Even though everyone knows that slot machine games are entirely random, people still try to come up with strategies and systems for winning. Such efforts are doomed to fail for most people. They only succeed for people who get lucky, and they succeed in spite of their system rather than because of it.
Don’t believe me?
Let me share some of my experiences with various slot machine strategies I’ve tried over the last 20 years or so.
Decide for yourself if any of these approaches have merit after you’ve read about my personal results.
1- Naked Pull Limits
I read a book called John Patrick’s Slots. The author claims to be a gambling expert. He’s a lousy writer, but he has chutzpah. Based on what I’ve read, he’s not good at gambling, either, although he thinks he is.
The idea behind naked pull limits is that if you’re getting multiple losing spins in a row, you should quit and move on to another machine. Another alternative is to end that session altogether.
The number of naked pulls that indicates you should quit is up to you, but I know that Patrick suggested 9 naked pulls.
If you get 9 naked pulls in a row, you withdraw your money and move on to another machine.
Do I really need to tell you that following this strategy did nothing to help me win?
I do have a friend who insists that this is the wrong strategy, because if you’ve lost on a machine 9 times in a row, it’s due for a win, and you should stay.
My friend’s wrong, too, by the way. Every spin of the reels on a slot machine is an independent event. It doesn’t matter what happened on previous spins. The probability of winning on the next spin stays the same.
2- Loss Limits
Not only are you supposed to pay attention to the number of losing spins in a row, you also need to pay attention to how much of your session bankroll you’ve lost.
The default loss limit that John Patrick suggests is 60%.
If you put $100 into the machine, you quit playing once you’re down to $40.
That’s a simple enough system, but it doesn’t do anything to help you win.
It would only limit your losses if you quit gambling on slot machines forever.
And here’s my experience:
I didn’t quit.
You probably won’t either.
3- Win Goals
The actual first full-fledged system Patrick presents in his book is called “The Straight 60.”
When I tried this system, here’s what happened:
I put $100 into the machine. I was going to quit when I hit $160 or $40, whichever came first. And if I got 9 losing spins in a row, that was also a sign I should quit.
I only got to play for 22 spins. I had 5 naked pulls immediately, but then I won $2. Then I had 6 more naked pulls, followed by another $2 win. This was followed by 9 naked spins in a row, so I quit for the session.
I had a net loss for the session of $17. It was a quarter machine I was playing.
I guess you could say that the naked pull limit prevented me from losing even more money on a cold slot machine, but that could easily be within the realm of standard deviation.
I tried this system a 2nd time the next day, and I also saw a net loss. Instead of hitting my 9 naked pull limit, though, I lost $60 and quit. I saw wins in between the losses of between $1 and $5, but it didn’t take as long as you’d think to lose $60 on a quarter slot machine game.
4- The Play and Run System
This system is designed to “grind out a quick win.” The idea is that you just spend 5 minutes on a machine – you set a timer for 5 minutes, and you quit when your time is up. That’s still enough time to get in 50 spins, by the way, so you still need to watch for naked pulls.
Patrick suggests dividing your bankroll into 5 or 10 smaller bankrolls and having multiple sessions. You don’t need to take breaks between them unless you want to.
I tried this over 5 sessions, and I saw losing sessions 4 out of those 5 sessions.
I lost an average of between $25 and $35 during each of my losing sessions.
But during the one winning session I had, I won $400.
I’m not convinced that it’s because of the magic of this system. I think I just got lucky. At this point in my experiments, I was up a few dollars, but I had a feeling that wouldn’t last.
5- The Chicken System
If, at this point, you’re thinking that most of these “systems” are just arbitrary rules for starting and stopping on a slot machine, well…
The Chicken System, though, is more involved. It involves a sequence for raising bets and for when to quit.
The idea is that you have a 70% loss limit. You also have a 9 naked pull limit.
Then you bet one unit 4 times in a row, twice that amount 4 times in a row, and triple your original amount 4 times in a row.
Then you quit, win or lose.
But if you hit your 70% loss limit or your 9 naked pull limit before then, you quit early.
6- The Squirrel System
The idea behind the Squirrel System is that once you’re up, you squirrel away your original bankroll and keep betting with the money you’ve won. Every time you get up a certain amount, you pocket 50% of your winnings after that point and keep playing.
Here’s an example of how this works:
You put $100 into the slot machine and immediately win $60. You cash out.
You take your $60 in winnings and keep playing. As soon as you’re up $30, you cash out again, this time pocketing $30.
You continue to play, pocketing half your winnings repeatedly, until your initial stake from the winnings are all gone.
You still have to keep in mind the naked pulls limit.
When the machine gets cold, it’s time to call it off.
I tried this system for 4 different sessions, and I lost in all 4 of them.
Here’s the problem with trying to find slot machine strategies that work:
None of them work.
Slot machines are completely random. If you want to play a gambling game where your level of skill matters, take up blackjack or poker.
Heck, try betting on sports.
But don’t think some silly scheme for starting and stopping or for raising and lowering the size of your bets is going to help you beat the house with slot machines.