JFK’s Ultimate Guide to Slots

Learn Everything There is to Know About Slots

Slots are the most popular games in casinos in the U.S. and rapidly increasing their presence worldwide. Out of the hundreds of millions of people that use them every day, only a few truly understand how they work, and the history behind them. We have created this ultimate guide to help all players and interested new-comers with tips, understanding how they work, how much money they can win, what their chances of winning are, and much more. Our guide includes 11 different chapters on the most important aspects of slot machines, with detailed topics inside each chapter. By the end of reading this detailed guide, you will know all the ins and outs of slot machines.

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Chapter 1 – What Exactly Are Slot Machines

Slot Machine Background

Slot machines were created by a mechanic in San Francisco in the late 19th century. They started off with small forms of entertainment and were placed on the front counters of businesses and would dispense small prizes like chewing gum. Once introduced to casinos, slots became a small way to entertain people inexperienced at the tables of casinos to win big. 

Since then, slot machines have grown worldwide and became one of the most popular games to win money. This is largely due to the fact they are very easy to use and affordable when placing bets. They are appealing to participants because they can wager small amounts of money with the opportunity to win big. Technology, consequently, made modern slot machines visually appealing and fun to use.

History of Slot Machines

The original concept of the slot machine was the Liberty Bell, invented by Charles Fey in San Francisco in 1895. It worked by dropping a coin in a slot and activated three spinning reels after pulling a handle on the side. The reels would have five different symbols to land on: the Liberty Bell, horseshoes, diamonds, spades and hearts. Across the middle of the display is a payline. By lining up three Liberty Bells across the payline, would deliver the top payoff which was usually half a dollar.

The three reel system would replace popular wager machines like poker machines and color wheels. However, slot machines that paid money became illegal in the U.S. until Nevada legalized casino gambling in 1931. Trade simulators would be placed on the counters inside stores to attract more customers and drive business. Instead of money, the machines would dispense small prizes like gum, cigars and golf balls.

Charles Fey's "Liberty Bell"

Slot Machine Manufacturers


Lion Manufacturing

In 1932 a manufacturing company from Chicago named Lion Manufacturing joined the game-machine industry. They later changed their name to Bally Technologies and moved to Las Vegas, Nevada where slot machines were prevalent. Once gambling was legal in Nevada, Bally became Herbert Mills’s main competitor in manufacturing slot machines. They created the Bally Baby which was a countertop machine that awarded cards that could be traded for gum.

International Gaming Technology

International Gaming Technology (IGT) is the leading slot machine manufacturer worldwide. Their machines are a majority of slot machines in casinos. Their games include Wheel of Fortune, Lobstermania, and Double Diamond. IGT has merged and acquired multiple corporations such as GTECH, Holdco and Georgia Worldwide Corporation. Doing business in over 100 countries, the company has contracts with over 700 casino operators in North and South America. They also developed DoubleDown Casino, an online social gaming casino ran through Facebook and Apple iOS.

Herbert Mills

One of the first major manufacturers of the three-reel slot machines was Herbert Mills in 1907. This Chicago manufacturer had already specialized in making coin machines like vending machines and movie-viewers. Herbert Mills began the worldwide spread of slot machines and was the first manufacturer to use fruit symbols on the reels. Internationally, these machines became known as fruit machines.

Scientific Games Corporation

Another global leader in the slots industry is Scientific Games Corporation. They are providers of lottery games, electronic gaming machines, server-based lottery and gaming systems, sports betting technology, loyalty and rewards programs, and online social, mobile and interactive content and services. Scientific Games has its products installed in 450 different jurisdictions around the world. Just in North America it has 975,000 units installed. By acquiring so many other companies, they have experienced competition amongst their own product lines for space in the casinos. Scientific Games is also the owner of other major slot machine companies such as:

  • Bally Technologies Inc.
  • WMS Gaming Inc.
  • Spielo
  • Barcrest
  • Shuffle Master
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JFK Slot Tips
JFK Slot Tips

Other popular worldwide slot machine manufacturers are:

  • Ainsworth Game Technology
  • Aristocrat Leisure Ltd.
  • Aruze Gaming America Inc.
  • Franco Gaming Ltd.
  • Inspired Gaming Group Limited
  • Konami Digital Entertainment Inc.
  • Multimedia Games Inc.
  • Novomatic Group of Companies

Key Slot Machine Innovations

Video and Virtual Reels

A Bally engineer by the name of Si Redd created video poker, but Bally did not support it. Redd took the initiative to start his own company named Sircoma to produce video poker. It gained popularity and his company went public and sold stock. The company operated in Reno, Nevada and eventually became the world’s largest slot machine manufacturer, International Game Technology (IGT). They went on to create computerized slots, virtual reels and random generators, which provided very large jackpots.

Early Slot Machines

Bally Technologies became the first major innovator of slot machines. They created the first slot machine to accept nickels and quarters. After producing the Hi-Boy in the 1940s, Bally became a leading provider for slot machines. Bally made 80 percent of all slot machines in the 1960s, and by this time they were distributing the first electronic slots. Slots like the Money Honey that included the coin hopper, were capable of providing larger payoffs without stopping play. Slot machines wouldn’t be as popular as they are now without these innovative machines with a higher pay out.

Bonus Wheel

IGT took advantage of an add-on innovation from Anchor Gaming called the Wheel of Gold, thus popularizing the bonus wheel. After licensing the Wheel of Gold, it went on to be featured on the game show, “Wheel of Fortune”. This made Wheel of Fortune slots one of the most popular machines to date.

Many other slotmakers have left their footprint in the slot machine industry. Aristocrat Technologies made an impact by creating games with five reels, multiple paylines and bonus events at the start of the 1990’s. Seeing how Aristocrat’s games were so successful, American developers like WMS gaming pioneered multi-line video bonus slots in the U.S. shortly after.

Today’s Slot Machines

Most slot machines are displayed on video screens instead of mechanical reels now. Video slots imitating the original three-reel slots weren’t successful. The Game Maker introduced by Bally in 1994 was the first slot game with unique video representations of spinning reels. It included a slot, video poker and video blackjack games. This was the first video machine to gain a significant amount of popularity.

Aristocrat and WMS went on to create bonus slots which popularized the video format even more. International markets are currently led by video slots which now make up over 80 percent of modern casino slot floors.

Technology has changed the face of slot machines, having a bigger impact on them than any other casino games. Major technological advances in slots include:

  • Coin Hopper – Later replaced by ticket printers, these machines provided bigger payoffs
  • Bonus Wheels – These provide extra value to the slot experience for users and draws more interest
  • Virtual Reel – This innovation has given games bigger odds and larger jackpots

Multiple Games

Another influential innovation in the slot machine industry was the multi-game machine. Before this feature existed, Bally launched the Game Maker in 1994. This machine had a slot, video poker, and video blackjack. The popularity of poker and blackjack helped increase the popularity of video slots. IGT followed suit by making a similar machine called the GameKing.

