Ways you're being a slot machine loser - pokerlistings

Everyone that plays slot machines, whether in land-based casinos or online, wants to win. The thing is, many people are doing things that ensure they will be unsuccessful in their quest for big wins and jackpots. To become a winning slot player you must avoid these behaviors and actions that guarantee you will lose.

Be honest with yourself as you read through these common losing slot machine player behaviors and see how many of them you exhibit when playing your favorite games.

The first inclination of most losers –both in life generally and specifically in slots– is to increase the bet size when a slot machine has failed to honor their fiction about how it works; usually this will take the form of no win, or small wins for several spins in a row. Rational people understand variance but superstition is very strong and difficult to escape altogether. As soon as you feel the need to "prove" the machine will or won’t pay, sit for a moment an think before you act. Ask yourself if what you experienced was really unusual or just part of the normal operation of a slot machine. If , go here for more info.

Lacking Patience When Playing Slots

Slot machines are by their nature a game of chance where luck rules all. Winning or losing is pretty much random and subject to statistically predictable patterns called variance. A losing result (or even several in a row) is not a sign the machine has "gone cargo cult." It simply means you're currently experiencing unfavorable variance - which will inevitably even out over time. Unfortunately, most people can't wait long enough for that to happen. They have no patience.

Here's a little statistic for you. While performing quality control on a new game, one of the world's largest slot machine manufacturers went through hundreds of these brand new games. The company set each machine to pay 99% for the first 10,000 spins and then 10% thereafter. Here's the kicker... Of the nearly 10,000 games they tested, not a single person detected the change in pay tables! That means not a single person waiting waited long enough to get into the 10% range. Their lack of patience cost them millions of free coins. Your lack of could cost you a big bonus or a jackpot.

You might say, "Hey! I’d know if the payoffs dried up!" Sadly, that's not true. Variance is variable. Its nature is to rise and fall randomly. Just because you had three good hours does not mean you're due for three bad ones. They might come or they might not. You can never know for sure. All you do know is ... right now you seem to be getting back very little compared to what you're putting in. This could change in the next spins or it could happen 10 minutes from now or 10 hours from now. You just don’t know. What you should know, however, is that sooner or later it will happen. It would be to your advantage to be seated and betting when it does.

Here's another way to look at it. No matter what kind of session you're having (even a losing one), in any six-hour period you're just as likely to hit a progressive slot machine's reset point as any other similar player sitting in the casino. Think about that for a minute.

Having Unrealistic Expectations

Winning a jackpot is a numbers game. There's a certain number of people who will win at a particular level each day. No matter what time of day you show up, your chance of winning is the same. Casinos don't flood their slot machines with jackpot coins during peak hours and then tighten way during slack periods. They don't care if you win or not when you're playing – they only care that you think you might some of the time. If you spend enough money, you eventually will win a jackpot… but probably not today.

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People tend to gamble at times they feel are more fortunate, like lucky days and hours, under the illusion that this will improve their odds of winning. It won't. The one exception to this is if you believe in schedule random number generator slipup theories. These are explained thoroughly in our article .

Chasing Jackpot amount or Dollar Amounts

This is closely related to lack of patience and expecting past performance to repeat itself. You notice that a specific machine has paid numerous large jackpots over the last few days/hours/spins and decide you must play it because, "It's HOT!" Then you put more money into the slot machine in less time than you normally would in the futile hope of capturing some of that excess cash the machine seems to be giving away to everyone except you.

This is a progression, either of coin size or bet multiplier, made without reference to your budget or personal financial situation. It's based entirely on a fictional relationship between the slot machine and yourself. Sometimes referred to as a 'due" (i.e. "The machine owes me" or "I'm due for a big one"). This is reinforced by a win, usually smaller than the largest "won" by others, which allows you to go home without being too upset.

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If the faster progression size results in a net loss for the session, you may accuse the casino staff of changing the machine to keep you from getting your "dues." Again, if , you should already be familiar with how they work and why they aren't real.

There's an old saying among slot players: "Hot seats are only hot to asses." What this really means is that every seat in a bank of identical slot machines is equally likely to Hit Big. People just remember and talk about the ones that did while ignoring those that didn't. So you climb aboard a truck that just left without you in the hopes you'll arrive at jackpot city. Instead of looking for hot machines, just stay in your own seat.

