How to Win at Slots
While slots is a game of luck, there are crucial decisions you can make to greatly increase your chances of winning, and these have nothing to do with luck.
The most important aspects of a slots game are not the colors, the sounds, or even the realistic graphics of the animated figures. What you should be primarily interested in is 1) your chance of winning and 2) how much you will win if you do. You have a huge hand in your chance of winning, and that is by picking a winning slots game. You also have a heavy hand in how much you win by picking a game with large rewards.
Return to Player (RTP)
The Return to Player is a percentage that shows the likelihood that you will win in the game. When you look at the percentages, they look really enticing: 95%, 96%, even 97%! Who wouldn't jump on that?
In fact, those RTP's are all pretty bad for slots, and the RTP is slots is already lower than in other casino games.
Moreover, what counts as a "win" in slots is any win whatsoever, even one of a few cents. Win doesn't mean a big win (like a jackpot).
Finally, don't make the mistake of thinking that the same game has the same RTP in every casino. The RTP can be adjusted for any game. Be sure to check the RTP of the game that's in front of you.
Volatility is the other end of Return to Player, the evil twin brother. It has to do with the kinds of ups and downs you can expect with the game. In a game with high volatility, you can expect a long period of losses, and periodic scores of bigger wins. Ideally, you bet small bets on the losses and then bet large on the big wins.
There are other strategies for high volatility which we'll discuss below.
RTP and Volatility
Almost invariably, you'll see an inverse proportion between a game's RTP and volatility. Games with high RTP (where you'll see rather frequent wins) generally have low volatility; you can expect lots of small wins. On the other hand, games with high volatility will generally have a low RTP, although if you can find a game with low volatility and high RTP, that's a score.
Do be aware that you may find games with a low RTP that also have low volatility, giving you the opportunity of having infrequent wins that pay little. Be sure to do your reading, otherwise, you'll fall into a losing game.
Note: the clear display of RTP and volatility gives you an enormous advantage at picking your slots game online versus in a casino. Physical slots machines have a Random Number Generator (RNG) in them that is set to give out wins at some percentage (generally between 85-97%). But that number is not displayed on the machine, and the only means of estimating it is by somehow acquiring a list of the percentages that can be programmed into a machine. And as far as ascertaining a physical slots machine's volatility...good luck with that one.
With online slots, however, both of these values are clearly marked, making your decision an informed one.
Play for Free: Free Spins
Now that you understand RTP and volatility, the other important part of gaining money is not losing money. And the best way not to lose money is not to pay any money. Many casinos attract new slots players by offering free spins. Like all free offers (not just from casinos), you'll need to check your terms and conditions.
Keep in mind that most games also have free spins inside of them that arise with some frequency. These free spins come with no strings attached with no wager requirement.
Terms and Conditions: Wagering Requirements
Usually, offers of free spins have what is called a wagering requirement, which is related to the concept of the playthrough. In short, a wagering requirement requires that you wager a certain amount of money before you can withdraw any winnings. So you might be given forty free spins as a new customer, and you might win with those free spins, but you cannot take those earnings home until you have bet a certain amount of money of your own money.
You still might come very much ahead after satisfying a wagering requirement. Be sure to check the terms and conditions.
Play for Free: Bonus Dollars
Many slots players seek after deals for free spins but ignore free bonus dollars. This is a big mistake for a number of reasons:
1. More casinos offer free bonus dollars than offer free spins. If you neglect these casinos because they are not offering free spins, you'll miss out on some great casinos.
2. Bonus dollars can get you more free spins than "free spins." This is because with bonus dollars you can decide how much you wager, so you can get more than the 10, 20, or even 50 free spins that you're offered.
3. The wagering requirement for bonus dollars might be more favorable for you than the deal offered on free spins.
Paylines and Bonuses
Your paylines tell players how many ways you can win on a standard pull of the slots. On a slots game with 5-reels, you have more pay lines than on a 3-reel slots game, but the payouts will generally be lower.
Be aware that, while the most common and popular online slots games all have 5-reels and 20-25 paylines. You place a bet per available payline, so that means that games with more paylines cost you more per spin.
But direct paylines are not the only way for you to get money; in fact, they're not even the principal means of scoring big. All slots games have bonus rounds, but not all bonus rounds are created equal. Bonus rounds can be very difficult to attain, and once you're there, they can pay pennies; or they can occur rather frequently in a game and multiply your wins many times over.
So how do you know about the bonus rounds, which ones pay and how often you can get into a bonus round? Here, it's important to listen to the word of the community. You can find reviews of games online that should delve into detail on the bonus rounds. A good review would have a look at the values of different symbols to calculate some winning scenarios so you can have an idea of what a win would look like. Second, the community of players can attest to how often you might expect to find your way into a bonus round - and might also have some testimonials from winners.
When You Win, Win Big
Pay tables tell you when and how many ways you can win. It is also important to see how much you would win if you win. Jackpots obviously pay out big money, but even non-jackpot slots games can have bonus rounds that can score big.
For some slots machines, the size of the jackpot depends on how much you wager. If you see a significant increase in betting double the amount of coins, then it is probably worth making that higher bet until you've gone through your bankroll (or until you win). For example, if you might win 20x your bet for betting $10, but only 10x your bet for 5, you stand to win much more by betting $10. If you have a bankroll of $100, you are not much more likely to win betting 20 $5 bets than you are betting 10 $10 bets, but the payoff could be $200 versus $50.
Set Up Your Limits
Even when a slots game has a high RTP, you are still looking at a game that will, over time, win more than it loses. As a slots player, you are hoping to be among the percentage that not only wins but wins big. In order to minimize chances at losing, regular players often set up a maximum win and loss bracket. While the bottom part of the bracket - maximum loss - is n important component of any gambler's self-regulation, for slots you may also want to set up a max win. This is the point where you say you stop after you've won X amount.
Setting a win limit makes it impossible to lose your gains by betting further. It makes sure that you quit while you're ahead.
If you want to find a slots game with a high RTP and some killer graphics, checkout Blood Sucker. It has an RTP of 98%, one of the highest out there, with some great bonus rounds. Amazing visual design will keep you interested even when you're not winning.