How to Level the Slot Machine Playing Field: Tips to Play Smarter

As a former video slot machine and bonus round designer, I have lifetime Non-Disclosure Agreements with three of the largest slot machine manufacturers in the world. Though none of the revelations I disclose here will be of a proprietary nature, or a violation of such agreements, some will be little-known things that people in the industry would prefer I not seeing shared with the general public.

First and foremost, be aware that the technology of electronic digital slot machines has grown in quantum leaps from what was the state-of-the-art as recently as three years ago. That means most 'How-To-Win' books are obsolete by the time you buy them.

Ditto the various pamphlets available to buy on line. Even though some of these may be close to current trends, guess what? Executives in the slot industry, as well as most astute casino slot managers, read such material as quickly as it comes out. If somebody has found a loophole or suggests a viable way of giving slot players an advantage, you can bet your last quarter that the situation will be corrected, pronto.

The evolution and development of slot machines from basic mechanical, single-pay-line bars, bells, chimes, and plumbs devices, to brightly lit electronic enhanced machines, and finally to the video reel screen, multi-line games with animated bonus rounds, is an exploding state-of-the-art process that sets the bar higher and reaches new heights that were unimaginable only a short time ago.

Without question, you are reading this because you want to WIN at the slot machines. Period. Well, here's some earth-shattering news: they don't build those multi-million dollar hotels and casinos because Average Joe's are beating the slots all the time.

But, perhaps the things I know and pass along in this article will help level the playing field a bit. If you are serious about your slot playing, and always looking for something to give you an edge then read on.

Why? Because despite all the advances in computer chips, technology and slot platforms, the final determination of how much better you'll play will come down to where the slot manager places 'loose' machines on the casino floor, and how long they stay in that spot (or have their payout chip changed).

Most slot players have heard that highly visible machines are traditionally "loose" and pay off more frequently than machines tucked deep in the casino. All those hints in various "How To Win" books and in pamphlets about which machines are most likely to hit larger payouts more often are basically true.

If you've heard of random generators, let me tell you. they absolutely do exist. But that does not mean all machines are subject to plain old "random" luck. Machines can be set to pass or accept winning combinations according to the house (casino) policy.

But that's not the whole story by a long shot. You can't just read this article and others and think you now know it all. Far from it. There is a lot more to know to put the basic knowledge you learned into practical use.

You'll have to exhibit some discipline about where to play, how to evaluate a particular machine (or a casino or other location) and more about when to quit playing than the person playing next to you knows.

If you do, you may be the player with the cat-that-ate-the-canary grin at the end of the day knowing you stayed the course, followed the strategy, and now have money, which was previously in the casino till, in your pocket.

Most slot gamblers don't take the time to learn what they are up against or try to seriously make an effort to level the playing field, but instead go full steam ahead gambling their hearts out

If you are a serious and frequent slot player you may find the information I am sharing with you here to be too restrictive and encroaching on the "fun" you get out of playing. Does that include loosing too?

You may find it very difficult, if not down right impossible, to spend the time scouting various casinos, scoping slot machines in different areas, and, most of all pushing the CASH OUT button and walking away, with your winnings when you believe you are on a hot streak. Instead stay there and keep playing. That's what the casinos want you to do, and what most players do. And they give back their winnings, and then some.

So how can you beat the slots? Correction, very few people ever beat the slots unless they happen to be playing a "Progressive" machine, at maximum bet, and happen to be doing it when the random generator picks puts the winning symbols together right in front of your face.

In early January this year (2007) a 66-year old man playing a Progressive machine at the Pahrump Nugget Casino in Las Vegas hit for more than $18-million on Penny Megabucks. That's a penny machine created by International Game Technology (IGT) the largest slot manufacturer in the world.

He did it without a system, without scouting the casino, without advice from me, or anything but just being in the right place at the right time, and playing the machine to its maximum bet. It's called luck.

The bad news is that perhaps nine out of ten people will only follow some of the advice in this article, or do it half heartedly, before falling prey to myriad bells and whistles, flashing lights and the aura of the casino floor. For some the total casino environment is really a big part of the fun, while practical advice about leveling the playing field seems to be an antiseptic approach that substitutes logic for 'fun'.

Human nature being what it is, people often set goals but somewhere along the line they cease to follow the advice and revert back to doing things as they had in the past. It happens all the time.

But if you are that one-in-ten determined to win and with the intestinal fortitude (guts) to religiously follow your convictions and practice what you'll learn in this article, then you will have a better chance of beating the slots than the next person.

