Slot machine games were initially crafted as a light-hearted diversion for casino players. With table games like blackjack, baccarat, and roulette hogging the limelight, casinos wanted something else to keep casual players entertained.

Table of Content:

  1. How to Play Slots and Win – Crunching the Numbers
  2. The Benefits of Free Spins and Slots Bonuses
  3. How to Pick a Winning Slot Machine?


The first slots were 3-reel slot games with a limited number of symbols and paylines. Fashioned off the work of the Liberty Bell slot by inventor Charles Fey in 1895, slots games quickly revolutionized the industry. Today, classic slots, video slots, and progressive slots comprise the bulk of games at casinos.

That there are different types of slot machine games is important when contemplating how to win on slots at the casino. In the olden days, mechanical slots games were the norm. Now, computerized online slot machines dominate the scene.

Players don't need to pull levers to activate the reels – everything is done electronically. Digital pulses of electricity set the ‘spinning reels’ in motion. Everything is controlled by a computer program and an RNG (random number generator). Each virtual reel spot will correspond with a position on the actual reel.

A complex mathematical algorithm is used to generate random results. The beauty of an RNG is that each spin is designed to offer an equal opportunity of hitting a jackpot.

The RNG system on a standard 3-reel slot machine game works as follows:

•    The player pulls the handle and the computer records 3 numbers from the RNG. Numbers will correspond to the first reel, second reel, and third reel.
•    The random numbers have set values and the slot machine divides by numbers such as 32-64-128-256-512*
•    When the random number is divided by the set value, the remainder of the quotient is recorded. This has to be a positive number, but less than the divisor.
•    Next, the divisor (corresponds to a larger number of stops on the virtual reel and is associated with a smaller number stops on the actual reel) is correlated to multiple virtual stops.

The benefit of using a computerized slot machine is that slot machine manufacturers can determine how loose or tight a machine will be. The random numbers that were mentioned earlier*are important since they impact the payback percentage of slot machine games.

The higher the RTP (return to player), the better the game from a player's perspective. Consider a slot game with a 95% RTP (a player will receive $0.95 back over the long-term for every $1.00 wagered) versus a 98% RTP (a player will receive $0.98 back over the long-term for every $1.00 wagered).

TIP #1: Always pick a slot machine game with the highest RTP (return to player).

Slot machine games are governed by computer programs and random number generators. There is nothing that a player can do to influence the outcome of a slot machine game. No skills or strategy are required, other than careful selection of the slot game and careful budget management.

Casinos cater to high rollers and low rollers. There are plenty of slots available for casual players, including penny slots games, nickel slots, dime slots, and quarter slots. The high rollers typically enjoy the more expensive slot games where the stakes are raised. These include $1 slots, $5 slots, and $10 slots et cetera.

How to Play Slots and Win – Crunching the Numbers

Since most players are not inclined to risk large sums of money for the same RTP, the high-roller slots are typically much more lucrative for players. This means that you are more likely to enjoy a higher payback percentage on the ‘more expensive’ slot machine games.

Leading casino writers like John Grochowski have studied high denomination versus low denomination slots and found that games like penny slots have payback percentages between 84% – 87%, while $5 slots have payback percentages of 94% – 97% (data compiled by the Mississippi Gaming Commission, October 2015)

There are important caveats to bear in mind. Players don't typically wager a penny in a penny slot game. These games usually have dozens of lines and multiple coins per line. It is essential to balance the number of coins wagered per line and the number of lines in total versus the payback percentage you expect to generate with the RTP. This requires planning and preparation. Your bankroll will offer guidance on how best to manage your slots budget and how much to wager on individual games.

Tip #2: Calculate the risk/reward ratio with low-denomination slots versus the high-denomination slots, using your budget to guide you. That’s how to play slots and win. 

Players have many different betting options available on slot machine games. If you want to know how to win on slots machine games, you need to understand a little more about the number of coins you can wager per spin. If we begin our examination with a typical 3-reel slot machine game, there are up to 3 coins that you can wager for each spin.

It is worth pointing out that the more coins you deposit, the bigger the overall payout. The disproportionate payout is designed to entice you to wager more coins per spin. Remember though, the probability of forming winning combinations does not change whether you wager one coin or three coins, but something interesting happens with payback averages over time.