Bonus wheels have been vital to the casino experience. The wheel is usually placed above the slot machines and releases a sound to signal its activation. Players in the area usually stop what they’re doing to watch and see how many bonus credits they will win. Many manufacturers ended up including the bonus wheel to their games.

Multi-line video slots with bonus play have become a growing trend over the years. Multi-line slots first became popular in the U.S. in 1997 when WMS Gaming introduced Reel ‘Em In. Displaying five paylines with matching fishing lure symbols appearing on the screen, a scene is displayed with fishermen on a lake and allows players to touch the screen in order to reel in a fish for bonus credits. Seeing the bonus factor in such a creative form was key for multi-line popularity.

Overall, technology has enhanced the slot machine experience. Due to machines being computerized, bigger jackpots are a result along with more options for playing experiences. The development of bill validators and ticket printers have made playing more convenient, efficient and allowed low-denomination games. The creation of online slots has even made it possible for people to play from the comfort of their own homes. As technology evolves, so will the slot manufacturing industry.

Progressive Jackpots

Progressive Jackpots were an important improvement in the world of slots. Slot machines with progressive jackpots add amounts from each wager to the jackpot until it is won. Once this happens, the jackpot is set back to the original amount and begins to build again. In the beginning, there were only single-machine jackpots. Eventually, linked progressive jackpots electronically linked multiple games and caused the jackpot for all users to raise based on a large bet placed amongst any of the machines. Larger jackpots are able to be built up the greater the area of progressives spanned. In addition, wide-area progressives link machines in different casinos. 

The first progressive slots only placed the jackpots on top-paying combinations. Multi-tiered jackpots have changed this with Mini, Minor, Major, and Grand jackpots. This system makes small jackpots more accessible and keeps the player’s interest through more frequent wins. The small tiers range from $10 to the largest tiers of $2500. Multi-tiered progressives usually display the jackpot for a bank of various machines. These machines show when the bank is full, signaling that the progressive slots are paying out.

IGT Megabucks which was introduced in 1986 was the first wide-area progressive game. In 2003, this machine had paid a world-record jackpot of $39 million.

Bill Validators

Bill Validators in slot machines no longer makes using coins for every pull a requirement. The player simply inserts a bill into the reader for how many credits they want and play them off. Players can print out the tickets if they don’t want to use all the credits. Ticket printers and bill validators allow the tickets to be inserted and their barcodes to be scanned on other machines to buy more credits.Using printers has been more efficient as large sums of money don’t have to be used by casinos to keep coins in stock. Attendants won’t have to clear machines of coin jams or make players wait to refill them either.

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Chapter 2 – How Slot Machines Work and the House Edge

How Slot Machines Work

Mechanical Slots

Mechanical slots run on random number generators that determine which symbols the reels will display. These devices calculate the numbers that determine the symbols by using an algorithm.The random number generator works at a very fast pace meaning that stopping in between plays just for a few seconds can make a drastic change in the outcome, opposed to if you kept playing at the same pace. The amount of random numbers and how they relate to symbols changes each game along with the entry points for beginning the next calculation. The algorithm’s starting points can also vary based on whether the handle is pulled, one coin is bet, or the max bet button is pressed.

Video Slots

Just like how mechanical reels work, video slots use a random number generator to determine the results. The video screens simply provide a more attractive display of what the random number generator is doing in addition to their bonus events. Virtual reels make a significantly larger amount of possible outcomes than the of amount symbols and spaces on a mechanical reel. A virtual reel can create up to 30 symbols and 30 spaces which enables a very large jackpot and allows more combinations. However, less of their overall payback is put into the main game than mechanical reel slots.

History of Video Slots

The first video slot was introduced in 1975 when Fortune Coin Company released the Fortune Coin slot. In 1994 Bally Technologies launched the Game Maker which was the first machine to feature multiple games. Later, Aristocrat Technologies introduced five reel games with bonus events. Its success in Australia and the Pacific led companies in the United States to develop video bonus slots of their own. In 1997, Reel ‘Em In, released by WMS Gaming would be the first successful video slot in the United States.

Video slots are more popular than any other game in the casino, but weren’t always the most sought after game. The screens initially weren’t appealing due to their low-resolution and flat imaging. They also lacked bonus events, animations and sound effects, which are the main factors that make modern slots so popular. At the time, people were also skeptical of computers and thought that the results on the video screens could be fixed. Ironically, mechanical reels were also computerized.

Success of Video Slots

The popularity generated by Reel ‘Em In made other slot manufacturers realize they had to develop video slots in order to remain relevant in the gaming industry. Three-reel games were still in the highest demand in the United States, but as more companies began to manufacture video slots, innovations would give them a boost. Major additions to the video slots were:

  • Multi-Tiered Jackpots
  • Community-Style Slots
  • Multiple Bonus Events
  • Slots with Pop Culture Themes
  • Animation and Video Clips
  • Sound Effects, Special Effects and Motion Chairs
  • Penny Slots

Out of the different kinds of video slots, penny slots were the most popular. 

 Slot Machine Odds & Outcomes

It is important for players to understand the ways odds determine the results in slot machines, and how they can increase those odds. Slots are actually one of the most random machines to ever be designed. However, the odds are placed in a way that provides the house with an edge.

Paying out less than the actual odds of winning a bet is how casinos are able to generate profits. For example, on table games like roulette, odds can be 37-1 including 0,00 and the numbers 1 through 36. Although the odds against that number are 37-1, the winner of that number will be paid 35-1. Slot machines handle odds the same way, but instead there are thousands and in some cases millions of different reel combinations.

Designers of the slot can decide how much every winning combination pays. This means that a game’s odds are determined not only by the amount of winning combinations but also the payoffs per winner.

  • 1,000 combinations (10 symbols per reel) on original three-reel slots
  • 8,000 when reel stops on blank spaces between lines
  • 64,000 with larger reels that have 20 symbols and 20 spaces
  • 50 million combinations existed when the Megabucks three-reel slot paid the world record jackpot of $39 million

 The Different Types of Slot Machines

Progressive Slots

The three types of progressive slots are:

  1. Standalone
  2. Linked
  3. Wide-area

Most of the time a maximum bet is required to win any of these jackpots. For example, dollar machines with three coin maximums would require more than a $2 wager to win the jackpot.

Standalone Progressive Slots

Standalone progressive slots are featured on individual machines. The screen on top of the main reels usually displays what the jackpot is. The machine takes a fraction of the amount bet by each player and adds it to the jackpot. Once the jackpot is won, it is reset back to the base value and the building process is restarted.

Linked Progressive Slots

Linked progressive slots link various machines and their jackpots at one casino. Every machine included in the link provides the same jackpot to the players. The linked machines take a portion of each bet and add them to the main jackpot. Similar to the standalone progressive, the linked progressive sets back to the original base value for all of the machines once someone wins the jackpot.

Multi-Tiered Progressive Themes

Progressive slots pay out by adding portions of bets on to the original jackpot, whether they be from a single machine or a collective of machines. Examples of multi-tiered progressive games include:

  • Jackpot Party Progressive Deluxe – Linked slots in one casino combine to build one large jackpot.
  • Zorro – Each individual machine has its own jackpot.
  • TV Hits links – A wide area progressive that works to build jackpots.

