Tips for choosing a slot machine | how to pick a slot game to play

  • If you’re having trouble choosing a slot machine, start by deciding what sort of player you are.
  • The best way to pick a slot game is to try out its demo version if the casino offers one.
  • The sure-fire way to know if you’ll enjoy a slot is to read playing reviews from other players.

Choosing a slot machine used to be simple. You walked into a casino, picked your machine based on how much of a view it gave you of the boob tube babes in their hotpants, and sat down.

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Today, we have hundreds of titles to choose from, features so complicated that rocket scientists can’t figure them out (I may be exaggerating just a little here), and decisions to make before even spinning the reels.

We’re going to help take some of the mystery out of choosing the right slot machines today. We won’t turn you into a slot Machine guru, but the information below should give you the tools to decide which games are worth your time—and which ones aren’t.

Before You Choose a Slot Game… Know Thyself!

OK. I’m stealing shamelessly from the ancient Greeks, but hey, they didn’t say “know thyself” so thousands of years later, some goofy gambler could use the phrase to choose slot games, now, do they?

The point the Delphic Maxims were trying to make was simply this: to know what you want and what you seek in life (or in this case, playing slots online), you must first know who you are.

In our modern context, knowing thyself means answering a few simple questions truthfully. Doing so will not only help you decide which slot games to play but whether you should be playing slots at all.

Ready to get started? Great!

What Are Your Goals Playing Slots?

Do you want to play slots to be entertained or are you chasing something more?

It’s an important question because the answer will affect every other decision you make when choosing a slot machine.

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Now, let’s be clear about something. There is nothing wrong with having goals or expectations while playing slots. After all, other than improving your tooth brushing technique or becoming your company’s office prank expert, what other skills can you learn anyway?

Honestly, most people play slots because it’s entertaining. Winning bonus rounds, free spins, and jackpots just makes the experience better.

If you hope to recoup your investment or turn a profit playing slots, well, good luck with that. Just remember, no matter how highly you rate a particular slot, it becomes a money loser the instant you finish your initial bankroll.

How Much Time and Money Do You Want to Spend?

Even if you just want to be entertained, you still need to set some limits for yourself before you choose a slot game.

How long can you spend playing without getting cranky that you’re not winning the progressive jackpot?

What’s the most you’re willing to lose (assuming, of course, that the session ends in defeat)?

Understanding your budget will help narrow your search for the perfect slot machine in another way, too.

See, almost all online casinos offer multiple payment methods. Some have half-a-dozen options, while larger sites might accept 15 different ways to fund your account.

Once you’ve determined how long you’re willing to play and how much you’re willing to spend, look for an online casino that charges no fees for your preferred deposit method.

For example, if you prefer to use Visa or MasterCard, great sites to consider include Ignition Casino and Bovada. Both offer dozens of excellent slot machines and shouldn’t charge fees when you use those two popular deposit methods.

If you prefer to use cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Ethereum, Wild Casino has you covered. In addition to a fantastic slot selection, this highly regarded online casino charges no fees for any deposit or withdrawal method, doesn’t have insane minimum withdrawal requirements, and offers unlimited withdrawals.

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One last thought on managing your time, money, and stress levels when playing slots: Set limits on how much you can win, too.

Yeah, it sounds weird to stop cashing out when you’re winning, but trust me on this one. I’ve been doing this professionally for over 25 years now, and I always cash out regularly when playing my favorite penny slots.

You see, the law of large numbers guarantees that no matter how lucky you get, you are eventually going to lose as much money as you won.

Cash out regularly, and you’ll always remember the game you played. Keep rolling everything back into the machine, and the only thing you’ll remember is the streak that ended your winning run.

What Type of Slot Player Are You?

There are several ways to classify slot players, but I prefer looking at things through the lens of how soon a player wants to realize a decision.

Are you the type who wants to choose a slot machine and start playing instantly, or do you not mind doing a bit of homework?

If the former describes you, then head to our page that ranks the best .

We spend countless hours testing each casino to ensure they are legitimate operations with solid reputations and plenty of slots to choose from.

But if you don’t mind doing a bit of research, read on, and I’ll show you various ways to find the best slot sites and games to fit your needs.

Not Sure Which Online Casinos to Trust?

If you’re new to online gambling, finding a legit casino offering a wide variety of trusted games can seem overwhelming.

Luckily, I’ve been covering the online gambling industry since the early 2000s. I’ve seen websites come and go, and I know which ones treat their customers fairly.

