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Beginner's Guide to Slots

Playing the slots is much like playing any other casino game in that you have to understand how the game works and you have to know how to manage your money in such a way that you minimize risk and maximize earning potential.

Always read the Pay Table!

There is nothing more frustrating that getting a combo that you think is a winning spin, only to hear the machine go quiet and prompt you for another quarter. Make sure you know what the winning lines are before you pull that handle!

On progressive jackpot machines you may have to hit max bet before you spin in order to be eligible for the jackpot. Can you imagine getting the jackpot symbols and realizing that if you had played two dollars instead of one you would now be $100,000 richer?

How much should I bet?

When playing regular jackpot slot machines, try changing your bet sizes often.

What I often do is start with one coin, then two, then three, then back down to two and so forth. This gives you the chance of getting the higher win multiplier (hitting a jackpot with largest wager) without using too much money. If you are lucky you will hit winning pay lines when you are on the higher bets. This is by no means guaranteed, and does not change your odds, but it is a good middle ground for minimizing risk and maximizing profits. On bonus machines you may also get many more extra spins if you hit the bonus on a high bet.

If playing progressive jackpot slots, this strategy isn't so useful, as you are best to use the max bet function outlined below.

The 'MAX-BET' Button

If you are becoming a more confident and experienced slot player, Max Bet is generally the only way to play. This means that you play the maximum credits allowed per spin, maximizing the winnings if you hit a payline.

This may seem initimidating if you have a small bankroll, but you just have to look for games where there is a max bet of two coins. Alternatively, just play smaller denomination slots where the max bet is often less than $1. It is very important to understand this so that you play the correct slot machine for your bankroll and experience. Try our listings of online slot machines to find your best bet.

When playing progressive slots, max bet is the only way to play because they almost all require you to play the full bet to be eligible to win the big jackpot. If you don't, you could hit the jackpot and win only a fraction of what you could have earned!

Play the Percentages Game

When you do win on a slot machine, it is rather tempting to pump it all back into the same machine, thinking that you found the 'loose' slot! That is exactly what the machines are programmed for, so don't do it!

The best tactic is to play the percentages. Basically, when you win you should have a strategy and stick to it. I normally play the 20% game. If I win $100 I put $80 away and will not touch it again that day, and I add the other $20 into my playing money and start playing at another machine. That way, I might lose the $20 and the rest of my pot, but I go home with $80! If you have the discipline, then you will really reap the rewards.

Don't let yourself leave with nothing!

Everyone wins a few times on the slots, but a lot of people then lose all the money they won, get frustrated, and try to win it back by playing all the rest of their money. At the end of the day they go home with no money. There is a way of avoiding this.

Basically, you should do the math before you start. Take your bankroll and figure out how many spins it will get you using your chosen bet strategy. Then go to a machine and play exactly that many spins and leave! Chances are you will leave the casino with some money because you won't have used all the money you will have inevitably won on top of your original bankroll. I'm not saying you'll make a profit, but at least you might break even!

Don't expect to win every time

Slot machines are all about luck. You can minimize your risks and maximize your chances of winning big, but if you leave the casino with the same amount or less than you had when you came out, don't feel like you have lost. It all evens out over time so don't make one bad streak miss out on that lucky streak that may be just around the corner.