Wide-Area Progressive Slots

Wide area progressive slots are similar to linked progressives but accommodate a much larger range. With wide-area slots, jackpots on machines at various casinos can be linked. These types of progressives always provide the biggest jackpots in any casino. A fraction of each player’s bet is added to the jackpot through the link. The jackpot will reset to its base value at every casino once it is won. Overall, these slots are able to link machines that are hundreds of miles apart.


Banked Bonus Slots

Another type of slot is the bonus slot. During the 90’s when they gained popularity, players were attracted to the bonus award that could be gained after collecting enough coins or symbols on the screen to trigger it. Some players used this to their advantage by searching for slots that were close to the bonus. Not as many of these exist today, but they can be found in casinos that have older slots.

Piggy Bankin

This was a three-reel slot designed by WMS Gaming that included a Dotmation screen on top of the mechanical reels. The machine would add a coin to an animated piggy bank every time three blank spaces appeared on the reels. Once a Break the Bank symbol hit the payline, the screen displayed the piggy bank being broken by a hammer. The player would then collect the money. Players would eventually realize that they only had to play when enough coins were in the bank for the symbol to land on the payline.

Racing 7’s

This game displayed red, white and blue 7’s on a racing track on a color LCD panel. This was before its maker IGT decided to invest in video slots. Whenever a 7 landed on the payline, the 7 for that color would move ahead towards the finish line on the display. Players were able to give themselves an edge by searching for screens that displayed 7s that were close to the finish line. These were due to give bonus payouts.

Fort Knox

This game was developed by Silicon Gaming which is now out of business. This machine would provide a bonus once by opening a vault if the individual solved the full 10-digit code. Players gained an edge when they solved only 5 numbers through reel spins.

Buccaneer Gold

This game was also created by Silicon Gaming. Players had to collect five daggers stuck in the ship’s rail. Players also had an edge with this game if three or four daggers were there when they got to the slot.

S&H Green Stamps

This game was designed by Bally Technologies. In this game if you collected up to 1,200 green stamps that landed on video reels, you’d be granted a bonus event. Players would gain an edge by looking for slots that had close to 1,200 stamps.

Popular Slot Themes

Blazing 7s

This is won by having three triple Blazing 7 symbols. Seeing that the jackpots for these machines pay out at a more rapid pace, they are usually won before reaching $1200 which is the amount that requires players to sign a tax form in the United States. Developers purposely did this, keeping the tax aspect in mind when designing the algorithm for it.

Although three-reel versions of the game still exist in casinos, they are not as prevalent as they once were. Blazing 7s is still an important theme in the history of slotting and has led to other games with the famous 7 symbols including:

  • Double Jackpot Triple Blazing 7s
  • Triple Jackpot Triple Blazing 7s
  • Blazing 7s 7x Pay
  • Diamond Line

Blazing 7s has also led to new innovations such as:

  1. Hot Shot progressives: This development is a 40-line video slot featuring reel symbols that display all the other Blazing 7s games. Basically, if the player gets three symbols representing Double Jackpot Triple Blazing 7s on the screen, the reels for them will begin to spin for possible wins and potentially earn a progressive jackpot.

  2. Blazing 7s Multislot: This multislot allowed players to choose the game that they desired, and get a different set of reels and symbols for each one. The Blazing 7s Multislot would include 3 games that used the same symbols but decided winners and bonuses in a different manner. These games were:

    1. Blazing 7s Free Spin- Provided free spins
    2. Blazing 7s Scatter- Provided scatter pays
    3. Blazing 7s Wild- Provided wild symbols to create extra winners
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JFK Slot Tips
JFK Slot Tips

Double Diamond

This slot game was launched in 1989. Three Double Diamonds will make the machine’s top jackpot available. If a player gets a Double Diamond symbol with two single bars, they will be rewarded double the amount of the regular payoff of three single bars. With two Double Diamonds and a single bar, the payoff is doubled twice and the player receives four times the amount for the payoff of three bars.

Spin-offs of Double Diamond include:

Double Diamond Deluxe– This game has a nudge feature in which the diamond symbols will either fall down to the payline or nudge up if the diamond is pointed upward.

Triple Double Diamond- Payoffs are triple the usual opposed to the regular double the payoff

Double Diamond 2000- This is a five-reel video slot gave low-denomination players an option with the multiplier aspect that made Double Diamond so popular

Double Triple Diamond Deluxe With Cheese-This is a three-reel slot that included not only the Double Diamond but also the Triple Diamond symbols. Along with the diamond nudge featured in Double Diamond Deluxe, this game also has a top-box bonus event in which rolled dice advance the player from layer to layer of a cheeseburger. During this process the player collects credits.


This five-reel video slot was launched by Atronic in 1998. This game which got its theme from ancient Egypt has been a major hit in casinos to this date. During the bonus event, players are taken into the Pharaoh’s tomb and have to determine their path. By choosing the correct path, players are then taken to the inner sanctum. Here, players have even more chances to win larger bonuses.

The huge success of Sphinx led to the creation of Sphinx II. This game includes all of the same features as the first Sphinx along with two-way wagering that can allow players to increase their bets. Additionally, winning combinations can be lined up from right to left or left to right. This sequel was then followed up by Sphinx Magic which included an additional bonus round to earn a progressive jackpot.

Atronic has also launched Sphinx 3D, which includes high quality three-dimensional video animations. There is also a bonus event in which the player goes on an adventure through the Sphinx. It includes stacked wilds and discs that look like a scarab stacking on the reel. The animation is so vivid and quality that it appears to pop out of the screen.

Wheel of Fortune

This slot theme is based off of the worldwide television game show phenomenon Wheel of Fortune.  International Game Technology normally releases Wheel of Fortune themed games on a yearly basis, with the most popular being:

  • Wheel of Fortune Special Edition Super Spin: Up to nine players gather around a large wheel and multiple players can play on the same bonus spin.
  • The Wheel of Fortune Experience: This game includes a bonus where multiple players can participate.
  • Wheel of Fortune Ultra 3 Reels and Ultra 5 Reels: Although both are video reels, 3 reels has higher coin denominations while 5 reels includes low-denomination play. Both games stack wild symbols in order to create opportunities for huge multiline payoffs. The appearance of at least three scatter symbols leads to the Mini Wheels Bonus. During this bonus, scatter symbols become smaller Wheels of Fortune. Once they are all finished spinning, their values are combined to provide your bonus. Players also get to play the Ultra Wheel Bonus which is the best event. This is played on three wheels and includes a bonus reel that determines the amount of wheels that will spin.
  • Wheel of Fortune Power Wedges: This game includes a progressive jackpot and increases the player’s chances of a jackpot. The video bonus wheel allows players to either win bonus credits or progressive jackpots. It even has wedges for bonus credits to accommodate 1 cent bettors but there are none for progressives if no more than 200 credits are bet. Betting 300 credits provides one progressive wedge while betting 400 provides two and a max of 500 provides four jackpot wedges. A larger bet increases the chances of a jackpot.

