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How to Win at Slots

The history of slot machines began in 1891 when Sittman and Pitt created a lever-operated poker game. Today slots are played in land and online casinos across the globe but as they are based on chance, many gamblers question how they can win at slots. Below we’ve covered slots in detail, from explaining how the machines work to tips that you should keep in mind when gambling on them.

How Do Slot Machines Work

Slot machines have been a popular part of gambling culture since the beginning of the 20th century. They work by having a slot for players to insert money, spinning reels with symbols on, and a button/lever that players pull to get the betting action underway.

Players win at slots when the reels stop and reveal the symbols in one of the predefined winning combinations. Although they depend on the slot machine you use, winning combinations typically follow the same principle – match a line of symbols to win.  

Each spin you make on a slot machine is driven by the random number generator (RNG) concept. RNG produces random results for each spin, so that players cannot predict the results before commencing their betting.

Slots Probability (How The House Gets Its Edge)

Like all casino games, slot machines have a house edge – the mathematical advantage that the land or online casino has over the gambler. The house gets its edge over gamblers by paying them a lower rate than the true odds of winning the wager they place. The result is that for every £1 gambled, the casino has a percentage returned to it over time – for example, if the house edge is 1.5% then the casino makes £0.15 from players in the long run.

Because slot machines are based on chance and driven by RNG, calculating the house edge for slots is very complex – although many online casinos will publish the house edge by releasing the return to player (RTP) rate for specific slot games. While some gamblers perceive slots to a poor investment of their money (due to the random nature of betting outcomes), they actually have one of the highest house edges of casino games – the range is from 2% to 10%.

Slot Examples And Explanations

While there are countless different slot machines (some casinos have thousands), games typically fall into two categories – random slots and progressive slots. Below we explain the difference between the slot variants.

Random Slots   

Random slots have a fixed jackpot, meaning that they are always worth the same irrespective of the number of times you win at them. These slots payout randomly, with the player's action holding no influence beyond pulling the lever or hitting the button when gambling.  

Progressive Slots

Progressive slots offer an increasing jackpot that builds up over time based on the number of gamblers playing at the slot machine. This means that progressive slots provide the potential for significantly higher winnings than random slots.

Overview Of Common Slot Tactics

Slot machines produce random results but that doesn’t mean gamblers don’t use tactics to try and increase their chances of winning. Below, we explain the most common slot machine tactics used in casinos.

Prime The Pump

Gamblers using this tactic believe that they need to load and warm up the slot machine to increase their chances of winning. They begin by betting small and gradually increase the size of their bets.

While this seems a sensible tactic, you must remember that slot machines are random and this means your odds of winning are the same at every stage of your betting.  

Select End Of The Row Slots

One of the most popular ideas in slot tactics is that playing the machine at the end of a row of machines increases your chances of winning. The concept behind the theory is simple – more people walk past the slot machines located at the end rows, so casinos will make them easier to win because they want other gamblers to see players winning.

At best, the ‘end of the row slots’ tactic is fanciful but at worst it’s plain foolish. Firstly, slot machines are random, so a casino’s control over the outcome is limited (at best). Secondly, are casinos likely to offer handouts? Probably not!

One Play

Few slot machine approaches are more straightforward than the one play tactic. It involves picking a slot machine and making the highest possible bet. If you win, then you bet again; if you lose, then you leave — only playing the machine once.

Like all tactics for winning at slot machines, the point to remember is that the results are random – if you win on your first go, you have just as much chance of losing the next time as you did during your first try, while the reverse is also true.

Choosing Slot Games That Fit Your Style

As winning at slot machines is based purely on random chance, your focus should be on picking a game that suits your style of gambling. You must consider whether you want to aim for higher jackpot games with a lower return, or for ones with smaller wins but a greater chance of claiming some money from your session. Below,  we look at two of the main games and the style of gambler they suit:

Three-Reel Games: Higher Jackpots But Lower Win Frequencies

Three-reel games have some of the highest jackpots of any slot games but the catch is that they have among the lowest win rates.

If you are a gambler that wants big and quick wins, then three-reel games may be ideal for you – just keep in mind that you could just as soon have a swift and heavy loss.

Video Slots: Lower Jackpots But Higher Win Frequencies

Video slots that feature bonuses allow you to claim gifts and small wins as you play. While video slots don’t pay out big, they do offer more regular wins than many other slot machine types.

For players hoping to win in the long run, video slots may be the ideal way for you to gamble – remember, though, that these games are random so you may just end up with incremental losses.

Playing The Slots Within Your Budget

Bankroll management is the most important part of gambling. It’s the thing that keeps your betting under control and makes sure it remains fun, rather than turning it into a drain on your life and your finances. Before you visit a land or online casino, decide on how much you are going to spend and then keep to your budget – win or lose.

There are schools of thought on how high you should set your bankroll. The general view is that giving yourself a budget of 250 bets will provide enough money to gamble for three hours.

There is a logic to thinking about your gambling bankroll in this way, as it means you can play for long enough to have a proper session – for example, in poker, it’s believed that you should ideally begin with 100 big blinds to give yourself the breathing space to enjoy your game. However, the deciding factor should be how much money you’re comfortable losing – never set your budget higher than you feel happier doing, even if it means you spend less time gambling.

Analysis About Slot Machine Payouts

Because there are millions of slot machine games across land and online casinos, analysing the payouts you can get is long and complicated. Most online casinos release the RTP for the slot games available to players, and we’ve covered the RTP of slot games more thoroughly in our reviews of online casinos. In short, do your research before you decide which casino you want to gamble at and you’ll be able to pick one with a payout you’re happy with.

Other Valuable Tips To Win At Slot Machines

We’ve provided a detailed overview of slot machines, throwing in tips for which games to select and how to look after your budget. Below, we’ve highlighted some of the other tactics that will help you win at slot machines:

Slot Machine Tip No. 1: Try Free Play Modes On Your Slot Machines

It gives you a chance to get used to the game before you spend any money.

Slot Machine Tip No. 2: Take Advantage Of The Bonus Offers

Online casinos often have free spins for signing up, giving you a chance to try before you buy.

Slot Machine Tip No. 3: Pick All Paylines For Better Win Odds

Paylines are the number of line outcomes that will pay out to gamblers. Pick a slot game with a higher number of paylines and you’ll have better odds of winning.


Can You Win Playing Slot Machines?

Slot machines are based on chance, meaning that there is no tactic that can come close to guaranteeing that you win in the long run. What you can do to give yourself the best chance of winning at slot machines is review the available games and select the one(s) with the highest RTP.

What Is The Easiest Game To Win When Gambling At A Casino?

There are many different games that you can play at a land or online casino. How easy they are to win depends largely on two things:

  1. How well you understand the game

  2. The house edge of the game

Blackjack has the lowest house edge, so if you know this game well it could be the easiest game to win when gambling at a casino.

What Is The Best Way Of Winning Money When Gambling At A Casino?

Casino games vary between how much of an edge the house has. On the other hand, gamblers vary on skill level, how they’re feeling on the day, their experience, and a range of other factors.

There is no best way of winning money when gambling at a casino. However, there is a way to gamble smart at a casino — set a budget and keep to it, while remembering to focus on having fun rather than being results-driven.

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