Slot machines sound innocent enough to the new player. After all, in places like Chuck E. Cheese and Dave and Buster’s, where there are plenty of games that look and sound like slot machines, plenty of today’s casino-goers have grown up.
What the new casino player also doesn’t know is that slot machines will do more damage to their bankroll than any other activity. Slots can be fun, but you need to know what you’re up against before you put your money in the machine.
Below, you’ll find some helpful tips if you’re a new slot machine player.
Slot Machine Have the Biggest House Edge in the Casino
Apart from the keno, the real money slots have the biggest edge of the house. The house edge is a statistical estimate of how much of each bet you’re going to lose on a game in the long run. It is expressed as a statistic which is a long-term average.
Here is an example of this:
The house edge of the pass line bet in junk is 1.41 percent. If you make a $100 bet repeatedly on the pass line, you will ultimately lose an average of $1.41 per bet over time.
“You’re not going to gamble $1.41 on any single bet or any limited amount of bets. It’s the average result of hundreds or thousands of bets.”
Many casino games have a house edge of between 1% and 5%.
But the house edge on slot machine games ranges from 7 percent to 8 percent on pretty decent machines to up to 25 percent on stingiest machines, like those you’ll encounter at the airport or at gas stations.
Calculating the House Edge
In most casino games, you can quickly measure your house advantage if you’re mathematically inclined. The house edge is based on the difference between how much you win the percentage of time you win versus how much you lose in the percentage of time you lose.
In a game like roulette, for example, we know that the chances of winning a single-number bet are 37 to 1, but the payout is just 35 to 1.
In the regular roulette game, by the way, the house edge is 5.26 percent on almost any bet.
But with a slot machine, you don’t know how likely the winning games are. Sure, you know what the payouts are with the different results. But you can’t measure the house edge without the chances of achieving those results.
And similar computers sitting side by side could have wildly different house edge numbers.
The Payback Percentages Being Reported Are Averages
If you follow any of the larger casino newsletters or check out some of the larger casino manuals, you’ll find the average payback rate for different casinos, casino locations, and casino towns. These averages don’t mean much for a particular slot machine.
The payback rate, by the way, is the flip side of the house edge – it’s just the house edge subtracted from 100%. It’s how many you hope to win back on any bet you put.
“If the payback percentage for a slot machine is 92%, you expect to average a win of 92 cents for every dollar you play. And again, this is a long-term average.”
But here’s an example of how that average statistic can be misleading: let’s say you’ve read a survey that says the average dollar payout percentage at Border Casino is 92 per cent.
And let’s assume the Boundary Casino has 1,000 slot machines to pick from.
Any of these machines can have a payback percentage of 75% which is offset by some of the other slot machines getting a payback percentage of 97%.
But you don’t have a way to differentiate one from the other. And if you observe the findings closely, you need a broad data collection to draw certain conclusions.
The Difference Between a House Edge of 8% and 25%
Most people grasp what percentage means at the statistical stage, but let’s look at these percentages in realistic terms.
Let’s look at how much it would cost, on average, to play an 8 percent house edge slot machine against a 25 percent house edge slot machine.
The calculation for estimating your estimated loss is a clear one. It’s just the amount of activity you’re taking to the casino multiplied by the house side.
Action is simply the overall sum of money you bet on. If you make 100 bets of a dollar each or a single larger bet of $100, the overall bet is the same—$100.
Let’s presume that you’re a novice gambler playing dollar slots for three coins per spin. You bring $3 into motion on any spin.
Let’s also say that after about two hours of playing slots, you get bored.
Many slot players make 500 spins every hour, so two hours worth of play results in 1,000 spins. At $3 each, that’s $3,000 worth of action.
For an 8 percent house tip, you’re going to waste an average of $240 on that kind of play. That’s $120 per hour for the amusement of your slot machine.
But with a 25% house edge, you’re going to lose an average of $750 with that kind of play. That’s $375 an hour for the same entertainment.
It could be easier to rent a movie theater to see a movie.
The Slots Club Isn’t as Great a Deal as You Think
Many users have already sent a memo:
If you play at a casino, you can still attend the players’ club.
You get to put a card into the slots when you’re playing. This card records how much money you put into the system.
By the way, the casino doesn’t care how much you win or lose. They know they’re going to make more money the more money you’re going to cycle into the system. Their primary aim is to bring a lot of money into motion.
“That’s why the benefits are based on how much you’re gambling, not how much you’re losing.”
“They know that if you have an occasional winning game, you can fail to play and ultimately lose a lot of money.”
They usually send you back 0.2 per cent to 0.3 per cent in deals and freebies in return for your action.
Don’t make a mistake, it’s easier to get some incentives than not to get them.
Yet the casinos are more betting on you than you might otherwise have in return for that.
Understand How the Players Club Works
My cousin Peter spent a lot of time at the casino last year. Often, maybe once a month, he’d call me and brag about how he won $1,000 or $1,500 that day. The other times—when he lost visits to the casino—he didn’t say much about it.
And Peter went to the casino every time he got a day off, too.
Of course, Peter realized he was going to be a player club, but he was gambling so much that he began battling with himself to get to the higher rank of the player club. There are three tiers in the club:
Your degree is dependent on the amount of points you have earned. The casino awards a point for every $10 that you bring into effect.
If you’ve earned 5,000 points, you pass to the premier stage, which means you’ve put $50,000 into effect.
You step into the elite class after you’ve earned 15,000 points, which ensures you’ve put $150,000 into effect.
Because this is an Oklahoma casino, it’s fair to say that they don’t have a house edge equal to what you’d find in the best Las Vegas casinos.
Let’s only be generous and say that the house advantage for these games is 10% on average.
This means you’re probably going to lose $5,000 to get to the premier level, and you’re going to lose $15,000 to the elite level.
“What kind of perks do you get at these levels?”
For the wealthy class, you get free vouchers for meals and hotel stays. You’ll also get discounts at the buffet and the RV park. And you’re going to get 10% off everything at the Salon or the gift shop. Finally, you have keys to the cabana free of charge.
None of this seems like it’s worth wasting a lot of extra money on the casino.
Peter lost a lot of money on those perks, much of them included wasting money he wouldn’t have invested otherwise.
The Words of Advice From an Old Gambler to a Young Gambler
If you’re going to play slot machines, that’s all right. You just need to understand that this is one of the most costly casino options. You’re expected to play fewer stakes than you thought, so you’re going to expose yourself to grind four to five times as hard as you will in most casino games.
You’re still meant to be leer of the club’s lures. Yes, you might like to join and take advantage of the advantages provided by membership in the players’ league.
But certainly stop gambling more money than you would otherwise just want to get your money worth.
These are my words of wisdom to someone who’s dreaming of playing slots. I hope you can find better entertainment that won’t cost you too much at the casino without really trying hard. Think games like blackjack or video poker instead, so the house edge in such games is much smaller.