Red White and Blue

Three-reel slots used to dominate and have the largest presence in casinos. This was when Red White And Blue was one of the most popular slot games a person could play. Even though video slots are more prevalent nowadays, the game still has a presence in casinos. The payoff on 7s combinations makes this an appealing slot machine. Earning a red 7 on the first reel, a blue one on the second reel, and a white on the third reel provides players with a huge jackpot. However, any combination of three 7s will give the player a large payoff.

Following this is red 7s, then whites and blues in payoff size. Along with this, the bar symbols are color-coded. Single bars are red, doubles are white and triples are blue. If the bars are mixed but in order, the payoff will be larger. Not only do symbols make and impact but colors, meaning that there is a way larger opportunity for jackpots than the average three-reel slot.

In regards to three-reel slots, Red White and Blue was one of the first to attract players with more frequent wins. Although they didn’t payout as much as video slots, they were high for three-reel players. As video slots became more prevalent, IGT applied LCD panels to the machine’s top box and incorporated the game with the Racing 7s bonus event in which the first 7 to win the race earned the bonus.

Reel ‘Em In

This game was a pioneer for video slots and popularized the format in the 1990s. Its bonus event makes it still popular to this day. The player chooses from a group of five fishermen sitting at a pond, and the bigger the fish reeled in by that fisherman, the bigger the bonus will be for the player.

There have also been sequels to Reel ‘Em In including:

1. Reel ‘Em In: Cast for Cash: This version of the game includes two screens where the player chooses the fishermen from the screen in the top box. The main screen below displays the fish swimming. As the chosen fisherman drops the line into the pond, fish can be seen biting the bait. The same rules as the original apply with bigger payouts for bigger fish.

2. Reel ‘Em In: Big Bass Bucks: This version includes three bonus events. The biggest event is the Big Bass Hole, which lets the player continuously drop their line into the water until they don’t catch a fish. Every bass that the player catches grants a bonus.

3.Reel ‘Em In: Compete to Win: In the bonus for this version, players compete to catch the biggest fish.

What We Can’t See

Slots don’t allow you to see the random numbers being generated when in fact it’s those numbers that determine if the player wins or not. Aside from the number generator, there are various things that players can’t see that are major determining factors in whether a player wins or not. Players also aren’t able to see the odds of the game or if one machine is paying larger amounts than the others.

One thing that players are able to see is a machine’s pay table. This gives the player some help with how unpredictable or rapidly changing the machine is. Players are also able to see the types of bonuses being provided, which also helps to better understand the machine’s unpredictability.

Players don’t have a method for calculating the odds or payback percentages because casinos consider this information related to random numbers property. Different machines that consist of the same theme or game don’t even reveal if they have the same paybacks. Multiple versions of the same game are manufactured then made available to casino operators.

Every machine includes a different payback percentage. Although this is true, players should be aware that games that provide huge jackpots are more volatile. This is because slots with bigger top jackpots give back significantly less on smaller wins than slots with smaller top jackpots. However, sometimes the big jackpot can be paid out seldomly, meaning that the game will have a normal percentage of lower payoffs.

Players can also be aware that games providing free spin bonuses are more unpredictable and volatile than slots that provide pick’em bonuses. Factors like this help the player determine how to play the game and how much they want out of it. Volatile games may be beneficial to players that want to increase their chances of winning big, but are ready to take quick and large losses to get there.

Chapter 3 – The Best Way to Use Slot Machines


Majority of slot gamers play penny, nickel, quarter, and dollar reel spinning slots. However there are slots for two cents, dimes, quarters, dollars and reel spinners as large as a hundred dollars. Players can insert up to three coins at a time on most machines. On the other hand, new video slots can take anywhere up to 500 credits at a time.

Almost every slot machine includes a currency acceptor which takes the bill and displays the available amount of credits gained on the meter. Reel-spinning slots on the other hand require you to press the “play one credit” button until you have the full amount of coins that you want to play. Afterwards, you’ll have to choose between pushing the “spin reels” button, pulling the handle if it’s an old slot that still includes one, or press “play max credits”. Hitting “play max credits” allows you to play the maximum amount of coins allowed on the machine.

When using video slots, you’ll have to push the first button to choose the amount of paylines you desire to activate. The second button that you press will determine the number of credits that you wager per line. A prevalent format is 9 paylines where up to 5 credits can be bet. Video slots make up to 50 paylines available while allowing you to bet up to 25 coins per line. In front of the reels and on the glass of most machines, there is usually a single payout line painted across the center. Other machines can have 3 or 5 payout lines that coincide with each coin that is played. You win based on the symbols that land on a payout line. The symbols usually seen on reels throughout casinos are cherries, bars, double bars, triple bars, and sevens.


Charles Fey's "Liberty Bell"


Although earning these payouts may seem simple, they don’t come around as often as you’d think. Sometimes blank spaces will land on the paylines. Any combination that includes a blank space won’t pay out. Along with this, symbols like sevens aren’t bars, so a combination with two types of bars and a seven won’t pay out.

Video slots have even more paylines and a large number of winning combinations. Almost all video slots have at least five paylines, but a few years ago there would be up to 50 lines. The video screens on these slots usually have five reels spinning. Along with running straight across the reels, their paylines also run in V’s and zig zags on the screen. Video slots also consist of bonus rounds and scatter pays. Scatter pays aren’t earned by the traditional payline of symbols. Instead they are triggered by having at least two of a specific symbol appear on the screen.

The appearance of special symbols on the screen will grant you a bonus event. The event may either provide you with a certain amount of free spins or a second screen bonus. A second screen bonus is included in Jackpot Party by WMS Gaming. The appearance of three party noisemaker symbols on the video reels causes them to be replaced by a grid of gift wrapped packages appearing on the screen. When playing this event, you’ll have to open a package by touching the screen. This collects a bonus payout. You’ll be able to keep touching the screen to open packages and earn additional bonuses. Eventually you’ll open a package with a party pooper which ends the bonus round.

When playing slots, you’re either going to win or lose money. If you land a winning combination, the prize will be added to your credits meter. You then have the choice to either conclude your session on that machine and collect the amount of coins displayed on the meter by pushing the “Cash Out” button, or keep playing to earn even more potential prizes. In this day and age with modern slot machines, if you choose to cash out, the machine will print out a bar-coded ticket and you can redeem it for cash.


Even when three reel games were prevalent in casinos, this would be an important tip to follow. Now that most games worldwide are video slots, it’s even more important. A higher payback percentage is produced for dollar slots than quarter slots. Quarter slots pay more than nickel slots which pay more than penny slots.

However, when you are playing higher-denomination games you are placing bigger bets. This is an even bigger risk.

If you land a cherry on a payout line, the machine may pay you back 2 coins. You can also receive:

  • 10 coins by landing a combination of any three bars.
  • 30 coins by landing three single bars
  • 60 coins by landing three double bars
  • 120 coins by landing three triple bars
  • Jackpot for three sevens

Although earning these payouts may seem simple, they don’t come around as often as you’d think. Sometimes blank spaces will land on the paylines. Any combination that includes a blank space won’t pay out. Along with this, symbols like sevens aren’t bars, so a combination with two types of bars and a seven won’t pay out.

