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Which slot machine should I play?

Choosing the right slot machine to play can be an overwhelming task for many casino-goers. With so many options to pick from, how do you know which slot is going to give you the best chance of winning? There are a few key factors to consider when selecting a slot machine so you can maximize your chances of hitting a jackpot.

Payback Percentage

One of the most important things to look at when choosing a slot machine is the payback percentage, also known as the RTP (return to player). This percentage represents how much money the machine pays back over the long run compared to how much it takes in. The higher the payback percentage, the better your odds of winning in the long run. Here are some quick answers about payback percentages:

What is a good payback percentage?

A payback percentage of 90% or higher is considered excellent for slot machines. The closer to 100%, the better your chances.

What is an average payback percentage?

The average payback percentage for slot machines is usually between 80-90%. Anything below 80% is not so great.

Where can I find payback percentage information?

Payback percentages are not always published publicly. You may need to do some research online, ask casino staff, or check reports from gaming regulatory agencies.

Focus your search on slots with a payback percentage of 92% or better. Avoid slots below 85% payback if possible.


Another factor to consider is the volatility of a slot machine. Volatility refers to how often and how much a machine pays out. Here are some common volatility levels:

Low Volatility Slots

– Pay out frequently but smaller amounts

– Lower risk but less chance of big wins

Medium Volatility Slots

– Balance between risk and reward

– Moderate payouts and moderate winning frequency

High Volatility Slots

– Pay out less frequently but much bigger amounts

– Higher risk but chance for huge wins

If you’re playing with a small bankroll, lower volatility slots may be better. For bigger bankrolls, higher volatility presents opportunity for larger payouts.

Hit Frequency

Hit frequency refers to how often a slot machine will produce a winning spin versus a losing one. Here are some key points about hit frequency:

What is a good hit frequency?

A hit frequency of 25% or higher is ideal. This means 1 in 4 spins results in a win.

What is an average hit frequency?

Most slot machines have a hit frequency between 15-25%. Aim for slots on the higher end of this range.

What is a low hit frequency?

Any slot with a hit frequency below 10% will pay out very infrequently. These are best avoided.

Look for slots with a hit frequency of 20% or more for a solid balance between wins and losses.

Maximum Bet Size vs. Jackpot Size

To have a chance at the biggest jackpots, you need to look at the maximum bet size required versus the potential jackpot payout. Here are some key considerations:

What is a proportional maximum bet and jackpot size?

A good ratio is a maximum bet no more than $3 for a jackpot between $1,000-$5,000. Getting $5,000 for a $3 bet is proportional.

What is acceptable?

A maximum bet of $1-2 for jackpots from $500-$1,000 is reasonable for casual players.

What is not advised?

You want to avoid slots that require $5+ bets for jackpots less than $2,000. The ratio is out of proportion and not a smart wager.

Review the maximum bet and jackpot sizes to ensure proper balance between the two for your bankroll.

Number of Paylines

When selecting a multi-line slot machine, you’ll need to consider the number of paylines and how many you can afford to bet on. Here are some key tips:

What is a low number of paylines?

Slots with 5-10 paylines are considered to have a low number. This allows you to activate all lines within a smaller budget.

What is an average number of paylines?

Most slot machines today have between 15-25 paylines. This medium range gives you a solid number of ways to win.

What is a high number of paylines?

Anything over 30 paylines is generally considered a high number. Playing all lines requires a higher bet.

To manage your bankroll, aim for slot machines with 20 paylines or less if possible.

Variance Between Slot Machines

It’s important to keep in mind that all slot machines are programmed differently. The variance between machines in terms of payback, volatility, hit frequency, and more can be significant. Here are some key variances:

Payback Percentage

The payback can vary greatly between 85% on the low end to 99% on the high end.


Some slots pay out frequently for small amounts while others rarely pay but offer huge progressive jackpots.

Hit Frequency

The hit frequency can be as low as 5% or as high as 40% depending on the slot machine.

Due to the variance, you must analyze each machine individually based on the factors above to determine if it is a good choice or not. Never assume the machines are similar.

How to Find the Best Slots in a Casino

Finding the slots with the best odds in a casino takes some legwork but following these tips can help:

– Consult casino apps and websites – Many have payback info and ratings.

– Talk to customer service – They may provide payback data if asked.

– Look for slots not near major aisles – Better payback is often in less visible areas.

– Check for slots with progressive jackpots – Higher potential payouts.

