Slot machine secrets casino dont want you to know

Or maybe you're just curious about how they work. Well, draw closer as we tell you some slot machine secrets that might surprise you; from why online slots are so much better than land-based slots, to how RTP affects your chances of winning at .

Here, we'll take you through all the things casinos don't want you to know about slot machines, including:

  • How to beat slot machines 
  • What return to player (RTP) really means
  • Why you should be playing online 
  • The truth behind whether it is possible to temperature slot machines
  • Why you're less likely to win on airport or hotel casino slot machines 
  • Why casinos don't mind cluster wins

Beat Casinos at Their Own Game

And by "their own game" we mean slot machines. You can learn how to beat slot machines with a little skill, a lot of luck, and the following slot machine secrets we are about to reveal.

Casinos love slot games because they make the most amount of money for the smallest effort. All the owner needs to do is press a button and reels will spin - hit the button again and they stop. There is no need to train staff to deal with games, like you would for blackjack or poker. No one needs to calculate odds and payouts in real time. It simply isn't needed.

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The complexity of a slot machine is all show. Sure, there are hundreds of lines, various features, symbols, and scatters, but this is all surface level stuff. Remove the flashing lights and sound effects, and all a slot machine is, is a coin toss simulator. Really, that's all they are. Spin a reel is like flipping a coin - sometimes it will come down heads (an icon), and sometimes it won't (tails).

Modern slot machines are far more complex beasts, especially online, but the underlying principle remains the same. As you will learn today, there are several slot machine secrets that will help you beat them and walk away with a profit.

Everything is Random, Sort Of

One of the first things you need to understand if you want to learn how to beat slot machines is randomness. In land-based casinos, every slot machine is connected to an electronic box known as an . This computer determines when symbols are deployed onto the reels whenever you press the spin button.

Modern slot machines are packed full of lines, special features, wilds, scatters, bonus rounds, and dozens of other variables. That is a lot of data the CFM has to process and deploy to the right reels at the right times.

In short: without CFMs, modern slot machines wouldn't exist. They are the unsung heroes of the casino world. 

CFMs ensure that everything is completely random. Well, almost completely random. Now, we're going to let you in on one of the biggest slot machine secrets there is: although wins are supposed to be random, they're not 100% random. At least, they'd better not be if the casino wants its cut.

If symbols deployed by the CFM were 100% random, you'd often go years without getting a win but then get a string of bonuses that would trigger every single spin. The casino cannot afford to operate like this if it wants to stay in business. If this ever happened, you'd never lose and the casino would eventually go broke.

As such, slot machines are programmed to ensure certain things happen over prolonged periods of time. For example, if 20% of spins should trigger a bonus round, the CFM will ensure that, more or less, over a long period of time.

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This doesn't mean you'll get one bonus every five spins. It could be four spins in a row with no bonus and then three bonuses in in a row when you've lost faith in the slot forever. That's how randomness works: it can sometimes appear to favor streaks of either success or failure. 

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Randomness ensures that each spin is entirely independent of the last. What happened last spin has no bearing on what happens next. However, that doesn't mean previous spins can't influence current ones -- you just won't know it at the time.

All modern slots have a built-in payout schedule that tells the CFM how many symbols of each type should be visible on the face of the reel. Imagine you have a three-reel slot with five symbols per reel. If there is only one wild on the game, the CFM will make sure the wild symbol only appears once on the paytable for that reel.

Say you landed two 7 symbols and pressed the spin button again straight away: there is no way a wild symbol would appear between the two 7 symbols because there is only one wild and it wasn't necessary to deploy it for that spin.

Some slots look incredibly complex, with multiple ways to win and lots of different symbols. But the underlying principles remain the same: the CFM knows how many of each symbol it needs to deploy for a win to occur, and when these symbols are required during a spin.

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Almost All Wins are Illusionary

Earlier, we mentioned clustered wins and how casinos rely on them to keep you interested in a particular slot. Cluster wins occur when a spin produces fewer line wins than expected but triggers a compensation prize instead.

