Slot machines are unbeatable in the long run. In fact, playing slots is the fastest way to lose money at a casino, considering both payback and speed-of-play. Therefore we have an excellent reason to look for any winning slot tips and advice that could help us to lose less.
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1. Find the Loosest Casinos
Slot machine returns differ between real money slots and the difference could be significant: one casino could set the slot machine to return 93% of the player's money while another could return 98%. If you were to play a 100 one dollar spins, you'd have lost $7 on average with the 93% machine and $2 on average with the 98% machine.
After 400 spins (an hour of slow play) you'd be out $20 in the lower payback machine compared to $8 in the higher payback machine, and as hours pile-up... well, you can do the math.
Online casinos never publish payback percentages on their slot machines but some of them publish slot payout percentages.
Payout means the actual money that has been returned to players; payback means the theoretical return. Payout percentages can make the casinos look looser than they really are due to progressive jackpot wins, for example.
Slotland - known for being one of the best no-download casinos - has promised a 98% average payback from its games, which is the highest percentage that I've heard of. Loco Panda has promised a 97.5% payback which sounds really high as well.
Unlike with internet casinos, you can find the loosest live casinos based on their location. In Las Vegas, for example, the further you're away from the Strip, the better the games you're going to play. You're still in the dark regarding which specific machines return the most money but you'll find the casinos that return the most money. (Slot tips on recognizing the loosest slots are lower on this page.)
2. Join a Slot Club
The first thing to do every time you join a new casino (brick & mortar or online) is to join their Slot Club (also known as "Player's Club). Almost all live casinos have these as do many online casinos.
Common Slot Club membership benefits are cashback for playing (0.5% of wagers, for example), special offers and different kinds casino complimentaries and freebies. At live casinos, you'll likely start getting benefits just for signing-up for the Slot Club, before playing a single spin.
By being a Slot Club member, the casino will be able to track your wagers and make sure you're getting all the complimentaries that you deserve; if you're not a member of a Slot Club, they have no way of doing that, so this is one of the best and easiest slot tips to use.
3. Pick the Loosest Slots
High payback slots have certain characteristics and if you want to minimize your losses when playing slots, you'd do well by choosing your slots based on what loose slot machines are usually like.
Fancy signage, lots of noise and bonus games are signs of tight slots; the more the machine costs to manufacture, the more the casino paid for it, and the more the players have to pay for playing it. Slots with progressive jackpots are tight as well since a part of each bet goes to the jackpot and, on top of that, the casino must take its own cut.
In a nutshell, straight slots are the loosest.
Beware of slot machines that promise "payback up to 96%." Unless the machine states how much it pays back specifically, you can't trust the percentage, so one of my slot machine tips is to avoid these altogether.
The higher the denomination, the higher the payback. You lose less relative to the bet by playing higher denomination slot machines but you lose less money overall by playing lower denomination machines because your bet sizes are smaller. This is one of those slot machine tips that you have to use on case-by-case basis.
Read more about slot machines to avoid.
4. Play Slowly
One of the best slot machine tips is to enjoy the thrill and play slowly. If you only play 200 spins an hour instead of 400 spins an hour, you'll obviously lose half the money you would have otherwise lost in the long run. Or in other words, you have twice the time to play with the same amount of money.
The longer you play (since due to playing slowly, you can play longer than you otherwise would have played), the more comps you'll get. An extra hour of playing could mean a free lunch or more free drinks or tickets to a show. So take it easy and you'll get more out of it.
5. Play Online Slots
It's easier to compare online casino payouts than it's to do the same for live casinos. More importantly, online casinos have a higher payback in general than live casinos. You also save on things like travel expenses when playing from the comforts of your home.
On the other hand, live casinos have their advantages too, such as comps (free food, drinks, accomodation etc.) and lack of deposit and withdrawal fees - although you may not have to pay money transaction fees online either, depending on the casino, the transaction method and the deposit amount.
Almost all live casinos have Slot Clubs (mentioned earlier) and Slot Club members get cashback; some online casinos have Slot Clubs and their members usually get cashback as well. However, cashbacks don't necessarily mean that one casino is better than another since payback percentages might differ the other way around.
Stay away from suspicious casinos and avoid rigged online slots.
6. Use Slot Machine Bonuses
Online casinos offer slot machine bonuses to encourage players to join their site and keep on playing. As players, we should take an advantage of these promotions as it only takes a little effort to do so.
Just how much effort? Remember to enter the bonus code. That is absolutely the simplest and easiest of my slot tips... and most real-money online slot casinos don't even require one nowadays.
Online casino bonuses won't make playing slots profitable; in fact, they're only good for you in case you plan on playing at the same casino for more than a few spins, but they give you a free opportunity to make more money. (Clearing the bonus usually requires wagering anywhere from 5x to 50x the deposit amount.)
7. Only Play Progressives with Huge Jackpots
One of the previous slot machine tips was to never play machines with progressive jackpots since they have a lower payback than machines without a progressive jackpot.
With that said, there are times when the jackpot is big enough to justify playing, although it's difficult to determine exactly when that time is. This is one of those slot tips to use with caution since the vast majority of the time a progressive jackpot is not worth playing.
8. Play Other Casino Games
All casino games make more sense financially than slot machines even if the house edge in slots is lower since you'll play more spins in an hour of slots than you do when playing roulette, for example.
Therefore the last of my slot machine tips is to consider other games. Video poker machines are much better to play than slot machines, for example, and by playing video poker with optimal strategy you can play close to break-even.
If you're willing to consider table games, you could count cards at blackjack and get an edge over the casino. And if you discover that card games suit well for you, there's nothing better than playing poker games like Texas Hold'em against other players and win (or lose) based on how your skills compare to your opponents' skills.