Is it possible to use probability to win slots?

Can You Use Probability to Win at Slots?

When we think of gambling, things like high-stakes poker, blackjack or roulette come to mind. But for those of you new to the casino scene, slots are the best way to start out. They're simple and seemingly rely on random chance. Unfortunately, that's what turns a lot of people off. Skilled gamblers can win big by mastering card games, for instance. But is it possible to use special strategies of probability to win at slots as well? Fortunately, it's possible and boils down to two specific techniques.

Before we delve into winning strategies, let's take a look at the types of slot machines you'll probably encounter.

  • Multipliers: These machines have a minimum cost to spin, but give you the option of betting more. In exchange, your potential return is doubled or even tripled.
  • Nudge: Denoted by a set of spinning symbols with a horizontal line through the middle, the icons won't necessarily line up every time. But despite this, it can still lead to a payout, making these a bit confusing to newbies.
  • Second Chance: These are interesting, because, in addition to the main spinning section, there's a secondary one that offers a bonus. So even if you lose, there's still another shot with the same spin.
  • Progressives: The machines following this formula gradually collect the losses from people's spins and keep them in a pot. It grows and grows until someone wins it all (the "jackpot").

There are frankly dozens of variations and new ones come out all the time, but these are just a few main models.

Technique #1: Knowing Your Chances

As a student, chances are you've grown up being told that the "house" (casino) always wins, or that the odds are significantly tipped against you. But nothing could be further from the truth.

The fact is that slot machines are governed by certain laws, one of which is colloquially known as the "return to player (RTP)" This is the percentage of earnings across all machines that must be returned to players over time. It varies from state to state, so if you're looking to use probability, location is your first step.

Las Vegas, for instance, is a gambler's paradise, so it's a great place to start out, right? Well, not really. In fact, the RTP in the state of Nevada is comparatively low, at only 75%. This basically means that, theoretically, every time you put in money, 25% will be lost over time. Unless you get a lucky pull, that cash will dwindle quickly. On average, most states fall into an RTP range of 80 to 85%.

Nonetheless, if you vary your location, then you can use probability to win. But there's no way to consistently play and expect to come out on top every time. This basically means that you need to switch things up. Play a few rounds on one machine, then move on to the next. Random as they may seem, clearly there's some kind of fixed mathematical algorithm in play.

Technique #2: Pay Big, Win Big

Casinos want your money, and one way they get it is to mess with your head. Fall for their subtle tricks, and it won't be long before you're pulled in (no pun intended).

Slots come in different price variations. Lately, we've seen a surge in "penny slots," which literally charge one penny per spin. It may not sound like much, but what casinos don't tell you is that the odds are extremely slim. In short, you get what you pay for.

If you want to maximize your chances of winning, then it's best to gravitate to higher priced slot machines, like the five or ten dollar variations. At the very least, there's a solid chance of winning back part of what you spin.

Getting Out There

The gambling world is an exciting place when used in moderation. Slots might look intimidating at first, but the feeling you get when you land your first big win – and it will happen – is absolutely exhilarating. Just remember to experiment, be patient and be smart.