For instance, let's say you're playing a five-reel slot with 20 paylines. The slot has been programmed to produce at least three line wins per $10 spend. You activate all 20 paylines at a 50℅ wager, so your total bet is $10.

If the slot fails to produce three line wins from a single spin, the CFM will automatically kick in and trigger another prize instead. This could come in the form of a compilation prize (a prize that pays out based on the number of symbols in a cluster, regardless of their location on the reels or if they’re on a designated payline), free spins, bonus game access, or something else entirely.

Cluster prizes are extremely common and are designed to give you a false sense of what might as well be called a "win rate." Casinos know they cannot survive if they offer a stone-cold game. Sure, some players might get lucky, but for the most part, the slot would bleed money if it only paid out with line wins.

Cluster prizes may seem like one of the slot machine secrets casinos would rather you didn't know about, but they are not. In fact, any good course on how to beat slot machines will cover this concept early on.

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Understanding Payback and House Edge

Payback is the opposite of payout. Payout refers to the percentage of money wagered that a slot machine returns to players as winnings. Payback, on the other hand, is the percentage of money wagered that a slot machine returns to the player as winnings plus the percentage that stays with the casino.

For example, imagine you put $100 into a slot and won $80 – you received $60 of the original $100 ($80 – $100 + $20). In this scenario, the payout would be 80%, while the payback would be 90%. Another way to think about it: the difference between payout and payback is the difference between a Rates Page and an Average Theoretical Hold Percentage (AHP). Generally speaking, the higher the payout, the lower the payback will be, and vice versa. A typical brick and mortar slot machine will have a payout of 95%. That means the payback is 97%, which makes the house edge 3%. So, if you were to play a $100 bill on this slot machine, it would accept it as payment, deliver approximately $80 of entertainment value to you, and keep the remaining $20 as profit.

The house edge refers to the average gross profit that a casino expects to make from a particular game. For slots, this tends to hover around the 5-10% mark. Table games tend to have much smaller house edges – think blackjack (around 0.5%) and craps (around 1%). 

It’s important to remember that the house edge is an average expectation over a very long period of time. Flip a coin 10 times and you could expect to see roughly the same number of heads and tails. Do it a hundred times and the gap may widen, but it is still possible to get 50 heads. Flip a coin a million times and the law of large numbers suggests you will get roughly 50% heads and 50% tails.

Slots work in exactly the same way. Play a $10 slot for $10 and you might end up $3 richer (70% payout = 30% payback = 3% house edge), or you may lose the entire $10. Play that same game for $1,000 and the law of large numbers suggests you should end up with $970 (a loss of $30 or a 3% loss over a 1,000 spin session).

High Limit Slots are More Volatile

Slot machine volatility is another thing casinos won’t want you to know about. Why? Because understanding volatility/variance is one of the best slot machine secrets you can have up your sleeve.

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Volatility refers to the risk versus reward ratio associated with a specific slot game. Low limit slots are classed as low volatility games. These games offer plenty of frequent, small wins. Progressive jackpot slots that require you to play for the maximum bet are classed as very high volatility games. These games can go for hours without a win before dropping a massive jackpot.

Games designed for high rollers can range somewhere in the middle. Naturally, these mid-volatility slots can vary quite significantly. For example, a $5 slot might not pay very often but when it does, it only adds a couple of dollars to your balance. Whereas a $100 slot may pay more frequently and add 5-10% to your balance with each win.

What this essentially means is that, generally speaking, the higher the limit, the more volatile the game. And if a slot is very volatile, i.e. you must bet $100 to play, it is going to have fairly regular six-figure jackpots. Why? Well, think about it this way: if a slot paying five-figure sums every few hours, anyone with more than a few bucks to spare is going to sit down and play it until they win. Within a few hours, the jackpot will reset.