The following information is really important to know since it gives you a knowledge of the strategy, thinking, business decisions, and gigantic odds players are up against, even with the various states gaming control commissions mandated 80-90+ payback return regulations.

The industry that manufactures slot machines is a very small industry, compared to other industries doing billions of dollars annually.

When you eliminate the mechanics, the office people, sales people, and all others not directly involved with the programming and design of slot machines, the total number of people "in the know" about the whys and wherefores of payouts to players is indeed a small group.

And it's these facts, the thinking and strategy, behind why some slot machines return as much as 98% of money put in while others payback slightly more than 80%. Which ones do you want to play? Do you know how to identify them?

The first thing 'successful' players do upon entering a casino's slot area is make an effort to identify low-hit frequency machines. Do this by pulling up the pay table and reading its payouts. These machines are set to have the low-paying combinations hit less frequently, and using that lack of small hits to provide some extra higher-paying hits because game designers know they have to compensate for higher hits by taking away many of the lower-paying hits.

That means the chances of getting a good hit on any individual spin is lower than on other machines in the casino. You should avoid this kind of machine. Sometimes the way to do this is to observe other players in an area and count the number of spins between sizeable hits. The greater the number of spins, the lower the payouts

Also worth remembering: machines with wild multiplying symbols usually have lower hit frequencies. The higher the multiple, the lower the frequency.

Besides the above, here's some other things I always look for:

First of all, I rarely play the Progressive machines with the million dollar jackpots because I know those banks of machines have no loose machines. It's the constantly increasing jackpot that keeps players there, not the frequent good hits. Besides, playing anything but a penny Progressive machine would wipe out my gambling budget in no time.

Machines that are in high visibility areas, such as those round, kiosk-like groupings, scattered around the floor. One or more of these are usually looser than the rest. You'll never find two loose machines next to each other.

Be advised that all such round groupings are not equal. Those with the most passing traffic tend to pay better than those deep into the casino.

Other areas where loose machines have traditionally been found are near tile floor high traffic area aisles. I'm talking about the aisles that people move through en route to elevators, restaurants or shops. The machines fronting on such aisles are often looser than those even one row deeper. The carpeted casino floor aisles are said by many to be not as loose, but I haven't found that to be the case.

For years it was thought you should avoid machines that back right up to table games because the casinos don't want hoping and hollering slot winners distracting big bucks table players. In some casinos that is still true, but it's not written in stone anymore since slots bring in more revenue to casinos than table games. Best advice if you want to play a machine in such an area. Scout and observe. If it is loose it won't take very long to discover that.

So if you take everything written here to heart, and read the other slot machine advice you can find for free online, you have a better chance of leveling the playing field.

Of course, the casino slot managers know these same things. That's why some casinos throw a monkey wrench in your best laid plans and move machines around much more frequently than was the case as recently as three years ago. And, of course, thy can replace computer chips almost instantly to change a machine returning 94+% to one paying 80%. And they do.

This means if you discover a loose machine on your next trip, the chances are that if you come back to play it a week later things will be different.

One thing I do is always have a machine limit or budget. Even if a machine is loose and giving me a good return I have disciplined myself to move on once I've expired the budget. When this works I usually walk away either even, slightly ahead, or nicely ahead.

Then I locate another machine to play and start the budget all over again. In casinos I'm familiar with there are certain machine themes I prefer playing more than others (it's just personal taste) and I move around to them, each with a machine budget.

A good way to experiment doing this is do a test with penny machines using a $5 limit per machine. Play nine lines, five cents per line so your total bet is .45. this will give you eleven spins to find out if the machine is loose or if you should move on.

The secret to making that work is simple: If the machine is loose, you should have more than one hit that bring your winnings back to the original $5 or a few bucks above. If during your 11 spins you hit a good bonus round and push your earnings well beyond the original $5 then either immediately take the money and move on, or set another machine limit (usually back to a nice round number). Chances are you will expire this limit without seeing another sizeable hit.

Depending upon your total casino gambling budget per trip, once you've experimented with the penny machines you can move up to nickels or quarters. Naturally the same 9-line, 5-coins per line routine with nickels will cost you $24.75 per machine, and with quarters the expenditure is $123.75.

But there is always that random generator. And if you happen to be playing a Progressive machine for the maximum amount when the angels decide to smile at you, then you can forget everything you've ever read and laugh all the way to the bank.

Free Roulette Systems

If you’re thinking about ordering a free Roulette system off the Internet, there are a few things to consider before you do. Asking yourself a few simple questions before you order will ensure that you get a quality, legitimate system instead of a worthless gimmick. It can also keep you out of potential trouble.