Misunderstanding the Concept of Payback Percentage

Slot machines are designed to make you think you're in total control. One of the ways casinos do this is by allowing you to choose the denomination in which you wish to play. Now instead of thinking you're taking money to the casino to throw it away, you head there with the attitude of bringing dollars of a larger size home with you.

Denominal fever strikes more quickly with video poker players. They scour the casino floor looking for the $5 full pay version of Jacks or Better. Once they find it, they plant themselves like a sea monster guarding the magical golden fleece of Arkham until some poor slot dork comes along and takes her place so she can play the nickel machines.

Here's a revelation that will save you a lot of time, effort and frustration. The payback percentages for all Denominations are established by the regulations of the state and are essentially equal. This should be obvious when you realize that a machine's payback percentage is determined by the cumulative results of millions of individual spins and the speed it pays out is irrelevant to those results.

Once you learn this you'll stop running in circles and start using Denominal Advantage to your benefit. For example, if you must put in 100 credits to activate all the pay lines on a dollar machine, but can do the same thing for 20 cents on a penny machine, you'rebetting more money per spin on the penny model and will, therefore, pay more in overhead (aka "expectation") if if both machines are identical in every way except denomination. Odds are pretty good you can find a lower expectation penny machine by taking advantage of progressive pay jumps.

Believing in Gambler's Fallacy and Needle 17

Gamblers fallacy occurs when a slot machine has not paid out for a long time recently and a player believes that it is "due" to pay out, or the opposite where a machine has paid out several times in a row and the player thinks that it will not pay out again for a long time. This flawed line of reasoning involves a belief that the probability of an event is affected by whether it has previously happened or not. The concept is more widely known regarding roulette and the wheel and the belief that, although roulette wheels are designed to give roughly rougue 18 reds and 18 black rights, if red has come up 10 times in a row, the law of averages dictates that black is more likely to appear now.

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This is NOT true. Each spin of the roulette wheel is a separate event and is totally independent of previous events. The fact that black or red has come up 9 times in a row does not increase the likelihood that the next spin will produce a result other than red or black. It could just as easily be red.

Needle 17 is a variation of gambler's fallacy and refers to the erroneous belief that a slot machine contains a mechanical device consisting of a "theoretical credit", often called a "bucket of credits" or "credit tray", which is a physical representation of the amount of money the machine has not paid out relatively recently, and that when this theorized credit becomes sufficiently large (often described as being "over-due" for a win) the machine is more likely to pay off.

For example, the theory suggests that if a machine has not paid off for some time, it is more likely to pay off soon, because according to the hypothesis the "needle" or internal count of the machine has "gone high enough". Proponents of this theory claim that a machine operator can literally "control" how long a machine will "go" by flooding the machines with coins during slow periods ("stuffing the trunk"), thus making it more likely to pay out larger jackpots during busy periods. Some maintain this leads to intermittent winning which Reinforces the player's belief that the Theory is accurate, leading to superstitious adherence to Slot Machine Strategy and Needle 17.

Nothing could be further from the truth. There is no Needle and no Buckets of Credits or Credit Trays inside your beloved IGT or Bally's machine. Never have been and never will be. This non-concept stems from a complete lack of understanding of how slot machines work and operate on the part of those promoting it. The only people who believe in Needle 17 are those who believe in it and keep proving it by hitting the cash-out button whenever they win anything other than a jackpot.

These folks rarely, if ever, walk away after winning a jackpot, regardless of size or type. They're the ones who cash out $600 from a $5 machine and then turn around and put $500 of it back into play. Guess what's going to happen? Yep. They'll be right back where they started... With $100 bucks left of their $600 score laying a buck at a time on the same machine that just paid them $600. And when that $10 is gone they'll swear that needle concept has been discredited. It hasn't. It was never credible in the first place.

Playing Slot Machines to Earn a Living Wage

Some people actually believe that they will, or at least can, earn a living wage playing slot machines. Let's define our terms here for just a second. In virtually all jurisdictions any game played against the house in which the player has no way of influencing the outcome of individual wagers (slot machines, roulette, craps, etc.) the casino has a statistical edge over the player.

