Lessons I Learned From Losing at Slot Machines

Thinking Man With a Slots Background

I’ve lost a lot of money playing slot machines in my life. Of course, this doesn’t make me special in any way because most slots players are in the same boat.

Along the way I’ve learned many valuable lessons about slot machines. None of these lessons have helped me win, but some of them have helped me become a better slot machine player.

Here are seven slot machine lessons I’ve learned from years of losing play. You can learn a few things from my experience that can help you improve your slots play.

Online, Mobile, and Land-Based Slot Machines

The only difference between real money online slots, mobile slot machines, and the slots you can play in land based casinos is the names of the machines. All modern slot machines are run by computer programs, whether you’re playing a physical machine or a virtual machine.

The computer program is built using rules that dictate how much the machine gives back in the form of wins and how much the casino keeps for a profit. The computer program also dictates how many spins return money and how many spins are losers.

Row of Slot Machines

In the long run you can’t do anything that changes how the programming works. The only way to win is to get lucky enough to play when the program is on a cycle of giving a few more wins than losses. And there’s no way to predict when these cycles happen.

You’re going to learn a lot more about slot machines and luck in a different section in this article. But the important thing to learn in this section is that there’s nothing you can do about the way slot machine programming works.

It’s a waste of time and energy to try to figure out slot machine programming. The programs are too complicated and they guarantee a long term win for the casino.

The Casino Tricks of the Trade

Slot machines are designed using every trick that the manufacturers know to get you to play and keep you playing as long as they can. This all starts with the basic idea of slot machine. You only have to bet a small amount and you have a chance to win a big amount.

Of course, this is the same promise that many gambling games are based on, and the fact is that even when you get lucky sometimes you’re still losing overall.

The trick is the release of certain chemicals in your brain when you have a chance to win and/or when you win. Every time these chemicals are released you feel good. And you can quickly get addicted to this feeling, so you want to feel the same way again.

Slot machines use many other tricks to get you to play more. Special bonus rounds and games within games and stories that open the more you play are all tricks that keep you playing.

Everything about a slot machine is designed to get you to risk more money. And this plays right into what you’re going to learn in the next section.

Bet More, Lose More

Here’s how slot machines work in simple terms. You bet a certain amount over time and the machine keeps a percentage of this amount. In the short run you can see a wide range of results. But in the long run the slot machine keeps the percentage of money that it’s designed to keep.

If you’re playing on a slot machine with a return to player percentage of 93.5% and you bet $350 over the course of an hour, the machine is going to keep $22.75. The other $327.25 is returned to you in the form of wins.

Using this simple mathematical fact you can see that if you bet more you’re going to lose more. If you bet $700 instead of $350 you can expect to lose $45.50.

The only way to lose less when you play slot machines is to risk less. This means you either have to bet less on every spin or take fewer spins, or both. You can’t overcome the math behind the machine.

Slot Machine Bonus Considerations

I’m not a big fan of mobile and online casino bonuses. I don’t like them because they’re presented like they’re giving you free money, but what they really do is force you to play so long that you’re probably going to lose all of your money.

But I look at slot machine bonuses in a different way. It’s not that slots bonuses are different. They work the same way as other casino bonuses.

88 Fortunes Megaways Online Slot

However, when I play slot machines I know that the only way I’m going to win is if I get lucky and ht a jackpot. I don’t expect to cash out unless I get lucky. So I want to have as many chances to get lucky as I can get.

Mobile and online slot machine bonuses give me more opportunities to get lucky. This is why I never play slots without a bonus.

Slots and the Lottery

Slot machines and playing the lottery have many things in common. Both are available with a small investment, and they both offer the hope of winning something big. They both also usually end up taking your money and giving nothing back in the long run.

The main difference is that you make small wagers over and over when you play slot machines, and you only buy a few lottery tickets every week.

I play slot machines and I play the lottery, but I lose a lot less when I play the lottery. I spend $20 or less every week on the lottery, and I run through $20 at a slot machine in a few minutes.

Over the years I’ve played slot machines less and the lottery more. Not only do I risk less playing the lottery, but I also have a chance at a much higher jackpot amount when I play the lottery. I don’t waste money playing lottery games that don’t have a top prize in the millions, just like I don’t play slot machines that don’t have a big jackpot.

Progressive Jackpot Slot Machines

I know that I’m going to lose when I play slots. I win sometimes, but overall the slot machines are taking my money. This is why I stopped playing slot machines that don’t have a big jackpot. And the best jackpots are usually attached to progressive slot machines.

A progressive slot machine jackpot keeps climbing until someone gets lucky and hits it. And then it resets to a lower amount and starts climbing again. Some progressive slot machine jackpots climb to $1 million and higher.

If I’m going to take a chance with my money, I want to have the chance to win a huge amount if I get lucky. If your chance of winning the top prize is basically the same, why play on a machine that only offers a top prize of $50,000 or $100,000 when there are machines that have a top prize of $500,000 or more?

Gambling Luck Is the Only Factor

I’ve mentioned this many times in this article, but the biggest lesson I’ve learned playing slot machines is that luck is the only factor. If you’re going to win playing slot machines it’s because of luck.

Once you accept this as fact, it helps you play slot machines the best way. Forget about trying to win and start looking for the slot machines that have the biggest possible reward when you do get lucky.

James Bond Themed Slot Machines

In the long run you’re going to be like every other slot machine player. You’re going to lose more than you win. The only way to overcome this is to get lucky and win a huge jackpot. This is just like the lottery.

Play slots with a big top prize and hope to get lucky. This is the only reasonable way to play slot machines.


If you’re relying on anything other than luck when you play slot machines you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. Once you accept that the only way to beat the slots is with luck, you can start using the techniques that can pay off the best when you do get lucky.

I use the progressive slots jackpot method when I play slots. I found that there’s no reason why I should limit how much I can win when I hit a lucky streak.

And I also learned that a big slots bonus gives me more chances to get lucky. You can use the same methods when you play the slots, waiting to get lucky.