Video slots have even more paylines and a large number of winning combinations. Almost all video slots have at least five paylines, but a few years ago there would be up to 50 lines. The video screens on these slots usually have five reels spinning. Along with running straight across the reels, their paylines also run in V’s and zig zags on the screen. Video slots also consist of bonus rounds and scatter pays. Scatter pays aren’t earned by the traditional payline of symbols. Instead they are triggered by having at least two of a specific symbol appear on the screen.

The appearance of special symbols on the screen will grant you a bonus event. The event may either provide you with a certain amount of free spins or a second screen bonus. A second screen bonus is included in Jackpot Party by WMS Gaming. The appearance of three party noisemaker symbols on the video reels causes them to be replaced by a grid of gift wrapped packages appearing on the screen. When playing this event, you’ll have to open a package by touching the screen. This collects a bonus payout. You’ll be able to keep touching the screen to open packages and earn additional bonuses. Eventually you’ll open a package with a party pooper which ends the bonus round.

When playing slots, you’re either going to win or lose money. If you land a winning combination, the prize will be added to your credits meter. You then have the choice to either conclude your session on that machine and collect the amount of coins displayed on the meter by pushing the “Cash Out” button, or keep playing to earn even more potential prizes. In this day and age with modern slot machines, if you choose to cash out, the machine will print out a bar-coded ticket and you can redeem it for cash.


Progressive slot machines add a portion of each wager to the jackpot. For three-reel slot machines you have to bet maximum coins in order to be able to earn the jackpot. This is because three-reel slot machines include a single progressive jackpot for the top payoff. Three-coin dollar slots don’t allow you to win the progressive jackpot if you bet no more than two coins.  There will be a smaller payline at a fixed amount when hitting the top jackpot combination on the payline. Video slots usually have multi-tiered progressive jackpots. They offer between two and twelve progressive levels. The progressive levels are usually labeled mini, minor, major, or grand. On some machines you’ll also see bronze, silver, gold and platinum. Some video slots give players access to the jackpots even if they haven’t placed a large bet. Some also require you to make separate bets in order to be eligible for the jackpot.

Progressives are basically beneficial only if you’re going to play for the jackpots which are the main events. Without the jackpots, they pay significantly less than other slots. When choosing to play a progressive, you must simply bet enough to be eligible for the jackpot. If you are not willing to bet the amount necessary, you should probably choose another game.


It is important to remember to play within your budget. At times you will either have to reduce the amount that you are betting or stop playing once you hit your limit. In majority of the times that you play slots you will lose money. Unfortunately, nothing can be done to prevent this. However, there are also times when you’ll win, and in large amounts. Have fun when moments like this approach but also remember not to bet important money that you need and to play games that best suit your budget.

A common rule is that your budget should accommodate 250 bets which gives you a 90 percent chance to last for three hours. If you bring $200 to a casino, you most likely can’t afford to play on dollar slots. If you still decide to play them and lose a large amount like $100, you should probably walk away or play on lower machines like penny slots.


One method that players find useful is “prime the pump” betting. These individuals play under the assumption that they won’t be winning instantly. They begin with placing small bets and build up more and more money, anticipating to bet large amounts once they get more wins. Little do these players know, you have the same chances of winning early in your session as you do further down the road. Many are unaware that by starting small you can easily miss some bets that would’ve gained wins. The payback percentage will actually be the same as placing the same bet on each spin.


Playing Machines at Ends of Rows

Many believe that casinos place machines at the ends of rows so that everyone passing by will see them winning. In this day and age it isn’t as obvious or visible when a player wins big at the slots. Opposed to the numerous coins that would drop into a tray in the past, that made winning such a scene in the casino, players receive their prize by printing out a bar-coded ticket. Most casinos in the present day that have rows with the same type of game often provide the same payback percentage.


Paying Attention to Near Misses

When walking through the rows of slots, it is important to look out for near misses. This is done by searching for games that have jackpot symbols on the reels or screen of the machine yet didn’t land the full winning combination. It can become a more interesting experience when choosing which game to play based on near misses, but they don’t always indicate that a big win is due. Looking for slots with near misses may draw more interest in the games but don’t guarantee that the machine is any closer to the jackpot.


Looking for Machines with Big Payouts

Many players choose to stay on slots that were recently paying out large amounts. This is because they assume that the machines are hot and frequently providing big payouts. There are other players that stay away from these games because they think they’re cold. There are also situations where players think machines without payouts at the moment are always cold and choose to avoid them. On the other hand, there are players that think these machines should be getting hot at any moment. However, the fact of the matter is that slots never have an expected time to get hot or cold. Previous payouts that the machine has provided won’t help you determine upcoming results.

Chapter 4 – The Benefits of Using Slot Machines

Although slots don’t have the same percentages as table games, there are many factors that make them the most used games in modern day casinos

Easy to use

There’s no proper way to learn how to use slots. They should be quick to learn how to play. The simplest forms of slots require you to purchase credits by inserting your money into the bill validator, push a button or pull the lever to make the reels spin, and observe the results of which symbols land on the paylines. Playing slots does not require any strategy and there are no players that are consistently better than others. If you make a mistake, no one will judge you for it, like they would at table games that require skill. This is a factor that attracts people to slots, opposed to the intimidating nature of table games.

Fun to Use

As time has passed, computerized slots have become widely used and developers of slot machines have become extremely creative with the slot making process. Ample time and money has been invested into providing highly interactive and entertaining slot machines that ensure their users have fun. Some of the most interactive games include:

  • Jackpot Party
  • Nascar
  • Reel ‘Em In
  • ETC.

Not only is the chance to win intriguing, but the process of winning has become attractive for players.


Low Minimum Wagers

Minimum wagers are seldomly less than $5 a hand in casinos in Las Vegas. $5 tables are rarely seen as well. During busy times at the best casino floors, minimum bets are usually no less than $25. With slot machines, people are given the opportunity to play by betting significantly lower amounts of money. There are 1-cent video slots that have 30 paylines. If 1 cent is bet for every payline, the wager will be 30 cents per reel spin. This is significantly less than the minimum that casinos usually require at tables. However, players are also allowed to bet more. With these 1 cent machines, players can either bet up to 10 credits per payline, or a $3 maximum. Although these higher bets are available, players still have a cheap source of entertainment through minimum bets.

Although the house edge is higher, the game is extremely faster. For example, when playing with six other players at a blackjack table, it might take each player an hour to make 50 to 60 wages. When playing against the dealer one on one, a player may get around 200 wagers per hour. Slot machines on the other hand, make it possible for players to place up to 500 bets per hour. When there are bonus events, it may even be 800 bets.


Large Jackpot Opportunities

The chances to win a lot of money is what attracts players to any game in the casino. This opportunity is made available for people that play slots. Players have a chance to win not only thousands, but millions of dollars in some instances. The largest jackpot ever won on a slot machine was $39.7 million back in 2003. Believe it or not, this was won on one of IGT’s Megabucks $1 denomination machines when a $3 bet was placed. Although these winnings don’t come so often, avid slot players are able to win prizes that are hundreds of times larger than the bet they place every now and then. Players may not win millions, but winning $300 for only betting 30 cents has to provide a boost of enthusiasm. Excitement like this is what attracts players to slot machines.

