Slots guru Gayle Mitchell gives advice on how to become a better slots player using strategy and bankroll management
by Gayle Mitchell
Remember when the only slots available were clunky, tiny, fruit-bell reels and Vegas, the city that grew from a vast desert, was the only place to play?
Computer technology has taken slot players down a neon, graphically rich and audibly enhanced road to new discoveries online and off.
We have played Monopoly, listened to Elvis tunes, spun that Wheel of Fortune and now search for the newer versions introduced at land-based and internet casino ‘virtual video arcades’. Slot Players have come a long way. Don’t you just love the excitement?
Mindless casino game -- you say. Not anymore, my slot friends.
It’s no longer a matter of insert coins, pull handle, cross fingers and dream of the big jackpot. A slots education is now a pre-requisite for any casino visit online or off.
Not only should you choose and observe the slot selections/schedules presented, but also wager management is key to your survival in a game that now produces 70% of most casinos’ revenues. If you don’t become slot-savvy and learn the correct strategies, you are missing some nice paydays.
We all know the casinos and the programmed RNG have the upper hand in the slots challenge. However, there are learned strategies that can and will improve your slots play that we will explore, thus preparing you for those jackpot quests.
Slots have evolved into four major categories:
1) Basic or ‘classic’ slots -- those 3 reel wonders that display a single payline.
2) Progressives with ever-growing jackpots, (primary & secondary).
3) Bonus Video Slots, aka as Multi-lines displaying more than one payline.
I further sub-divide Bonus Video Slots into two types:
Slots that transport the player to a second bonus screen/round for an additional payout and secondly, Wild Multiplier Slots (Wild X Bonus) as I call them.
Wild X Bonus slots can be three-reelers or multi-lines and offer more payout options and should be located for those reasons.
4) Lastly, the latest trend--multi-player concept slots that offers group play excitement.
Further information, wager management and strategies for these four slot types are:
1) Basic Slots:
I strongly recommend that slot players begin their casino playing experience with basic slots--cheaper to play and an excellent starting point, for as your credits mount and your bankroll increases, you can move on to bonus or progressive slot versions.
Basic Slots, straight slots or ‘flat tops’ as they are known, have a constant top jackpot payout. All require maximum coins to hit the major jackpot.
Look for these three features:
Single Payline, Two Coin Maximum to make your bankroll last longer and Double and Triple Jackpot Pays: on certain payline combinations.
Look closely at payout schedules -- not all basic slots will double and quadruple all pays and not all will have double jackpot symbols.
Search out 98% or 100% ‘certified’ slots, usually dollar slots at your favorite casino.
Ask the slot hosts or change people if all machines in that carousel are high-return slots or just one or two slots--the least desired player advantage.
Play ‘signature slots’ with a particular casino’s name on them. These are generally looser thus producing the desired casino PR.
Explore high traffic areas around the main cashier’s booth and change booths for the specific features mentioned above.
Always play maximum coins. Be a ‘hit and run’ winner--3-5 max spins without any return--move on. After any large win, try 3 more max spins for possible repeat win.
Don’t hang onto one machine too long -- take the credits and run!
When playing online, explore the newer basic slots offered, checking for those 3 features mentioned above first.
2) Progressive Slots:
Progressives appeal to slot players searching for that ‘big hit’.
There are two levels of progressive jackpots -- primary and secondary.
Most versions require at least three coins max, sometimes more.
Primary jackpot is the top prize offered when a player hits a specific combination, i.e., three Megajackpot symbols. Primary jackpot $$ amount is displayed with the largest sign and numbers above the carousel or bank of machines. This jackpot increases with each bet made by all players participating in the network.
Secondary jackpots are displayed on smaller screens mounted below the primary jackpot signage or on the machine itself. These jackpots are hit more frequently and therefore do not always have a large sum of money on the progressive meter.
If both jackpots are high, the indication is that these machines have had a lot of play without hitting and could be ready for ‘the big hit’. Before playing any single progressive version, check out the primary and secondary jackpots then compare with other surrounding progressive jackpots. Change people and slot hosts can be very helpful with information on where the largest progressive jackpots are located.
In larger gambling venues, the locals are very aware of ‘hot progressives’, so if you notice a crowd around a certain bank of machines--it’s your cue to take a seat.
Additionally, online casinos monitor and display progressive, primary jackpots amounts accompanied by the name of the slot making it easy to make your playing decisions.
After a progressive jackpot is hit, the meter automatically resets to the base jackpot amount. Megabucks resets to 7 million. If you see any progressive close to its reset dollar amount, you know it’s been hit recently. Save your money.
Land-based progressive jackpots are paid out in annual installments; however, several progressive jackpots now pay ‘on the spot’.
All winnings are paid immediately at online casinos.
In the end, the majority of large progressives are hit within the first 5-15 minutes of play with a small cash outlay.
In part 2, we will explore Bonus Video Slots and Multi-Player.