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This mathematical advantage ensures that, over the long term, the player cannot expect to win money at that game. Some players try to finesse this by saying things like, "Sure I lost $500 today but last Wednesday I won $800 so... Break even!" I admit this is technically true but completely meaningless since each individual win or loss is the result of dozens, scores, even hundreds, of occasions when the player put more money into the machine(s) than he took out.

This is like saying "Last January I shoveled 20 inches of snow from my driveway so I never had to buy sand spreader!" Even though it rained the entire month. Getting back to earning a living from playing slots, let's assume that instead of trying to hit progressives or chase needles or hot machines, we become experts at taking money from amateurs and use our newly found skill to earn an actual wage from playing these machines.

First, let's take a brief look at how wages and income are defined and how they differ. According to the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics an employee's wage is "the (usual) hourly rate of pay avg. for all the hours (including overtime) in a week". Income, on the other hand, requires earnings from other sources such as "tip income of more than $20 a month", commissions over 20% of pay, and so forth. Got that? Good. Now back to slot play.

To earn what the BLS defines as wage income of $31,372 a year (the 2019 median for all occupations) you would have to earn $15.34 per hour. Since it's unlikely you'll ever be able to consistently take more money from the casino than you put in, you'll need to find a way to sell whatever you win almost as fast as you can press the cash-out button. Assuming you can manage that delicate trick, you'll need to spend $18,338.50 to earn $12,973.42 (your $31K minus your expenses). Your profit margin is a decidedly unimpressive 41%. Not only are you working for peanuts, you don't even get benefits.

Let's take a quick glance at trying to earn income rather than wage income from playing slot machines. Remember that tip income of over $20 a month? If you can generate $20+-worth of tips each month from selling your winning spins, your base pay goes up accordingly. For those of you who haven't had a pre-minimum wage job since the Carter administration, let me remind you that back in the stone age tips were counted as part of your taxable income and sharply boosted your overall pay level.

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Assuming you clear the $20-a-month tip hurdle, your taxable income from slots will bump your median annual wage of $31,372 up to a median annual income of $40,160. At this level tips become increasingly important since they're excluded from taxable income if your total tips for the year don't exceed $20 a month. If they do, you must report the higher amount and pay taxes on it.

Even if you clear $20 a month in tips, though, you still have to earn that $40,160 and tip out on it appropriately. Using the same methodology outlined above for earning wage income, you would need to generate $47,212.95 in wagering in order to realize $40,160 in income. That works out to a win percentage of just 84.66%, meaning you lose one out of every six dollars you put into a slot machine. Ouch!

Keep in mind that these numbers are mere estimates and yours may vary, but not enough to put you in the black. The reason your win percentage is so high is because you have to cash out immediately after each win no matter its size. Even at 84.66% loss you're relying upon faith, fate, luck, and karma to provide sufficient winning spins to let you reach your income goal. At times you'll experience wild bursts of success when wins will come so rapidly and in such profusion you'll wonder how anyone could lose money playing these generously paying machines. Conversely, during downturns you'll lose money so fast it'll make your head swim.

When you average all those winning and losing spins together over time, however, the end result is always the same - a negative return. Finally, let's suppose you actually can increase that win percentage to 90% thanks to your incredible "slot machine strategy" or some other miraculous ability to distinguish winning machines from losers. You would need to wager a staggering $30,972.77 to earn your $31,372 median annual wage. Are you starting to get the picture yet?

Playing slot machines to earn a living or wage income is mathematically impossible unless you're siphoning off some of the cash your spouse brings home from his or her job. I guess what I'm trying to tell you is...

Thinking You Have Found a Winning Strategy

You can't develop a slot machine strategy that will consistently allow you to beat the machines. There are a couple of reasons for this but the primary one is the nature of slot machines and the relationship between you and them.

They are Random Number Generator devices programmed to pay a stated percentage of money wagered to players over a designated period of time. Anything and everything Feed into the same Random Number Generator that produces your JACKPOT! - Losses. Yours. Mine. Theirs. It doesn't matter whose money goes into the hopper, fed into a bank of slot machines, it all becomes fodder for the Random Number Generator and serves to Feed Future Wins! .

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Anything and everything Feeds Future Wins! so to suggest or believe that a machine will be tighter (pay less than expected) because of money previously collected by the casino is not only ridiculous, it's ridiculous because it's ridonkulous. The only thing that changes when you press the SPIN or PLAY button is the instant past - and that's finished and over and done with by the time the reels begin to spin.