If you’re unsure where to start, take a moment to review the top sites for online gambling below.

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6 Ways to Narrow Down Your Choices When Picking a Slot Machine

OK. You’ve answered the big questions upfront. You know what you want and what you seek in a slot machine.

Great! Now, it’s time to select a slot machine from the thousand or so available online.

Where do you begin?

Fear not, intrepid gamer. I have six proven ways to find the perfect slot machine for you.

Look for New Slots Coming Out in 2023

A simple way to choose a slot machine is to look for new releases.

Sure, common wisdom says that beating a slot over time is like trying to squeeze blood from a stone, but at least with a new game, you haven’t seen millions of spins prove it’s not bleeding.

Most serious slot players understand that all slots have good stretches and bad stretches. Even the loosest slot on the floor becomes a money trap if you watch 50 consecutive spins with no significant wins.

Given enough time and money, any slot machine will give up its secrets, making it progressively more difficult to stay profitable (or at least entertaining).

This reality means that the longer a slot has been online or on casino floors, the more opportunities there have been to go on the losing end of the variance seesaw.

That said, here are some of the most exciting new slots for 2023.

Of course, you can always go back and play some classic slots that stood the test of time. These are a couple of my favorites.

Play the Slots Other People Are Winning On

Have you ever noticed how some slots seem to pay off constantly, while others never trigger their bonus rounds? It isn’t just a product of your imagination.

Every online slot has a thing called RNG (Random Number Generator) ensuring every spin is a random event. Each simulates the shaking and stopping of physical reels, but instead of actual randomness, complex algorithms inside the casino’s servers determine the results.

It’s this complexity that allows regulators to certify these virtual slot machines as truly random.

Unfortunately, random does not mean equal.

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Sure, in the short term, you should win roughly as often as you wouldn’t winning (whatever that means), but in the long run, some slots pay off much more frequently than others.

I wish I could give you a way to know which slots are about to go on a hot streak, but I don’t. However, tracking the social media posts and newsletters highlighting the slots other people are winning on can certainly be helpful.

Many of the best provide RTP (Return to Player) calculations for specific slots over various periods. While any single RTP number is meaningless—the variations from the published RATE should so close to randomness—trends mean something.

An upward trending RTP for a particular slot over the past three months may indicate that it’s due for a regression to the mean and might be a good one to try.

On the other hand, a slot with a consistently decreasing RTP over the same period probably isn’t worth your time.

Read Reviews from Other Players

Want to know the quickest way to choose a slot game online? Read what other players have to say about the games they have personally played and tested.

Reviews from other players can tell you everything from the fun factor and bonuses to the size of the jackpots and return-to-player rates.

Now, I am as skeptical of online reviews as the next guy. Anyone who has shopped for a new TV or tried to find a decent plumber knows that anyone can post anything online without providing any proof of their identity or background.

That said, the bigger review sites have solutions to this problem.

For instance, ask any person who writes reviews for for their thoughts on identifying genuine reviewers, and they’ll tell you about the email confirmation process.

Gamblers who want to leave a review for a particular slot must do so using the email address connected to their casino accounts. The site then sends a confirmation link to that email, which the reviewer must click to verify their identity.

Nobody else shares your gambling preferences and tolerances.

Therefore, the slots they recommend or pan will also vary widely from your own.

However, reading honest reviews helps normalize the possibilities, probabilities, and personalities of various online slots.

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Our slot game reviews should absolutely be among those you check out.

Play Demo Versions of a Slot

Most online casinos allow you to play demo versions of their slots. These “free play” versions are exactly like the real thing except that you’re not risking any of your own money.

Demo versions are a great way to test-drive a slot before committing your hard-earned bankroll.

Let’s face it; reading about a game is one thing, but until you see it in action, you have no idea if it’s something you’d enjoy playing.

Maybe the animation bores you senseless. Perhaps the music drives you batty after a minute. Or it could be that the betting limits are entirely outside your comfort zone.

Whatever the reason, even the most promising slot may fail the fun test once you start spinning.

The good news is that most of these demo slots have reset buttons, allowing you to start again with a fresh bankroll. This feature is especially handy if you can blow through a thousand “fake coins” as fast as .

Even better are the online gambling sites that save your demo version progress. That way, you can log in, start your favorite demo slot where you left off, and keep testing without starting from scratch.

I wish I could say every online gambling site offered demo slots, but that’s not true. Additionally, some states won’t let you access demo slots because their regulators think animations cost money to display (seriously).

