5 Things to Do BEFORE You Play the Slot Machines

If you are a casual gambler who doesn’t gamble very often, then you probably don’t put a lot of thought into playing the slots. You may visit a land-based casino a couple of times a year, or play online every once in a while. However, if you play slots regularly there should be some type of method to your play. Here are five steps you should take BEFORE you begin playing to help improve your odds of success.

1. Scout the Casinos:

  • There is fierce competition among casinos especially online. Online gaming is a billion dollar industry and people across the globe open new casinos every day. This is a good thing for gamblers because competition brings better playing opportunities.
  • There is good news and bad news about being a slot player. The good news is every casino wants your business. This provides for some great opportunities to receive outstanding bonuses and ideal playing environments. The bad news is they want your business because the “house edge” (casino advantage) is usually greater on slot machines. That being said the fierce competition has forced many casinos to increase the pay back percentages on their slot machines.
  • Find the casinos that offer the best bonuses/ “comps,” and the best payback on their slot machines. When you are looking at the bonuses be sure to read the “fine print.”
  • Here is a post I wrote on all the differenttypes of casino bonuses.

2. Establish a gambling bankroll:

  • When most people go to the casino, they scrounge around and bring whatever money they can come up with. Again, this is fine if you only gamble once in a while, but if you are a frequent visitor to the casino you should really have a separate bankroll that is solely for gambling.
  • Ideally, you should have a bankroll for the long-term. Meaning you should have a bankroll of “extra” money that is put aside for gambling and when that is gone you do not gamble until you are able to establish another bankroll.
  • At the very least you should have a bankroll for each gaming experience or trip to the casino. Decide exactly how much you are willing to spend and set it aside for gambling purposes.

3. Determine your gambling sessions:

  • This will vary based on your situation. If you are traveling to a casino for the weekend you will have multiple gambling sessions. If you are sitting at home on a Saturday night and decide to play online then you may only play one session.
  • Regardless of the situation, your length of play for each individual session is the important factor. Don’t ever play for longer than two hours straight. The reasons are simple. After two hours of straight play you are no longer able to make sound judgments and maintain concentration. Limit your sessions to two hours with at least a half an hour break in-between each session.

4. Select the proper denomination of play:

  • Once you have established your bankroll you must determine the denomination of the machines you will play based on your bankroll. If you only have $100 to play with then the $1 denomination slots are out of the question.
  • Never play above your bankroll because when you run out of money quickly you will soon be at the ATM taking out more money. Select the denomination that is appropriate for your bankroll and stick to it. If you get lucky and win, do not go to a higher denomination. Simply put those winnings aside and continue to play on your original bankroll. This leads us into tip #5.

5. Maximize your wins and Minimize your losses:

  • Technically, this tip is used while you are playing, but the plan needs to be put in place before you play or else you will never adhere to it.
  • I’ve already talked about determining a bankroll, but there is another aspect of money management that is important for slot players. It is cashing-out when you are winning. There will be times when you win, but those wins do not mean anything unless you can actually put the money in your pocket. If you hit a jackpot and soon give it all back to the casino the win is meaningless. Cash-out and play on your original bankroll. If you lose that money, STOP PLAYING. Take the money you’ve won and put it in the bank.

These are five important tips for frequent slot machine players to help increase your success. The bottom line is put some thought into what you are doing. Educate yourself and use discipline and your trip to the casino will be much more enjoyable.

Is winning less than the amount wagered really a win?

Over the past few years a technique used by slot machine manufactures to induce a positive response in players is manipulating win frequency. They are able to increase the frequency of wins by awarding a sum less than the amount bet. If you are a newer player this may not seem like a unique situation, but this is a fairly recent change to how slot machines pay out.

A win on a slot machine used to be just that, a win. That means players would receive more than their initial bet. At the very least they would receive an equal amount to their wager. Today things are different. Why is that?

Slot manufactures and programmers found that most players respond favorably to any type of win, regardless of the amount. The positive reinforcement of winning sounds and graphics makes a player believe they are doing well and eager to continue playing.

The long “dry spells” of past machines would turn some players off and they would become bored of playing. Slot makers found a solution to this problem, but what are the ramifications for players?

When a player is in the midst of the game it’s quite easy to get caught up believing that partial wins are actually wins. You hear slot players often comment, “Well at least I got to play for a while.” This fits perfectly into this mentality. Some players may realize they aren’t winning overall, but they feel it’s OK because at least they are winning some money.

There is a post that goes into greater detail on win frequency and volatility.

Penny Slots:

The advent of “penny” slots is another innovation that has manipulated the mindset of some players.  Penny slots have become the most popular slot machines and there are several reasons for this.

Manufacturers will tell you they are catering to a segment of the population that desires penny slots, and that is true there is a large group of people who want to play penny slots. What isn’t discussed are the benefits to their bottom line.

They realized that there were people that would not play slots because of the fear of losing money. Penny slots help to overcome this fear because, “It’s only a penny!” It’s almost as if they aren’t playing for any money at all.

There are a few problems with this line of thinking. First of all, penny slots are multi-line machines allowing players to bet hundreds of pennies at a time. We know that hundreds of pennies is equal to dollars. Even if a player begins by only betting one cent most soon become bored with this and slowly increase their bets. The manufactures and casinos know this. What began as a one penny bet soon turns into 10 cents then 50 cents and soon into dollars.

The other problem is the pay back on penny machines. They are usually some of the worst machines in the casino. The payback percentages are usually below 90% which means the casino is getting at least 10 cents of every dollar that is bet on these machines. That is a high percentage especially when you start to bet much more than one penny at a time.

The bottom line for slot players is to understand what is occurring. When you play a machine with a higher win frequency realize that most of the wins are not really wins at all. You are actually losing money even though you received a winning combination. Also, if you are playing penny slots realize that the pay back percentage is low. Therefore, if you are betting fifty pennies you are better off playing one credit on a fifty cent denomination machine because that machine will probably have a higher pay back percentage.

Slot machines are hard enough to win on, so don’t make it harder by not understanding how they operate. Learn the facts and it will go a long way in helping you have a more enjoyable experience because let’s face it everybody enjoys winning when it comes to slots.