Reeling in the Dough: GP's Top 10 Slot Machine Secrets


Playing Slot machines might not seem to call for a great deal of strategy. In fact, to the inexperienced eye all slot machines look much the same. However, there are some slot-machine secrets that can help you pick out "winning" machines from the money pits. Better still, we here at Gambling Planet have been kind enough to list all 10 of these tips below!

GP's Top 10 Slot Machine Secrets

Secret No. 10 - Max out every bet: One key to beating slots is betting the maximum number of credits possible. Assuming your bankroll allows for it, this is absolutely essential because, often enough, machines only pay out their large, advertised jackpots if you make the maximum bet.

Secret No. 9 - The higher the credit value, the higher the payout rate: In the case of most Las Vegas casinos, a major slot machine secret is the fact that higher-denomination machines pay out at a higher rate than the lower-denomination machines. According to the "2009 American Casino Guide," 25-cent slots in Las Vegas Strip casinos pay out at a rate of 88.34 percent, whereas $25 slots pay out at a whopping 96.47 percent!

Secret No. 8 - The higher the jackpot, the lower the hit rate: So, you really want to hit that Megabucks jackpot, huh? Well the problem is that big, cumulative jackpots pay out one big pot and a handful of smaller wins. “Normal” machines, on the other hand, pay out twice as much twice as often. Remember: Big jackpots have to come from somewhere, meaning that progressive machines usually rip off a lot of people just to give one lucky punk the payday of a lifetime.

Secret No. 7 - A slot machine is never “due” to win: If you keep pumping money into a slot machine that could double as a refrigerator, you might as well be dumping your money down a sewer grate. Leave the machine, leave the slot bank and leave the casino. Go to dinner or lunch or breakfast, then come back and try a different machine. A machine's payout percentage does not change unless a member of the casinos staff changes it. And a machine that doesn't pay out in your first 1,000 spins isn't any more likely to payout in your next 1,000 spins. Meanwhile, slots (like any other kind of gambling or skill game) can get you on tilt - and if that happens you'll simply end up blowing your wad on a chasing your losses.

Secret No. 6 - Only play slots that win often: Casinos selectively set a few machines on each floor to a high win rates in order to drum up business. These are the slots that are likely to win consistently and, eventually, make you something of a profit. Your best bet, then, is to cruise a casino's gaming floor and find one of these bad boys. Usually, someone will already be camped out, but if you wait long enough, they'll either have to leave or die of sleep exhaustion.

Secret No. 5 - Join comps clubs and play at casinos with the best freebees: Even the best slot machines will never pay out at higher than a 99 percent win rate. The only way to make a profit, then, is to join comps clubs that reward members based on the total amount of action they produce. What this basically means is that for every $1,000 worth of play you cycle through a machine, for instance, you get free nights in the casino's hotel (a couple hundred bucks' value) free meals at its restaurants (at least $20 per plate), free live-show tickets (hundreds again, depending on the show), etc., etc., etc. This doesn't mean that you have to lose $1,000 but that you simply play a machine enough that it registers this amount on your comps account. On a machine that offers a 96 percent payout rate, putting $1,000 worth of credits in will only lose you about $40 per hour, while earning you about $500 in freebees. That, in case you can't do math, is called a "profit."

Secret No. 4 - Whatever happens, stay in Vegas: The Las Vegas versus Atlantic City debate is non-existent for slots. New Jersey law dictates that all slot machines in the state must have a payout percentage rate of at least 83 percent, and consequently, all A.C. slots are set at 83 percent. In Vegas, on the other hand, there is no minimum payout rate. The crummy, non-paying machines can be set at a 1 percent rate, which more than makes up for the few big payers Vegas casinos use to lure in players with constant winnings. The pay rates for this second, rarer type of slot can go as high as 99 percent (that's a loss of $10 for every $1,000 you play), and they are the only machines that, when played in conjunction with comps accounts, can put you in the black. Your plan should therefore be to ship off to Vegas, chill out and suck down drinks while you find a paying machine, then sit down and win a free trip. After that, give someone else a chance and go play blackjack for some spending money or, if you're feeling really froggy, go see if you can't clock a biased roulette wheel. (This, at least, would be what a professional gambler would do).

Secret No. 3 - Don't play the machines surrounding winners: People do a lot of stupid, illogical things, and one of them is playing in pairs. What normally happens is that a couple or two friends will sit together and play side-by-side slots. Casinos know this and set banks of machines up so that if a wife sits down at a good machine, her husband will sit down next to her at one that is so bad the house will still end up ripping them off. Slots play is a solitary pursuit, and let's face it, if you're traveling with people, you probably see enough of them that some alone time could do you good. Split up so you can all find good machines and multiply your profits, rather than going broke holding hands.

Secret No. 2 - Look for machines in high-traffic spots: Remember those big payers we mentioned above? Yeah, see most casinos set their floors up so these machines are in high-traffic areas like the front entrance or near the buffet line. One big slot machine secret is that there are no "secret" slot machines. There's no need to go "treasure hunting" for a good slot machine. In most cases, the casino wants their best machines where newcomers can see other players winning. This is not rocket science, people. It's fricken first-grade arithmatic.

Secret No. 1 - Don't play most online slots: Yes, this might sound odd for us to say, but we are out for our readers' best interest. And, anyhow, most online casinos do offer enough other games you can win consistently (like multi-hand blackjack) that this secret shouldn't discourage you from visiting them. At any rate, the problem with playing online slots is that many online casinos don't have to abide by government-enforced payout rates. What's more, online houses don't need to set some games at higher rates just to get more players - and you can't seriously think that just because an online casino says it's recently paid out a jackpot that it actually has.

The exception to this rule, of course, is that legal online houses like those reviewed and advertised on our site are subject to government oversight and must list the payout rates for each of their games. If you're smart enough to look this up, you can usually find a machine that pays out regularly and can continue playing the game with very little risk until you hit pay dirt.

- Gerald Hanks
with Phill Provance
[email protected]