it’s going to cost you to lose. Most importantly, enjoy the comps and join the slot club. Slot machines are fun, plain and simple, so don’t feel any more guilty about playing the slots than you do about occasionally indulging in some junk food.