If you’re in one of those restricted states, Wild Casino is an outstanding site that offers demo and real-money play.

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Use a Tool to Compare & Contrast Slots

Perhaps the easiest way to compare and contrast various slot machines is to use a tool like the one below from TigersGaming.

All you have to do is scroll through the list of slots, find one you’re already familiar with, and click it to open the site. From there, select that slot from the menu on the left side of the page.

At the top of the results page, change the number of results displayed per page to 100. Then, scroll through the list and locate the slot you previously selected. Copy its RTP percentage.

Now, repeat the process for another slot you’re considering playing. Copy its RTP.

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Go back to the original results page and paste both RTP percentages into the search box. (“RTP 96.00%” with the percentage symbol included.)

Click the magnifying glass icon, and the Tigers Gaming slots ranking tool will display all the slots within that casino that match your search criteria. In this case, all the slots with an RTP of 96%.

Obviously, in this contrived example, we’ve artificially limited our choices to only slots with a single RTP percentage. Still, the concept remains valid.

Suppose you want to find all the 24/3 line slots with an RTP above 96%. You can do that.

Perhaps you’re looking for all the Buffalo slots available online. The search function can handle that request as well.

In short, this search function is an excellent way to narrow your choices to only the slots that match your preferences and tolerances.

Stick to Slots With Familiar Themes

Can’t decide which slot to play? Stick to games with themes or symbols you recognize and understand.

Slots fall into a handful of general categories or themes. Everything beyond those core concepts is just window dressing.

That’s not to say these gameplay mechanics aren’t important. On the contrary, they are critical elements that distinguish one game from another. However, the underlying math models don’t care if they are part of a game themed after Greek mythology, the American West, or your favorite TV show.

Still, some people love specific genres of slots. They wouldn’t dream of playing a game outside their comfort zone. Here are some of the most popular themes among US players.

When all is said and done, none of these gameplay mechanics matters unless you like the slot’s theme.

Sure, extra features and symbols increase your expected return, but only if you stick with the game long enough to benefit from them. If you cash out after five spins because the game isn’t living up to your expectations, none of those features will do you any good.

In the end, choosing slots based on familiar themes is a good way to guarantee you’ll stick around long enough to benefit from those bonus rounds and free spins.

Ask Alexa (or Google)

As a final resort, you can always ask your digital assistant to choose a slot for you.

Okay. That’s not really a viable option, but honestly, if you can’t narrow the field of possible slots to half-a-dozen or so, perhaps choosing a game fairly randomly is the best approach.

After all, what’s the difference between closing your eyes and pointing at a list of 100 slots and closings your eyes, spinning the scroll wheel on Discord’s slot machine extension, and playing whatever shows up as the winner?

I’ll answer that question for you. Nothing! Well, OK. There is one minor difference. Actually, make that two.

First,‘s slot machine extension for Chrome shows you pictures of the slots, making your choice even easier. Second, it’s just plain cooler to use an automated slot machine to choose your next game.

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Discord’s slot machine extension replaces boring old channel text channels with flashy, animated slot machines. Everyone in the server earns slots runs based on their activity level in the community.

If you join some seriously active Discord servers—like the one at Casino Listings—you can spend all your extra time gaming rather than choosing slots to play and still stay in the money seat.

Not a member of CL’s Serious Players Discord? What are you waiting for? Join today!

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How to Pick a Slot Game Online

Picking a slot game online might seem challenging to a newbie, but it needn’t be so.

Start by remembering why you want to play slots. Is it just for entertainment? Are you shooting for a progressive jackpot? Do you like the art design of Egyptian-themed slots?

Knowing your motivations for spinning the reels will make it much easier to narrow the field of potential games and pick the perfect one for your next session.

If you’re still feeling overwhelmed by the hundreds of titles available online, don’t sweat it. Stick to proven winners. For instance, are some of the best in the business today, and you can’t go wrong with any of those titles.

Not sure which of those titles to pick? Let your digital assistant do it for you! Download the slot machine extension for Chrome, join the Server at Casino Listings, and let fate decide your destiny.


  • Reference to the Delphic Maxims is courtesy .

J.W. Paine is one of the most experienced writers at He's been watching, playing, and betting on poker for decades.

Paine is a nationally published writer with bylines at Cardsider, Card Player, Club PPoker, Liquid Poker, Newsletter Management Services, Poker Media Productions, Poker Player Newspaper, and the Revolution CSS Templates.

He loves writing about poker because it's a wonderfully evolving game powered by tokes and transactions that result in players facing off against one another.cin