Aces Guide to Gambling

Casino Slot Machine Strategy -

Favorite Myths regarding Slots

About The Author

Michael Shackleford is known as "The Wizard of Odds", due to his mathematical analysis of many games of chance.

If you are willing to learn and want to maximize your odds, then visit his website at

The wizard of odds

  • Slot machines stop on any possible set of stops with equal probability

    This was true of the old mechanical slot machines, before computers made their mark on the game. Based on a random number chosen by the machine, the reels will stop on a specific set of symbols. The machine will stop on non-paying combinations a disproportionately high number of times.

  • Slot machines are programmed to go through a cycle of payoffs. Although the cycle can span thousands of spins once it reaches the end the outcomes will repeat themselves in exactly the same order as the last cycle.

    This is not true at all. Every trial is completely random and independent of all past trials.

  • Slot machines are programmed to pay off a particular percentage of money bet. Thus after a jackpot is hit the machine will tighten up to get back in balance, and when a jackpot has not been hit for a long time it is overdue and more likely to hit.

    The only part of this that is true is that they are designed to pay off a particular percentage. However the laws of probability dictate that the longer the machine is played the closer it will come to its target payoff, even with every trial being completely random. A jackpot is equally as likely to be hit right after the last one and if it has been fifty million spins since the last one.

  • The casinos place the loosest slot machines close to the front doors and at the edge of aisles.

    According to Steve Bourie, a former executive in the gambling industry for more than 25 years and author of American Casino Guide it is not true that the best slot machines are placed near the front doors or edge of aisles. It is true that the casinos may have identical looking machines with different average payback percentages but it will mix them among the other machines.

    Tips for playing the slots

    Here are some miscellaneous tips to help you cut down the house edge.

  • Most machines reward you for playing the maximum coins. For example the jackpot may pay 2000 coins with 2 coins played, but 4000 with 3 coins played. If you don't feel comfortable playing the maximum coins you should drop to a lower coinage. Play the quarters instead of dollars.

  • Never leave or play a machine that owes you money. Sometimes a machine will run out of money before it is finished paying you off. If you get up someone else can sit at your machine and claim they are owed your money. If you put another coin you may lose the evidence that you are owed money.

  • The looseness of a machine will have a lot to do with its location. Slots that are in areas where people are killing time, like the airport or in line for the buffet, are usually tight.

  • Look for who is advertising loose slots and quoting specific payback percentages. These casinos are eager for your business are willing to reward you with a looser machine for coming in.

  • Even in the same aisle two identical looking machines can be set to different average returns. If your machine is tight it would not be a bad idea to switch to another one.

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