You might raise an eyebrow at the title of this article: “The Best Slot Machine Strategies for USA Players”. After all, doesn’t everyone know that slots, by their very nature, don’t involve strategies? In a game that’s entirely random, can you get an edge?
The truth is that the house will always have a mathematical edge when you’re playing the slots. And that’s true in other countries, too–not just the United States.
The point of this post is to save you money in the long-run. I also offer some practical advice for USA players who want to play online.
1. Take great care when choosing an online casino.
U.S. players often worry that slot machines online are rigged. The reality is that online casinos have no reason to rig their games; in the long run, they’ll win because of the math behind the game.
What American players do need to worry about is the safety of the casinos at which they decide to play. Choosing a site from a list of recommendations from a real person, like this list of safe casinos for U.S. players, is a better option than randomly choosing from a list provided by Bing or Google.
Better yet, choose one of the casinos I promote on this site. These are all USA-friendly properties with fun and exciting games.
2. Think twice about playing progressive jackpot games.
It’s exciting to play for a huge life-changing jackpot, online or off. But the odds on progressive jackpot games are invariably worse for the player.
Think about it this way. A percentage of every coin you wager on a progressive “fuels” the jackpot. That amount is that much less that can be paid back to the player–unless you win, of course.
And what are the odds of winning a progressive jackpot?
The odds of winning MegaBucks, which is the most famous progressive, is 1 in 50 million.
You’re more than twice as likely to get canonized as you are to win a progressive jackpot.
No sooner than I wrote this then my friend, reading over my shoulder, pointed out, “I won a progressive jackpot.”
Of course, he won a prize of several thousand dollars. The lower the jackpot, the better the odds.
When most people think of a progressive, they think of a jackpot of a million dollars are more.
Rule of thumb–the higher the jackpot, the worse the odds.
According to the Wizard of Odds, it’s typical for 10 cents of each dollar to go toward the jackpot. Another 11 cents is earmarked for profit. That’s leaves only 79 cents that can be paid back to the player.
An 89% payback percentage is not the best game in town, I promise.
3. Don’t confuse the game with the biggest jackpot with the game with the best odds.
Pop quiz. Slot machine A and B each cost $1 per spin to play.
Slot machine A offers a top jackpot of $1000.
Slot machine B offers a top jackpot of $2000.
Which one offers the better odds to the player?
It’s tempting to think B, but the reality is that it’s impossible to know. Just because the top jackpot is higher doesn’t mean that the odds of winning improve.
If your four times as likely to win the $1000 jackpot as you are to win the $2000 jackpot, then the $1000 game is the better bet.
It’s impossible to calculate the probability of various events from one game to another unless you can get access to the game’s PAR sheet.
If you don’t know the probabilities, it’s impossible to calculate whether or not a bet on one game is better than the other, no matter how high or low the jackpots are.
And even two games with the same name might have different PAR sheets.
4. Always join the slots club.
This applies mostly toward the United States players who focus on land-based casinos. Internet casinos automatically make you a member of the slots club.
A slots club is a reward program or a loyalty program. The casino gives you a plastic card to insert when you play their gaming machines.
It tracks how much money you wager over time. The casino hosts use that information to provide you with rebates in the form of free food, free rooms, show tickets, and even travel.
Best of all, playing with the card inserted doesn’t affect your chances of winning or losing.
5. Play for low stakes if you can stand it.
The house has an edge, no matter what other techniques you bring to the game. So the best way to save money playing is by playing for the lowest stakes that are still exciting.
This doesn’t mean playing for a penny a spin at the lowest denomination game you can find, although it can if you want it to.
Everyone has a different gambling budget. It might be deadly boring to play for nickels or quarters for one person, but another person might be thrilled to play for pennies and win a couple dollars one day.
But never play for more than you can afford.
And never gamble with any amount that makes you uncomfortable.
That way lies madness.
You can find some opinions about which low roller games are most fun here.
Gambling machines can be a lot of fun. The best slot machine strategies for U.S. players involve risk mitigation and an understanding of the math behind the games.
It’s also a good idea to ignore the myths and mis-information you’ll find elsewhere online.