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7 Tips on Playing the Slots Without Losing It All

Experts say there are a few way to ensure you're getting the most out of the famous game of chance.

For many travelers, the draw of great nightlife and unforgettable meals is more than enough to book a trip. But if you find yourself in a locale where a trip to a casino could be in the cards, it can provide a whole new level of excitement. No matter if you're a poker pro or big on blackjack, the thrill of playing a few quick bets can add to the already good times—including the slot machines. However, just like any other game where money is on the table, it can pay big to know a little something before you start hunting for a jackpot. Read on to for expert tips for playing the slots without losing it all.

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Bet on more reels than just one.

woman playing slot machines game cages worker

At first glance, slot machines offer a relatively simple game with an easy premise. But anyone who has spent time pulling the lever knows there's more than one way to play them. That's why experts say it's important to ensure you're using your money correctly.

"Always place your bets on the three reels, not on a single one. Then, decide how much you are willing to bet on each spin," Leo Coleman, editor-in-chief at Gambling 'N Go, tells Best Life.

Consider spreading out your bets over time.

Winning Jackpot with Slot Machine on Lucky Sevens

The excitement of walking onto the casino floor can make it tempting to swing for the fences with a big bet. However, experts say you're better off holding back from dropping too much of your budget right off the bat.

"The best strategy you can use in the slots machine is making smaller bets—such as $0.50 instead of $1.50—and a slower pace," Stefan Ateljevic, founder of BitcoinPlay, tells Best Life. "This may not sound like the most fun way to play in the world, but it's the best way to not risk a crazy amount of money and not lose that much. Remember that you are risking money on every spin, so think twice before playing in the more expensive machines or playing at a crazy speed."

Other experts agree that spreading out your play over time is essential instead of blowing it all at once. "If you are a beginner, try playing for 10 minutes at a time and then take a break of about 20 minutes," Coleman suggests.

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Keep it simple when picking a machine.

A woman playing a slot machine in a casino

Slot machines have come a long way from the simple pull-to-play mechanical versions from decades ago. Today, casino floors are alight with towering slots complete with bright video screens, loud sounds, and quirky themes. However, experts warn that you could be wasting your funds on these eye-catching contraptions.

"Don't play slot machines with many bells and whistles," Coleman suggests. "These machines may look like they will make you a fortune, but they can actually take your money away with their fancy graphics. Instead, stick to the simpler machines that don't have as many moving parts."

Pick one type of machine and learn it well.

A young woman celebrating after winning a slot machine at a casino

It's a common misconception that all slot machines run the same game. If you're looking to walk away with more than you come to play with, consider learning about where you're putting your money and how your risk is affected.

"If you are in a casino with many slots, you will probably see that the games are always different. The games are designed to keep you off-guard and not focused on the strategy. Because of this, the best plan of action is to always watch the payouts for each game and always know what the jackpot is," Coleman says.

Keep this in mind depending on what your floor roaming strategy is. "If you are playing a single game, then it is a good idea to visit the different games in the casino and see how the payouts are different. If you are playing more than one game, keeping track of your payouts for the other games is better so you know what you can and cannot get," he suggests.

Don't get too caught up in the moment.

Young women playing slot machines in a casino

Gambling of any kind can spike excitement and create a major rush, which is part of the draw for many who show up to the casino. But the best gamblers always know it's more important to keep your wits about you every time you let the reels spin.

"It is a common misconception that you will win big if you play the slots. In reality, the odds are always against you," Coleman explains.

"The best way to play slots is to keep your wits and not let your emotions get the best of you. If you are playing the slots with a group of friends, try to limit how much money each person can lose. If you are playing alone, don't put all your money on one slot machine," he suggests. "Spread it out and keep an eye on how much you have left."

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It's always best to quit while you're ahead.

A cashier counter at a casino

One of the hardest parts of gambling can be stepping away from a hot streak. But unless you walk away while you're up big, the odds are certain you'll wind up paying it all back to the house.

"Have you ever been on a winning streak at the slots, only to get greedy and start playing more and more? Well, it's not a good idea to keep playing when you are on a winning streak," Coleman says.

"The more you play, the more likely you will lose all your money. If you're playing for fun, it's best to stop after a particular time. Taking breaks from the slots and switching up your games is also important," he advises.

Never allow yourself to get in over your head.

A young man sitting at a slot machine with his head in his hands

No one walks into a casino assuming they're going to go broke with nothing to show for it. Unfortunately, the thrill of the chase can be a slippery slope for some people who may not realize they're in over their heads. Because of this, it's always best to come to the table with a number you know you can afford and stop once you reach it.

"Make sure you have a plan," Shane Cook, the gambling disorder program director for Gateway Foundation, tells Best Life. "Treat it as a form of recreation and make sure you start a budget. Once you reach your budget, then you're done."

Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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