Pro gamblers tend to avoid slot machines, even though they are among the most popular attractions for casual Vegas vacationers. Because the machines are so dramatically weighted for the house – and so dependent on pure luck – seasoned pros pass them by for games where they can use their skills more efficiently. While there may be no grand “secret” to winning the elusive slot machine jackpot, here are some things you should keep in mind if you want to maximize your edge.
1) Read the Payout Chart
If you’re going to play the slots, you should at least know what you’re getting into with each machine. A good place to start is the payout chart. Learn the rules of the machine. Know which combinations will trigger an avalanche of coins. Figure out when you would be better off betting the maximum and when you should bet smaller. None of this education is going to change the odds, but at least you won’t be blindly pulling the lever, waiting for the lights and sirens to go off.
2) Watch Your Bankroll
The riskier the game, the more critical strict bankroll management becomes. Since slot machines are among the most dangerous games in the casino, you should make sure you aren’t going to gamble away your life savings in search of the jackpot. The key to smart bankroll management is to set a loss limit. Once you’ve lost that much money, you walk away. Ignoring this basic rule is a good way to wind up with no way to pay your light bill when you get back home.
3) Watch Your Temper
Slot machines are meant to be fun, but they can also be a source of enormous frustration. Some gamblers can handle the swings while others find themselves on the verge of uncontrollable rage when things don’t go their way. If you find yourself angrily slamming coins into the slot, it’s time for a breather. Anger makes it difficult to make good decisions, and winning in a casino environment requires good decision-making. Step outside, recover your Zen and come back to the machines with a mind as calm as a country pond.
4) Don’t Give Back Your Winnings
If you only remember one of these tips, make it this one. When you win a profit from the slots, don’t turn around and give it all back to the casino. The best advice is to stick with your original bankroll, regardless of how much extra you’ve won. Hitting a big jackpot is one of the life’s most rewarding feelings, but losing it all back is one of life’s worst. If your winnings are burning a hole in your pocket, at least use them to see a show, enjoy a nice dinner, or upgrade your hotel room.
5) The Truth about Hot and Cold Machines
One of the most persistent Vegas myths is that machines run hot and cold. Proving how little credence can be put to this idea, some gamblers believe the opposite. That is, if a machine hasn’t paid off in a while, they think it must be “due.” All of this is nonsense. Your odds are the same every time you put your money into a machine, regardless of whether it paid off the last 10 spins or hasn’t paid off in three weeks. Don’t let bad gambling myths influence your play choices.