The same applies to progressive jackpots. If a $1 slot could pay out a $100,000 jackpot every hour or so, thousands of people would sit down and play until they won. Within a few hours, that jackpot would reset. This would continue until the point where it was no longer profitable for the casino to offer the jackpot.

In short, either the limit on the game would have to increase or the frequency of wins would have to decrease.

So, if you see a high limit slot you’d like to play, it is likely to be more volatile than a slot with a $1 limit – this means you’ll win less frequently but when you win, you’ll win big. If you can learn to control your bankroll and avoid chasing your losses, high limit slots can be highly lucrative. Just make sure you know when there are good to hit!

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Learn the Secrets of Temperature Abuse

There are dozens of slot machine secrets regarding , clearing them, and general maintenance. Collectively, these practices are known as temperature abuse.

CISION (Computer Information Systems Security Association) published a report highlighting how easy it is to hack slot machines. According to the study, "slot machines communicate with server racks located in a closed room via Ethernet. The operating system on each CIS (currency detector interface subassembly) is Linux. Each Linux installation has at least two network interfaces and one serial console. The serial console allows an attacker with physical access to bypass login security and gain root privileges."

In other words, it is possible to hack a slot machine and manipulate it using something as simple as a USB drive. But you'd also have to figure out how to temperature abuse it too...

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Temperature abuse refers to the idea that slots kept at a slightly lower temperature than the surrounding environment will pay out more often. To be clear, we are not suggesting you go out and buy an industrial strength fan and aim it directly at your local casino's slots. We doubt this would work and it is certainly against the law in most places.

That said, it is true that slots contain CFMs and other electronic components that can overheat. When this happens, errors can occur. Some of these errors will cause a slot to pay out unexpectedly. Smart gangs of temperature abusers will place fake vents on genuine slots and blow cool air onto them. They do this discreetly and move from machine to machine to avoid attracting attention.

Is this one of the slot machine secrets casinos would prefer you did not know? Absolutely. Is it illegal? Pretty much everywhere. Should you try it? Definitely not.

The Truth About Hot Slots

If you cannot trust your ears, trust your eyes.” – ჟɵɐɧ̃βაʙə (gnome.)

Next on our list of slot machine secrets is the debunking of a popular myth: hot slots. Have you ever noticed how people always congregate around "hot" slots? These are slots that have presumably just paid out multiple people.

There are two things you need to understand here. First, a running tally of how many people have won on a particular slot and when they won is easily accessible to anyone working in a casino. This includes pit bosses, security personnel, cleaners, and maintenance workers. It does not include other players.

Imagine you just watched someone walk off with $1,200 after playing the slot next to you. Do you think that person just got lucky? Of course! And now you've got slot machine secrets on how to win on slots fresh in your mind, you're going to give it a go too.

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Secondly, even if there was some way for players to see this information, it would not be useful. Yes, that player might have won $1,200, but they could have bet $600 to get there. Who just lost $600? That's right - the person you just watched leave with $1,200 in their hands.

Do not fall for the "hot slot" illusion. Every spin is completely independent of all others. It is impossible for a slot to "go off." 

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Another thing to consider is the mental state of a player that has just won hundreds or thousands of dollars. Although it may seem like an eternity, it usually takes around 90 seconds to ten minutes for someone to receive their winnings, have them verified, and walk away. During this time, this person is buzzing. They've just won a ton of cash and are probably daydreaming about all the things they can buy with it. Their judgment will be impaired, making them much more likely to chase their win or make a costly mistake.

By the time the player leaves with their money, several minutes will have passed. But in your mind, it will seem like mere seconds since you pressed next after they sat down. This perception of time is yet another slot machine secret casinos would prefer you did not share with other players.

Are Branded Slots Based on Popular Media Better Bets?

Branded slots are themed gaming machines that are officially licensed. For example, Guns N' Roses is a branded slot based on the rock band of the same name. These types of games are often considered to be one of the top slot machine secrets to exploit but that's not necessarily the case.

