The first rule of thumb in playing the slot machines is to play the maximum coins. Players who wager one coin at a time are giving up at least one percent of the payback by not qualifying for the jackpot. If you can’t afford to play five coins in a dollar machine, play the quarter machines or even the nickels, but play the maximum coins. It gives you the best chance of winning.

Q: “I just left a machine, and the minute I did, the very next player hit immediately. If I’d played just one more time, I’d have won big wouldn’t I?”

A: This is the notion that hurts the worst when it happens and is the hardest to shake, but it’s simply not true. Inside the “brains” of this remarkably single-minded machine, the random number generator is churning out combinations of hands at the rate of one every thousandth of a second, whether the machine is being played or not. If the next player – or you – had inserted the coin or hit the draw button a single millisecond before or after, the result would have been an entirely different hand.

Q: “If the machine next to me hits, does that mean that mine won’t?”

A: No. The machines aren’t interlinked in terms of determining hands or payouts – except for the progressives, and in that case, only in terms of contributing to the big jackpot. Slot machines are totally self contained when jackpots are hit.

Split your bankroll to allow you the best of both worlds – the higher the payback of regular slots and a shot at the humongous jackpots featured on the progressives.

Q: “Okay, Jack. Please tell us. Where are the loose machines located in the casino?”

A: Years ago I could have given a better answer to that question. Back then, the very loosest machines were located near access doors to attract players into the casino. Now, every casino’s Slot Manager is his own architect. Of course, it’s no tightly held secret that the bigger the stakes on a machine, the better the payback. A five dollar machine will pay back more both sum wise and percentage wise than a dollar machine. A dollar machine will pay back a greater portion of the investment than a quarter machine. Similarly, in most quarter machines, playing multiple quarters to the machine’s limit is going to get you more than just playing one coin. If you made me guess where to find a loose machine in the average casino, I would say try the corners of slot squares, and the well traveled intersections between banks of slots.

STRATEGY#1 – THE PLAY-THROUGH METHOD

You think you’ve found a “loose” slot machine. Good. Take your bankroll and play it through the machine ONCE. Do NOT replay any coins/tokens that you have won. After you have played your bankroll through the

machine, take any winnings and QUIT. This method will practically guarantee that you will leave the “session” with SOME money (if not an actual jackpot).

If your slot machine seems to be on an upward trend–you may opt to play your winnings (up to the amount of your initial bankroll) through the machine once more. Playing the same machine beyond this point, however, is risky.

STRATEGY#2 – THE STEP-DOWN METHOD

For the sake of demonstration, let’s say you’ve chosen to start playing a $5 slot machine. Play the machine until you’ve played one-half of your initial bankroll. Stop. Count the money/tokens in the coin tray. Add it to what’s left of your initial bankroll. If the total amount EXCEEDS your original session stake (bankroll), play the remaining amount of your initial bankroll through the same machine. If it does NOT total your initial stake, “step down” to the next denomination machine …(in this case, a $1 machine). At this slot machine, play one-half of what’s left of your starting bankroll. Stop. As before, count the money/tokens you have won and add it to what remains of your original stake. If the combined total EXCEEDS your starting bankroll, “step up” to a $5 machine once again. If your combined winnings do NOT equal or exceed your original bankroll, “step down” to the next denomination slot machine (a quarter machine) … and repeat the process.

If you don’t actually leave the casino a winner, you will have stretched your playing time tremendously WITHOUT EXCEEDING YOUR ORIGINAL BANKROLL.

STRATEGY#3 – THE PERCENTAGE-PLAY METHOD

This particular strategy involves playing a fixed percentage of your bankroll for each “pull.” For example, let’s say your session stake is $100. You have chosen to play a $1 machine.

You will play a maximum of five (5) percent of your stake each pull. Therefore, you would play up to five coins on the first pull. If you win, you may continue to play at five percent. If not, then you limit your next pull to five percent of what remains of your bankroll. And so on.

The question is: “When do I quit?” The answer is: when you’ve lost half of your initial stake OR … if you are winning … when your last ten (10) pulls have yielded no winnings.

At that point, you may choose to move to another slot machine, “step down” to a lesser denomination machine … or call it a day and eat some dinner. Again, the choice is entirely yours.