How to Win at Slots: Secrets to Pick a Winning Slot Machine

How to pick a winning slot machine

So you're looking for a way to pick a winning slot machine and hit a big win?
Of course, you do! What gambler hasn't imagined taking the one-armed bandit down like a calf at a rodeo?

In this guide, you find all the best secrets to win at slots and a list of actionable slot tips that will help you to pick a winning slot machine every time you play.

Slots are gambling games where the house has an advantage over the players. Knowing how to pick the best slot machines to play is your way you reduce the 'house edge'. This gives yourself more chances to win at slots.

Just like in any other casino games, it is not possible to win at slots every time. But it is possible to increase your winning chances by picking the right slot machine when you play.

That's what this guide is all about.

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How to Pick a Winning and Loose Slot Machine

A lot of people try to figure out a pattern of some kind. Some are sure the way you push buttons affects your chances to win at slots. Others say it doesn't.

The very few times in gambling history when someone found slot secrets and hacks to win every time they played, they didn't do it because they found 'a system' to win at slots every time or because they knew how to pick a winning slot machine.

They used illegal slots hacks or exploited faulty machines to win money. And that's illegal. When you do that, casinos don't pay you.

So, if there's no system to beat slots or surefire way to win at slots every time you play, how do you actually pick a winning slot machine?

How Slots Work

Knowing how slot machines work is the first step to learn the best slots secrets and tips to win.

Despite the popularity of these games, slots are not easy to beat both when you play them on the best online casinos and at land-based slots rooms.

Slots are games of chance. You should not approach them thinking that you need to find the right strategy to win big every time you play.

If you are new to the game and concepts like 'Return to Player' (RTP), 'winning odds' and 'paylines' sound foreign to you, you better go back to the basics and learn how to play online slots.

How to Win at Slots

The secret to winning more on slots is rather simple. It doesn't require you to pony up big bucks or buy expensive made up slots winning systems.

How to win at slots

Since slot machines and fruit machines are games of chance where the casino has an advantage over you, you can't use casino math to figure out how to win every time.

You can do something different though. Something better.

You can use a few proven slot machine tips that work to give yourself the best odds to win at slots. Once you know what to do, you'll know how to pick a winning slot machine as well.

The slot machine tips that follow are the result of a survey we conducted at brick-and-mortar casinos and on a dedicated slots channel on a trending Reddit community.

Some might sound obvious to you, especially if you are an experienced player. Others might help you increase even more your chances to win at slots the next time you play.

Five Slot Machine Tips

Finding the best slots to play is a combination of luck, patience, and a good knowledge of all the most effective casino slot machine secrets. In this part of my guide on how to pick a winning slot machine, we go through the five most essential slots tips every player should use.

In order of importance, my five best tips to win at slots are:

  1. How to choose a slot game
  2. Use a slots chart
  3. Set your limits
  4. Understand the jackpots
  5. Practice with free slots

1. How to Choose a Slot Game

how to tell if a slot machine is ready to pay

Elements like the slot themes, graphics, and jackpots are the least important to consider when you want to pick a winning slot machine.

The most important tip to win at slots is to pick the games with the highest RTP. These are the slots with the best odds.

What is the RTP?

The RTP (or Return to Player) is a number that indicates your odds of winning at a slot machine. The number connected to the RTP shows the percentage of total wins, over the total stakes played.

The RTP is expressed on a scale from 1 to 100, with 100 being your best option (a very loose slot) and 1 being the RTP of a slot you will nearly never beat.

As Professors Todor Balabanov, Iliyan Zankinski, and Bozhidar Shumanov from Bulgaria's Institute of Information and Communication Technologies, describe in a scientific paper titled 'Slot Machine RTP Optimization and Symbols Wins Equalization with Discrete Differential Evolution':

"Slot machines are usually adjusted to pay out as winnings 75 to 98 per cent of the money that is wagered by players. It is known as theoretical payout percentage or RTP (return to player)."

Since there are no games with an RTP of 100, you'll have to settle for something lower than that. In general, any slot machine with an RTP of 96.5% or more is a good choice.

2. Use a Slots Chart

Once you have compiled a list of the slot machines with the best odds, you can use the slots chart below to pick a winning slot machine to play.

Combining games with a high RTP with all the elements in the 'What to look for' column is a pro slots tip that will help you win a lot more often.

