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How to play - Slot Machines

Slot machines

It is not an exaggeration to say that slot machines (One armed bandits) are the single, most favored form of gambling in a casino.

The objective of any slot player is to line up the symbols that return cash paybacks as frequently as Lady Luck will allow. Progressive slot players are usually hoping for the big jackpot win that could be in the thousands or millions of dollars

Today's slot machines are not the mechanical devices that were first dubbed "one-armed bandits" by politicians and social reformers of the late 1890s and early 1900s. Instead, they are computer-driven mechanisms that are not easily tampered with. The heart and soul of the new slot machines is the RNG or random number generator. This program is in a computer chip and it determines which symbols will appear on the reels when you put your coins in. Pressing the button or pulling the handle signals the RNG to signal the machine to line up a given set of symbols. Even when no one is playing the machines, the RNG is selecting number sequences that correspond to the symbols on the reels. This selection process is extremely fast and hundreds of sequences can take place in a heartbeat. In reality, when you put in your coins or play your credits, you are merely asking the machine to tell you what sequence had already been picked at the precise moment you hit the button or pulled the handle. (Note: except for rare internet casinos that use live dealers, all internet games are computer driven and use an RNG as the selection principle.)

Until recently most casinos kept the actual programming of their machines a secret. Casinos might advertise that they had the "loosest" machines or that some of their machines returned "97.8 percent" (or some such figure) but they never told which specific machines these were. Recently, however, with the rise in competition for the slot players' patronage, many casinos have begun to certify the returns on their machines. Often these certified machines will be programmed at 98 percent, which means that for every dollar played in such a machine, the average return will be 98 cents. That gives the casino a two- percent edge over the player.

Even in casinos where the machines are not certified, casino statistics can help us to ascertain which are the best machines to play. In this case, the higher the denomination, the more likely the better return. Therefore, a five-dollar machine will return a better percentage than a dollar machine that will return a better percentage than a quarter machine and so on.

Often the difference between two denominations is dramatic enough to make playing a single coin in a higher denomination a better bet than playing maximum coin in a lower denomination. Thus, you would be better off playing a single coin in a dollar machine than maximum coin in a quarter machine.

If you are considering playing slots in a given casino, first check to see if the casino has any certified slots. If so, play these -- even if it means playing a single coin. However, you should always play full coin on machines that give out big jackpots for doing so.