Everyone would like to know how to win at slots, but the truth is that winning at slot machines isn’t any harder than losing at slot machines. You put your money in the machine, spin the reels, and hope for the best. Slot machines are meant to be fun; they’re not intended to provide the player with an income.
In fact, the reality is just the opposite. Slots are there to provide the casino owners with an income. How that works is one of the subjects of this page.
On the other hand, you can minimize your losses and increase your enjoyment of slots games by understanding how they work. You can also learn which slots pay back the most money. In the long run, the house will still have an edge over you, but understanding how much you can expect to lose in a given venue can help you make better bankroll management decisions.
In fact, it might be a good idea to modify you definition of “winning at slots”. Instead of considering yourself a winner if you bring home a big profit, consider yourself a winner any time you played and had a lot of fun.
All slot machines in modern casinos use a random number generator (an “RNG) to determine the results of each spin. An RNG is a tiny computer that does nothing but constantly generate numbers. When you push the spin button, that microcomputer selects a number which determines the outcome. In fact, this happens before the reels have even stopped spinning.
On modern slot machines, the reels are just there for show. From a practical standpoint, you could put a quarter in a machine, push a button, and have the screen flash: “You lose!” or “You win $10”. The mechanism that determined the outcome would be the same, but who would want to play a game like that, especially if you know that the house has a mathematical edge over the player.
The spinning reels, the sound effects, and the bonus games are all there to make the game more interesting to play. If you don’t like the artwork, the music, or any other aspect of a slots game, don’t bother playing it, because those are the real rewards of playing. The chance of getting lucky and winning a jackpot is a real reward, too, but don’t ignore the other aspects of the game.
The random number generator is programmed to pay back a certain percentage of the money paid into it over a period of time. This period of time is known in gambling math as “the long run”, and it’s a lot longer than most people think. We’re talking about tens of thousands of spins, not dozens or hundreds.
This percentage that’s programmed into these machines is always less than 100%. If a slots game were programmed to pay back more than 100% of the money put into it, it would lose money for the casino.
Casinos aren’t in business to lose money.