Since the average payback on players who wager the maximum number of coins will always be higher with 3 coins (you get paid more), it follows that the actual payback percentage is higher when you bet maximum coins. The flipside of the coin – excuse the pun – is that you stand to lose more on every spin when you bet the maximum number of coins.

Tip #3: You will always get a much higher payback percentage when you wager maximum coins in a slot game

One of the most frequently asked questions on Google, Yahoo, and Safari is, ‘How to Beat Slots?’ It seems that players truly believe that there is a Holy Grail to winning slot machine games.  Eligibility for jackpot prizes is contingent upon the size of your bets.

Many progressive jackpot games, for example, feature multiple levels of jackpots including mini jackpots, minor jackpots, and major jackpots. Sometimes, you will be required to bet more coins per spin to activate higher levels of jackpots. This is an important eligibility requirement on slot machine games.

The Benefits of Free Spins and Slots Bonuses 

When players search for ways to beat slot machine games, they typically think of techniques to employ to gain a competitive edge over the machine. We know that there is nothing you can do beyond what has been mentioned to pick the right slot machine game with the best RTP. 

However, slots are games of chance. The more you play, the greater the likelihood that favorable outcomes may occur. A caveat is in order: You may play 10 games or 1,000 games and never win. Or you may win on your very first spin. The law of averages suggests that over a prolonged period of time, you will have both wins and losses. 

The only problem is people don't have an unlimited bankroll to play slot machine games. Perhaps it's not about how to beat slots; maybe it's about how to prolong your slots sessions so that you have a chance of winning. That's where promotional offers come into play.

Things like free spins offers and slots bonuses can have a big impact on your games. Free spins are usually awarded to new players at an online casino. Since each spin can result in a win, it stands to reason that free spins are like free cash. Be advised that winnings off free spins must meet with certain wagering requirements before you can cash out. These are known as the playthrough requirements.

You may be required to deposit and play through 30 X or 40 X the deposit amount to cash out your winnings. Each online casino is different, so read the T&C. Bonuses come in different forms such as no deposit bonuses, matching deposit bonuses, and multi-deposit bonuses.

Bonuses may require players to meet with certain playthrough requirements before any winnings can be cashed out. It's important to check the timeframe within which bonus funds must be cleared to avoid forfeiting your winnings. 

Tip #4: Maximize your free spins and slots bonus offers but don't fall into the trap of wagering more than your budget allows.

How to Pick a Winning Slot Machine?

If you want to know how to win on slots, surely the best approach is to learn how to pick a winning slot machine. That's easier said than done. There are many myths about picking winning slot machines. For example, players believe that casinos place the high-paying slot machines near the entrance to attract players or further back in the casino where there are fewer players.

We have already explored slot machine games with better payout percentages. These are the ones with high RTPs. The concept of an RTP is a theoretical one, and it is measured over the long term. It's possible that you will lose your entire slots bankroll during your session, so be prepared for any eventuality.

Another important yardstick is the slot machine volatility. This is otherwise known as variance and it's an important statistical concept. Variance can be likened to risk. The higher the variance, the higher the risk.

A low volatility slot machine game is associated with more frequent winnings. On the flipside, these winnings will be smaller. A slot machine game with high volatility is associated with less frequent winnings, but these winnings will be much bigger. It's not easy finding the volatility of a slot machine game, but if you can you should always use it to your advantage. 

You can always use slots bonuses and free spin offers to test the volatility of a slot machine game. High volatility games typically don't have many in-game features or bonus rounds. Casinos are aware that players are always looking how to beat slot machines, so they will not make it easy for you to find the slot games with high RTPs and high volatility. Promoted slots may be designed to throw you off course, so do a little research before you deposit and play with real money. A great way to go about this is with demo-play slots games. Read more about how do slot machines work >>

Tip #5: Test slot machine volatility for the biggest chance of beating slots games

Now that you know how to pick a winning slot machine game, you can get started right here at 888casino. 

About the Author

With digital marketing strategies in his blood, Louis Wheeler has traveled around the world, exploring gambling cultures and gaining experience in casino games from 2003. If you are in a casino anywhere around the planet, you may find him right next to you, playing blackjack, roulette or texas hold'em.