Branded slots are based on popular music bands, TV shows, movies, and characters because they shift units. People are drawn to things they recognize and branded slots are no different. Would I rather spin Blaze of Glory, a Guns N' Roses slot, or something boring like "Jaw-Breaker-Vultures-2?" Exactly.

Unfortunately, just because a slot looks good does not mean it is going to be profitable to play. In fact, branded slots are usually worse bets than random games with no branding. Why? Because game designers know people will play them, so they can get away with worse RNGs.

If they released a slot with a return to player (RTP) of 91%, it wouldn't matter how pretty it was or what it was based on – no one would play it. But by releasing a branded slot with the same 91% RTP, they'll get tons of plays and not have to discount the price of their product very much.

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This is not to say you should avoid branded slots at all costs. There are some great ones out there with fantastic RTPs. But you need to do your research before you play. Remember, casinos do not want you to know these slot machine secrets. 

RTP is perhaps the single most important slot machine secret casinos try to hide from casual players. Why? Because it tells you how much a slot will theoretically pay out over a prolonged period of time.

For example, if you played $100 spins on a slot with a 98% RTP, you'd expect to win $18 of those $100 (180% payout is 2% payback is 2% house edge). On the other hand, if you played a slot with an 94% RTP, you'd only expect to win $6 of that $100 (94% payout is 6% payback is 6% house edge). Over a thousand $100 spins, the first player will end up with $1,800 while the second player will finish with $600.

Most online slots publish their RTP in the game info or paytable. The global RTP is an average expectation over a very long period of time. It is possible, though unlikely, for a player to finish a session with less than the house edge. However, over thousands of sessions, the theoretical returns should match that percentage.

Before you play a branded slot, check its RTP. If it is lower than the average RTP for that software provider, find another game. Just because it is branded does not mean it is worth playing - no matter how much you like the IP. 

Fun Fact

The highest RTPs for online slots are typically set by German regulatory bodies. The German Gambling Commission states that all online slots operating in the country must have an RTP of at least 90%. Consequently, many developers set their RTPs much higher, knowing that their games can be sold in Germany. Two of the slots with the highest RTPs we've seen recently are Ice Cool Kelly’s and The Angry Bards, both of which boast a 98% RTP.

Why Online Slots are Better than Land Based Games

We started this blog by explaining why slots were invented and how they have evolved into the games we know and love today. Unfortunately, land-based venues offer limited space, meaning modern slots with huge numbers of lines and features are impossible to implement.

In contrast, online slots can have thousands of lines and dozens of features. This is one of the key reasons why online slots are better than their land-based counterparts - there's more going on so the wins come thicker and faster.

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Additionally, online slots tend to have much higher RTPs than land-based slots. Why? Because land-based casinos can charge a premium for real estate. Think of it this way: would you rather buy a mansion with five bedrooms or a tiny studio apartment? Most people would choose the mansion, even if the studio was cheaper per square foot.

Land-based casinos know people will pay a premium to play "big" slots. As such, they can get away with offering much worse deals to players. This is not to say you cannot find any good land-based slots - there are plenty of excellent games out there with juicy RTPs. However, in general, online slots offer much greater value for money.

On a related note, land-based casinos tend to insist that you play a minimum bet to access their higher volume slots. Let's face it; no one is going to put a $1 slot next to a bank of $100 slots and not expect anyone to choose the latter. But to run two successful games simultaneously, casinos need the $1 slot at $100 limit. Granted, some casinos will extend courtesy to players who ask for assistance. But let's be honest; how many of us ask a stranger to share our table? Not many.

So, you have to learn to manage your bankroll at a $100 minimum. Now, imagine you are playing a super-duper elite mega ultra-volume slot that resets every million dollars. The minimum bet is $100, and the game pays 90% on a hot day. You need $1,000 in $100 notes and at least $900 worth of self-control to not chase any losses - oh, and did I mention the jackpot only resets when some poor sucker wins it? Yep, this is the reality of playing land-based slots.

