Winning At Casino Slot Machine Games

Monday, April 25, 2016

Let me start with the obvious - it is often said that winning at casino slot machine games is a matter of luck. You win as much as your luck favours you. It is at least partly true. Now let us consider another factor - slot machines are designed to payback only a certain percentage of the total money that is deposited into the machines by the players. Usually, this percentage is around 90%. That does not mean that 90% of the players on a particular slot machine will win something. It only means that the collective long term losses of all the players on a slot machine will be approximately 10% of the total money bet on that machine. If the bets of all the players on a particular slot machine are averaged, all the players would have lost 10% of the amount of their bets. Slot machine players as a class of people win nothing. The casino is the only winner, taking 10% of the total bets on a long term basis. In the short term though, anything can happen. In the short term, there are going to be several winners and losers, some big and some small. Some players will lose all of their money on a slot machine while some others will walk away with a good amount of profit. In the short term, it is as much a game of skill as it is a matter of chance. Keep reading...

Casino Slot Game

Understand The Working Of Casino Slot Machines      

Knowing how casino slot machines work will certainly help. Let us assume that a slot machine is set to pay out 90% of the total amount bet on it. Now how is it going to distribute that 90%? This process is actually random, in at least the honest slot machines. Winnings in a slot game are decided by combinations of pictures or characters appearing on the screen after a spin. A winning combination usually will be three or more identical pictures or characters appearing from left to right or right to left or both on a played line or lines.

What Is A Played Line?

The pictures and characters on a slot machine's screen appear in rows and columns and each row, horizontally or diagonally, in a straight or zig-zag pattern can be called a "line". The total number of lines available to be played in a slot game is only limited by the imagination of the game's designer. Lines are also called "Ways" and there are slot machines in which 1024 winning lines or ways are possible. The more the number of lines or ways, the more the minimum bet amount will be. It is not compulsory for a player to bet on all the lines or ways and thus the number of played lines will depend on the choice of the player. Now let us recall what I said earlier - "A winning combination usually will be three or more identical pictures or characters appearing from left to right or right to left or both on a played line or lines". The winning combination has to appear on a line played (bet on) by you. If a winning combination appears on a line on which you did not bet anything, you will not get paid anything. It is, therefore, absolutely advisable to play all the possible lines and ways in a slot game.

What Is Minimum Or Maximum Bet

The total amount of bet while playing all the lines in a slot game can be controlled by the player. In a typical casino game, not only the number of lines to be played but also the amount of bet on each line can be decided by the player. Say, on a "10 cent' denomination game with maximum 40 lines, the minimum bet will be 4 dollars for one spin. But the game may allow a player to bet a maximum of one dollar on each line thus increasing the bet to 40 dollars on each spin. This will be called "Maximum" or "Max" bet. This concept of minimum or max-bets is important when it comes to the probability of winning or losing on a slot machine game. We will cover that a bit later in this article.

Random Number Generator

The outcome of each spin in a slot game is decided by a software loaded on to the internal CPU of the machine. This software is called RNG or Randon Number Generator. Each possible winning or losing combination in a slot game is assigned a unique number. The payout of each winning combination is also recorded in the software. RNG throws out a unique number after every spin that shows a particular winning or losing combination on the screen. RNG will throw out more winning combinations of more value when a slot machine is set as "Loose" by the casino manager, and will throw out more losing combinations when the slot machine is set as "Tight". This is how the casinos control the overall long-term payout of a slot machine.

When Is RNG Activated?

RNG is activated for each spin immediately when the player presses the "Play" button or pulls the lever. The unique number to decide the outcome of the spin is immediately decided. Then an animation, a simulation of moving lines, or a spin as it is called, starts to entertain the player. The animation is supposed to make the player believe that the spinning lines may stop just anywhere and accordingly the player will win or lose. This is far from the truth. If a player presses the "Stop" button to stop the spinning lines midway, before the animation is completed, the player has merely stopped the animation. The outcome of the spin will still be the same - what corresponds to the random number generated by the RNG earlier when the player had pressed the "Play" button.

How To Pick The Right Slot Machine

There are several answers to this:

1. Pick the slot machine that entertains you the most

For a young guy, a slot machine with pictures of babes in bikinis may be the most entertaining. And if he is happy playing that game, luck will favour him because there is truth behind the saying - "Happy go lucky".

2. Jackpot Machines or Stand Alone Machines

Jackpot machines are those that are linked as a group of machines to a back-end server that can send a random jackpot win to any machine in the group being played at that time. Jackpots are big and enticing and keep the players betting more while they all wait for that big jackpot win. Jackpots running on servers are progressive and increase every time a player makes a bet on any of the linked machine. The downside of jackpot machines is that the number of winning spins is much less than the number of losing spins. The money bet by the players is conserved by the server so that it can throw out a big jackpot every once in a while. This is big business for the casinos but very bad news for the players. For every one winner of a jackpot, there will be hundreds or thousands of losers.

Stand alone machines without any linkage to a jackpot system pay more often though the amount of each winning may not be fantastic. More number of players get paid out on stand alone machines as compared to jackpot-linked machines.

3. Observe And Select The Slot Machines That Pay Better

If you are repeatedly going to a casino, you will eventually be able to notice the slot machines that pay better. Regular players know this and are usually found playing at a few certain machines only.

Minimum or Maximum Bets

This is perhaps the most important concept that decides how frequently or how much you win or lose playing slot machines. Maximum bets are sometimes linked to jackpots which means that the jackpot gets activated only when the maximum bet is placed on a spin. Such a playing strategy will require deep pockets and still at the end of it all, that jackpot may not come. Minimum bets get boring very quickly because the amount won on each spin is so small that the player starts to question the value of the game in terms of the time invested on playing it. What you need to know is, what the minimum and maximum bets mean to the casino. For a casino manager, a maximum bet means a bigger risk because the player might just hit a jackpot. To counter the risk, they reduce the spin-based payout of the game when a max-bet is placed. To clarify this, if playing minimum bet, the RNG of a machine throws out 70 winning combinations in 100 spins, it will throw out only 35 winning combinations when a max-bet is played. But the probability of a jackpot hit, say 0.0001% will remain the same every time a player plays a max-bet. In other words, when a minimum bet is played, the slot machines operate in an "entertainment" mode whereby the idea is to throw out small wins more frequently and entertain the player. But when a max-bet is played, the slot machines switch to "security" mode where the idea is to safeguard the profitability and viability of the casino. For the player, it is a simple matter of bigger the risk, bigger the reward. The risk on max-bets is really high so tread cautiously.

Casinos Do Not Make Players Rich

Casino owners get rich very quickly but the players don't. The odd jackpot winner may also end up losing everything again by coming back to the casino. Whether you are playing slots or a table game in a casino, you are essentially gambling. All the casino games are designed to guarantee a winning percentage for the casino owners and that guaranteed profit for them comes out of the pockets of the players. Just think of this next time you are walking in to a casino.

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Posted by Narinder Singh


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I left my day job in October 2013 and became a full time blogger. I love travel and hence a travel blog was the obvious place to start from. The result is I currently live in Bengaluru, India. - Narinder Singh.


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