Slot machines sometimes are referred to as "one-armed bandits" because they entice people with their colors, lights and sounds to put more money in the machine. The thrill of trying to win a big jackpot is enough to make many people keep spending, even if they haven't won any of their money back. Although you won't win with every spin, there are some ways to increase your chances of winning and potentially minimize losses when playing slot machines.
Types of Slot Machines
There are a lot of different slot machines that are available. These include traditional slot machines, video slot machines and video poker slot machines. If you sit down in front of a video poker slot machine without knowing how to play poker, odds are high that you lose your money. There also are some machines that invoke bonus rounds and free spin rounds to which some people are not accustomed. Read any directions on the machine; if you understand how to play, proceed. If you don't understand, ask for clarification from a slot attendant.
Slot machines are programmed to pay out a certain percentage of money they intake, the amount of which varies according to local law. Most machines are programmed to pay out between 80 to 98 percent. This means that for every dollar taken in, a machine has to pay between 80 and 98 cents. Casinos generally place the higher-paying machines near areas of traffic in and out of the slots area so the frequent wins encourage passing customers to sit and play. Other places high-paying machines may be located include near eating areas and any freestanding kiosks used for promotional purposes.
Max Coins for Jackpots
Although small wins can add up over time, most people want to win the jackpot. Many machines either have an individual jackpot or are connected to a larger bank of machines that have a progressive jackpot. This means for every coin played, a percentage is put into a jackpot that increases with every play. Eventually, someone hits the progressive jackpot, then the process starts from scratch. The only way to win these huge jackpots is to play the maximum amount of coins. If the maximum is three and you play only one, you may win, but you won't win the jackpot.
Hit-and-run slot machine playing means you should only play on machines that give you a payout at least once every three or four spins. If it doesn't, this machine may have a low payout percentage and you likely will keep losing money to it. If a machine does not payout, stop putting money into it and move on to another machine. People who keep putting money into a machine that doesn't pay out are called "zombies" in the gambling industry. Avoid becoming a zombie by playing hit-and-run style.
Melissa Martinez has been a freelance writer and copy editor since 2003. She specializes in Web content and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle" and is now the section editor for a minor league sports news wire. She attended Seattle University.