– Look for clusters of slots – Winning machines are often grouped together.

Doing your homework before sitting down at a machine can significantly improve your odds in the long run.

Factors That Do NOT Impact Slot Odds

Some common misconceptions about improving slot odds include:

– Time of day – Time does not affect payback percentages.

– Slot placement – Physical location on casino floor is irrelevant.

– Casino membership status – Higher tier status does not improve odds.

– Betting patterns – Altering bet size/timing during play does not help.

– Machine “warmth” or “looseness” – These have no basis in reality.

Rely on payback percentage data, not superstitions, to find the best machines.

Progressive Jackpot Slots

Progressive jackpot slots are a special sub-category worth examining. Here are key tips on maximizing your odds with progressives:

– Bet maximum coins – Required to win full jackpot amount.

– Avoid random progressive slots – Low hit frequency.

– Play linked games with pooled jackpots – Jackpot builds faster across multiple machines.

– Look for reset amounts after wins – Higher reset = better odds.

– Check contribution rates – Higher rate = faster growing jackpots.

Progressive jackpots offer huge potential payouts but require proper bankroll management and picking the right machines.

Best Bets for Low Rollers

Casual slot players on a budget should look for machines with these attributes:

– penny and nickel slots – Low cost per spin.

– 85-92% payback – Decent odds with lower volatility.

– 15-20 paylines – Allows activating all lines at max bet.

– Low/medium volatility – Reduced risk with smaller bankroll.

– Max bet $1-2 – Affordable for recreational play.

Considering payback percentage and limiting total bets is key for low rollers.

Best Bets for High Rollers

For players with larger budgets, these machines offer the most potential:

– $1, $5, $25 slots – Higher denominations.

– 92%+ payback – Excellent odds.

– Medium/high volatility – Chance for large wins.

– Progressive jackpots – Life-changing payouts possible.

– Max bets $100+ – Manageable with sizable bankroll.

Higher wagers justify pursuing rewards like progressives and jackpots over $25,000.

Common Myths About Slot Odds

Many players believe the following myths about improving slot results:

Myth: Machines are “due” to hit.

Truth: Slots have random outcomes not influenced by prior spins.

Myth: You can spot “hot” and “cold” machines.

Truth: There is no correlation between recent payouts and future results.

Myth: You can improve odds by pulling handle slowly.

Truth: Handle pull speed does not affect internal results.

Focus on payback percentage data, not unproven theories, when picking machines.

How Casinos Set Slot Odds

Casinos use advanced technologies to precisely control slot machine odds. Here’s how they do it:

– Computerized random number generators – Determine each spin outcome randomly.

– EPROM chips – Contain programmed payback percentages and odds.

– Regular auditing – Ensures chips match published odds.

– Remote management – Lets casino adjust options like payback % remotely.

Understanding how odds are programmed allows players to focus efforts on slots with inherently better probabilities.

How to Research Slot Machine Payback Percentages

The key to finding slots with the best odds is identifying machines with high payback percentages. Here are tips for researching a slot’s payback:

– Check casino app and website

– Search for state gaming commission reports

– Look up slots with progressives and larger jackpots

– Contact customer service

– Review slot machine ratings sites and forums

Combining online research with asking casino staff directly can reveal helpful payback percentage data before playing.

Warning Signs of Low Payback Machines

Here are red flags indicating a slot may have lower odds:

– Located near table game pits – Draws players into casino.

– Placed in highly visible locations – Builds excitement.

– Features new/popular movies, TV, musicians – Capitalizes on trendy themes.

– Includes enticing but expensive bonus features – Increases house edge.

– Shows large potential jackpots – Attracts attention despite low odds.

Use caution when playing slots that seem designed to catch your eye rather than offer strong odds.

How to Maximize Your Odds of Winning

Here are proven tips to optimize your slot results:

– Find slots with at least 92% payback

– Bet maximum coins on progressive slots

– Avoid low hit frequency machines (under 15%)

– Play at slots with stable volatility for your budget

– Learn the pay tables and rules for the machine

Matching your style and bankroll to the best available slots offers the highest odds possible.


As we have seen, locating the slot machines with the best odds requires research into payback percentage, volatility, hit frequency, and maximum bets versus potential payouts. Avoiding common myths and false theories is also important. Of course, slots results always contain randomness and luck. But applying the guidance in this article will significantly improve your slot machine odds and provide the absolute best chance to come out a winner.