Coping: A Statistical Approach to Slot Machines

Don’t be put off by this morning’s discussion topic.  This will not be a long, boring paper where we will toss around mathematical symbols and discuss the arcane science of “luck” as it related to “numbers.”

But, I will tell you how I have taught myself to win and walk away with a few dollars in many casinos.

:Let me start at the beginning:

Years and years ago, like 1975, or so, I was invited to the opening of what was the old Desert Inn –which was owned by Summa Corp of Howard Hughes fame.

At this confab, there was a fellow who billed himself as the “Professor of Chance” and he explained the odds of each game in the house.  Even took us through some of the basics of how to gamble at things like craps.

My daughter – just married – turns out to be quite the young craps player.  It may be due to the fact that in certain set-ups (sequences of rolls) there can be occasions when the thin odds in favor of the house shift and become odds in favor of the gambler.

One of these days, I will follow in her path – and get serious about craps because of what is called the “Free Odds Bet.”  There is a very good discussion of it over at here.

The art of becoming a successful slots player is dependent on finding a good “House” – which the MGM is – and then working the numbers and getting a feel for how machines are running – hot or cold.

One one of the best training tools out there is a piece of software that will mimic the runs and streaks that actually show up in casino play.  I have been using WMS Slots Zeus II.

There is a tremendous amount of misinformation available about slots.  However, there are some gems which are worth your time exploring.

Let me give you the rundown of what my “statistical research” has found so faR:

1.  Money Management in General:

The first part of my approach is to figure out how much you are willing to invest in a particular casino in order to play.

I currently have this level set at $100.

This absolutely MUST be money that you are not “attached to.”  In other words, you can’t be betting the grocery money, your house (or car) payment.  This is literally “money you can afford to burn.”

This is also how you avoid a gambling addiction….but that’s a risk any time, so be aware of it.

2.  Managing Your Bet Size:

It will take a little study, but if you read the “Rules” on a machine, you will find that there is usually a bet size which will activate all available lines (across, diagonally, and W shaped,  etc.) and will activate all of the higher-payoff options.

One machine I was playing yesterday had this odd quirk:  The “bonus” symbol was only “active” if the initial bet at been 60-credits. 

Since this was a penny slot, with a minimum bet size of 20 credits (which is 20-cents on a penny machine) the informed player would have made 60 credit (cents) bets.

3.  Understand Your Machine Type

Here is another point of mental “fog” for a lot of players:  There are plenty of machines that advertise themselves to be “Penny Slots.”

The fact of 99% of them is that you can not make a one-cent bet.  Most have 20-50 cent minimums.  Reality check:  there are no penny slots:  Only 20-to-100-cent machines.

It is a fine example of how humans are delusional at their core.

4.  Using Training Software to Find Lucky Times

I can tell you with pretty decent accuracy that my “Luck Time” is between 3:30 and 4:30 p.m.

This is an oddity I noticed on the Zeus II simulation at home. 

By the way, if you get Zeus II (or any other home game) make sure to run it in the casino mode.  There is a mode on many of the home play games that automatically will make you a winner.  You don’t need that. 

5.  Understand Machine Placement

I don’t know how real it is, but back in the 1970’s, there was a practice of Placement which it helps to understand.

An article by John Robison of the American Casino Guide available here explains it pretty well.

What casinos try to optimize is the amount of total money brought in and kept by the House.  To do this, the “loose” machines will generally be placed at sight lines from locations where potential customers are making decisions about whether to play – or go do something else.

Part of my “Research” on this trip has been finding a few very good locations.  It hasn’t been 100% successful, but I did find one location that seems to be consistent between three casinos so far.  (A note on that for Peoplenomics readers tomorrow.)

Your Method of Play

Most machines in use today have a “Bonus Level” and this is where the real money is. 

Sure, you can hit on some decent jackpots on a penny machine without going to the Bonus levels, but it is a lot easier when you get there.