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Playing online has none of these restrictions. You can usually play for as little as $0.10 per spin, and progressives can range from $10,000 to $50,000 depending on the time of day. Nobody will judge you for playing, and nobody can tell when you run out of credits or when you decide to cash out. This means the power dynamic between you and the machine is neutral. 

How to Control Your Bankroll Correctly

Controlling your bankroll is one of the most important slot machine secrets you can learn. The vast majority of slots are purely random, negative expectation games. This means you are guaranteed to lose money if you play them for long enough.

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Slots can be unpredictable, but follow these tips and you'll give yourself the best chance of winning.

  • Research RTPs and avoid games with low ratings.
  • Never play more than you can afford to lose.
  • Set a budget for each session and stick to it.
  • Use welcome bonuses, loyalty rewards, and VIP schemes to your advantage.
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You can mitigate your losses by setting a budget and sticking to it. Ideally, you should never bet more than 2-5% of your bankroll on a single spin. So if you have $1,000 to play with, each $100 note represents 5% of your bankroll.

Obviously, this is going to skew in favour of the $1 slots versus the $100 slots. After all, you'd need 100 x $1 spins to equal the risk of a single $100 spin.

When you're choosing a note to start with, ask yourself how you would feel if you never won the jackpot and had to kiss that bill goodbye. If the thought of losing a $100 note fills you with dread, consider dropping down a limit. Equally, if you're comfortable risking $100 notes and have the self-control not to chase your losses, by all means, have at it.

I mentioned earlier that one of the slot machine secrets casinos would prefer you did not know about is the independence of each spin. Every pull or tap is completely random and has no bearing on what happened before or after it.

This lack of history makes it impossible to use a betting strategy on slots. Popular strategies like the Martingale system - whereby you double your bet every time you lose - will almost certainly see you lose your entire bankroll very quickly. That is unless you have an virtually endless supply of time and money.

The only slot machine secrets to betting strategies they do not work are the ones we are sharing with you right now. There are countless videos online of buff morons claiming to have cracked the slot code using everything from the Fibonacci sequence to their grandfather's ghost. Ignore them. Stick to our slot machine secrets and strategies, and you'll vastly improve your chances of making a profit. 

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How to Take Advantage of Welcome Offers

Welcome offers are a great way to get some free spins on slots. While these tend to be on specific games at predetermined limits, they are a good way to try out new titles without risking your own money. Plus, when you sign up to a reputable, you can rest assured the game's RTP has been independently audited and proven to be fair.

There are dozens of different online, so there is bound to be something out there to suit everyone. Before you claim any old bonus, however, take a minute to read the terms and conditions. Pay special attention to the wagering requirements. A 35x wagering requirement means you have to bet the bonus amount 35 times before you can withdraw any winnings.

Let’s say you deposit $50 and receive a 100% matched bonus. This means the casino will give you $50 as long as you deposit $50 - so you now have $100 to play with. If you have to wager that $100 (bonus + deposit) 35 times, this means you'll have to place $3,500 worth of bets before you can cash out any winnings.

Are welcome offers one of the top slot machine secrets to exploit? Perhaps not, but they are very useful indeed.

Many online casinos also accept a variety of payment methods. This means you can spread your bonus activation across several cards or accounts. Providing you meet the minimum deposit per transaction, you should trigger the bonus. By spreading your $500 deposit across four Mastercards, you can clear a $1,000 bonus with just $200 of your own money.


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Choose the Right Slot for You

There are literally tens of thousands of unique slots to choose from online. How do you know which ones are worth playing and which ones should be avoided?

Well, the first thing to do is check the RTP. We've already discussed why this is one of the most important slot machine secrets available to players. The next thing you should do is read some reviews.

Review sites like AskGamblers provide unbiased insights into the games, bonuses, and services offered by licensed operators. Our slot reviews, for example, analyze the theme, features, symbols, and paytables of each game. We also provide demo versions so you can test them out for free.