What to look forWhat not to look for
The Return to PlayerThe Type of Slot
The VolatilityThe Release Date
The LimitsThe Reels
The PayoutsThe Symbols
The DeveloperProgressive Slots

In case you are not familiar with all the important elements on this list, let's examine them one by one.

Volatility: the volatility of an online slot machine indicates the risk connected to that specific game. This determines how much and how often a player can win on a slot.

  • High volatility slots are games with higher risks. These online slots pay large wins but they do not do that often.
  • Low volatility slots are games with lower risks. These online slots pay smaller wins but more often than high volatility ones.

Limits: these numbers indicate the minimum and maximum bets accepted in a game.

Before you start your journey to beating slot games, make sure the limits you play are in line with the amount of money you can afford to gamble, aka. your bankroll (more on this later).

Payouts: you should always know how much you can expect to win whether you play a popular game or a loose slot machine.

The paytable is included in each game and it features all the info you need to know about the different winning combinations and the connected payouts.

Developers: while this won't help you to beat slot machines or to increase your chances of winning, you want to use your money only on games by trusted and licensed developers.

3. Set Your Limits

secrets to winning on slot machines

The only way to become a serial winner at slots is to be serious about your bankroll.

If you start to play the most popular slot games to win money, you need to set three important rules:

  • never lose more than you can afford
  • never try to win more than you can
  • know how to manage your bankroll

The one about the bankroll is easy. Some time ago, I wrote a guide that explains how much money to bring to a casino where you find lots of useful tips to play slots and other games.

The first two points, however, they are the tough ones.

Every time you open an online casino site (or you go to a brick-and-mortar one), you need to know exactly how much money you are going to spend on your games.

New players often make the mistake of counting on lucky free spins and random charms.

Next thing they know, their casino fun is over before it even starts, because they ran out of money.

You need to know how much you can afford to lose and how much you want to win.

The upper limit. If you win the amount of money you set before your session started, stop right there and enjoy your winnings.

There's a good chance that your stroke of luck will end, and you will some of the money you just won on slots.

The lower limit. Obviously, you also need to stop if you hit the lower limit. If your luck isn't with you this time, there's no reason to insist. And no, the next spin is not going to be the lucky one. Even if you really feel it.

Here's an extra bonus tip: if you have a hard time quitting, you have a problem. Slot machines are super fun to play, as long as you know when to stop and your bankroll management skills are sound.

The BeGambleAware website is an excellent place to visit when you are in need for support or you are worried about your or someone else's gambling habits.

4. Understand the Jackpots

We usually place the 'progressive slots' in the 'bad' column. That's because even if these games come with supersized prizes on tap, you need to be extremely lucky to beat slot machines with a progressive jackpot.

Progressive slots should not be the game of your choice when you are out picking a winning slot machine. They are hard to crack, come with terrible odds, and are horribly expensive to play.

You can learn more about the dangers (and advantages) of these particular games in our guide on how to win progressive slots.

5. Practice with Free Slots

how to win at slot machines

Last in this list of slot tips, a piece of obvious but important advice: practice slots online for free before you try to win real money.

You can play free casino games for fun here on CasinoSmash or download one of the newest mobile casinos to your phone and play there.

There are plenty of websites that offer free slots with no download and no registration to play instantly. While you might not win any money on those games, you can use them to practice online and find out the slots with the best odds.

Once you begin to collect good wins, you can move to the list of the top online casino bonuses to start with your first real-money games.

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Casino Slot Machine Secrets

Slot Machine Secrets to Win

1. Use the Casino Lobby

Not everything you see on the homepage (aka. 'the Lobby') of an online casino is worth your money.

Casino sites use the lobby to display the most attractive games and push you to try something new every time you log in.

But the most attractive games aren't necessarily the slot with the best odds — and you know that finding games with good winning odds should be your mantra.

While it's great to know what the best new slots are, you need to focus on value and chances to win money.

The secret to making this work is to open all the games in the lobby, head to the payout page of each slot, and check the RTP.

2. Special Bonuses

Every time you register an account to play online, you can claim online casino sign up bonuses and receive free spins or bonus money to play slots online.

These, however, are not the only promotions you can use to win at slots.

Most casino sites have special bonus codes to claim offers that you can add to the signup one. Some come in the form of bonus money like these UK casino bonuses while others give you spins to play on specific slots.

