What are the best tips for casino slot machines?

Slot machines are by far the biggest earner for casinos (both online and off) because their revenues are just so much more predictable compared to other games of chance, such as blackjack, baccarat, and roulette, for example. The house edge on those games is relatively low, and it’s possible to be down one day and up the next depending on who is betting and how much they are staking, whereas slot machines are guaranteed to make money for the casino. That’s because the algorithms that control slot machines have been specifically calculated to provide an average amount of profit and all the casino needs to do is ensure that enough players are playing on a regular basis and they will definitely make more money than they payout. In terms of how a slot machine pays out, there are two important factors at play. These are the volatility and the RTP.

Volatility doesn’t really affect the bottom line. It just dictates the frequency and size of the payouts over time. High volatility machines payout very infrequently but give sizable wins every so often, whereas low volatility machines payout quite frequently but only in relatively small amounts. More important for casino earnings is the RTP. This means return to player – and is given as a percentage below 100. Let’s say a slot has an RTP of 95%. That means that the machine will, on average, payout 95¢ for every $1 wagered, or $95 for every $100 wagered, etc. Some will win more than that average but many more will lose a lot more to make up for that and maintain the casino’s profits. So, you can easily see how a casino will never lose out on a slot machine, so long as it is being played regularly and not using electricity pointlessly.

The key point here is that no slot machine ever gives an RTP larger than 100% – if that was the case, the slot machine would be paying more, again on average, compared to how much money it was receiving in the form of bets. Interestingly, multi-million-dollar jackpot slots have much lower RTPs than other slots. This is typically in the 70% to 80% range despite occasionally paying out huge sums of money. That’s because the progressive jackpot (as it’s known) is built up by taking a few cents on every dollar being wagered over weeks and months, so in reality, the jackpot is paid for by all of the losing players that have come before. And it’s not just on one machine usually, but thousands of networked machines tied to the same jackpot. Plus, as the RTP is so low (comparatively speaking), the casino is making more from jackpot slots.

Best tips for casino slot machines

First of all, understand one thing. If the casino wants you to win, you will win. If not – kill yourself, you will not win. In order for you to “win”, you must visit the casino at the correct time of the day, day of the week, etc.

I once joked with the GM of a casino and asked him “Hey I just want to know if you guys are following the technology or not. The switch that loosens or tightens the payouts, is it digital, or is an old dimmer switch?”

We laughed. But that’s exactly what it is. Imagine a dimmer switch. The casino management decides to “loosen” or “tighten” the payouts depending on their daily or weekly goals. Like those sales goals at your job? it’s the same in casinos. This is why the upper management of the casino is not allowed to “play” at their own casino. Because they know what and when is possible to pay.

If you visit the same casino often, like on a daily basis, you will notice a pattern. You will notice that around a certain time of the day suddenly all machines start hitting jackpots and then an hour later everything quiets down and for several more hours nobody is winning anything. Everybody is loosing.

That’s one. The second is:

Learn the difference between machines, their payouts, and Bet Max.

Never play anything but a max bet on any slot machine. Do not sit on a machine and bet 80 cents while the max bet is $4. Just put whatever money you are willing to gamble, and hit max bet. all the time. If the machine is going to pay, it will pay no matter what you are betting. If it’s going to take, again, it will take all no matter what you are betting. 80 cents or $4 a spin. Play machines that you are comfortable betting the max bet only. Don’t sit on a $25 max bet machine and play a $3 minimum bet. Find a machine that is the same game but has a $3 max bet instead. Most machines have higher payouts on max bets than on minimum bets.

One of the most played games today is the Buffalos. There are many variations of Buffalo games. Most of the time when you walk into a casino you will see 4 or 5 identical machines right next to each other. While they might look identical, they might not be. Be careful. Look closer because those machines are different. On the outside, they all look the same. But 3 out of 5 machines are Buffalo Special Edition, the rest are the old ones. Special editions pay better.

Buffalo Gold vs Buffalo Stampede is another example. People think it’s the same game. No, it’s not. Payouts on Buffalo Stampede suck compared to Buffalo Golds.

Lightning Link machines or Locking Link machines – SUCK. their payouts are ridiculously low. Most of the time you will be winning 20 to 40 times of your bet. Lucky you if you ever win 300 or 400 times of your bet.

That’s two. The Third is:

Multi-Line Machines. Know how many lines you are playing. Quick Hit Platinum for example. Some machines are 30 lines, some are 5 and some are 3 lines. While it looks exactly the same, the payouts are not the same. The highest payouts are on 3 lines quick hit platinum. My favorite machine. These usually are a $1 or $5 machines with $15 or $45 max bets.