Chapter 5 – Payouts

As stated before, there is no possible strategy that can make you win big on slots on a consistent basis. Whether you’re playing at a real casino or online, payouts are won solely by chance. Skill is very seldom a factor, but slots that require skill will eventually become popular. Majority of slots have no method to affect the outcome, but there are few ways to maximize payouts, and mitigate your losses. In order to win, losses will be a part of the game, due to the house edge.  

Payouts in Nevada Run the Highest/How Often to Expect a Payout

Casinos have realized that holding 5 percent of a dollar rather than 8 percent of a quarter or 10 percent of a nickel is way more profitable for the business. This has caused payout percentages to rise. Players in majority of the United States can do fine with a 93 percent payout percentage. However, payouts in Nevada are significantly higher. Casinos in Las Vegas often provide payouts higher than 95 percent, which is the highest average payouts of all casinos. Although this is true, these averages represent between 100,000 and 300,000 pulls over long periods of time.

Basically, there’s a tremendous amount of outcomes. It can be common for most players using reel-spinning slots to go at least 50 pulls without any payouts. It also shouldn’t be a surprise if a machine pays back 150 percent or greater for a few dozen pulls. Video slots tend to provide payouts more frequently. Programmed percentages will always be more worth the while. The innovation of the microprocessor has sparked a drastic change in slots. These devices have random-number generators that produce winning combinations.  Slot machines used to be mechanical, meaning that knowing either the symbols or blank spaces that could land on the payout line in the past could help the player calculate the odds of winning the top jackpot. These symbols or spaces were called stops. For example, every few thousand pulls the jackpot symbols would line up if the machine had three reels with ten stops and one symbol for the jackpot. In the past the largest payoffs were no more than $100. Linked progressives, mostly in Nevada now provide millions of dollars. Now that today’s video slots don’t make stops a factor, reels are programmed to take as long as necessary so that the odds can reach and ideal percentage.


Winning multiplier games is based on the amount of coins or credits wagered. Seeing that payoffs are proportional to the number wagered, triple payoffs granted by betting three coins are granted for betting one coin. Playing a game with that setup makes the payback percentage the same, regardless of the amount of coins bet. Players have no need to bet the max set for the pay table. During the moment of the game where the reels spin and there are no bonuses, video slots and five-reel mechanical slots are pure multipliers.

Some multipliers have jackpots that aren’t proportionate. The majority of three-reel mechanical slots provide the player with an incentive for maximum coins to be bet. This is done by adding a large boost in the top jackpot. For example, proportionate payoffs can be provided in majority of the pay table. Although this aspect is similar to the pure multiplier, betting three coins causes a disproportionate jump in the top jackpot. Betting three coins causes three 7s to pay five times the amount that would be paid when betting one coin. This impacts the game by providing a higher payback percentage when max coins are bet.

This is seen in three-reel progressives, along with a jackpot that continues to grow. Max coins have to be bet in order for the player to be eligible for the jackpot.

High Percentages

Multipliers that have disproportionate jackpots usually provide a higher payback percentage when the player bets max coins. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that one should always bet the max amount. 91.7 percent is usually provided to players betting one coin on machines that have multipliers with modified jackpots. Along with this, one-coin wagers can return 917 coins for every 1,000 plays. 83 coins are kept by the casino. Betting three coins per play increases the payback percentage to 95 percent. Furthermore, 2,850 coins are returned for every 1,000 three-coin bets. 150 coins are kept by the house.

This shows that betting to the max isn’t always beneficial. Although the possible payback percentage is higher, so are the average losses due to the ample amounts of money being bet and risked. Losses and percentages will vary for every game.


On these particular slots, fractions of a game’s possible payouts are unlocked by each coin that the player wagers. With some buy-a-pay slots, there are three pay lines displayed across the reels. Players can win on the following combinations:

  • Betting one coin to win on the center reel
  • Betting two coins to win on the top line
  • Betting three coins to win on the bottom line

For example, a winning combination on the third line would provide the three 7s winner only if the player bets maximum coins. For every coin wagered, paying symbols are unlocked on other buy-a-pay slots. On machines like this, wagering the first coin unlocks symbols, while wagering the second coin unlocks the bars, then the third unlocks 7s. Lining up three bars with only one coin wagered does not provide a win. Similarly, lining up three 7s with no more than two coins being bet provides no type of win either. If a player has no plans to wager the amount required to unlock every symbols, they simply should not be playing on a buy-a-pay slot.

Realistically, it would be a heartbreaking experience to have the jackpot symbols line up but not win because not enough was bet to unlock them.

How to Scout Jackpots

When arriving in the slot sections of casinos, choosing a machine is always an important choice you must make. Mostly looking for three-reel games, make sure to keep an eye out for  top jackpots, including ones that are bigger than normal. When scouting progressives, also look for slots that show that the jackpots must be hit by a particular amount. This may take you a while because not enough information is provided, to know whether a jackpot is big enough to provide you with an edge. However, the majority of games results are still random and having a larger jackpot doesn’t increase your chances of winning. Especially when playing linked progressive machines, you can lose the jackpot that you scouted to another player using a linked machine. Although all of this is true, choosing to play progressive slots only when they have high jackpots gives you a higher payback percentage. Beating the house edge is difficult, but when avoiding playing during low jackpots, you are always playing for a higher payout.

On progressive slots, the jackpots grow from the original base amount that they start at. When scouting progressives, you should not play minimum jackpots. When players scout these machines, they will consistently check the jackpot amounts on every machine. If a jackpot was won, the player may inquire casino employees about the size of the payout. During this process, it is important to remain patient and gather information over a longer period of time.

Chapter 6 – Slots Etiquette

Just like any other pastime or hobby, playing slots has an etiquette or unwritten rules on how players should conduct themselves. Remember, that when playing slots, it’s always important to have fun, before winning or losing. During slot sessions, you may have far more losses than wins. This means that players continuously go back to play slots when they aren’t winning because of the machines’ entertaining appeal.

Seeing that every player comes to have fun, there can sometimes be a conflict of interest amongst players, or between players and employees. To prevent someone’s fun from getting in the way of someone else’s experience, there is an etiquette. Following this etiquette should make the slot experience pleasant for all fellow gamers on the casino floor. Here are some things to keep in mind when going to enjoy a slot session.

Use One Machine At A Time

If the casino floor is not that busy, it is okay to play on multiple machines at once. Many players enjoy doing this. However, be careful, because it can be too hard to play more machines than you are able to monitor. You wouldn’t want to catch yourself in a situation where you’re playing six slots and the one that you leave unattended lands the jackpot. Players can come by and take your prize while you aren’t paying attention.

