Slot Machine Strategies to Ensure Success
Unless you are a regular visitor, the casino floor can be a bit overwhelming. There are so many lights, colors and sounds that many people do not know where to begin. So when it comes to slot machines, how do you decide which one to play – and more importantly, how do you win?
Slot machines are a good entry point for new casino visitors because they are simple to learn, fun to keep playing, and downright intoxicating when you come away a winner. Whether you are spending an hour of down time on your own or with a group of friends, the slots are a great way to warm up for a day or night of gaming.
But whether you are new to slot machines, or you have been playing them for years, you could probably benefit from knowing a few strategies. So on this page, you can find a quick primer on how slot machines work, common myths associated with these popular games, and a few strategic tips you can use to maximize your chance of hitting it big.
How Slot Machines Work
Even if you have never played them before, you probably know the gist of how slot machines work. You put your cash in the machine, pull the lever or push the button, watch the reels spin and see if the results net you some winnings. But if you want to give yourself a better chance at winning, it pays to take a bit of a deeper dive into the inner workings of slot machines.
Old-time slot machines had three vertical reels with one horizontal line for winning. If your numbers or symbols matched up across that line, you won a prize. But over the past decade, technology has stepped in to make slot machines a much more entertaining and engaging experience.
Some modern-day machines are similar to the original versions, while others have anywhere from three to five reels and multiple lines you can choose to play. Each time the machine is played, it uses a random number generator to determine the outcome of the first reel, then the second, and so on.
The amount you win for each spin is determined by the probability of lining up various, numbers, symbols or other icons across the lines that you played. Rare combinations pay the most, while more common combinations pay the least.
Some slot machines also have bonus games that are triggered by the results of each spin – but we will get to that later.
There are a lot of misperceptions about slot machines, and we want to debunk those. No matter what you hear, know that the outcome of spins on slot machines is not affected by any of the following:
- Whether you pull the lever or push the button
- The location of the machine on the floor
- How long it has been since your machine last hit the jackpot
- The specific day or time of day
- Whether the machine is "hot" or "cold"
- Whether your casino member card is inserted
Each spin on a slot machine is its own random event, similar to flipping a coin. Even if one person hit it big twice last weekend on a specific machine, it does not mean the machine was "hot." It means that they got lucky with two winning spins that were each randomly generated.
For some, knowing that the spins on slot machines are random can be frustrating. Some people like to believe there are loops in the system that they can somehow exploit for their benefit. But it can be helpful to know that each spin is random, because it means that the casino also has no say in the results.
So how do you know when a slot machine will hit? The real answer is that there is no way of knowing. However, you can still use some strategy to your advantage.
Slot Machine Strategies
Now that you know the basics about how slot machines work, as well as some common myths, we can go over some tips to help you play. There is no such thing as a foolproof way that will teach you how to win big on slot machines, but there are some steps you can take to maximize your chances.
Choose a Machine Type
Not all slot machines are created equal. There are two main types of machines: flat top machines and progressive machines. Here are the main differences:
Flat top machines: These are slots that have a fixed jackpot no matter how much they are played. These generally give you a better chance of winning in the short term because the odds are slightly better. Flat tops tend to pay out more often, but the payout is usually less.
Progressives: These are the machines that advertise a huge jackpot that continues to grow. Each time a spin does not pay out, the jackpot increases, and it keeps going until someone hits it. Progressives could be just one machine, or the jackpot could be tied to an entire row (or more) of machines. Progressives generally have lower odds of hitting, but the tradeoff is you could win a larger jackpot.
Study the Pay Tables
When figuring out how to win on slot machines, a good first step is to examine the machine's pay table. The pay table is the key that tells you how much each combination pays out.
For example, three somewhat common icons in a line may net you ten credits, while five of those icons will pay out 250. Meanwhile, two extremely rare icons could also pay out ten credits, while four would pay out 2,000 and five would pay 10,000.
Each machine is different, so take a quick look at the pay table to know what you have to spin to win some cash.
Check the Numbers
In addition to checking a machine's pay table, you should also determine how many symbols or icons are on each given reel. The fewer numbers there are on each reel, the easier it will be to make matches. Conversely, more numbers on each reel means it will be more difficult to come up with winning combinations.