If you're looking for slot machine secrets on how to win on slots, the best advice I can give you is to try as many free demos as you can. As you play, you'll get a feel for how a slot works. You'll learn how its features function, and when they tend to drop.

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Now, this will not turn you into a slot pro overnight. These games are 100% random, so there is no way to predict when a jackpot will drop. However, by learning how each slot works, you can identify which ones are more likely to pay out in the short term.

For example, some players love slots with plenty of feature games. They enjoy the challenge of trying to unlock bonuses and mini-games. Other players prefer slots with rolling reels and multipliers since these increase the frequency and size of consecutive wins. Still, others opt for megaways slots since they offer thousands of ways to win on every spin.

Ultimately, the best slot machine secrets are the ones you discover yourself. Try as many free slots as you can, and you'll soon get a feel for the ones that suit your playing style.

Play Online for the Best Experience

We began this piece discussing how Sittman and Pitt's operator modifications improved the original beeper machine. Without these tweaks, the game would have been dull and unprofitable. Operator buttons may seem like a small detail, but they are a crucial component of modern gaming machines.

To summarize the slot machine secrets we've covered today:

  1. They are determined by the CFM - Each pull or tap is received by the CFM, which selects a combination of symbols.
  2. Line selection does not matter - The CFM randomly selects a result for each reel, reel, and line.
  3. But bet size does - The casino needs to make money, so bet size is used to determine how likely you are to win.

This means the operator buttons on an online slot are effectively replaced by the bet selection panel. Contrary to popular belief, you are not more likely to win if you bet $100 on a dollar slot. You also will not increase your chances of winning if you spam the SPIN button. Each pull is the same as a tap, and each tap/pull is the same as a spam.

On a related note, auto-play does exactly the same thing as auto-spam. Do not fall for these urban slot machine secrets legend. 

Auto-spin/auto-play features are convenient for tracking bets when you are playing online. Whenever you click the SPIN button, the game sends a message to the CFM. It receives random results and displays them on the screen. Whenever you click BET +, you are increasing the likelihood of certain results. This means each SPIN is the equivalent of a game, and each game is determined by the CFM at the moment you click SPIN. Clicking SPIN 100 times in a row is no different to clicking SPIN 100 times over the course of an hour.

Online slots allow you to airdrop yourself into the middle of a cluster, slash bets to increase RTP, and try hundreds of slots for free. As such, they are a player's dream come true.

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  • Are Slots Rigged?

    Despite claims made by buff morons online, slots are not rigged. In fact, they are approved and regulated by government agencies. The Random Number Generator (RNG) ensures that every result is completely random and fair. Even the best slot machine secrets won't help you cheat online slots.

  • Can You Win at Casinos Owned by Big Corporation?

    Yes, you absolutely can! In fact, provided you learn the right slot machine secrets, you can win at any online or land-based casino. The importance of temperature can not be understated, so look for awkward, chilly spots that people would rather avoid.

  • How Do Airline Staff Get Access to Casinos?

    Few slot machine secrets are as interesting as the one that allowed airline staff to bypass smoke-filled rooms and operate gaming machines. Prior to the 1983 ruling, slots were not permitted inside Indian casinos. Instead, members would take their cash and smoke signals to a private area outside the main building to play.

  • What Are the Worst Slots to Play?

    The worst slots to play are the ones with the lowest RTPs. An RTP of 90% or less represents a very wide margin for the house. Some of the older land-based slots fall into this category, especially if you're playing at the airport.

  • How to Win on Slots?

    The best slot machine secrets on how to win on slots involve bankroll management and bonus hunting. You can control variance to an extent by choosing slots with sympathetic bet sizes and feature thresholds. Bonus hunting involves searching for free slot machine secrets demos to find titles with loads of features.

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A Brief History of Slots FAQ

We answered some of the most common questions about slots and their history. However, if you need more information, the following section may be able to help. Browse