6 Ways to Decide Which Slot Machine to Play

Thinking Man on Left With a Row of Slot Machines to the Right

The last time I walked into a casino, I started counting the different versions of slot machines available. I gave up after counting to 100. How do you decide what the best slot machine for real money is when you want to play with so many choices?

Start with deciding what’s important in a slots game for you. When you know what your goals are when you play slots, it’s easier to find the right machines.

In this post, you’re going to learn six different ways you can compare slot machines in land-based, online, and mobile casinos.

1 – Number of Paylines

The first thing you need to understand before you continue is there are no right and wrong answers or ideas. Everything about choosing the best slot machine for you is based on what you like and what you want to accomplish.

For example, I like to play slot machines with a small number of pay lines, and many gamblers prefer to play slots that have 100’s of pay lines. Therefore, a slot machine with nine pay lines isn’t better than a machine with 243 lines, and a machine with 243 lines isn’t better than a machine with nine lines.

If you don’t know if you like machines with a lot of pay lines or machines with a small number of lines, you should play on several different types of slots games to see which you prefer. I enjoy machines that don’t have many lines because I want to be able to track all of the lines with my eyes and brain.

On slot machines with 100 or more pay lines, I can’t possibly track all of the lines. But all slots games tell you if you win or not after each spin, so many slots players don’t care if they can track all of the lines. So if you feel you have a better chance of winning with more pay lines, then you probably want to play on machines with a higher number of pay lines.

2 – How Much Does It Cost to Play?

You have to be careful when comparing slots games based on how much they cost to play. Many gamblers are disappointed when they find a penny slot machine and find out they can’t play for a penny.

The coin amount isn’t as important as how much you have to bet on each spin in total. So the simple way to compare how much it costs to play a slot machine is to determine how much each spin costs with every available pay line activated.

I’ve seen penny slots games that cost $2.50 a spin to play and quarter machines that only cost a quarter to play.

Penny Slot Machine Sign

Another thing to consider is how much each machine pays back. If you can find the information, you can compare two or more machines based on the return to player percentage. But return to player percentage information isn’t widely available for all slot machines.

You’re usually better off playing on a machine with a higher return percentage, even if the cost per spin is higher. The best machines have a low cost per spin and high return percentage.

3 – Where the Machine Is Available

When I’m playing slots games, I forget if I’m playing in a land-based casino or in an online or mobile casino once I start playing. The only time I remember that I’m playing in a land-based casino is when the noise around me disturbs my play.

While you can find similar slots games in local casinos and online, very few games are available in both places. So if you’re in love with a particular slots game, you have to play where it’s available.

I don’t have any slot machines that I’m in love with, but many players have favorite brands and games. I remember when Wheel of Fortune slot machines was big, and many players refused to play on anything else. These players had to go where Wheel of Fortune machines were available, and sometimes they had to wait to get a seat.

If you have a machine or two that you really like to play, compile a list of where the machine is available. For example, if you like an online slots game made by Microgaming, you can probably find it in any online or mobile casino with Microgaming games.

If you like a game that’s only found in land-based casinos, keep a mental list of places where you know you can find it.

4 – Is a Bonus or Comps Available?

I haven’t played slots for several years when I wasn’t earning comps or using a bonus. However, bonuses are available in so many mobile and online casinos that you can always find someplace that will give you a bonus.

And if you’re playing slots in a local casino, you should always have your player’s card inserted in the machine so you can get comps. If a casino doesn’t have a comps program for slots play, I don’t play in that casino.

The fact is that casinos make so much money from slots games that you deserve to get either comps or a bonus every time you play. Any casino that’s too tight not to offer one or the other should go out of business.

Row of Slot Machines

Some bonuses are better than others, and some slots clubs are better than others. So the question might be, where can you get the most comps for your play, or where can you get the best bonus for your slots play?

It doesn’t happen often, but I’ve played in a few online casinos that offer slot machine bonuses and a comps program. The comps program is usually a disguised bonus scheme of some sort, but it’s still better to get something extra than not to get anything.

5 – Jackpots

I rarely play a slot machine that doesn’t have a good jackpot. I like to have a shot at winning at least $50,000 if I get lucky, and $100,000 or more is even better. I do play on some machines with progressive jackpots over $1,000,000, but most of those machines have a large bet per spin amount.

The perfect slot machine for me is one I can play for $1 or less per spin and have a chance to win a six-figure jackpot.

I know many slots players who always chase the biggest jackpot in the casino. And I know a few gamblers who won’t play on anything but an old-fashioned three-reel machine with three or nine pay lines with no big jackpot.

Like everything else in this post, your personal preference is more important than anything else when it comes to slots jackpots.

Of course, I know you want to win as much as possible, but big jackpots are so hard to hit that most slots players go their entire life without hitting one. So you should play on the machines you like and look at the jackpot as a secondary concern when you play slot machines.

6 – Who Made the Machine?

It doesn’t matter who made or designed the slot machine to many players. But some slots players find that they like machines made by certain manufacturers or designed by particular companies.

Years ago, I started playing a lot of slots games in online casinos using Real Time Gaming software. I played at many different online casinos using RTG software, collecting bonuses at each casino. I liked their slot machines, even though most of them were basically the same game engine using different graphics.

Casino Floor With Slot Machines

Now I don’t have a favorite manufacturer or designer, but if you find a few machines that you enjoy playing, take a look to see who made or designed the machine. Then you can look for other games by the same manufacturer or software developer to see if you enjoy their other games as well.

If you like slots games that use 243 pay lines, you can find several of them made by the same company. Likewise, if you like a particular mechanic, like a story-based system, the odds are good that you can find similar machines made by the same company.

Our Final Thoughts on Picking Slot Machines

When you determine what you like the best when you play slots, it’s easy to compare machines to find the ones that meet your needs. But, of course, everything starts with the available slot machines, which depends on whether you’re playing online or in a local casino.

If you have a small budget, you need to find games that don’t cost much to play, but you might want to play on machines with big jackpots if your budget isn’t an issue.

You should always get a bonus or comps, but are you getting the best bonus or best comps available? Bonuses and comps are important because every dollar counts when you’re playing slot machines.