This does not always mean the fewer symbols on each reel is better, however. It may come down to personal preference. While fewer symbols on a reel may mean more wins, the payouts may not be as big. It might be much more difficult to hit winning combinations on machines with more symbols per reel, but the payouts are also likely higher.
Control Your Bankroll
This is not necessarily a strategy for playing slots, but rather more about managing your money with a betting pattern. You do not want to overspend early and risk making it a short night.
Some slots players start off by betting the lowest possible amount. For example, a player could start with one credit. Each time they have a run of three to five spins without a win, they could increase their bet by one. Then, when they hit again, they will decrease their bet by one.
This method does not give you a better chance of hitting a winner on each spin. But it does help your bankroll last longer, which over the long haul will give you more chances to win.
If you enjoy or are interested in statistics, you can use this to your advantage when playing the slots.
In statistics, a standard deviation is a measure that tells you how much variation there is within a set of data. In this case, you can try to figure out the average amount of time it takes for an individual machine to pay out. It takes some time and thinking, but it can be very worth your while.
The trick is to figure out how many spins you take between wins. Count the number of spins between ten wins, and then use that data to figure out the average number of spins per win.
Remember, slot machines are random, so the average number of spins per win you experience does not guarantee it will happen each time. But it can help give you an idea when to increase or decrease your bets, which in the long run could help maximize your winnings for the day.
Study Bonus Games
Not all slot machines have bonus games, but those that do can add an extra level of excitement to the overall slots experience. In most cases, these bonus games are triggered based on specific symbols or combinations you receive during spins.
First, if your machine does have a bonus game, learn what triggers the game and what you have to do once it launches. Some machines integrate bonus games into the mix regularly, while others make them rarer to come across.
If you ask a room full of slots players about bonus games, you will likely receive a roller coaster of responses. There will be stories of players quickly multiplying their bankroll during a bonus game. There will also be those who came close to hitting a huge bonus, only for it to come crashing down.
These bonus rounds tend to be games of chance that can boost your winnings. Win or lose, they make slot machines much more interesting and interactive.
The “One Play” Strategy
This strategy may not be for everybody, but for newcomers, it can be a good way to discover which slot machines you like most.
The basic idea is to sit down at a machine and play one spin with the maximum bet allowed. If you hit a winner, then play again. If not, move on to another machine and repeat the process.
Again, there is no evidence that the one-play method will lead to more winnings, but it is a great way to sample many different types of machines so you can return to your favorites later.
Take Part in Promotions
One good way to maximize your slot machine winnings is to take part in casino promotions. We regularly have slots-related promotional events here at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino, and they can be a great way to win some extra cash or prizes.
For example, we host a Wonder Spin in-game bonus that runs weekly from 8 a.m. on Monday to the end of the gaming day on Thursday. When you play a certain number of designated games during that period, you receive the Wonder Spin bonus. Each Wonder Spin is a guaranteed winner and can earn you comp dollars, free slot play, or other prizes from week to week.
Become a Club Member
Another way to get the most out of your slots play is to join a casino's club rewards program, such as our Capital Club. When you insert your Capital Club card into our slot machines while you play, you accumulate points that earn you rewards. If you reach 600 points within a one-year period, you become a Capital Platinum member, and if you reach 1,500 points in a year, you reach Capital Elite Status.
Each level of membership has its own benefits, but all Capital Club members are eligible for free slot play awards and various other perks and promotions throughout the year.
When it comes down to it, there is no casino slot machine secret that can guarantee you a win every time. But you can use the strategies above to give yourself the best chance of hitting it big. The whole point of going to a casino is to have fun, and while no one can control whether you win or lose, you get to decide how much enjoyment you get in the process.
Of course, human nature tells us it is always more fun to win, a phenomenon most players experience every time they hit a winning combination. But these strategies should help you win on more a regular basis, and if nothing else, extend your bankroll to maximize your time.
Slots at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino
When in the area, be sure to check out the slots at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino. We have more than 2,300 machines to choose from, including high-jackpot progressives, and we cater to all level of players. Whether you want to play the penny machines or release your inner high roller and play our $100 slots, we have the right game for you.
When walking through a casino, you might see people cheering in excitement after someone hits it big on one of the slot machines. Use these tips next time you visit Dover Downs Hotel & Casino, and give yourself a better chance of being among those people and enjoying your time playing the slots.