Every casino player in the world wants to know how to win at slots. If we could only lock down this one secret, we’d be able to print money on demand.
We can’t tell you how to win at slots every time, and anyone who claims they can is lying to you. However, we can share our deep knowledge of slot machines with you to help you increase your chances.
If you want a secret formula for winnings slots every time, hit the back button, and feel free to waste your precious time looking for one. If you want practical, useful tips and strategies, keep reading. If you’re a total beginner, it may be better to start with our guide on how to play slot machines.
How to Win at Slots – Understand the Math
Superstition belongs in the dark ages, along with believing in witches, potions, and magic. Magical thinking will get you nowhere if you want to learn how to win on slot machines. You need to think about slot machines in terms of math.
Every slot game is programmed to pay back a certain percentage of bets. This is called the RTP, which is short for Return to Player. For example, Starburst slot has an RTP of 96.09%. The casino will make 3.91% on this machine no matter what. It’s a mathematical certainty.
It’s important to understand the RTP of a slot machine before you play it. Some of the games with the biggest jackpots have the lowest RTPs. There are games which pay back as much as 98.5% of wagers, and there are games that only pay back 85%.
Don’t get RTP confused, though. It is not a guarantee that the machine will pay back any percentage to you personally. It could swallow thousands and thousands before it pays back one lucky player 98.5% of what it has taken in. This happens a lot, especially with highly volatile games with large jackpots.
So, step one of learning how to win slot machines is to find out what the game’s RTP is. You can’t always do this in land casinos, but you can always find this information in the paytable of an online slot machine or on the slot manufacturer’s website. For example, NetEnt lists the RTP and some other game information for all its most popular slot games.
How to Win on Slot Machines – Strategies
Most people do not believe that there are any effective slot machine strategies. This is totally untrue. While there’s no way to bring down the house edge on slot machines, and they are games of luck, there are some slot machine strategies that will help you win at slots more often.
Optimize for Game Volatility
Do you know the difference between low, medium, and high volatility slot games? If not, you need to, and you’re going to learn now.
Low volatility games pay small wins frequently. Highly volatile slots pay less frequently, but they’re more explosive. Medium volatility slot games go down the middle.
How you play each of these machines should be different. For example, it’s always advisable to make smaller bets on highly volatile machines. Why so? Because you could easily experience 10-20 spins without a win, then get a win that’s less than what you’ve lost, and then experience another 20 spins without a win. This is the fast road to losing your bankroll.
Likewise, if you have 10 or 20 free spins, you should play them on a low volatility slot like Starburst. It’s much easier to beat wagering requirements on low volatility slots. The small, frequent wins will boost your bankroll often enough to keep you playing for longer. More spins equal a better chance of beating wagering requirements.
Use the “Gamble Feature” to Your Advantage
The casino has an advantage on every single slot machine. You’ll know what that edge is as soon as you figure out the RTP. However, the much-loved gamble feature, which you’ll find on many slot games, gives you a pure 50-50 chance of doubling your money.
To use this slot strategy, play for small stakes until you trigger a win. Then opt to play the gamble strategy. Unusually, this is a simple card game, such as guessing whether the down-facing card is higher or lower than the upward-facing card.
You probably know where this is going. You want to ride out a lucky streak and double up a maximum of three times. Once you’ve won thrice, decline the next bet and head back to the base game. You could take a £10 win, double it to £20, double that to £40, and double that again to £80. And you have a fair 50/50 chance of winning!
This strategy won’t help you win at casino slots every time, but it will give you a fair shot at making fast gains. That’s all you can ask for in a casino.
Play Tumbling Reels Games and Bet Big
If you’ve ever played Gonzo’s Quest or any of the Megaways slots, you’ll already know how tumbling reels work. If you win, the winning symbols vanish, and new ones replace them. This keeps happening until you don’t make any new wins. Thus, you can win a number of times from one spin. You’ll find Megaways games at most of the best slots sites.
This feature is also called rolling reels or avalanche reels. Once the reels start rolling, you can’t increase your bet size. All wins will be based on what you wagered on the triggering spin. Therefore, when playing avalanche reels slots, bet bigger than you usually would.
This is really compounded when you play rolling reels games with progressive multipliers. Gonzo’s Quest is a good example of one. Each time you win, a multiplier increases the value of the next potential win. For example, in Gonzo’s Quest, your first win benefits from a 1x multiplier, and this can go up to 5x on the following wins. In the free spins feature on Gonzo’s Quest, multipliers grow as large as 15x.
Manage Your Bankroll Properly
We’ve written plenty about bankroll management on this site. It’s one of the only things you can 100% control as a casino player. You should learn to master this skill ASAP.
One good slots bankroll management tactic is to never bet more than 2% on a spin. For example, if you have £100 to wager, never bet more than £2 on a spin. Once you have increased your bankroll by 50%, increase the size of your bets. It should always be risk-on when you’re playing with house money. However, if you drop back down into your own money, reduce your bets again.
Some players also prefer to play a variety of slots. We never know when a game is about to pay out a huge jackpot. For this reason, some players divide their bankroll up into a number of games. If you have £100 to play with, you could make a rule that you’ll only spend £10 on one game. If you’re not having luck, it’s time to move on.
How to Win at Slot Machines Summary
The key to learning how to win at casino slots is to understand the game you’re going to play in detail before you play for real money. There isn’t one slot machine strategy that works on every game. You should play each game with a strategy that suits its uniqueness. One way to do this is to play slots for free in demo mode before you make real-money wagers.
Slot Machine Tips
We’ll round up this post with a few of the best slot machine secrets. Remember these as you play. It’s too easy to fall into a sort of slot frenzy and forget all higher-level thinking.
- Find out the RTP. We’ve covered this already. Remember that progressive jackpot slots will almost always have lower RTPs. That’s because a small percentage of every bet you make is paid towards the jackpot pool.
- Make qualifying bets. If you’re playing progressive jackpot slots, make sure you bet big enough to qualify to win the progressive jackpot. Some games, such as Jackpot Giant, require £1 minimum bets to qualify. Other progressive games like Mega Moolah don’t require you to bet anything above the minimum.
- Forget loose slots. There’s no such thing as a slot that’s loose or due to pay. This is wishful thinking. An online slot machine could swallow £10 million before it pays and could then pay £9,600,000 back all at once. The myth of loose slots dates back to when games were mechanical. In the digital age, it’s bunk.
- Read the paytables. This comes down to smart research. If you’re going to bet for £0.50 per spin, you might as well play a slot with 5x multipliers and a 10,000x jackpot. It may cost the same to play a game with no multipliers and a 1,000x jackpot. If you want to know how to win big on slot machines, start by reading the paytables.
- Use free spins. Yep, you’re going to have to wager them, but it can be done. If the terms and conditions are fair, you should always take a free spins bonus. This is especially true if they’re no deposit free spins.