Theorizing why we play slot machines, despite knowing they’re nothing but fund-suckers!
I’ve come up with a new term, and I’d like to share it with you today. I call it “Slotsology”, and define it as the theory behind why we play slot machines. Think about it for a moment. From a strategic gambler’s standpoint, every fiber of our being should be telling us to stay away from the slots. Yet, from a thrill-seeker’s point of view, we just can’t seem to stop ourselves!
By this assessment, you can probably tell where
I’m going with this, and if that’s the case, you could close your
browser right now and feel perfectly educated for having read a
single paragraph. Or, you could continue reading to get a deeper
understanding of why casino goers spend endless cash on arguably
winless games, and how you can become a more responsible player.
Why We Play Slot Machines
Let’s start at the beginning. The vast majority
of casino patrons flock to the slot machines. We love them! We become
entranced by the illusion of spinning reels. Round and round the go,
where they will stop, nobody knows. We just can’t get enough of it!
One reason is the mysterious nature of them.
It’s a combination of the facts that:
a) we don’t know what will happen
b) we know that it’s possible something
spectacular will happen, and
c) we convince ourselves that it’s inexpensive
to test our luck.
I think that’s a good place to start our lesson
– the expense of playing slot machines.
How Cheap are Slot Machines?
Most slots fans play what casinos call ‘penny
slots’. These are the games that let a player bet just 1¢ per
payline. That’s really cheap! Of course, most of today’s slots offer
20, 30, 40, 50, even 100 paylines. At 1¢ per line, that could cost
up to $1 per spin. And as fast as these games can be played,
averaging at least 10 spins per minute, you could easily bet through
a $100 bankroll in under 20 minutes.
How Much Should You Expect to Lose?
This is a very difficult question to answer,
and the reason leads back to our first reason why we love the games
to begin with – we don’t know what will happen. It’s a big mystery!
The exact same can be said of trying to predict how much you’ll win
Slot machines are programmed with a theoretical
return to player, or RTP. In land-based casinos, the RTP could be set
anywhere from 85% to 92%. In an online casino, the RTP tends to be
much higher, 95% to 97% on average.
If we place $100 in bets on a 95% RTP, we could
easily deduce a loss expectation of $5. It’s simple math. At 95% RTP,
you bet $100, win $95 back, and lose $5.
But it’s not that easy. Slot machines are
incredibly volatile. Their RTPs will pay exactly as they’re
programmed to, but only over a very, very long period of time. Before
doing so, they could hit short-term streaks as low as 0.02%, or as
high as 20,000% (more for progressives). So as I said, we never know
what will happen, or how much we might win or lose in as little as 15
The Possibility of Winning Big!
What it all boils down to is our second part of
the slotsology theory, which is the fact that we know, no matter how
minuscule the odds may be, that there’s a chance we could win a
life-changing sum of cash when we play slot machines. Whether it’s a
5-figure jackpot, or a multi-million progressive, every game has a
tantalizing prize that keeps our hopes alive and the reels spinning.
It’s not a lie. People do win these jackpots.
The Mega Moolah online progressive has made over 50 millionaires to
date, paying an average of over $5 million per mega-jackpot strike
each time it hits. And that’s just one out of a seemingly infinite
number of games.
These are real people who’s lives have been
changed by spinning the reels of a slot machine. Anyone who says you can’t win is wrong, but in the same token, anyone that thinks
they will win is delusional. Let’s be realistic. The odds are
many millions to one.
Responsibility Is The Key
There’s nothing wrong with playing the slot
machines, so long as you’re responsible about it. Don’t spend what
you can’t afford, don’t expect to win, and enjoy every moment of it,
regardless of the outcome. Slots are a form of entertainment, and
must be viewed as such.
You wouldn’t spend your entire life savings at
the movie theater, binge watching one film after another until you
go broke, or at the bowling alley playing round after round in hopes
of bowling a perfect 300. View slot machines as another form of paid
entertainment, and they will never become a problem. With enough
luck, they just might deliver a nice padding for your wallet.
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