Slot machines can be a lot of fun and there are steps that players can take to stretch their bankroll and to give themselves a better chance to win. That being said, a lot of novice (and even some experienced) slot players get hoodwinked by ‘systems’ and ‘money management strategies’ that are supposed to give them a profit every time they hit the slots. To say that they’re profoundly disappointed is an understatement.

Some of these strategies make no sense whatsoever. For example, there are people who suggest that the trick is to look for ‘patterns’ in the slot machine reels. If you find patterns that form an ‘X’ or a ‘Y’ that’s a sign that the machine is due to pay a big jackpot. If you’ve read our other slot machine articles you already know the deal with the notion that machines can be ‘due’. If you haven’t you should check them out. The fact is that any pattern you find in the slot reels is mere coincidence. The random number generator (RNG) governs everything that happens in the slot machine and it doesn’t care about what patterns showed up previously.

Since there’s so much nonsense that doesn’t work–and in some cases that cost you a fortune–let’s look at some slot machine facts that can help protect your bankroll.

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  • PLAY FOR FUN AND DON’T THINK YOU CAN ‘BEAT’ THE HOUSE: In the long term you can’t overcome the mathematical edge that the casino has in every slot machine. If you think you’re going to play slots for a ‘job’ or an ‘investment’ you’re deluded. There are a few types of gambling that offer a skill component where it is possible to put the odds in your favor. The best of the best can do so consistently. Among these–poker, video poker, blackjack, sports betting and horse racing. You simply cannot do it with slots. For that reason, you need to assume that you’re going to lose and enjoy it when you win.
  • JOIN THE SLOTS PLAYERS CLUB: This is something we stress in just about every slot machine strategy we write. There’s an urban legend that players should not join the slots club at the casino because that will allow them to track your play and know when to ‘flip the switch’ that causes you to lose. It just doesn’t work like that. There is no ‘switch’ to flip. The worst thing that the casino is going to do is to market to you and that can get you all sorts of perks–free meals, free rooms, free shows, cash back, cool t-shirts, etc. Like we said above, the casino doesn’t need to track your play because they have the mathematical edge. The slots club is a way to get some nice treats while you’re playing the game.
  • KNOW YOUR GAMBLING GOALS AND PLAY ACCORDINGLY: Here’s the reality–machines with fixed jackpots typically pay more frequently than do progressive jackpots. We’ll go into detail about progressive jackpots in the future but it’s important to know your gambling goals and play the machines that provide the right fit. If you want to extend your play and maximize your bankroll you want to play the fixed jackpot machines. These machines have top jackpots that are usually in the $1000 to $5000 range. That’s nice to fall into your lap but hardly a ‘life-changing’ windfall. If you’re looking for a big lottery type payout in the millions of dollars you’ll want to play the progressives. You’ll not win as many smaller rewards but you’ll at least give yourself a chance for the big bucks.
  • ONLY BET WHAT YOU CAN AFFORD TO LOSE: This is obvious for every form of gambling but people still have a problem with it. Some people have a serious problem with it. Once again, you can’t beat the mathematical house edge in the long term. It doesn’t matter if you think the machine is ‘due’ or if you ‘feel lucky’. If your gambling is causing you trouble that’s a sign that you need to quit for a while.
  • GIVE VIDEO POKER A SHOT: Video Poker has several advantages over slot machines. The return percentage is better plus there are legitimate strategies you can use to improve your odds. If you enjoy it, you’ll have a better shot at winning and protecting your bankroll with video poker than with slots.