Probability and Simple Slots Strategy

Slots are the most popular of all casino games despite being the most misunderstood. While there is no slots system that can assure you of winning, you can increase your chances of doing so by being aware of and choosing your next slot according to probability.

Here we take a look at the basics of slots machines and how they operate so that you can get past the myths and conspiracy theories surround slots and develop a slots strategy based on sound probability.

Understanding Average Payouts

Before we get started it is essential to understand average payout rates. Casinos often advertise their slots as paying out at anything from 90 to 96% - the fine print which is generally not very visible will read on a 90% payout that you lose 10 cents of every dollar you wager on that machine. In terms of probability, this will mean that your expected winnings will be 90 cents on every dollar that you put into a machine.

So if you wager $100 in 100 spins you will end up with on average $90 because you'll effectively lose 10% of your bankroll and if you put that back and keep wagering until your money is spent, you will on average only play around 44 rounds unless you get very lucky. That's not very long to enjoy yourself!

Even at online casinos with payout rates of 96%, this only applies to certain slots not all of them and it's not very easy to determine offhand which ones they are. So you really need to read everything about a slot before you play and always look for the payout info.

Using a simple slots strategy

You will find a great deal of advice as to whether slots players should play nickel, quarter, penny slots or dollar slot machines and whether or not you should wager the maximum number of coins on each bet or not. Here we take a look at how to get the most out of your slots play.

Just keep in mind that when it comes to slots strategy, the best advice is to know the rules, the probability of winning, expected payouts and when to quit.

Nickel, Quarter or Dollar slots

In spite of popular belief, slots with the higher denominations usually offer the best payouts over the long term while smaller denominations mean that you can stretch your game play out over a longer period. So the choice actually comes down to what you want out of a game, if you are playing purely for returns then stick to larger denomination slots and if you are playing purely for entertainment then lower denominations will give you a good go with smaller wins.

Determining the number of coins per spin

Generally the more coins you can afford to play per spin, the better as it increases your chance of winning the bigger pot if you hit the winning combination, making the expected value higher. If however you are playing a machine that does not double the potential winning for double the coins then it doesn't matter if you play the max or not. Again it is important to examine the paytables to assess the number of coins and expected value that a particular slot offers.

When it comes to the newly popular penny slots, you may be led to believe that you are only required to bet one penny per spin and you can do that. The problem however is that most of these machines require way more than a single penny to be eligible for the jackpots and even allow for up to 1,000 in bets on each spin, making them $10 per spin and you'll find your money goes faster than on these than any other slot.