How Online Slots Work
While there is no method or tactic on how to win on a slot machine (despite what some people try to tell you, or sell you), there are some best practices and solid strategies for maximizing your enjoyment, making informed and controlled decisions, and increasing your chances of profiting when playing the slots.
The first thing to understand when thinking about slot strategy is understanding the mechanisms of slot machines, and how they actually work.
All slot machines are computerized and programmed with RNGs (random number generators) and pre-determined payout percentages. For example, when a slot is programmed to pay out a big prize about once every 10,000 pulls, your chances of hitting that given combination of symbols are one in 10,000 on any given spin.
Those odds are long-term averages and the same slot machine could theoretically go 10,000 spins without a win and then pay out twice in a row.
Yet there is no denying that the popularity of slot machines is enormous and accounts for the largest percentage of casino revenues.
Payout percentages of slot machines can vary from 80% to 98%, with an average payout of about 93%. There are various websites and industry publications that post the payout percentages of the slot machines online and at different casinos.
The strategy here is to do your research and choose a slot machine with the highest payout percentage so that your odds of winning are higher. Don’t forget that these percentages are based on long-term averages over thousands and thousands of spins. Pay attention to the small print: If terms like “selected machines” or “up to 98%” are used, this means that only some of the slot machines pay the best payout rate.
Generally the slot machines with the bigger jackpots pay out a smaller percentage of the time. The least favorable pay out percentages are found on progressive jackpot slot machines. A good strategy is to play a slot machine with good pay outs below the top prize.
Smaller jackpots hit more frequently. The denomination of the slot machine also matters: $1, $2, and $5 games will pay out a higher percentage of the time when compared to the penny or nickel slots. The strategy here is to play the highest denomination your bankroll allows.
Although you can’t determine the outcome of a spin, you can control your bankroll.
- Proper bankroll management is essential for long-term success and for getting the maximum enjoyment out of your playing session. You ultimately do not have control over the slot machine’s payout for any given spin but you have 100% control over how much money you spend when you play.
- Before you play, know how much money you are willing to lose and set a “stop loss” which means you will stop playing when you have lost that amount of money.
- Those random number generators guarantee that there is no real “hot” or “cold” streak, even if it feels like that to you.
- Trying to win back your losses is always a long-term losing strategy. Many players use a strategy of stopping their session when they have doubled their money or pocketing their initial investment plus a certain percentage of the win after hitting a big payout to guarantee a profitable session.
In a nutshell, three areas you should focus on are: a slot’s payout percentage, the limit of their bankroll, and if they can make the maximum bet on each turn.
Slots players can put more power in their bankroll by taking advantages of bonuses and slots promotions, earning player points, and becoming a member of the casino’s VIP club.
Take Advantage of Bonuses and VIP Clubs
Slots players can put more power in their bankroll by taking advantage of bonuses and slots promotions, earning player points, and becoming a member of the casino’s VIP club.
Casinos have different types of programs to win your loyalty and encourage you to refer friends to the casino. Player member cards track how many coins you play or your rate of play and add comp points to your account that can be traded in for cash or prizes.
Online casinos usually provide welcome bonuses for new players making their first deposit and for existing players depositing again. The strategy here is to compare the bonuses and club benefits offered and choose the casino that offers the best benefits for you. Join the VIP program when you first visit a casino and always use your club card in your slot machine before you spin to get credit for every coin you use.
To learn more about deposit methods, check out our guide page.
Place Maximum Bets
There’s a variety of slot types out there, and so many different themes, paylines, and features to pick from.
Read about your chosen slot game to determine if the machine you’ve picked pays out exponentially with maximum bets (using the most number of coins allowed per spin).
When playing on one of the types of slot machines that pays out the most (or sometimes will only pay out the big prizes) when you place the maximum allowed bet on your spin, the strategy is to pick one that you can play within your budget while playing maximum coins. A $1 machine may require $3 a spin but a penny machine only needs $.03 per spin.
Multiplier slot machines give payouts based on the number of coins played.
For example, hitting with three coins pays out three times the amount that hitting with one coin would pay. Sometimes the payout will jump exponentially when the maximum number of coins is played.
Buy-a-play slot machines will only activate certain payouts (for example the bars or the sevens) if multiple coins are played.
For these machines, the higher payout lines will only pay you if you’ve played the maximum number of coins and if you hit the high payout line but haven’t bet the maximum coins, you get nothing.
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