The objective (which is practiced at home) is to set a series of spins within which you expect a machine to get you to a bonus round.

I generally use 10-spins.  If the machine is not “showing me some love” after 10 spins, I write it off as cold.  Then move on to a new machine.

When you do get a big win, give the machine no more than two spins after that and cash out.

The reason for the extra spins is that luck runs in streaks.  By giving a machine a couple of spins after a big win, you are allowing for a streak to shine on you.  Beyond two spins, though, the streak potential seems to decline quickly.

Spend some time at a roulette wheel – the sort with the digital display.  You can see how numbers cluster there, as well.

The objective is to spin, get one of those outlier payoffs, get a decent pay-off, see if the machine is going into a hot streak, and leave a few cents ahead when you hit the Cash Out or Collect button.

How Does It Work?

Well, we walked into the MGM with our $100 “play money.”  As of this morning (and we won’t gamble today) we will be walking out with $260 in profits. ($360 total).

That may not sound like much money, and it’s not.  But it is terribly entertaining.

About the Free Drinks

We don’t mix alcohol with money decisions – ever!

If we want to drink, we will have two before dinner.  Money than  that, and a different kind of gambling sets in – related to health.  But two drinks a day according to one online life expectancy calculator.

The  best one I have been able to find is this one over here.  This is one of those odds-making things that really matters.  Much more so than slots…

Back to point:  Casinos would probably much rather give away drinks than have people focusing on finding – and exploiting – statistics.  Find a run, get a little ahead, and then on to the next machine.

Does Woo-Woo Help?

I think it does – a LOT.

The two most important things I have found on this trip are:

1.  Use the Miracle Money Technique every time you win.

If you don’t know what THAT is, you haven’t been paying attention to what our consulting astrologer has very, very generously offered.

So run over to: and get with the program. 

It is nondenominational, it works, and it costs nothing.  EXCEPT for a good attitude and remembering the practice of it.

2.  It helps to be a very sensitive person and work with another person who is, as well.

What we found on this trip is that if I give Elaine her head – with the mission of “find a machine that calls to you…” she will come up with excellent  choices.

I then consider the machine – and if there’s nothing “dark” about it, that’s the one we play but only long enough to get a few bucks ahead, take off the win, test for a further streak, and then cash out.

There are a couple of other small details.

I wear my “lucky shoes” when gambling.  They have leather soles.  Leather is a semi-conductor…it provides a high resistance to ground.

Although it is in no book that I’ve ever read, I do know that thinking is an electrical process and people think best (most clearly, anyway) if they are grounded.  Tennis shoes are fine insulators, so if you gamble with them on, at least consider grounding yourself to the machine.  This can be done by touching raw metal or with a wide flat hand, which will at least capacitatively couple off some radio frequencies.

Some of the same mental states – which we practice while dowsing,, for example – seem to work well with slots, too.

Bottom Line:

Does it work?

We will have more insight when we get home and count money about this time next week.

I still have life loops on the agenda, but wanted to pass these notes on while it was still fresh in my mind…

Write when you break-even,


5 thoughts on “Coping: A Statistical Approach to Slot Machines”

  1. Thank you so much for posting this. I am printing and saving it so I can learn your method. I live on Social Security and health does not permit employment so any way to add some coins to the purse is welcome. I shall report back after I get started. BTW, there are two big “Indian” casinos here in Tulsa, one of which is only 4 miles from my home. I hear that that one River Spirit(Creek) has great food. The (Cherokee) Hard Rock is not so good in the food department, but they do have a smoke free gambling area.

  2. I’m guessin’ this may work for class 3 machines, but the slot 2 (bingo style that are networked). Right?

  3. Several years ago I went to a casino and cashed out a winner 3 straight times.

    I have NEVER made 3 straight winning stock trades.

    Make of that what you will.

    I am also 1 for 1 aka 100% being profitable in house poker games implementing Elliott Wave strategy.

    Again, make of that what you will.

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