It’s no secret that your success or failure when playing real money slot machines is almost entirely dependent on the random number generator (RNG). The player has to start the process–placing a bet and spinning the reels–but unlike some games, he doesn’t have any input after that to influence the outcome. In blackjack, a player has to decide whether to take a card or stand. There are plenty of decisions in poker, video poker and sports betting. In slots, the player starts the process and awaits the outcome.

This doesn’t mean that the player is merely a passive bystander. There’s a number of considerations that players have to factor in before and after each spin. There’s the decision of what game to play, what casino to play out, what type of jackpot to shoot for and the stakes and bankroll at risk. After the gaming session begins there are other considerations–whether to keep playing or call it a night, whether to reduce or increase your stakes or whether to play a different game or at a different casino. These are all very important considerations and can make the difference between a profitable session or a big loss.

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It’s not only unwise but can be dangerous to play slot machines–or gamble in any other fashion for that matter–when you’re not at your best. Your wits need to be sharp to process all of the above-referenced considerations and if they’re not your chances of winning decrease dramatically while your chances of losing more than you can afford to increases greatly. There are some obvious things to avoid–you most definitely want to be playing the slots when your decision-making process are impaired by alcohol or drugs. This should be self-evident why this is a bad idea but since you’re often in an environment that encourages the opposite behavior (‘free drinks’) makes this something important to remain aware of.

There are other circumstances that can undermine your wits and generally ‘dull your edge’. You shouldn’t play slots (or otherwise gamble) when you’re sleepy, sick, depressed, hungry or angry. In small doses, the escapism provided by gambling can be a good thing. If it’s a situation where you’re using it to avoid reality or try to make you ‘feel better’ it can have a very negative outcome. At the very least, you won’t be able to make your best decisions or otherwise play at your highest level.


You should gamble only when you’re in the right frame of mind and a generally positive mental, physical and emotional state. You should go into every session with some purpose–you should know in advance what games you want to play, what stakes you want to risk and how much you can afford to lose. It’s not a bad idea to have a figure in mind that you’d like to win–and when you hit this figure walk away from the session. It’s basically the opposite of a ‘loss limit’ and can help you avoid getting ‘ground out’ after a nice payout. And by all means, don’t ‘chase’ your losses by overextending yourself in hopes of ‘getting back to even’.

There’s an important reality at any ‘negative expectation’ gambling discipline–the longer you play the better it is for the casino. For that reason, many players like to employ a ‘hit and run’ strategy. If they’re fortunate to hit a nice payout on a negative EV game like a slot machine many players will cash out and end the session right then and there. Since slots are based on a Random Number Generator there’s no guarantee that the next spin won’t net another jackpot but the longer you play the greater the influence of the ‘house edge’ built into the game.