No matter how many pages of convoluted logic and twisted math you apply to the problem, you cannot change that simple, unalterable fact. The instant past is history; it can neither be changed nor used as a basis for determining future results. Trying to develop a slot machine strategy based upon the idea that a machine will be "tighter" because it just took your money is like believing that... Well, I can't use that analogy anymore since it's been so utterly destroyed it no longer exists as a valid metaphor for anything... So let me try this one on for size:

Thinking that a slot machine will be tighter because of recent losses is like believing that... Um, never mind. I've got nothing. The point is, attempting to develop a foolproof slot machine strategy based on fallacious concepts is a waste of time, energy, and neurons.

Ignoring the Obvious Signs

Some people just shouldn't be allowed to leave the house alone. Perhaps they should be made to wear one of those big, yellow "Slow Moving Child, Film Location" vests and affixed with a flashing neon "Dunce" cap for easy identification by the rest of us. Or maybe a sign should be attached to their backs that accurately describes their condition... Something like "Blockhead" or "Clueless" should do it.

Take Frank, for instance. Frank is convinced that the machines possess some sort of malevolent sentience and are actively working against him. He's absolutely positive that pressing the CASH OUT button immediately after winning a jackpot is guaranteed to put a curse on the machine and cause it to "go cold" instantly. Sure, he may have just won a grand, but it's only fair that the machine be allowed a brief moment to gather its wits and compose itself before the next customer arrives, right? After all, it just gave birth to a jackpot and probably needs a little time to recover, don't you think?

Frank is oblivious to the fact that thousands of other suckers, people just like him, are standing behind him tapping their toes, rolling their eyes, and checking their watches while muttering dark incantations under their breath. These poor bastards have just witnessed Frank commit perhaps the greatest sin a slot player can - he just cashed out a jackpot and walked away from a HOT machine!

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Not only that, he turned around and told everyone within earshot that he's been having a losing streak on it all morning and can't wait to get back to the room to settle his debt with "that guy" from Cincinnati. Every one of the people milling around Frank is now convinced that he's just cashed out a hot machine and is desperate to share its location with whomever he can before it moves on to its next victim. Frank is the gift that keeps on giving.

Another classic example of ignorance in action is the guy who insists on playing one jar (preferably the one with the lowest payout) on a bank of three or more machines, each containing a different jar that looks identical to him. When that jar goes empty he moves to the next machine and starts over again on that jar.

He will never, ever consider playing two jars on adjacent machines at the same bank simultaneously in a coordinated attempt to determine whether Jar #1 on Machine A is "tighter" than Jar #1 on Machine B or vice versa. Why? Because he knows in his heart that the jars are somehow aware of the distinction we keep harping about and can indeed feel like rivals.

Yeah, I know... But it's fun to knock them, ain't it? Hey, no one's perfect. I've been known to stand at a bank of seven 25-cent machines for an hour, put 25 more cents into a losing machine than I did into the winner, and then move only three machines to the left and put another quarter in... And wonder why I was eating dog food for dinner that night.

In all fairness, we all exhibit these bad habits from time to time. We've all sat there and watched a perfect game through the top of the seventh only to see the pitcher yanked in favor of a left-handed pinch hitter as soon as we get up to leave. Yeah, we've all done it. Doesn't make us losers, it just proves we're human. And that, my friends, is unfortunately all too apparent.

Okay, hopefully, you aren't exhibiting all of them at once - that would just be silly - but if you find yourself nodding agreement as you read down the list, well... Maybe you ought to take another look.

Burk is former USMC, with 28 years service, from 1974 to 2002. He spent the majority of that time as either an Arms Expert, Pistol Expert, or Marksmanship Instructor during both peace-time and combat situations. He also served eight years as an Military Working Dog Handler, which often times fell under the umbrella of a MI duty.

His experience includes serving in Desert Storm, several tours in Kosovo, and numerous other hot spots around the globe. He holds a BS in Career and Technical Education from the University of Maryland, a MS from American Intercontinental University, and a Doctorate of Education from Grand Canyon University... All of which he says "Went right into the 20% unemployment box known as a B.A.". Burk is also a proud member of VVA Chapter 245 in Montgomery County, MD, and an NRA Certified Pistol Instructor for Maryland.