Slots Strategy

Slots Strategy

22 May 2006 | 14:55

The online world is full of slot machines. It would be impossible to describe them all, or even name them. Nevertheless, there are a number of general tips and ideas on how to maximize the chance of winning.

We’ll go through the most important slots strategy concepts here.

Survivors Stick to Their Budget

Pick a slot machine that suits your bankroll. The higher bets you make in comparison to your budget, the sooner it will be time to call it a day. If you have $100 to spend on your gambling session, obviously you need to play much lower than if you had, say, $2,000.

The good thing with online slots though is that the betting range on the virtual machines is always very wide. You can bet anything from a few cents per line up to maybe $100.

So even with a small budget you’re able to get a lot of playing time.

You should also decide on how much you’re willing to lose before you start playing. This isn’t that hard. The tricky part is sticking to that budget, which is something you need to do if you want to enjoy playing slots online.

For more tips on this, read our article on slots bankroll management.

Betting the Maximum

When it comes to betting in slots there are two choices you have to make:

  • How much each coin should be worth

  • How many coins you should bet

Betting one coin worth $1 may sound like the same thing as betting four coins worth $0.25. But the truth is that the latter option often gives you a better chance to take down a big win.

Why is it like this?

Usually a slot machine offers the same payout for one, two and three coins. Your win is just multiplied by x1, x2 and x3.

When you bet max, however, your winnings are often multiplied by a higher number than the amount of coins wagered. And often the big jackpots, both progressive and regular, are only triggered when you’ve spun the reels for the full amount.

On the whole, you play with slightly better odds if you bet max coins.

Read the information on the front of the machine and make sure you understand the payout schedule – this is part one of your slots strategy.

More Paylines, More Coins

To fully take advantage of the possibilities in slots you have to understand the concept of paylines. This is an important part of both live and online slots strategy.

Some machines can have as much as 25 pay lines and to be eligible for the max payout you usually have to bet max on all of them.

If you play max coins on one pay line out of 5, you will not win the largest payouts or the progressive jackpot. In order to hit the biggest payouts possible, you must play not only max coins but also max pay lines.

Obviously, this will cost a lot more, so you need to adjust the coin nomination even further downwards. Rather than playing single coins on a $1 machine, you would play, for instance, four coins and 5 lines on a 5 cents machine.  

This will maximize your expected value and it’s enjoying to fill the entire screen with paylines going in every possible direction.

Ignore "Hot" and "Cold"

A common slots strategy is to wait for a machine that hasn’t paid out in a while and then go in and bet the full amount. It should pay out soon. That’s just logic.

If you believe in this, think again.

Other than the stated payback of the machine, there is no reason a machine should be more "hot" or "cold" than any other.

A machine that has just paid out has the same percentage chance of paying out on the next spin as it always did. A machine that has gone many spins without a payoff is no more "due" on the next spin than any other machine with the same payback setting.

Know the Odds in Slots

All casino games incorporate odds. The odds at which a player wins are shorter than the true odds of the win happening. The difference between these odds is the house edge.

Slot machines are no different, except that rather than the intrinsic nature of the game, slot machines pay out according to the House edge.

Understanding Slot Odds

In a game like blackjack, for example, a player can reduce the house edge to around one percent with correct basic strategy. In other words, a player can expect to lose fifty cents on average for every $100 wagered.

In slots, there is no human component, which makes the game a little different.

Programmed machines pay a certain percentage of each dollar wagered. For example, a 90 percent payback machine will pay out 90 cents for every dollar it took in. This would represent a House edge of 10 percent, since the slot machine is collecting 10 cents out of every dollar on average.

This does not mean you will immediately get back 90 cents if you put a dollar in a slot machine.

Over time, the machine will end up keeping 10 cents on the dollar.

Look for High-Payback Games

Knowing this, it should be clear that you want to look for slot machines with the highest payback possible. Most good slots offer payback of over 90 percent.

Tighter machines offer less generous payback.

You can do research online to find out where the loosest slots, both at online casinos and live casinos, can be found. The better the listed payback – the better your chance to win.

So make sure you know your slots odds and then pick the best slot machine. Whether playing online or in a live casino, this is the winning slots strategy.

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