You don’t have to be a slot machine player for slot machine mentality to hurt your gambling results. In fact, playing slots is one of the few games you can play where slot machine mentality doesn’t hurt your results.
Don’t worry if you don’t know what slot machine mentality is. I’m getting ready to tell you all about it, and teach you how to stop letting it kill your gambling results.
What Is Slot Machine Mentality?
When you play slot machines, you put your money in, spin the reels, and hope to hit a big win. You can’t use any strategy to change the outcome. This leaves you with nothing more than hope, and hope isn’t a sound strategy.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with playing slot machines. Sometimes, I take a few spins chasing progressive jackpot slots or when I have a few minutes to kill in the casino. But I know that playing slot machines is a true gamble, and I also know that I’m giving the casino a huge edge when I play.
At the poker table, I see players go all in on a flush draw or with ace-king, hoping to get lucky.
At the craps table, I see gamblers betting on hard numbers and other inside bets that have a high house edge, hoping to get lucky and hit one of these terrible odds wagers. Video poker players ignore basic strategy and try to hit a royal flush on every hand, even if they have a much better chance to complete a lower paying winning hand.
This is what I call slot machine mentality. It’s fine to have slot machine mentality when you’re playing slots, but when you play other games, you need to stop acting like you’re playing slot machines.
Better Gambling Options in the Casino
The casino is filled with better options for gamblers than slot machines. But these games are only better options when you play with proper strategy. Here are some better options than slot machines. Each one includes a few basic tips to help you play them without resorting to slot machine mentality.
Blackjack is one of the best games available in the casino if you’re willing to learn a little bit of strategy. With decent rules and a good approach, you can play with a house edge of less than .5%. A half percent house edge is lower than what you get on most slot machines.
The problem is that, if you don’t use the correct strategy, the edge can go up to 3% or higher depending on how you play. The good news is that it’s easy to use proper blackjack strategy. All you have to do is get a blackjack strategy card, follow the plays on the strategy card 100% of the time, and never take insurance or any side bets.
Many blackjack players go with their gut feelings when they play and raise their bets chasing their losses. Every time you make a play based on your gut instead of using the correct strategy, you’re playing real money blackjack just like a slot machine.
Video poker is a machine based game, like slots, but it’s designed so you can use strategy to alter your results. Online video poker machines are also available with varying pay tables, which also change the house edge.
When you learn the best pay tables and use the best strategy, popular video poker games like Deuces Wild and Jacks or Better offer a house edge just as good, or better, than blackjack. And just like blackjack, you can get strategy cards that lay out all of the best plays.
The highest payout hand on most video poker machines is a natural royal flush.
Stick with the plays on your strategy card and find video poker games with good pay tables. This eliminates hope and lets you play with a low house edge.
One thing that draws many players to slot machines is how easy they are to play. Slot machines are easier to play than blackjack and video poker, but you pay for the ease of play with a higher house edge. This is where baccarat comes into play.
Gambling on baccarat is just as easy to play as slot machines, and it has a much lower house edge. You don’t even need to worry about strategy, except to make sure to bet on the right spot every hand. The banker bet is always the best bet at the baccarat table, and it offers a house edge just over 1%.
Roulette doesn’t involve any strategy at all, because all of the bets on most wheels have the same house edge. The only exception is the basket bet on a roulette wheel with a double zero space. The basket bet is a bet on the zero, double zero, one, two, and three. The house edge is higher on the basket bet on a double zero wheel than any of the other bets.
You should never play roulette with a wheel with a double zero space. Stick with a wheel with only a single zero space and it doesn’t matter what bet you make. The house edge is higher than good blackjack games and baccarat, but it’s still much lower than the majority of slot machines.
Craps is definitely more complicated to play than slot machines. But if you stick to the best bets, it’s still pretty simple. You should start with a pass line bet. When a point is set, play the odds bet on the point. This creates an overall house edge of only 1.41%. Craps has the added advantage of playing slower than most games, so you don’t risk as much every hour that you’re playing.
If you bet on the don’t pass line, you need to make the odds bet when a point is set as well.
The combination of a low house edge and slow play makes US real money craps a much better choice than slot machines for most gamblers. Don’t be intimidated by all the action at the craps table. Stick with the simple bets I explained above and ignore everything else.
Poker is the best option if you’re willing to learn a lot about strategy. The reason why poker is the best option is because, instead of playing against the casino and the house edge, you’re competing against the other players.
This means that if you’re able to master poker strategy, you can win more than you lose. The only chance you have to win more than you lose playing slot machines is hoping to hit a big jackpot. Good poker players can grind out profits on a consistent basis.
A Non-Casino Option
The only reason to play slot machines is to chase big jackpots. If you play slots long enough and aren’t lucky enough to win a big jackpot, you’re guaranteed to lose. I think most gamblers agree that winning a slots jackpot over a million would be life-changing. But big jackpots aren’t hit often, and most slot machine players go their entire lives and never hit one.
Instead of playing slot machines, consider playing the lottery. The house edge is even higher than slot machines, and the odds of winning a jackpot are extremely small, but instead of winning a million or two, you have the chance to win tens of millions or hundreds of millions.
The other upside to playing the lottery instead of slot machines is that you can play for a few dollars. The two biggest lotteries in the United States can be played for $2 each and have two drawings a week. This means that for $8 a week, you can buy a ticket for each of them for each draw.
Playing the lottery is still hoping to win, which makes it fit in the same category as slot machines. But at least the slots mentality of the lottery gives you a small chance to win even more money than you can playing slots.
The only games where it’s safe to use slot machine mentality are slot machines, keno, bingo, and the lottery. If you’re playing any other gambling game, you need to stop using slot machine mentality immediately. Learn how to use the best strategy for all of the other games in the casino, and forget about the one strategy that doesn’t work—hope.