Slot machines are legit everywhere in Las Vegas. The minute you step off of the airplane you’re met with banks of slots, and they take up the most real estate in every casino. They are even in some bars and convenience stores.

Since slots machines are more common in Vegas than girls promoting fit tea on Instagram, they’re one of the most popular ways to gamble — plus, they’re easy to play and fun. But before you play slots, there are definitely some things you should know.

Bankroll Management

The most important step to playing slots for the most benefit is to manage your money. Does it make sense to play a slot at $20 per spin when you only have $100? Bitch, hell no. It’s easy to lose 5 times in a row and you’d be done playing, sitting around broke and breathing in smoke. #notcute

You’ve got to make sure that you play limits that suit your bankroll — if you can, having 100x your max bet will help you absorb the crazy swings and losing streaks that can happen with slots. You don’t need to be playing high dollar spins to win big, but it does help. That said, if you only want to spend $20, stick to penny slots and bet proportionally. You don’t need to make it rain like Yeezy at a strip club to have fun playing slots.

First, Read the Rules

You wouldn’t go out with a guy without stalking him on social media first right? You’ve got to know what you’re getting yourself into. It’s important to know exactly what’s happening with your spin — what pays out the most, what combinations you need to win, and what triggers bonus games. Take a minute to read the information/game play page on the screen (or look at the pay table on an older slot). You’ll have a lot more fun if you know what’s going on.

Go Big or Go Home

The saying goes the bigger the risk the bigger the reward, and that holds true for slots. Betting the max on a slot means you’re playing all lines and as many coins per line allowed — and in some games that unlocks features only available when you’re betting the max. Playing the max has many benefits and should be the only strategy you employ when playing slots (unless you got it like that and you’re cool with burning money purely for entertainment). It not only gives you the best chance to win, but it also pays out the most.

The most important reason for playing the max is that some slots won’t pay out the top prize if you bet below the max. This is a common with slot machines, especially with digital games becoming more complex than they were years ago — and trust me, there’s nothing worse than meeting the requirements for a jackpot only to find out you weren’t eligible to win it because you didn’t play the max.

Progressive Slots

Progressive jackpots are a perfect argument for playing the max. These progressive jackpots grow every time someone puts a coin into a slot that is pooled with the jackpot. The jackpot grows until someone wins it, and once its won, it’ll reset and start growing again. Some of the most popular machines on the floor boast massive progressive prizes (The Wizard of Oz, Wheel of Fortune, etc.).

Not all slots have a progressive jackpot. Some will have a standard jackpot that is set at one amount, and these are easier to hit since they don’t pay out as much. But a progressive jackpot can reach into the millions — seriously life changing money.

Play Slots Off the Strip

The best advice for playing slots in Las Vegas is to play off the main Strip. Slot machines directly on the Strip can be brutal, with payout percentages near 90% — which means theoretically, every time you wager $1, you’re going to lose a dime. That adds up fast.

Long story short, slots on the Strip will not pay out as well as in off-Strip locations. The casinos you find in the suburbs and Downtown rely almost exclusively on their casino games. They entice players to gamble there by offering better odds and payouts on their slots, which can be 93-94%. That’s what they mean when they advertise “The Loosest Slots in Vegas!” on billboards.

Slot machines at the airport are the worst — they’re a tempting way to fill time, but leave them alone. They only pay back about 85% of all the money that goes in.

The casinos off the strip may not have as much of the glitz and glamour, but we’re here to win money and pull value. Understanding that slot play pays off better in some locations than others will help keep your bankroll healthy.

All That Glitters Isn’t Gold

Speaking of glitz, slots that offer lots of flash and flair are usually covering up an ugly side — the more exciting and fun a game is, the more likely it is to offer a low payback. They may look good on the outside, but once you start playing, you see its true colors.

The first time I ever played slots I was immediately drawn to the Breakfast at Tiffany’s slot. It was big, it played scenes from my favorite movie, it had a comfy chair, it was awesome. So awesome that I barely realized all my money was taken by Holly Go-fuck me side ways. Ms. Golightly got her ’50 dollars for the powder room’ alright – without me even noticing. Because I was so wrapped up in very small wins, I didn’t realize how much I was losing and how quickly I was losing it.

The Britney Spears slot is another one like this. It looks epic and is fun to play for a bit, but Britney is SUCH a bitch.

Anyway, this isn’t ALWAYS the case. Slot spins are truly random, and it’s not impossible to win good money on slots. But it’s also a lot easier to lose money. As a rule of thumb, slots that look boring and simple are more likely to pay off at a better rate.

Quit When You’re Ahead

If you hit a big win walk away. Yes, it’s possible you can keep winning on a machine, but you probably won’t. With slots it’s better to play a little, get some small wins in if you can, and call it quits. You will always lose in the long term.

Think of slot play like taking shots. A few tequila shots? Perf. Shots all night and you’ll probably not love the outcome. Sure, it’s possible you won’t end up throwing up or embarrassing yourself, buuuut… chances are you probably will. Quit while you’re ahead. And generally those small wins can end up being enough to cover a night out or even your airfare to Vegas.

Slots Rituals and Superstitions

We want to have fun, but let’s have some dignity, too. Don’t be one of those people who takes their card in and out of a machine after a win or pulls out a troll doll for good luck — you aren’t changing anything but your odds of looking sane.

It just doesn’t help. You can’t rub a screen or trick the computer into letting you win. Each spin is its own little game and is independent of anything that’s come before or will come after (and the Nevada Gaming Commission ensures this). Some players like to think they can manipulate slots into winning, but the harsh reality is that a slot machine will pay when it wants to. It’s a completely random experience that no one can influence without cheating (… and that’s a terrible idea that’ll land you in a seriously uncomfortable spot).

The only real strategies for slots are avoiding the games that’ll break you and realizing that the casinos are committed to draining your bank account — then balancing smart slot play with comps and rewards. Are you getting free drinks as you play? Are you racking up free nights by playing slots at your favorite property? Does a couple hours of play come with a $60 buffet pass through a promotion?

Keep It Simple and Have Fun

Basically, think of slots like that fuckboy from Tinder. They’re a great way to have some quick fun and get some free drinks, but if you think you’re going to have a long term relationship with him, you’re going to lose — and yes, the better they look, the worse they are.


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