Most people that come to Las Vegas play their luck at a slot machine. Can you win big on a slot machine, you might ask. The answer is yes. Ed, a friend, has consistently won over $100,000 a year for the last three years at the slots. Last year, the 1099’s he showed, totaled more than $250,000. One win was over $80,000. Wow! Now that is big. So how does he do it on a machine that is only random chance?
The chances of a person winning big by just walking up to a slot machine and trying his luck with a few dollars or even a few hundred bucks might be considered slim to none. So what gives you may ask.
Let’s look at the YouTube video Slot Machines – How to Win and How They Work. In this video you will see that slot machines vary on their payback, somewhere between 85% and 98%. Here is where the difference is between machines and where you can significantly increase your odds of winning. One-cent ($0.01) machines have a payback around 88.35%. That means if a person puts 100 pennies in the machine, and pulls the arm, or pushes the button 100 times, they will recover eventually, 88.35 cents. This payout is actually calculated over about 1 million plays. There is a slim-to-none chance of recovering anything when playing a 1-cent machine. Even a quarter or a dollar machine falls into this category. One must significantly improve the odds in order to win big. So what about those 98% payback machines, where are they. We will soon see. As the person in the video hints, the larger the denomination played the greater the percentage payback on a machine. The big hint is that the $25 machines are where the 98% plus payback occurs. Before we go there lets take a look at other issues.
Besides just plain luck, is there anything else that one can do to significantly increase their chances of winning something substantial at a slot machine? One might also look at this from the other side of the question and ask, “Is there anything one can do to significantly reduce their losses when playing at slot machines? When one answers the second question the answer to the first question is yes. So how would one go about reducing their losses when playing slot machines?
Let’s Follow Ed
Let’s follow Ed around and see how he won $250,000 last year. You can also read about his plan in the Las Vegas Insider’s Guide – Save Money, Stay Safe, Survive, and Operate in Sin City.
Ed instructs us to continue following him as he walks right past hundreds of slot machines. He is going someplace special. We finally walk under a sign that says HIGH LIMIT. Most people will miss this sign. The machines are in a “U” shape and probably don’t number more than 25 to 30 machines. All these slots are high limit, $10, and $25 machines. Rule #1 – Only play in the High Limit area.
Ed reaches into his pocket and pulls out a roll of $100 bills. A good guess is $3,000 in that wad. Don’t have that much? We have an answer later. Ed keeps that wad in his left hand. This is his limit for the day. Rule #2 – Have a do not exceed limit. When it is gone, you leave.
Ed sits down at a machine that he is familiar with. Rule #3 – Get familiar with a machine using lower denomination bets and don’t do max bet. Start by playing the lowest denomination you can for a few rounds until you are comfortable with all the ins-and-outs of the machine.
Ed inserts his player card into the machine. This is your ticket to free stuff and discounts, in addition the casino keeps track of how much you are betting and how often you play. Other comps also come into play, such as free meals. Rule #4 – Use your Las Vegas Player’s Club Card. These cards tend to be specific to hotels or hotel chains in Las Vegas. They are easy to get, just go to the awards window, and show your drivers license.
Ed then peels off a $100 bill and inserts it into the machine. He pushes the button for max bet. This may be 4 times the amount of the bet. If the machine is a $10 machine, the bet may be $40. If it is a $25 bet, then max bet maybe $100. Holy Cow! Relax and take a breath. Rule #5 – Set the machine for max bet. This significantly improves the odds and pushes the odds up to into the 98% plus payback arena.
Ed pushes the button. Nothing. He pushes the button again. Nothing. Holey Moley! Before long, he peels off another $100 bill and inserts it into the machine. My knees start to shake. He pushes the button again. Dang this is getting hairy. Ed doesn’t even break a sweat. He pushes the button again. Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding goes the bell. He wins several hundred dollars. Now instead of leaving the winnings in the machine and continuing to push buttons, Ed does something interesting. He pushes the “Cash Out” button and a slip of paper comes out of the machine. Gee, things were just getting exciting there. Ed carefully takes this slip and stuffs it into his right shirt pocket. Rule #6 – “Cash Out” every time you win. Ed continues with this procedure several more times and I see him putting a couple more slips into his pocket. He then gets up from that machine and tries his luck at another machine. He goes through the same procedure. He inserts his Player’s Card, sets the machine to max bet, and when he wins he “Cashes Out” and puts the slip into his right shirt pocket.
Finally, Ed exhausts the wad of money in his left hand. He has reached his limit, Rule #2. Whew! Now comes the time of reckoning. Ed counts his winnings and he has $5,600. He has won $2,500 over the amount he has put into the machine. He gets his winnings and arranges for his 1099. Note: Ed took all of his winnings home. He did not loose everything that he put into the slots. He always wins something.
Ed summarizes his year. Sometimes he looses, but most of the time, he wins. He plays once or twice on a weekend. He plays at three or four of the major hotels on the strip including MGM Grand and The M Casino, Spa and Resort. All of the hotels he plays at are on the strip.
You might think that you cannot afford to play like Ed does. But there is one other way to play in this arena. Get some friends together, pool your money, and take turns pushing the buttons. Split the winnings or cry on each other’s shoulders if you loose. Have a ball and take a chance on winning big.
Rule #7 – Don’t forget to bring along your guidebook, Las Vegas Insider’s Guide – Save Money, Stay Safe, Operate, and Survive in Sin City. Should you win big, you may want to leave the city in style. See Chapter 19, Leaving Las Vegas in Style.
For fun, especially if you don’t win a million bucks at the slots, go over to Binion’s at 128 Fremont Street and get a photo in front of the $1,000,000 in cash. Have a drink and enjoy your time in Las Vegas.