Winning at online slots machines requires an entirely different approach compared to table games such as blackjack or roulette. This is because slots are completely randomized, with results not dependent on a player’s individual skill. This means that each spin stands independently, giving players the assurance that the games are completely fair.
Even though skill does not play a part when it comes to slots, there exists a range of strategies you can implement to give yourself the best chance of walking away with a jackpot.
Tables Games, Slots, and Odds Explained
All casino games, whether traditional table games or slots, operate on the basis of a house edge. This is the mathematical probability that the casino will win a given game. Understanding the house edge will give you a great advantage compared to the average player.
Roulette (Almost 50%)
Most people think that roulette is a 50/50 game. However, the 0 or 00 ensures the house has a very slight advantage over the player. While this edge may seem miniscule, if averaged over millions of spins, it results in a significant advantage for the casino.
Blackjack is a unique casino table game in that it involves an element of skill. As long as the player plays a perfect basic strategy, they will have a 49% chance of winning over the house. Of course, this percentage is only valid if the player adheres to basic strategy to the letter.
Craps (Almost 50%)
Craps is another casino table game where the odds of winning are near 50/50. This is true as long as the player makes a “pass line” bet on whether the shooter will win. If the player decides to place more specific bets, the potential winnings increase while the odds of winning go down.
How Slot Machines Work
The outcome of each and every one of your bets is set by random numbers (or Random Number Generator, RNG). For every bet, the game will automatically choose a random number for each reel, mapping the result on a position within the game.
This effectively means that the result of your bet is determined the minute you click the button. Everything else is programmed for show, to give the player entertainment. This is why you still get your wins even if the game crashes, or if you accidentally close your browser. The game ‘remembers’ the result from the time you pressed the button.
Slot Odds Explained
Slot machines feature what’s called a Return to Player (RTP) percentage. This number represents the percentage of money the slots will pay back to players over time.
Consider this example: if a slot has an RTP of 99%, a player would expect to win back $99 for every $100 wagered. Of course, the RTP is an average over time, so real play results will naturally vary for each individual player.
Sometimes, you will see this figure described in terms of the house edge. For example, a player or website may cite a house advantage of 1%. This is essentially equal to the average RTP sitting at 99%.
Tips to Start Winning at Slots
Unlike table games, slots don’t involve actual skill in the gameplay itself. However, as we have already indicated, it is possible to implement strategies to minimize risk and give you an improved chance of walking away with a major jackpot.
Practice with Free Games
If you are new to online slots, it is highly recommended that you practice with fake money. Most providers will allow you to play their casino games on a practice basis, i.e. without having to gamble.
This gives the player the opportunity to get accustomed to the gameplay. And perhaps most useful, the player will see that so-called ‘guaranteed winning strategies’ will probably not work over the long run.
If You Win Big, Walk Away
Casinos rely on winners to squander their spoils in the long run. In fact, many players who hit the jackpot will continue to play, often losing everything they’ve won (and more) over time.
Should you win big on a given online slot, walk away. Cash-out and enjoy your winnings. You can always set aside a percentage of your money to continue playing, but do not dip into your jackpot in a big way. Based on the RTP percentage, everything tells you that you will lose in the long run.
Look for “Win By” or “Must Hit” Jackpots
There are many online slots that feature a “Win By” or “Must Hit” jackpot. This means that the jackpot is guaranteed to be awarded before it increases past a specific dollar amount.
For example, if a jackpot is sitting at $9,700 and it is guaranteed to hit at $10,000, it is worth placing a bet on this slot over one that has just been reset. Of course, you have to pay attention to how quickly the figure increases, but if you notice a steady uptick, it means the jackpot will hit in the short term.
Leverage Free Spins and Casino Bonuses
The RTP sets the house edge. Mathematically speaking, this means that casinos will, on average, win in the long run. However, by leveraging offers designed to entice players, you can increase your chances of winning.
For example, most casinos offer generous sign-up bonuses that multiply your initial deposit and/or give you free spins. Look for the lowest wagering requirement (WR) for these offers and take advantage.
Play Slowly, Enjoy the Game
Part of the reason gambling is fun is the gameplay itself. If you rush the game, you will detract from the impressive graphics, as well as the bells and whistles that add to the experience.
