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Expert Tips to Winning On Slot Machines

Expert Tips to Winning On Slot Machines

Slots are one of the most popular games that you can play in Canadian casinos, online or offline. With relaxing solo play, dazzling visual effects and sound design, and the potential to win small, consistent profits all the way to massive jackpots with the right amount of luck, slot games provide hours and hours of entertainment for casino players of any skill level.

Slot games also happen to be popular among casino operators as well, but for slightly different reasons. For one, slot machines cost significantly less to maintain over the long run compared to table games that have to be continually staffed to stay in service. These machines also produce far higher revenues thanks to their more aggressive game designs that give the casinos a steep advantage over the players.

But that doesn’t mean that players can’t try to get a few wins off of slot games. And in this guide, we’ll be teaching you how to win playing slot machines condensed into 7 useful tips.

Updated by Ralph Trayfalgar

Avoid Strategies and Systems

As much as we would like to tell you that we have the best way to win slot machines, there unfortunately is no such thing. The fact of the matter is that there are no winning strategies in slot games. This is because slot machines are designed to be completely random, and the player has no way to manipulate the outcomes of the game in their favour outside of using cheating devices, which is illegal in most if not all jurisdictions.

Now, if you do a bit of research into how to beat slot machines, you may come across various slot machine strategies that involve placing different bets in response to certain outcomes. These “play systems”, while they generally work from a logical standpoint, fail to hold up in actual gameplay because of the ever-present and ever-important mechanic called the house edge.

The house edge is the statistical advantage that real money casino sites have over the player, resulting from the way the casino game’s odds and payouts are designed. This is typically expressed as a percentage that represents how much of the player’s bet is lost on average on every round of the game. As an example, if the house edge for a slot game is 10%, the player can expect to lose about 10 cents on average from a 1 dollar bet. Of course, you don’t actually lose 10 cents for every dollar you put into the game, but the percentage is a good indicator of how fast you can expect to burn through your bankroll over a long play session.

In the case of slots, the house edge can be as low as 2% or as high as 20% depending on the game. Because the house edge guarantees that the player will lose money in the long run, betting systems are effectively useless if your goal is to make a profit.

And of course, this is barring mention of the weird world of slot game superstitions, which should generally be ignored if you want a serious chance at winning.

Understand How Slot Games Work

If you want to learn how to win at slots, it is important to first understand how they work; after all, knowing is half the battle. Luckily for us, the primary gameplay mechanics and systems that power slot games are all very simple.

At its core, the slot game randomly spins reels until they stop, paying out a certain amount when there is a certain combination of icons across the paylines of the visible part of the reels. This randomizer is activated on the pull of the slot game’s lever or on the press of the ‘Spin’ button on newer iterations and determines what icons will “land” when the reels slow down to a halt.

Exactly how this randomizer works depends on the kind of slot game it is used on. Mechanical slot machines use an internal mechanical clock to randomly slow down the physical reels of the machine.

How slots work

Of course, mechanical slot machines are incredibly rare in Canadian casinos nowadays, and have mostly been relegated to collector’s items of history novelties; the slot games players can actually find today are digital slot games, which determine randomness with something called a random number generator. This random number generator or RNG is a set of instructions that tell the slot game to continuously generate numbers in the background. When a spin is started, the number that is produced by the RNG is interpreted by the game as an instruction for where the virtual “reels” land, ensuring that each spin is perfectly random every time.

Maximise Your Odds of Winning

Knowing what we know now, how are we supposed to beat a slot machine if there is no legitimate strategy to do so? In truth, there are some mechanics of slot games you can learn and take advantage of to maximise your odds of winning. The only difference is that the following tips are rooted in actual fact rather than speculation.

Slot machine online 1

Pay Tables and Payout Percentages

Although slot games are generally designed to favour the casino (they do have to make money to stay in business, after all), they aren’t completely unfair. As we noted earlier, slot games have a house edge that gives the casino a long-term average revenue of 2% to 20% of each of the player’s bets. But what is done with the remaining 80 to 98 percent?

That is what is known as the payout percentage. Simply put, it is the average percentage of the bets collected by the slot game that are paid out to players as winnings. Just like the rest of the slot game’s systems, these winnings are paid out randomly.

This has led to speculation that certain machines will be more likely to pay out when it has received a certain amount of bets; while this may have been true at one point or another, the current body of knowledge on slot game mechanics generally agrees that this is not the case.

