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HOME > Gaming > The do's and don'ts of slot machines

The do's and don'ts of slot machines

20 May 2014

By Frank Scoblete

DO select slots that have the highest return. How can you figure those out? Simple rules of thumb will help. Almost all inter-casino progressive slot machines such as Megabucks have the highest house edges, upwards of 17 percent which means an expectation of losing $17 for every $100 you wager. Next come intra-casino progressives that will often skimp in order to build up the jackpots. Machines that are standalone tend to have the better return percentages, the highest in their denominations. Again, these are rules of thumb, but they are worth following.

DON’T think that you save money by playing mega-multi-line machines for a penny or five cents or ten cents. Often you are putting a dollar or more (sometimes far, far more) into these machines but the payback percentages are relatively low -- as low as they are for normal penny, nickel and dime machines. In short, you might be better off playing a 25-cent machine where the return percentages are higher.

DO give yourself a set amount of money to play with during a session. This will be your session stake. Should you lose that amount, you stop playing and wait for a while -- perhaps a long while -- before starting your next session. Money management is a key ingredient in saving your bankroll, although money management is not sufficient to give you an edge.

DON’T speed up your play as time passes. The tendency for many slots players is to start off playing at a reasonable pace and then start playing at a furious speed after awhile. I compare this to drinking. You sip the first drink; maybe sip the second slightly faster -- by the 10th drink you are slobbering, drooling, slurring your words and embarrassing everyone you know as you chug your drinks in single gulps! “Look at me momma. I’m at the top of the world!” as you slide down the side of the bar onto the floor. So, keep a reasonable pace throughout your play. That will save you a lot of money and a next-morning headache of the non-alcohol variety. “I lost how much?”

DO pause and take breaks. The casino wins its money over time and the more time you play the more likely you’ll be behind. Every 10 minutes (more or less) take a little break, stand up and stretch. No one will jump in and steal your machine. Time is not on your side when it comes to casino games and especially with slot machines, because the house edge is high and the speed of most players is quite fast. The less time for you on the machine, the better for your wallet or purse.

DON’T believe the traditional ideas of where “loose” machines are located. These ideas may have been true 20 or more years ago but they are not so now. Players have been trained to play the slots and part of that training to coming to expect long stretches of losses.

DO remember that the “hit frequencies” of slot machines are between 9 and 23 percent (give or take) which means that between 9 and 23 percent of the spins will have hits (not necessarily wins) but that leaves between 91 and 77 percent of the decisions as losses. Slot players, unlike table game players, are used to streaks of losses that are fairly long. But then again a hit or two for decent money can bring the slot player most of or all of the way back.

DON’T believe that machines that have been cold must get hot to even everything out. Also don’t believe that machines that have been hot will remain hot. In a random game, you really can’t predict what will happen. The math tells us that there are more losing streaks than winning streaks but it doesn’t tell us what will come up next or after that or after that.

DO believe that slot players are the most important players for the casinos. Table game players are of secondary importance. Between 66 and 91 percent of a casino’s revenue is due to slot machines.

DON’T believe that someone can steal your jackpot if they take a machine you have just left and hit it big. Because of the random number generator what they hit would not have been what you would have hit. So go to the buffet and enjoy yourself!

This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at fscobe@optonline.net.

Frank Scoblete
Frank  Scoblete
Frank Scoblete is the #1 best-selling gaming author in AmericaFrank Scoblete is the #1 best selling gaming author in America. His newest books include Slots Conquest: How to Beat the Slot Machines; Everything Casino Poker: Get the Edge at Video Poker, Texas Hold'em, Omaha Hi-Lo and Pai Gow Poker!; Beat Blackjack Now: The Easiest Way to Get the Edge; Casino Craps: Shoot to Win! and Cutting Edge Craps: Advanced Strategies for Serious Players.

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