Free Roulette System Questions

The first question to ask yourself whenever you’re considering any gambling system is, is this legal? A lot of gambling systems, like counting cards, are illegal and carry stiff penalties. This is less a factor in Roulette systems, but you definitely want to make sure there is nothing shady about the system you’re interested in.

The second question to ask yourself is, does this system make sense? That is, does the system sound logical or does it seem like a gimmick? A legitimate system will make logical sense and can be explained clearly and precisely. A false system cannot stand up to scrutiny and those who advertise them will make an effort to dodge direct questions and their statements and answers will be characteristically vague.

The last question to ask is, is this free system really free? Many people advertise free systems, only to demand money later. Now, this is not necessarily a bad thing. Be skeptical of free Roulette systems. If a person has discovered an actual, legitimate system that works, this is a very valuable asset, and one that they do not want every Tom, Dick, or Mary to know about. If their system works, they will understandably want some compensation for it. Someone who offers to give you all their secrets free probably doesn’t have much to offer.

Roulette Secrets

There are hundreds, even thousands of books out there that offer to teach the secrets of Roulette. Some of these books are actually pretty good, others don't really help out the average gambler much. Some of the secret strategies require you to start out with a bankroll that is too big for them to be effective for the everyday gambler. Some are better suited for average people because they let you start out with a smaller bankroll.


Roulette Secrets or Common Sense?

Some books that offer to teach you the secrets of Roulette really only give you simple pointers that anyone who knows even a little about gambling can already tell you. They tell you things like you should win big in only a few spins and then walk away. Well, sure, everyone knows that. But what if you want to play more than a few spins, then what do you do?

Other books tell you "secrets" of Roulette like sound money management. Don't bet more than you're willing to lose, they say, or don't get so caught up in the moment that you lost track of how much you're betting, or you could lose big. These are definitely good pointers that every gambler should know, but I would hardly call these secrets and I certainly would not pay money for one of these books.

The only Roulette secrets books that are worth the purchase price are ones that can teach you a unique, innovative system for reducing the house advantage and increasing your odds of winning. These are worthwhile and can show you how to start with a small bankroll and earn a lot of money over a longer period of time. Make sure to look for the words "Roulette system" or "winning system" somewhere in the description of the book, otherwise you might end up with a book that tells you such non-secrets as "the advantage is with the house." If you didn't know that, you should think twice before putting your hard earned money on the line, because you're most likely going to kiss it goodbye.

Professor Edward O. Thorp – Beat The Dealer (1965, Mono, Vinyl) - Discogs

Beat The Dealer

Professor Edward O. Thorp – Beat The Dealer (1965, Mono, Vinyl) - Discogs

In order to beat the dealer at any game of chance, you have to know the game inside and out. Sure, any Joe Schmo off the street can sit down at a table and by pure luck win a few hands, but in order to achieve long term success, you’ll need to develop an in depth knowledge of how the game is played and what you can do to increase you odds of winning.


Beating the Dealer or the Game?

The first thing to realize is that it is not the dealer himself you need to beat, it is the game. The dealer has no real control or influence over the outcome of the game, he or she is simply the means by which the game plays itself out. Do not focus on the dealer as a person, but as another facet of the game that needs to be understood in order to be beaten.

One of the best things you can do to beat the dealer/game is to pick a game and stick with it. Gambling is like anything else, the more you play, the better you’ll get. Sticking with one game and playing it repeatedly is like practicing your jump shot. Keep doing it over and over again and you’re bound to improve.

Another way to beat the dealer/game is to realize that while the odds naturally favor the house, there are things you can do to overcome those odds. There are a few gambling systems out there designed to overcome the house’s advantage in games like Roulette and Black Jack that are well worth the money they cost. They can teach you valuable tips and insider strategies to predict the results of the next spin or the next deal so you can maximize your earnings and beat the dealer over and over again.

Black Jack Surrender

One option available at most Las Vegas casinos is black jack with surrender. This means that once your hand is dealt and you can see the card that the dealer is showing, you can surrender the hand and only lose half of your money. This can be a very valuable strategic move when the dealer is showing a nine or ten and you have 16, for instance.

Rather than facing the highly probable loss of your entire bet, surrender lets you choose to sacrifice only half of your bet so you can live to fight another day. Every two times you surrender rather than lose, you are getting the equivalent of a free hand. When employed judiciously over a large number of hands, black jack surrender can make a big difference in the longevity of one's play.