When the casino is crowded, you definitely want to avoid playing on multiple machines. There are actually a large number of casinos that display signs requesting that players use no more than one machine at a time. When playing on more than one machine, players tend to use three-reel slots more than video slots. Just remember to keep a space available if there are gamers looking for a seat. You want to refrain from interfering with someone else’s chance to have fun and win big.

Know When Other Players Are Still Using a Machine

Some players will invest a lot of time on one particular machine. At times, you or another player may need to take a bathroom break or get a drink. There are various ways to let other players know that you are still using a slot machine and vice versa. A player going to the bathroom may either place their coat on their chair, or tip the chair against the slot machine. Avoid using the machine so that there is no conflict when the player returns.

Before payoffs were distributed through tickets, players were given coin cups. To signal that they were taking breaks, players would place their coin cups on top of the screens of slot machines or on the handle. Now that tickets are printed for payoffs and there needs to be a signal for slots being used, there are some slot machines that have waiting modes which stop the game from running and save it. They also have time limits for how long a player can be away from the machine. Although this is very beneficial, not many U.S. casinos hold machines with this feature.

Other ways that players show that they are taking a break are by placing their drinks on the machine or leaving their players club cards on the screen. However, leaving your club card at the machine isn’t recommended. Other players may not always see this as a sign that someone is using the machine. People can often be forgetful and leave their cards behind. If someone is playing on your slot when you return, the most that you can do is politely ask to continue your game.  

Along with this, you can simply ask players nearby to watch your machine for you. Whatever you do, make sure there are no credits on the machine before leaving. The person next to you can run out of credits and easily use your machine. Make sure to always print out your ticket or someone else might and walk away with the money that you did have. You should also never leave important items like a wallet or purse at the slot.

It is okay to leave your slot machine, but remember to keep your breaks short so that you aren’t holding up a space that someone else can be using. A break from your machine should take no more than 15 minutes.


Many casinos allow smoking at the game floors. If you smoke, you should be able to partake while playing on a slot machine. However, you should still take nearby players into consideration. Aside from playing on slots, most smokers are knowledgeable of etiquette when smoking in public. To avoid any complaints or confrontations in the casino, make sure to avoid blowing smoke near any players. Also keep your ashtray away from nearby players’ machines. It can be offensive to them if you’re ashing your cigarette or cigar near their slot while they’re trying to enjoy their game. Also make sure to use the ashtray, because players won’t want to use machines that have ash all over the buttons or display screen.

Most importantly, you should avoid smoking in the designated no-smoking areas. These areas are specified for non-smokers, so they deserve to enjoy their slot experience being away from any smoke. For the most part, smoking areas have a larger number of gaming options, which means you should be playing there. Not only do some casinos prohibit smoking, but some states as a whole do. Be aware of any areas that ban smoking in public places, because this activity is against the law and can get you in trouble. You don’t want that buzz to cause you a fine or arrest.


JFK Slot Tips
JFK Slot Tips
JFK Slot Tips


Although dealers aren’t involved in every play for slot machines as they are for table games, tipping is still an important factor. The main situation where tipping is necessary is when using hand-paid jackpots. Credits are simply added to the meter for the majority of slot machine payoffs. Although the majority of slot payoffs don’t require an employee, slot attendants occasionally accompanied by a security guard are required to provide the money for large jackpots. Tips are certainly optional, but still a factor in regards to slot etiquette.

If you’re wondering how much exactly should be tipped, the ideal amount for a $1000 jackpot is $20. Sometimes the attendant may give you a cue to tip them a particular amount. For example, when winning $1000 you may receive nine $100 bills along with five $20 bills. This should signal that the attendant wants one or more of those $20 bills. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to tip the attendant. There are many that would kindly accept $5 or $10 if you happen to have those bills in your wallet.

Sometimes multiple people will approach you to provide the payoff. For example, a security guard will be with the attendant. When deciding who exactly to pay, make sure to ask the guard if he is allowed to accept tips. Some casinos allows security guards to accept tips while some don’t. If it isn’t prohibited for the guard to accept tips, you should consider splitting the amount that you intended to tip between the guard and the attendant.

When there are large jackpots, sometimes the attendant and guard may even be accompanied by an executive or manager. People with higher managerial roles usually aren’t allowed to accept tips. This is because they are usually paid way better and don’t need tips to make a decent living. If you are feeling generous and extra value is provided to the service, you can always feel free to ask the manager or executive if they are allowed to accept tips. At the end of the day, you can decide who and how you want to pay tips, because it is ultimately your money.

How to Act Among Players and Employees

Although there are much more confrontations amongst players at tables than players at slots, you want to be mindful of being polite to the people around you. Luckily, players aren’t able to criticize the strategies of other players because there are none for slots. It’s also impossible to be accused of cheating, so this should eliminate some possibilities for conflict.The biggest confrontations amongst slot players are caused by arguing over personal space. Spilled drinks are also the cause of disputes. If any of this occurs, make sure to be polite and refrain from any profanity.

When interacting with casino employees, make sure to be as friendly as you would to other players. Remember that no matter what the employee is doing, they are providing a service for you. Being respectful to employees, makes them handle the services that you are receiving more enthusiastically. Always make sure to address the employees with respect and refer to them by their first names. This should not be a problem because all casino employees have name tags displayed on their uniforms. If you are experiencing any problems with the machines; for example if a slot didn’t pay out the correct amount, politely request the employee’s assistance and they will be glad to help you out.

Casino employees are thoroughly trained to assist you with any issues so there is no need to worry or get too excited. If the worker is not able to provide a solution on the spot, don’t get angry or insult them. You can always ask to see a supervisor and they will try to solve the problem. Being respectful of employees can take you a long way and ensure that you receive the best service.

Chapter 7 – How NOT To Use Slot Machines

Along with all of the proper ways to use slot machines and conduct oneself on the slot floors, there are many actions and methods that should be avoided. Using some of these methods are often frowned upon by avid slot enthusiasts and can even get you into trouble with the authorities at the casino. In this chapter are some major Don’ts when going to enjoy a slot session.

Don’t Try To Cheat Slots

There is a lot of cash to be won and players often make decisions that are against the law. Slots at live casinos are usually more susceptible to being cheated than slots on online casinos because cheats can be applied to the actual physical systems in live casinos. Laws held in regards to licensed casinos don’t take cheating the slots very lightly. Licensed casinos classify cheating as a felony. Cheating on a slot machine simply isn’t worth the risk of serving a prison sentence.

