There are very few slot players who are so foolish as to think they will make a living from the one-armed bandits, or even that, in the long run, they will come out ahead. Yet, if many of the advertisements in popular gaming magazines and newspapers are any indication, there are some people out there in slotland who think they will be able to make ?significant money? by learning some ?secret? known only to the system seller whose advertised product they are about to fork over some serious money for.
One ?system seller,? who used to advertise his ?revolutionary breakthrough method guaranteed to win,? charged $99 for ten poorly photocopied pages. That?s $9.90 per page. Was the information worth that much? Not if you could buy the original ?system? and a host of other valuable information from the book this thief had plagiarized it from for a mere $9.95 -- and that was $9.95 for over 170 pages of solidly researched information. (That book would be my own Break the One-Armed Bandits!) Unfortunately, the original book does not ?guarantee? that you will win, only that it will give you the best advice for increasing your chances of coming out ahead when you play those infernal machines.
It is one thing to promise people the best methods for playing the slots; it is quite another to guarantee those people that they will, in fact, win.
Take this to heart: Unless a slot machine is faulty, it will pay back in the long run whatever it is programmed to pay back. If it is set to return 95 percent of all the money put in it, then at the end of millions of decisions, it will be at, or very near to, that 95 percent mark.
Yes, in the short-run fluctuations of play for a day, a week, a month, maybe even a year, many players will be ahead somewhat at the slots. In fact, some players will be way ahead and some other players -- a very small number -- will have had life-altering hits on giant progressives that pay them millions and bring out relatives they never knew they had. These players, if they budget their monster win wisely and check the DNA of their erstwhile relations, will be among the few who can say as their epitaph: ?I beat the slots!?
But millions of players will be behind after a lifetime of playing slots, and the more they play the greater the chance that, in fact, they will be behind exactly what the aggregate programming of the machines they have been playing was. So if you are a player who likes those dollar machines and plays once a week from your day of majority (21) to the day of your departure for that big casino in the sky, if your life was long enough, there?s an excellent chance you lost about 5 percent of all the money you played.
With that said, here?s a secret that many slot players now know but many more need to know: Not all slot machines are alike. Some pay back more than others. Some pay back less than others. Some offer you millions-to-one long shots at significant wins, but almost guarantee that you will lose most times you go the casino. Some others can?t change your life, even if you hit for the biggest jackpot they offer, but these do offer you the best chance to come home with money more frequently, say, tonight. Some machines are worth playing the maximum number of coins in and some machines are best played with one coin.
So which are which and what should you play?
Here it is up to you. You have to decide what your priorities are, what it is you want from your slot-playing adventures in the casinos. If you are looking for that life-changing event, then you must play giant progressive jackpots such as Megabucks, Quartermania, and the like. But, and this is important, you must play the maximum number of coins to be eligible for that giant progressive.
Truthfully, we wouldn?t be too optimistic about our chances of winning something like Megabucks, for as John Robison showed in The New Chance and Circumstance magazine, the odds of hitting it are just a shade under 50 million to one! Ouch! In addition, in order to generate such massive jackpots, the giant progressives are notoriously stingy, often paying back in the mid to high 80 percent range, making them tough to win at on a regular basis.
My taste runs towards trying to eke out wins on a more regular basis and leaving the life-altering daydreams for other areas of my life. So I prefer playing a single coin in machines that don?t reward multiple-coin play. I call these machines ?equal-distribution? or "straight multipliers" because the payoffs on various lines are merely equal multiples of the first coin. So, if one coin pays back 300 on the jackpot line and two coins pay back 600 and three coins pay back 900, you are not getting any added incentive to play more than one coin. You?re just risking three times as much money in the same period of time with no added inducement. Generally speaking, ?equal-distribution? machines are your best bet for bringing home a win tonight, although in the long run they are losers -- as are all slot machines so programmed.
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