Slot Machine Strategies
By now, you might be wondering if I have anything positive to say about slot machine strategies. To this point, I've more or less said that slots strategies are a waste of time. So I thought I would detail ways to help a gambler win a little more often at slots.
A player wanting to maximize one's payouts should have a rudimentary knowledge of how payouts work. A payout percentage is what percentage of the money you put into a slot machine will, on average, be payed back to you. If a slot machine has a payout percentage of 93%, that means that you can expect to get back $93 out of every $100 you put into the machine.
That's an average, so some people might hit a big jackpot and get hundreds or thousands of dollars more than they put into the machine, while many other people will lose 50% of the money the placed in the same slot machine. We're talking about a theoretical percentage over a large number of spins, so the deviation from the average can be quiet large in the short term.
Typically, a payout percentage will be between 83% and 99%, though you won't find too many slot machines paying out much more than 96%. Casinos are stipulated by law to pay a certain percentage out, usually somewhere around 80% in most states. Casino slots tend to pay out somewhere in the 90 percentiles, because they are in competition with other casinos. If they have low payouts, smart players learn that and play in the more competitive gambling house.
That's why people tend to warn gamblers to stay away from Native American casinos. It's not that Indian casinos are dishonest. It's that they usually have very little competition in the regions surrounding them. Local gamblers who want to gamble in a live casino either play in the Indian casino or no place at all. So the small-time, local casinos tend to have lower payouts than Las Vegas casinos, where the competition is fierce.
Progressives and Flat-Tops
A flat-top slot machine is a slot machine without a progressive jackpot. Typically, these slots have a higher hit frequency than progressives, but they don't pay out as much on the hits. If a player wants a chance at a big jackpot, they play the progressive. If a gambler wants to win on more spins, a flat top slots game is probably a better option.
Progressive jackpots are those prizes that increase every time a player doesn't hit the jackpot. Imagine the jackpot is at 50,000. If you don't hit the jackpot, the progressive rises by a small percentage. These days, progressives are often networked with dozens of other progressive slot machines, meaning the jackpot rises every time a machine throughout the network is played and the progressive jackpot is not hit.
Still, scouring the casino floor for a high progressive jackpot is the only time that slot machine strategy actually comes into play. Of course, when a progressive jackpot reaches that magical level...
Advantage Play Strategies
One concept with the progressive jackpot is advantage play. If a progressive jackpot reaches a certain level, beyond the break-even point, then playing on that machine becomes a positive expectation game. This is called advantage play. That is, the payout percentage rises above 100% and a player can expect to win more money then losing, if that player wins the jackpot.
One problem with advantage play is, in a networked progressive, the player isn't assured of winning the jackpot, so even if he or she sat there until the jackpot was won. A second problem is, there is no assurance that a jackpot will be hit by a given spin, so a player might still run through one's entire bankroll before hitting the progressive, even in an advantage play scenario.
Serious slots players walk casino floors looking for the right progressive jackpots. So you aren't likely to find too many cases where a slot machine with a high progressive jackpot is uncovered. If you do, play it. Even at that, don't expect to win, because your odds of hitting the jackpot is no larger than before.
Other than advantage play slot machine strategies, there are no other real slot machine strategies. So don't waste your time reading books on money management, betting techniques and slots tips. They won't help.