What is an Online Slot Machine?
In the long run, it’s the casinos that win… NOT the regular gamblers.
An online slot machine is a gambling instrument that – through the use of ‘fixed odds’ – is designed to return a mathematical profit for the casino over the long run… and leave their collective player-base out of pocket.
That is, having joined up to an online casino or multichannel betting site – a player can deposit a sum of money into their account and use this cash to fund said slot machines.
As such, the lure for the recreational gambler is that – by risking a relatively small sum of cash – they potentially stand to win a ‘jackpot’ sized amount.
And it is this eternal ‘chase’ that keeps the punters coming back time and time again – bleeding money from their wallets at a truly shocking rate.
Are Online Slot Machines Fair?
Ethically and mathematically – no.
Legally – yes.
In the case of the former, the odds are stacked in favour of the ‘house’ – the gambling operator that is hosting the game. Without getting too technical, this fact arises because the casino will pay you less than what is fair on your winning bets – yet keep your entire stake when you lose!
So if you play for long enough – your winnings will NEVER be able to offset your cumulative losses. And as for the casino – they aren’t really bothered who wins and who loses. Just as long as people keep turning money over on their crooked games – their mathematical advantage will still hold in an absolute sense and so will their profit margin.
Daylight robbery as I tend to call it!
RNGs ensure that each spin is independent from the last. With that said, the casino games are NOT rigged in the sense that they are going to cheat you out of your money. Every game must payout true to the machine’s ingrained random number generator (RNG). The RNG dictates the long term payout structure of the machine – whilst simultaneously ensuring the short term randomisation of the ‘wins’ and ‘losses’.
And yes, this means that every spin is independent from the last – meaning that just because you are on a ‘losing run’ does not mean that you are ‘due a win’!
In other words, as soon as you have pressed ‘spin’ – the amount you are going to win or lose is predetermined and cannot be influenced by yourself.
As such, all reputable casinos are held to strict industry standards and their RNG software is independently tested to make sure that the casino is not skimming off more money than what is allowed.
So what the casinos are doing isn’t illegal… but it is unethical (in my view).
So Why Would We Ever Play an Online Slot Game?
The gambling industry if founded upon and sustained by the flawed nature of the human condition – one that confers an inherent desire to prioritise emotion ahead of logic.
I mean who cares that you have already tanked £5,000 on a single game when ‘one more spin’ might win you a yacht?
As such, I would NEVER encourage you to play slot machines for ‘fun’ – the potential for addiction is overwhelming. However, in order to exploit the online casino’s bonuses and tip the odds in our favour – slot machines are a necessary tool for the job.
Using some simple calculations, we can extract money from the casino’s own bonuses. Wait. Back it up.
If this idea of making mathematical profits from the casino’s own money is something that you are entirely unfamiliar with – you MUST read this article first: How to Make Money from Online Casinos.
The article you are currently reading deals more with the practicalities of actually using a slot machine – something that those making the transition from ‘risk-free’ matched betting to casino based advantage play tend to struggle with.
Oh, and I’ll say this now…
…if you are a recreational gambler – please stop wasting your money.
Explained: The House Edge, RTP and Volatility
Before I show you how to use a slot machine here are a few key definitions:
The house edge
The house edge represents how much the casino extracts from your bets on average. The ‘house edge’ is the percentage figure – defined by the game’s in built RNG – that describes how much of a mathematical advantage that machine has over its players.
For example, the average house edge for most slot machines is around 5% – meaning that for every £1 you wager, the casino will ‘tax’ you 5p. And whilst this doesn’t sound like much, the take-home point is that for EVERY spin that you make with your OWN money – the casino is keeping 5% of it over the long run.
Now, for the purpose of grinding through casino bonuses for a mathematical profit – we should select slot machines with as LOW a house edge as possible.
Tools of the trade being:
- Bloodsuckers (2% house edge).
- Jackhammer 2 (2.9% house edge).
- A Night Out (2.94% house edge).
- Halloween Fortune (2.94% house edge).
You can find out the house edge for most slot machines here – as most gambling establishments will not give away such information freely.
Personally, I use the EV Maximiser tool as part of my Betting Mastermind package to quickly filter games by their house edge.
Return to player (RTP)
Sometimes, you will see slots defined by their RTP percentage – which is just another way of implying the house edge.
For example, the Bloodsuckers slot has a house edge of 2% – therefore the game also has an RTP of 98%. In other words, 98% of the money wagered through the Bloodsuckers game will be returned to you over enough spins.
Here are great games with some nice RTP’s:
- Mega Joker (RTP 99.00%)
- 1429 Uncharted Seas (RTP 98.63 %)
- Cinema Classics (RTP 98.47%)
- Sportfishing (RTP 98.33 %)
- Diamond Diggin’ (RTP 98.24%)
- Lucky Pets (RTP 98.19 %)
- The Dead Escape (RTP 98.18 %)
- Koi Gate (RTP 98.07%)
- Cash Garden (RTP 98.02 %)
Whilst the house edge/RTP defines just how much money you will lose to the casino over the long run for any given game – the volatility of the same machine describes HOW you will be paid out.
For example, HIGH volatility games such as Raging Rhino will have long stretches of no wins interspaced with HUGE – yet infrequent – wins.
By contrast, Bloodsuckers has a LOW volatility – meaning that the payout structure is ‘little and often’.