To maximize your odds in this respect, the trick is to seek out slot machines that actually provide a high payout percentage—somewhere in the range of 95% or higher is ideal. Doing a bit of research before you play will eventually lead you to resources that show the payout percentages (sometimes called RTP, or Return to Player) of certain slot games. In many cases, developers like light & wonder will actually provide this data, to get players interested in trying their luck at those games. We’ll get to how you can find these resources later.

Online Slots Volatility

You may have read in some “guaranteed winning slot game strategy” guides that there are certain slots in the casino that are ‘loose’ or ‘tight’, which these guides define as being more or less likely to pay out, respectively. These guides may also tell you that the more desirable “loose” machines are placed in certain areas of the casino as they can draw in more players, and therefore, more revenue.

While this information is mostly speculative, it isn’t entirely false; there are actually “loose” and “tight” slots, but not in the way you might think.

As we touched on earlier, slot games are designed to pay out some portion of their revenue as winnings while pocketing the rest for the casino. Exactly how the slot game pays out these winnings varies between slot games. Some may give out small but consistent wins, while others will give out big jackpots once or twice then enter a “dry spell” of sorts before paying out again. This is what we know as volatility or variance.

Unlike payout percentages, slot game makers almost never release information on the volatility of their games, which means that players can only really find this out through gathering data from many play sessions. Ideally, though, you would want to look for low-volatility slot games; these are the ones that pay out small amounts but do so frequently.

Of course, that’s not to say that high-volatility games should be ignored; if you’re willing to take the risk of playing out long losing streaks, their bigger jackpot payouts could make it worth your while.

Paylines and Bet Amounts

One of the biggest features that digital and online slot games have over their mechanical predecessors is the addition of extra paylines. Paylines are the paths or sequences on the grid of visible icons that the slot game checks to see if the player has won and how much to pay out for the said win. While classic slot machines would only have one payline, modern digital slot games can have 9, 15, 36, 10, or even more paylines that bob and weave through the grid. Our slot experts recently reviewed the online slot Bier Haus which has a whopping 40 paylines.

Bier haus slot paylines
Bier Haus slot paylines

Common logic tells us that more paylines are generally better, but we shouldn’t forget that slog game developers can program their games to pay out however they want. As such, keeping the other parameters like volatility and RTP in mind is necessary to find a slot game that pays out well.

Slot games that you can find and play on new casinos will have paylines in the dozens on account of these games being made with 5 reels and 3 or 5 visible icons per reel. To lower the barrier of entry for these large and complex slot games, developers will typically offer minimum bet amounts at 1 dollar or even less in some cases. The catch, of course, is that these lower bet amounts will lock out some paylines or even entire reels, which caps the winnings you could potentially get.

For this reason, we usually advise players to bet the maximum amount available per spin to get the best chance of landing the bigger payouts. However, this has to be balanced out with the next tip, which is...

Play Within Your Budget

Unless you are playing in a professional capacity, either through competitions or simply gambling for a living, it is ultimately a matter of making your bankroll last as long as possible. This is especially true in the case of slot games, which have some of the highest house edges of any casino game at 2 to 20%. (For comparison, table games like blackjack and craps have an average house edge under 2%.)

That’s why it is crucial to keep an eye on your bankroll and remember to gamble responsibly. Since you would probably want to get as many spins in as possible, matching your bet amounts (or even the bet limits of the slot game you’re playing) to your available budget should help maximize your playtime.

Another key tenet of spending discipline is to know when to walk away. As the saying goes, “the house always wins”, and we know that this is true because of the house edge. Because of this, it is generally a good idea to avoid chasing win streaks if your goal is to end the session with more money than you brought with you when you started. The house edge will always—and we do mean always—catch up to your winnings the longer you play, so if you’ve landed a serious jackpot or find yourself at the end of a winning streak, there is no shame in ending your session on a high note.

Avoid Progressive Jackpots

One of the most popular new trends is the progressive jackpot slots, a grand prize jackpot that is accumulated from a portion of all of the bets placed on games that support the jackpot system. This means that the total jackpot continues to increase the more players play—and lose—on those slot games, similar to the way a lottery works. A notable example is the Mega Moolah jackpot series of slot games developed by Microgaming, which is best known for having the Guinness World Record for the largest single payout in any slot game at a bit over $25 million CAD.

Mega moolah online slot logo

While the lottery-like payouts are definitely enticing, it’s important to remember that your odds of landing the jackpot is also lottery-like. As such, we can’t sincerely recommend chasing progressive jackpots in slots games, especially as these games also tend to have much lower RTP figures and will have you burning through your budget before you even notice it.

