By now you should understand the basic realities of slot machine play. Due to the design of the game, the unknown probabilities of winning combinations and the built in ‘house edge’ there’s just no such thing as a strategy that can guarantee that you’ll walk away a winner from a slot machine session. You’re no doubt aware that the results are driven by a random number generator (RNG) and that none of the myths, conventional wisdom, secrets or ‘old wives tales’ like using cold coins will have any impact at all on your results. If you’re not completely up to speed on what the random number generator is and how it works to power a slot machine you should refer to the other articles on this site–this is essential information for every casino slots player.

Since none of your actions have any influence on the outcome of the game it’s important to take a realistic perspective on your goals playing land based or online casino slots. There’s nothing you can do to to make slot machine play a long term, predictable endeavor. You’ll always be subject to the realities of math and probability. Your primary goal, however, should be to avoid mistakes that cost money. There are many things you can do to protect your bankroll and keep you playing longer. And that *is* the only way to win.


Some of these tips have corollaries and some are debatable. We’ll give you both sides of every argument–often they’re based on the same premise but get their in a different way:


This is an unmistakable reality. The higher the denomination of the machine, the better the odds and the lower the ‘house edge’. That’s the part everyone agrees on. What you are supposed to do with the information is a subject of debate. Some slot machine experts suggest that you take advantage of this fact and that you’re better off playing one coin per spin on a high dollar machine with a low house edge than you are playing full coins on a lower denomination machine. Other slot machine experts suggest that it’s easy to be fooled by this and that you’re better off playing a lower denomination machine at full coinage even understanding the better odds on the higher denomination machine.

They’re actually both right–and both wrong. The optimal strategy varies from machine to machine. Some machines require ‘full coins in’ to qualify for a big jackpot. Others have a similar jackpot structure as video poker where the payout for full coins in is significantly greater than not. On a Jacks or Better video poker machine, for example, there’s a huge difference between the payout for a Royal Flush with one coin (50 coins or $12.50 on a quarter machine) and with full coins (4000 coins or $1000 on a coin machine).

On some machines that a) don’t require ‘full coins in’ for jackpot qualification and b) have an evenly graduated pay table (we’ll explain what that means in a moment) you’re better off playing fewer coins at higher denominations. The ‘evenly graduated’ pay table means that there is no ‘windfall bonus’ for full coinage. For example, a jackpot on this type of machine could pay 500 coins with 1 coin bet, 1000 coins with 2 coins bet and 1500 coins with 3 coins bet.


There’s a persistent myth among gamblers that slots with mechanical reels pay better than video slots. That is categorically untrue. What *is* true is that newer machines–particularly those based on a popular movie or TV show–with all of the bells and whistles and ‘special features’ do pay much less than simple video machines with a traditional slot machine format and pay table. If a video reel machine just spins, pays out the winner and goes to the next spin you’re in good shape.


I’m not going to tell you to avoid big progressive jackpot machines altogether. It all depends on what your gambling goals are in the first place. If you’re looking to ‘stretch your dollar’ and milk your bankroll for as long as possible you should forget about them. If you’re looking for a ‘big score’ you should play them. In either case, it’s important to know how progressive jackpots work. With every coin you put in, a percentage goes into the big progressive jackpot. That’s not necessarily a bad thing but if you’re looking to play for as long as possible at the best possible odds this is a problem. There are some other criteria for determining which progressives you should play and which you shouldn’t–that’s something we’ll address at length in the future.


Another persistent myth–somehow the casino tracks the winnings of slot club members and magically ‘flips a switch’ to make them losers if they’ve won too much. That is completely untrue. Slot club membership will have no impact on whether you win or lose in the casino. What it will do is give you a lot of perks for your play–cashback bonuses, free meals, free shows, free hotel rooms, preferential treatment, etc. There’s a lot of upsides to slot club memberships and no downsides whatsoever.