No Retreat, No Surrender

As with most things that sound too good to be true, there is a catch in black jack surrender. The dealer must look at his hole card before players are given the option to surrender. If the hole card indicates that the dealer has black jack, players forfeit their entire bet before they even get a chance to wave the white flag.

Increasingly, online gambling casinos are offering surrender black jack as well, in their attempts to more closely mimic the bricks and mortar competition. An online gambling casino that offers surrender is likely to be somewhat dedicated to customer service and the quality of the player's experience. Remember, the house has the advantage in the long run, so take caution with casinos that try to make out in the short run as well.

Beat Roulette

Roulette is one of the most exciting and potentially rewarding casino games. The odds are fairly good for players, much better than in most other casino games really, and with the right strategies you can increase your chances of winning even more. All you need is the right system in order to overcome the house advantage.

Beating Roulette and Making Friends

Beating Roulette is not as hard as you might think. Professional gamblers have developed various systems in order to do just that. Some systems are statistical, others are quite extraordinary and take into account physics and other important factors. Whatever the system is based on, it is meant to teach you how to predict where the ball will land on the wheel, thus increasing your chances of winning.

Systems that teach you how to beat Roulette are not all the same. Some systems only work for short term winning, others can keep you winning again and again over long periods of time. Some systems require that you start out with a large bankroll in order for it to work, others will work just as well even if you don’t have a lot of money to start with. Some are quite simple and any one can use them, others are incredibly technical and require a thorough knowledge of statistics.

Once you do find the right system, you’re ready to experience the thrill of victory and earn some money along the way. Online Roulette is a great place to win money, but if you want to really experience Roulette, you’ve got to go to a casino occasionally. Roulette is a slower game than others, and is enjoyed by a more social, sophisticated set of enthusiasts who average more time at the table and get to know each other much better. It’s a great way to meet people with similar interests and earn cash while you’re at it.

Online Penny Slot

The online penny slot machine is the last of a dying breed. In the old days, a penny slot held the promise for great riches. Of course, a new Cadillac at that point was about 3000 dollars. Nowadays, most people are familiar with the nickel, quarter, or even dollar slot machine, all of which carry a much more significant upside.

But in an age when we bemoan two-dollar-a-gallon gas and 12-dollar movies, there's something quaint and even refreshing about the online penny slot. Even most gumball machines have seen a 2500-percent rate of inflation in the past 20 years. In fact, there's nearly nothing left to buy for a mere penny these days. For years the Treasury has debated phasing out the famous copper coin altogether.


Buy Your Mortgage with an Online Penny Slot

Well, that may be a stretch, but there are winners at the online penny slot machine. They may only win five bucks here, 10 bucks there, but there's something to be said for longevity in any game of chance. Think of penny slots as an entertainment bargain, and you've got the right attitude to play.

You won't find penny slots at many online casinos. Not, in a multibillion-dollar industry where fortunes are won and lost (usually lost) by the minute. But more expensive online slots are everywhere and offer a relatively painless introduction to the world of online gambling, as there's virtually no strategy to follow whatsoever.

We Were Gamblers: 1c. Slot Machines!

It is amazing how we people like to win. And we also like money. So when you combine those two ingredients, you end up with an incredible feeling: winning money! And even better, we love to win money with no effort at all, just win it, not earn it. And what better place to win money than a Casino at Las Vegas?

Not so long ago, we went to Las Vegas, my wife and me, together with my brother in law. Actually, we went to California, Nevada, and Arizona and even experienced an earthquake!!! But that's a different story (one that you can read at my CP page or in the link attached to this article, by the way).

So when heading to Las Vegas you can imagine how people would tell us "don't loose all your clothes in the Casinos" to which all three of us would reply "I'm not a gambler". Little did we know.

Of course, Las Vegas is a weird unique city, where there is not much to do other than Casino hopping (that, and the Hoover Damn). And the hot weather influences in your decision of entering an air-conditioned building.

Then, he first night we spent in Vegas, we went to a couple of Casinos. Being in Vegas, after all, we thought it was our moral obligation to at least play a couple of dollars, so we hit the roulette.

I think it took us at least ten minutes to even dare to play! Again, we were not gamblers, so we couldn't decide if we were doing right or wrong. We heard they would give us free drinks should we play, but we were not drinkers either…

I took the first step and put some money on the table. It took us a little while to understand the minimum bet rules, we got our chips thrown at us by the "roulette-keeper" (that's what we called him in our minds) as if he was saying "Are you going to play that? You don't even tip a bum with that". But we hit color a couple of times, won some, lost some, and finally left the table with a five dollar profit.