Read Slot Game Reviews

In a previous tip, when your looking for a new casino, do a bit of research into the payout percentages and volatility figures of slot games to find the ones that produce the most consistent wins. You could probably try to find these figures yourself from actual gameplay; however, while doing this isn’t necessarily expensive to do (thanks to some slot games offering free play modes that have the same behaviour as their real-money counterparts), it is definitely time-consuming as one would need thousands of data points to accurately determine the payout behaviour of that one slot game.

Multiply this over the many hundreds of slot games available on the market, and you can see why it isn’t exactly a good idea.

But there is, of course, an easier way, which is to read reviews on these slot games from third-party reviewers like us here at InsideCasino. Our job is to research and document all of the nuances of slots and other casino games so you don’t have to. 

Our review process for slots and other casino games is not much different from the method we described above, but it is done on a much larger scale and with much more rigour. The casino reviews like ours are done by dedicated teams of reviewers who share years, if not decades of experience playing in offline and online casinos, and know exactly what qualities to look for when assessing the value of a slot game for fellow Canadian casino players. Below is just a short explanation of some of the factors we look into when reviewing slot games:

  1. Slot Game Appearance

    First impressions tend to be lasting impressions, and the first impressions of any slot game are gained from its appearance. We take our time to examine the look and feel of the game’s interface, from the responsiveness of the controls to how easy the menus are to navigate. Although subjective, we at InsideCasino also throw in our thoughts on the general art direction and sound design of the games, which is a major consideration for a lot of players.

  2. Slot Gameplay

    Arguably the most important quality of any slot game is the gameplay. Our reviewers look at the general entertainment value of the game, seeking out features that the developer has included in the game beyond the simple act of pressing the ‘Spin’ button. These features include multipliers, wild icons, hidden modes, and more.

  3. Slot Game Payouts

    Of course, payouts are a significant deciding factor for players who are looking for a slot game to put their time and money into. As we explained a bit earlier, our reviewers play each game hundreds if not thousands of times to gather data that we can use to find the slot game’s payout percentage and its volatility—two major components of the game’s payout behaviour.

Have Fun!

Last but definitely not least on this list is to remember to have fun. At the end of the day, all casino games from table games to slots online are forms of entertainment, and although burning through your entire bankroll on a bad losing streak can be discouraging, it’s all part of the experience.

Again, we want to emphasize that gambling is entertainment, and unless you are trying to make a serious living out of casino games, there really is no reason for you to get caught up in your losses when playing slots. (After all, if you gamble professionally, you probably wouldn’t be playing slots in the first place.) If anything, winning any money out of a casino game should be seen as a bonus and not the goal. The true prize of playing casino games is really the experiences and memories that you get out of them.

Knowing this, what we can argue is the “true way” to win slots is to find and play the slot game that you enjoy not for the winnings it provides, but for the joy of playing a game that you like. Whether you’re playing the most profitable slot game in existence or trying your hand at landing the Mega Moolah jackpot, what is ultimately important is that you enjoyed the experience, even if you do end up with a bankroll of 0 at the end of the session. 

Master Slot Machines with Expert Slot Game Tips

The slot machine is often referred to as the "one-armed bandit" for its propensity to tear through players' bankrolls with simple pulls of its singular lever. Although these machines have become more complex and difficult to win as they transitioned into the digital age, we players have also become more knowledgeable about their inner workings and mechanics, allowing us to learn how to win with a reasonable level of consistency.

We hope that these slot machine tips have expanded your knowledge of the game of slots. With what you know now, try your luck at some of the slot games that have the InsideCasino seal of approval, and maybe you can walk away with a pretty good win!

Good review star rating

Slot Machine FAQs

How do you pick a winning slot machine?

Picking a winning slot machine is a matter of finding a game that has all of the qualities that maximize your odds of winning. Some of the characteristics of such a slot game include a high RTP rate, low volatility, and a high number of paylines.

How do you trick a slot machine?

There is no way to legitimately trick a slot machine into paying out. While this may have been possible back in the days of mechanical slot machines, modern slot games are designed with robust security features that make it practically impossible to trick the game into paying out when it isn’t meant to.

How do you know when a slot machine will hit?

Although there are guides that tell you otherwise, slot machines do not “hit” after a certain period. Slot machines are designed to be perfectly random on every spin, which means you cannot reliably predict when a slot machine will pay out.

Is it better to bet higher on slots?

It is generally a good idea to bet higher on slots, as this helps make sure that you are playing with all of the paylines that the slot game has to offer. Betting lower, by comparison, will lock out some of the slot reels, which severely caps your winnings.

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