In addition, playing slowly will help you assess your strategy and bankroll in a more considered manner. Players can easily get carried away when going through a losing run, for example, leading to erratic and riskier betting.
Top 5 Slots
Casinos offer hundreds of different games to choose from. While it is unfair to say one game is better than another, we have put together a (subjective) list of the top 5 slots available online. Our picks are based on several variables: RTP, gameplay, replayability, graphics, bonuses, and jackpot size.
Mega Joker is an old classic that retains its popularity. It features a classic fruit machine setup, with 5 win lines and the customary bell and fruit symbols. Mega Joker offers a stellar 99% RTP, meaning it is one of the lowest house edge slots around.
1429 Uncharted Seas
Thunderkick released the quirky 1429 Uncharted Seas a few years ago, and it was a surprisingly big hit. The payout rate is slightly lower than Mega Joker, but it does offer more advanced gameplay and stunning graphics.
Blood Suckers is a game produced by Netent, one of the leading developers of online casino slot games. It features a high RTP percentage at 98%, and with its vampire theme it has garnered much praise from the betting community.
Another entry from Netent, Devil’s Delight is another game that excels in graphics and gameplay. The bonus rounds are known to be particularly generous, and it also offers a Sin Spins bonus that rewards players who play for longer.
The lowest RTP percentage on the list, but Steam Tower more than makes up for it in terms of gameplay. It features stunning graphics and a range of bonuses. The game is liked by players due to the frequent bonus triggers, which ensures many players walk away as winners.
Understanding Progressive Jackpots
Progressive jackpot slots are some of the most popular amongst players, as they usually offer life-changing amounts of money as the jackpot prize. Some can run into the millions of dollars, and hitting the jackpot is akin to winning the lottery.
While these prizes are certainly enticing, it is important you understand how progressive jackpots work. The big prize is built up through losses made by players over time. Because the prize is designed to be quite significant, it means your odds of winning are far lower.
Whether it is worth playing a progressive jackpot is up to you. It is certainly possible to win, but the odds are lower compared to games that offer an average jackpot of a few thousand dollars.
Is an Advertised RTP Reliable?
In short, yes, advertised RTP (Return to Player) percentages are reliable. Slot machines are audited by the gaming commission. To have a slot machine or online slot approved for sale, millions of simulations are run and controlled. These simulations must also be available to be rerun at any time. This process ensures that slots are fair and that the advertised RTP is accurate.
In fact, it has famously been claimed that slot machines are more difficult to rig than electronic voting machines. This is because the software must be transparent, audits are often completely unannounced, simulation results must be reproducible, and both manufacturers and employees are subject to background checks.
Myths You Need to Avoid
Players erroneously believe a number of myths about slots. If you want to be successful when playing online slots, it is important that you are able to distinguish facts from potentially harmful myths.
Myth: Slots Go Through ‘Cycles’
Many people believe that slots work on the basis of cycles. If a machine’s cycle hits 5 big wins per 100 plays, the same exact outcome will happen in the next 100. The truth, however, is that every single spin is random and stands independently. Your previous spin does not affect the next, nor can you predict average results based on cycles.
Myth: “The Jackpot is Overdue”
This is another very popular myth, and has been immortalized by the image of the hovering granny looking to take over a slot when it hasn’t hit in a while. However, slots don’t actually work in this way. Jackpots can theoretically hit consecutively, and just because a player has lost 100 times in a row, there is no guarantee that the next spins will deliver a bonus or jackpot.
Myth: Slots Pay More During “Quiet Hours”
Some players claim that it’s better to play online slots during quieter hours, as it gives you a better chance of winning. This is again an unfounded myth, as slots are not altered in this way. Yes, companies can change the RTP percentage, but it is not done haphazardly based on so-called ‘quiet hours’.
You Are Ready to Start Winning!
Equipped with this guide, you should have the tools necessary to maximize your chances of winning at slots.
Bearing all of this in mind, you should now have a firm understanding of how to win at slots at your favorite casinos. Remember that although you are unable to influence your odds, you can still take a number of steps to minimize your losses and give yourself the best chance of winning. Simply choose the game that’s right for you and your budget and start spinning!
The house edge is fixed.