Now, the following day, we were pumped; after all, we had won on the Casino the previous night! So we headed to "Old Las Vegas", the "real" one, you know. The one that Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., and Jerry Lewis (why not) made big.

And we were not the same we were the night before. This time, we were gamblers! We even enlisted our friend to come. We walked in the Casino as if we were cowboys entering a tavern. We looked around, asked the waitress for a drink, and sat in the best, most powerful, shiny, epic, one cent slot machine… and we put a whole dollar on it!!

Being four of us playing, we were risking a twenty-five cent share each. You would think its ridiculous, or (most probably) that we are cheap. But if you do, it is just because you have never felt that thrill of playing the slots.

We just played in turns; time sort of stopped for the moment, and the only thing moving was our wheel of fortune. Once and again, the suspense made us nervous. And the, it just happened…

After loosing about thirty cents, the magic combination appeared. Four figures of a kind out of five possible ones rested on the screen, and the credit counter started increasing.

You should have seen our faces, our jumps, and you should have heard our screams. Finally, we had won! We couldn't believe it. Our happiness was such that it didn't matter the hot weather, the spilling our clothes with our drink, the earthquake that was about to come, nor even the fact that eventually we would have to get back home and work again…

People started noticing our excitement, hearing our screams; everybody at the Casino just had to look what seemed as history on the making. Did these guys hit the jackpot? Are they rich now while they were not just a second ago?

It was the best moment ever, a moment we will cherish in our minds forever. We had so much fun with that dollar, and now we had won. We deserved it. And we celebrated it, as if we had won nine gold medals in the Olympics, breaking all records.

Little did it matter to us that, although it was in fact a forty percent win, that forty percent win only represented forty cents out of the dollar we put in the machine…

Those forty cents will not make us rich, but they were the best forty cents of our lives.

And we might use them some day to buy ourselves four shirts that would read: We were gamblers, and we won forty percent at Las Vegas!

Single Zero Roulette

There are two different types of Roulette wheels. There are American wheels and European or French wheels. European wheels are commonly referred to as single zero wheels. Single zero Roulette refers to the presence of a single green zero space on the wheel.


Single Zero Roulette Wheels

European, or single zero wheels, look exactly like American wheels with one minor difference. The European wheel has only a single zero space, while the American wheel has an additional 00 space. The presence of an additional space on the wheel does have an impact on the odds of winning. European wheels give players a slightly better chance of winning on any given spin.

The average income per spin for the house on a European wheel is around $0.25. On an American wheel, the house's average profit increases to just over $0.50 per spin. Considering the amount of people gambling continuously and the frequency of their spins, you can see just how much money the casinos, online and physical, rake in. It is no surprise that gambling is a multi-billion dollar industry.

Average profit per spin is just that, a statistical average. Some people will lose money, others will win. An average of all outcomes results in the casino's average profit. It is up to smart gamblers to figure out how they can consistently be on the winning side of the equation. The best way to do this is to study a proven Roulette system and use it consistently, as this will increase your odds of winning now and down the road.

Craps Gambling

Craps gambling by some estimates is enjoyed by 30 million Americans every year. Craps is an enjoyable and very exciting game, so it is no wonder that craps gambling is very popular. Craps has evolved from a game played in Europe to the game we see today at many casinos. Modern craps began in the United States during the steamboat era and migrated west as the country grew.

Craps gambling involves betting on any of the possible number combinations of the die. Due to the many different combinations, there are a variety of different bets involved with craps gambling. For instance, a gambler can bet that a six will roll before a seven. One can bet that the shooter will crap out, or roll a seven, before hitting the point. You can bet that the shooter will hit the point before rolling a seven. You can also bet that the die will hit a hard number, or pair before any combination of the number or a seven is rolled. For instance, a hard eight bet wins if a pair of fours is rolled before a five/three, six/two or seven.

Nevada legalized casino gambling in 1931, making craps available for the masses in casinos across the state. A movement has grown over the years to allow for legalized gambling across the country and craps games can be found in more locations than just Nevada. The Internet has offered a new outlet for those who wish to play craps. There are several websites that offer craps both for money and for fun.


Effects of Craps Gambling

Historically, gambling has been illegal for three main reasons. Gambling has at times been considered immoral, tied to organized crime and seen as leading to compulsive gambling. The merits of each of those claims can be debated and both sides have valid points. However, in all reality, gambling is just like anything else; it is good if played in moderation. For individuals that are negatively affected by gambling, there is help in the form of support groups and counseling.