Be careful when selecting how many lines to play. The machines have different payouts at a different number of lines. Read the payout screen at each different level of the lines that you have selected. Example: You selected 40 lines. Now open the pay screen and look at the highest symbols and see what will they pay if you get 5 of a kind, 4 of a kind, 3 of a kind. Now change to 20 lines and compare. You will be surprised to learn that many machines pay pathetic payouts if you do not play max lines at max bets. Don’t waste your money on lower bets or fewer lines at these machines… move on.

That’s three. The fourth is:

Do Not Get Excited when you see others winning. We always notice winners, we nearly never notice losers. Next time you are in casino look for losers instead of winners. See how many people are losing their asses off Think if you want to be one of them. You might notice a loser or two and those are the ones hitting and spitting on those machines. Yeah, the loud losers.

Leave all your credit cards and bank accounts home before going to a casino. Take only enough cash that you are willing to gamble, get food, and drive home. Never take more money than you can lose because YOU WILL LOSE.

And the fifth is:

Do not gamble unless it’s once or twice a year and it’s for fun with friends. Never gamble more than one day of your salary in one day. Do not ever deny that you are an addict when you really are. If you are gambling once a week or more – YOU ARE AN ADDICT and you will lose your life savings, house, business, wife, and kids.

SEEK HELP Immediately.

How do casinos make money on slot machines?

Software.

Every slot machine has what is called a cycle.
A cycle is programmed to — over an extended period of time — to take in $x amount in bets (coin-in) and pay out $y amount in wins.
The cycle has what is called a hold. A hold is a programmed percentage of coin-in that will be retained by the casino.
Note that the lifespan of the cycle (amount of time/amount bet) is always completely random.
Typical holds

Usually 8–11%, depending on the casino.
2.5–4% for video poker and video keno.
Progressives — such as wheel of fortune and megabucks — have really poor odds (20% or more). They’re owned by a 3rd party company, and all linked together (from every casino that has one). The 3rd party gives the casino a share of the hold, but they retain the revenue and pay out the jackpot. If you’re ever lucky enough to win a progressive jackpot, you’ll be waiting like 8 hours for people from the 3rd party to fly in from their HQ to verify it.
Hypothetical scenario

A player bets $1 — there are quite a few possible outcomes:

A losing spin.
Pays 1:1 (get your money back).
Pays 5:1 (5x bet, or $5 on a $1 spin).
Pays 50:1 ($50 on a $1 spin)
Etc
Jackpot
Each outcome has a certain weight/probability (hypothetical example below).

30% chance of a losing spin
30% chance of 1:1
30% chance of 2:1
20% chance of 5:1
1% chance of jackpot
No matter what, when the slot machine completes a cycle, the casino will have generated revenue equivalent to the hold.

This is called theoretical win.
Theoretical win = coin-in * hold
Conclusion

You could lose 100 bets in a row or win a jackpot on your first bet, but if you place several thousands of bets on slots over the course of a year, then your win/loss statement will be impressively accurate with regards to the machine’s hold — whether you hit a jackpot or not.

Best approach to a great experience

Walk in with an amount of money that you’re prepared to lose (think of it like buying a movie or concert ticket).
Expect to lose that money.
Hope that it will last for a few hours of entertainment.
If you’re bored, cash out and leave.
If you lose your money, leave.
If you win a jackpot, cash out and leave.
The casino hosts would probably give you a comp to the restaurant/hotel/other amenities to get you to stay and keep playing.
The casino will probably send you a letter with a free slot play offer within the next couple days.
Rewards

Casinos reinvest about 10–20% of your theoretical win to marketing, for example:

5% points – redeemable for cash, free slot play, amenities, etc.
Points are a casino liability and must be honored.
If you don’t visit the casino for 1–2 years, the casino will arrive your account and wipe your points+comps balance.
5% comps – you have to ask the players club, host, or slot attendant. I would suggest requesting them every month or so, otherwise the employees are directed by the casino to consider them expired.
Not a casino liability, somehow.
Cannot be redeemed for cash or free play.
10% direct mail – free play, free rooms, free meals, promotions (example would be scratch-off tickets or events).
Pay attention to the dates because the casino can not honor expired coupons. Everything is thoroughly audited and will raise eyebrows. If you’re a high-end player, they’ll probably honor them.
Note that the definition of a high end player is somebody that has a consistently high theoretical win. This is perceived differently at each casino, but a smaller casino would probably hook you up if your average theoretical win is $100.
Also note that your theoretical is always averaged. If your theoretical win is $300 one day and then you visit 3 more times that month with a theoretical win of $2, then you’ll be perceived as a $76/trip player.

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