Low volatility games are great for grinding through a qualifying deposit – whilst high volatility slots are reserved for advanced forms of bonus clearing (which I shall not go into any more detail about here).
Again, EV Maximiser will help you sort games by their volatility – information that is currently nearly impossible to find in the public domain.
Slot Machines: Important Features and Functions
Whilst slot machines come with different ‘skins’ – their basic functions are inherently the same.
And since we are using slot machines to profit from the casino’s bonuses exclusively – we can simply ignore a lot of the ‘bells and whistles’ that are designed to entice you to gamble your money away.
Here’s what you need to know:
A single reel displaying three individual symbols. The symbols are the ‘faces’ of the reels that when ‘matched up’ after a spin – result in a payout.
Each slot machine typically has 10 -15 unique symbols that reflect the ‘theme’ of the slot – A, K, Q, J, 10, cherries, diamonds and bells are quite common.
The positioning of the symbols is defined by the RNG – trying to ‘stop’ the reels early will NOT make any difference!
The ‘reels’ are the vertically spinning ‘blocks’ that dictate the arrangement of the symbols after each spin.
Most machines have either 3, 4 or 5 reels.
Old fashioned ‘fruit machines’ just used to have one ‘payline’ – right across the middle!
However, modern online slot machines can have 25, 50 or more individual paylines.
And no, ‘more lines’ does not mean you have ‘more chances to win’ – remember that the payout structure is predetermined by the RNG. As advantage players, we are only really interested in the house edge and the volatility of the game.
Coin size/bet level
Typically, your coin size is multiplied by the number of lines to determine your stake size. So if your coin size is £0.25 and you are playing 5 lines, your bet per spin will be £1.25 because: (0.25 x 5 = 1.25).
This function can be typically controlled by simply pressing the ‘+’ and ‘-‘ buttons.
Some slots such as Bloodsuckers also have an additional ‘bet slider’ button – which is just a secondary way of manipulating your stake size.
Pressing this button will wager your bet at your chosen stake size.
Other Features That You Should Know About Slots
Here are some other helpful definitions:
Instead of clicking ‘spin’ over and over again, you can set the game up to wager automatically – typically in blocks of 10, 20, 25, 50, 99, 100+ The autospin feature will be your best friend whilst you are wagering through a casino bonus for a mathematical profit – as this can take some time!
You can also download ‘autoclickers’ to click for you – useful if your chosen slot does not have an autospin feature.
You can speed things up even more by enabling the ‘fast play’ function – if the slot in question provides it. ‘Fast play’ will cut out some of the animation sequence.
Free spins are exactly that: spins that do not subtract money from your own balance.
Hitting a free spins round is always good news because it [should!] boost your balance significantly, but the actual amount you get will depend on the RTP, volatility and the programming of the RNG of the game you are playing.
Bonus rounds/featured games
Similar to free spins, many slot machines come with one or more in-play bonus rounds or featured games.
Some games will play automatically – such as the bonus round on Kings of Chicago. Whilst others – such as the Vampire Hunt Bonus Game on Bloodsuckers – require you to click around the screen. ‘In play’ bonus rounds are preferable because they tend not to disrupt the autoplay feature – whereas the interactive games do.
‘Wild’ symbols typically increase the payout for a specific payline.
‘Multipliers’ typically enhance your winnings after the reels have finished spinning – although the sequencing will vary from game to game.
Scatter symbols can act like a ‘wild’ symbol – or in some games – trigger a free spin or bonus round.
The ‘paytable’ describes the payout structure in relation to the number of matching symbols per line.
Given that the payout structure is predetermined by the RNG, the paytable is of no importance to us – it simply acts as a ‘carrot’ for recreational gamblers who are chasing that ‘big win’.
There are a few things that you need to be aware of before you start using slot machines:
The ‘max bet’ button will automatically spin the maximum amount for that game. And given that this amount can range into the £100s – it can be all too easy to wipe out your entire balance in one horrible misclick!
I talk from experience
So before you click the screen, make sure that the page has finished loading… as the buttons may jump around mid-click otherwise.
I’ve mentioned this already but I feel the need to say it again:
Slot machines can be highly addictive for some people – resulting in disastrous financial consequences.
By nature, I’m pretty logically minded and I know that every spin taken outside an offer that is not mathematically profitable is going to cost me in the long run – so I don’t do it.
But I know plenty of people that have lost £1,000s in a moment of madness – even experienced advantage players.
If you have an impulsive nature, I urge you to be very careful with advantage play – or any activity that may leave you open to the manipulative advertising of the online betting companies.
GambleAware is a good place to start if you think you might have an issue with your betting habits.
How to Use a Slot Machine – Step-by-Step:
- Open up the casino section of your chosen betting site.
- Locate your chosen slot machine.
- Adjust your bet size.
- Set up autospin/fast play if appropriate.
- Begin wagering
If you are turning over a bonus or a deposit on autospin – don’t forget to check back if the game has an interactive bonus feature.
Learn How to Make Money Using Slot Machines
In this post, I have dealt almost exclusively with the mechanics of using a slot machine and demo slots – also hinting at how the casinos are happy to screw over their customers for long term profits.
However, as alluded to throughout… by wagering through certain types of casino bonuses using specific types of slot machines or demos slots – we can tip the odds in OUR favour.
Which means only one thing… mathematical profits for US!
I’m sure that you are dying to know how this is possible – so click the button below to read my in depth article on beating the casinos at their own game…