How to pick the right slot machine at a live casino (or online).
Take a trip to any physical casino and you’ll find hundreds if not thousands of slot machines lining the gaudy carpet. Getting the right amount of entertainment for your buck is the real goal. All responsible gamblers know this. But that doesn’t mean you have to hide the fact that you really want to win a jackpot!
You’ve probably heard a lot of superstitions over the years. Bring a good luck charm, like a rabbit’s foot or some special jewelry. Feel the machines; the hot ones are ready to spew forth their wealth! Wait for an old lady to leave a machine and take it; local seniors know the best slots! None of these are reliable ways to choose a good game. Winning slot machines really is more of a science, thankfully.
How to Pick the Right Slot Machine
For the most part, I’m going to focus on live casino slots; those located in a real, physical casino. I’ll also touch on the digital (online) variety before I’m done, so keep reading for more info on that.
There are three factors to consider when choosing what machines to play. The cost, the position, and the jackpot size.
Cost to Play
Most casinos offer slot banks in a scaling range of coin denominations. You have your penny slots, nickel slots, quarter slots, and dollar slots. Which one do you think is more likely to pay out a jackpot? If you said the $1 slots, you’re right. The higher the cost to play, the higher the payout percentage (amount machines pay-out compared to take-in, over years of play).
The scary part is that casinos know how people’s minds work. Most players think $1 is a lot to play per spin, so they drop down to the $0.25 machines. It’s not so damaging on your bankroll, but still expensive enough to pay far better than the cheap-o games, right? This is where the casinos get you! Those quarter slots are actually the worst of all!
The average payout percentage for slot machines on the Las Vegas Strip, by coin size, is:
Penny Slots = 90.82% RTP
Nickel Slots = 91.88% RTP
Quarter Slots = 89.98% RTP
Dollar Slots = 92.63% RTP
Position of Slot Machines
Location, location, location! That statement doesn’t just apply to real estate. The positioning of a slot machine can have a huge impact on its payout percentage. Picture this… A slot machine is located in a far shadowy corner of the casino. Someone wins a jackpot on it. The bells chime, the lights flash. How many people in the casino are going to notice? Just those in the vicinity of that corner, right?
If that machine were centrally located, perhaps near the table games area, a lot more people would know about it. Some table games players might even switch to slots for a while hoping to mimic that win. Casino managers thought of this long before I did. The highest paying slots will be centrally located among the masses.
Jackpot Size Matters
There are two basic types of jackpots – static jackpots and progressive jackpots. A static jackpot pays a specific amount for triggering a specific feature or symbol combination in the game. A progressive jackpot is won in the same way, but the prize slowly grows larger and larger until it’s won, similar to a lottery drawing.
As much as you want to win that larger, ever-growing prize, you’re better off steering clear of progressives. Their payout percentages tend to be much lower; often paying 85-86% at live casinos.
Winning Slot Machines Online
As promised, I’ll take a moment to touch on the topic of online slot machines, too. These games are different in some ways, so it’s not the same as picking the right slot machine at a live casino. The big difference is that internet casinos don’t have massive bills to pay each month. They can afford to give up more in payouts, and they do.
Online slots have an average payout percentage of 96.2%. That’s far higher than any of the games in Vegas. Changing your coin size rarely effects the payouts, either. Most games you can play for a penny, or a dollar, and get the same payout ratio. Progressives are the exception. The more you spend on those, the higher your odds of winning the jackpot. But like land-based casinos, the payback percentage on progressives are worse. Unless you’ve got plenty of cash to spare, don’t bother with them.
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