The Ultimate Beginners Guide to Slots


Slot machines have enticed us ever since Sittman and Pitt created the first ever mechanised machine back in 1891. Players would stick in a nickel and pull a lever, which would initiate the poker-themed slots machine. This would shuffle the cards and present them back to the player, who would be hoping for a good hand to be drawn. The better the hand, the better the prize.

There were no cash prizes; so a pair of kings, for example, would award the player free beer, whereas a royal flush could pay out a pack of cigarettes – this was down to the establishment to decide.

Nowadays, in this crazy digital world, things are a little different:

The modern slot machine is a complex and mysterious box of wonders, filled with flashy high-tech graphics; one that needs to be dissected to be fully utilised.

In this article you will learn a bit about:

  • The slots machine and how to play one
  • The pros and cons of playing slots
  • The probability of winning any given slots machine
  • Ways in which you can make slots more profitable

So, there’s no point waiting around, let’s get right to it!

How to play slot machines

The image of the slots machine above is a regular sight in most modern day casinos, and while it might look rather complicated, it’s rather quite simple to work.

From the offset, you should decide how much you’re willing to gamble. It’s easy to get carried away with slot machines, so set a budget and stick to it.

Once you’ve done that you’ll need to decide your stake. This is how much you’ll be gambling per spin, not per line. Your total bet is then split between all the lines in the game. So, if a game has 100 lines, your total bet per line will be $2 divided by 100, which is 2 cents. The higher your total stake, the higher your per-line stake will be. Depending on the game you’ll either bet per line or bet per game.

Now that you’ve worked out your bet you can go ahead and press the spin button. This initiates the machine, and once it’s stopped spinning, it will pay out all winnings instantly.

That’s it. Simple as that!

The pros of playing slots

Slot machines get a pretty bad rap from the gambling community. This is mainly due to the fact that the results are completely randomised; meaning players get no control over the outcome.

Surprisingly, there are a few advantages to playing slots machines:

  • The chance to become a millionaire from a very small stake is very much a possibility. This is impossible with a table game (from a small stake).
  • Since everything is automated you can spend more time playing. No waiting around for dealers.
  • You don’t require any specific skills to play slots. Anybody can play them.

The cons of playing slots

The truth is, many gamblers think that table games are too difficult to play. Novice players are more likely to choose slots over blackjack and roulette. While video slots are easier to play, your odds of success are greatly increased when playing blackjack, craps or baccarat.

These are some of the downfalls to playing slots:

  • You can never, ever predict the results of a slots machine
  • Since you don’t know how the machine is designed you don’t know the odds
  • The house edge is set between 6 – 15%, which is much higher than any table game

We covered house edge i n our blackjack guide, so if you need a refresher, check it out.

One possible alternative is video poker, which has a similar format to slots but has much better odds.

The odds of winning slots

To give a figure on the probability of winning on a slots machine is a task even Albert Einstein would struggle with.

It’s better to represent chance as RTP rather than a probability. RTP is short for ‘Return To Player’ and is also represented as a percentage, which tells us how much money a player can expect to win over a period of time.

One of our most popular games, Immortal Romance, has an RTP of 96.86%, so for every $100 you gamble, you can expect to receive around $97 back.

This is pretty much standard across the board, but of course, this can vary from casino to casino. Some slots machines are known to have an RTP of less than 85% whilst others, with a high enough stake, can have an RTP of 99% – it’s all about finding the best slot for you.

Although this might be a worrying statistic, it shouldn’t bother you too much. Think about it this way; in the long-run, playing a slot with an RTP or 97% means you’re staking $3 out of every $100 for the opportunity to win a jackpot that can reach over $1 million!

When you look at it that way, it isn’t too bad.

If you’ve got any hints or tips for any of our aspiring slots players, then share your secrets in the comments section below.

link back to blackjack article which explains house edge in more detail.

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