Here are some cheating methods used throughout the history of slot machines, that should be avoided any time you are playing:

  1. Using a String
    Towards the beginning of slots being manufactured, they were mostly three-reeled games with coin slots. A popular scam that players used was tying a string to a coin then dropping it into the slot. This would trigger the part of the machine that provided credits for playing, then afterwards the string would be used to pull the coin back out. Many players have been caught doing this and prosecuted for these actions. Over the years, slot machines have been designed to prevent this form of cheating. Modern day slots usually only accept currency in paper form or tickets with the barcode printed on them. Majority of today’s slots don’t even have slot heads for coins built in them.
  2. Fake Coins
    Before slot machine manufacturers designed machines that didn’t use coins, fake coins were often a problem for machines that accepted them. Fake coins could be as simple as a round piece of metal. There were however many other coins that were detailed and stamped to look like the legitimate slots tokens used in casinos. Seeing that the value was way less for these coins than slot tokens, it was very easy for players to partake in cheating. Manufacturers would make efforts to prevent this by creating machines that have coin recognition software.
  3. Magnets
    During the 1960’s and 70’s magnets were used to cheat slot machines. Magnets were used to make the reels keep spinning instead of stopping. The magnet would only be removed once the reels landed on a winning combination. In the 1980’s this cheating method became even more efficient with the use of top-bottom devices.The top piece included a metal rod bent on one end while the bottom piece was a wire. Cheaters would place the wire part in the coin slot and make it touch the metal contact within it. The top rod would be used to jam the coin slot. Doing these two things caused a circuit to release a large amount of coins. Manufacturers would later handle this problem by building barriers inside the games that protected them from top-bottom devices.

Slot Machine Don’ts


  • Play mega-multi-line machines for 10 cents or less. Using this method, in reality does not save you money. Although majority of the time you are paying a dollar for these machines, the payback percentages are low. Playing a 25 cent machine with higher return percentages may be more beneficial in the long run.
  • Play any faster over time. There are slot players that make the mistake of starting at a nice and steady pace of playing then begin to play at unreasonable speeds as time passes by. It is easy to lose realization of how much money you are filling the machine up with. Playing at a more rational pace will save you a large amount of money.
  • Stay on a machine because it has been cold for a while. Players often have the misconception that a machine that has been cold for a while will eventually get hot. Some players also believe that machines that are hot will continue to be hot. The main aspect of slots that players must understand is that they are unpredictable and there are never clues on what will happen for each spin. Some players are also hesitant to leave the slot they are at out of fear that the next person to play it will win the jackpot. Slot machines run on random number generators which means that the combination that lands for that individual will be completely different than the combination that you would have landed.


Slot Machine Do’s

Although this chapter provides a lot of actions and beliefs to avoid when playing slots, here are some major do’s to keep in mind.


  • Play slots that provide the highest return. To determine which machines have this, look for progressive slots. Mostly wide area progressives slots like Megabucks will have the largest house edges. This is an upwards of 17 percent, meaning that a player should anticipate losing $17 for every $100 that they wager. After this is linked progressives that don’t often pay out in order to increase the size of the jackpots. Standalone progressive slots usually have the best return percentages.
  • Have a budget for each individual slot session. If you lose the amount of money that you have set for your session, make sure to stop playing and wait for a while before starting to play on another slot. Being careful with your money won’t increase your chances of winning, but it will definitely save you from blowing all of your money on one slot.
  • Make sure to take long breaks between each session. As you continue to play, the casino is earning more and more money from you. It is beneficial to take a break every 10 to 20 minutes to ensure that you don’t end up with a significant loss of money. The less time you spend on a machine, the better the condition of your wallet will be.
  • Keep in mind that numbers ranging from 9 to 23 percent are often the hit frequencies for slot machines. This means that between 9 and 23 percent of your spins will land on combinations that provide payouts. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they are winning combinations for jackpots. 77 to 91 percent of combinations that land will be losses. On the contrary to individuals who are avid table game players, players who use slots often expect losing streaks to last for a while. Although jackpots will come very seldom, getting one or two hits will gain you back a lot of the money that you put into the machine.
  • Always remember that slot players are highly important to the livelihood of all casinos. Table games are no longer the main attraction of casinos. Slot machines provide casinos with 66 to 91 percent of their revenues.

Common Myths and Misconceptions

Not only new players, but people that have been playing slot machines for a long time don’t truly understand how they work. Many myths have developed overtime that often influence how people decide to play slots.

Leave Machine After Hitting the Jackpot

It is a common myth that once a machine hits the jackpot, it won’t be due to land on that winning combination again for a long time. This causes players to move on to using other machines. When being careful about your money and budgeting for each slot session, the practical choice is to take your winnings and move on to the next machine. Although all of this is true, it does not necessarily mean that the machine will be going cold. In reality, the odds against landing the exact same jackpot on the following pull will be the same as the previous pull.

A Machine that Hasn’t Paid Off in a Long Time Will Hit

Players often have the misconception that machine is due to hit the jackpot because it has not paid off in a while. The fact of the matter is, slot machines never have an expected time to pay off. Slots are unpredictable. Playing through a losing streak will not eventually benefit you with a large jackpot. In fact, the losing streak can grow to be longer and you will lose even more money.

Hot Machines are Placed Along the Aisles

This has been a popular myth throughout the history of slot machines. It is so popular that a large amount of people still play these machines on the ends of aisles no matter how they are paying. Not all machines on the casino floor are programmed to have the same payback percentage. Along with this, as a strategy, casinos make sure that customers and players walking by are seeing other people win. However, casinos put more detail into where they are going to place hot slots, rather than just placing them at the ends of aisles.

Payback Percentage is Low When Crowds and Demand are Larger

There is a myth that casinos purposely lower the payback percentages on slots when the slot floors are more busy. It is actually more difficult to change a slot’s programming than most players think. The process of changing a machine’s programming would be way too noticeable for customers nearby. In order to change the machine’s programmed payback percentage, and employee has to open the slot and replace its computer chip with a new one.

Other Myths

  • Casinos program slot machines to rotate through different payoffs. It is believed that even if it takes thousands of spins, the machine will restart the outcomes in the identical order once the last spin is played. This is actually false because all spins are random and different from previous spins.
  • Payouts are bigger when a player doesn’t use a player card. This is not true because the machine does not take into account whether a card was used or not when determining the outcome and payout for each play. Regardless of whether a card is used or not, the odds will be the same.
  • The casino can report a player’s winnings to the IRS after they use a player card. Using a card will have no effect. When winning at least $1200, your winnings will always be reported by the casino. When having a net losing year, which most players usually have, casinos will have the proof. You can use these win/loss statements to prove your losses and jackpot wins.
  • Employees can make your slot game tight with the press of a button on a remote. This myth makes players believe that if they aren’t nice to staff or tipping them, they can use a remote control to make the machine work against you. Although this is not true, it is still recommended to be polite to staff and tip them well. Slots that can have their odds changed by the use of a remote are still in the experimental phase and barely have a presence in any casinos. The ones that do exist are regulated so that players are protected from any unfair practices that could affect their slot experience. In states like Nevada, remotes can only be used on machines when they haven’t been played for more than 5 minutes. During the duration that the machine is being altered, the screen will display a notification stating that the game is currently being serviced. For the most part, all other slots have to be physically opened and have their computer chips, known as the EPROM chip replaced in order for any changes to be made to them.
  • Slots are more loose when traffic on the casino floor is slow. This is false, because the casino’s main goal is to earn money while letting players be able to win some and leave being satisfied. Casinos are able to do this by making machines loose enough to keep the individual playing the game for a while. If the player sees that there is a possibility to win, he will be willing to return to the casino and take his chances on the machine again. When machines are too tight and provide little payouts, players will have a bad experience and no desire to return.

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