The best examples of these bonuses are offers like the popular Starburst free spins or 50 free spins when you add a bank card — although the latter isn't as popular as it used to be.

An easy way to stay up-to-date and know all the offers available is to monitor this page and grab the bonuses as soon as they become available.

Alternatively, you can look for them in the 'Promotions' section of the casinos where you play. Be sure to dig deep though. The best offers to win at slots are rarely on the sites' homepages — and if you don't know where to start, you can always pick one of these:

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3. Contact Support

which slot machines pay the best

Exploiting a casino's customer support to your advantage is probably the most underrated of all slots secrets — and yet one pro players can't live without.

After your first couple of deposits, a casino considers you 'a loyal player.' As such, they will want to keep you playing for as long as they possibly can.

To do that, they will give you anything you want (as long as your requests are reasonable, of course). If winning at slots is your goal, use the live support chat to ask for free spins.

Don't be shy. There's no shame in asking for a casino bonus, especially if you have been playing on a site for a while already.

4. Wagering Requirements

Of course, make sure you do check the wagering requirements and the terms and conditions connected to your bonus.

The wagering requirements indicate how many times you need to wager the amount of the bonus before you can withdraw the money you win on slots or any other real cash payout games.

The rule of thumb is that the lowest the wagering requirements are, the better a bonus is for you.

Keep an eye also on any mentions of the so-called 'caps on winnings.' Some bonuses come with a defined limit to how much money you can win on slots when you use them.

It's no secret that the best offers are those with no wagering requirements and no cap on winnings — but, boy, are those ones hard to find!

5. YouTube Slot Tips

Before writing this guide on how to pick a winning slot machine and how to win at slots, I opened YouTube to look for videos on the "best tips to win at slots."

As of today, there are more than 62,000 slots videos that all promise to let you in on slots secrets that will help you win every time you play.

How to Win at Slots Youtube

Would you be surprised if I told you that none of those slots videos shows secrets or hacks that work?

Most of the slots secrets videos on YouTube exist only to sell you systems or slots hacks that won't help you.

Slot machines are not coin-op Street Fighter or Tekken, where the right combination of buttons would let you access hacks that could define your life in the game.

Slots are a different piece of software — one that can't be hacked. And even if you could hack online slots, be sure you would not be able to withdraw your winnings.

Here's an important tip. When someone tries to sell you slots tricks, winning casino strategies, or systems to win at slots every time, walk away.

Bonus Secret: How to Tell if a Slot Machine is Ready to Pay

how to win on slot machines every time

Isn't this what everyone is after? A get-rich-quick scheme that teaches you how to tell if a slot machine is ready to pay and help you win every time?

While you can find out which slot machines pay the best by comparing the payout tables of different games, there are no secrets to winning on slot machines by understanding how to tell if a fruit machine is going to pay out soon.

Basic probability theory would suggest that a slot that didn't pay out for a long time is probably going to hit soon — but there is no evidence to support this claim.

Knowing how to read slot machines means to understand that each spin is a separate game that is not connected to the previous or the future ones.

You can win the jackpot three times in a row as you might lose 10 consecutive spins.

Some claim that casinos have slots pay more at night or that slot machines hit more often at certain times of the day.

There isn't a 'best time' to play slots at the casino. And there is no way for you to tell when a slot machine is ready to hit and it is going to pay out.

If you are still looking for easy cheats to win at slots, you are playing for the wrong reasons.

Best Slot Machines to Play in 2020

Now that you know the secrets to win on slot machines and all the essential slot tips that can help you win more, it's time for…one more thing.

It's time to look at what are the best slot machines to play in 2020 — if you want to win at slots, of course.

We have seen how casino slot machine secrets show that the best way to win at slot games is to combine a high RTP (best winning odds) with the best payout.

With these slot machine secrets exposed, here's a list of the best slot machines to play right now:

RankSlotProviderRTPPlay
1.StarburstNetEnt96.1%Play Game
2.Thunderstruck IIMicrogaming96.65%Play Game
3.Mermaid's MillionsMicrogaming96.56%Play Game
4.Ugga BuggaPlaytech99.07%Play Game
5.Mega JokerNetEnt99%Play Game
6.Jackpot 6000NetEnt98.86%Play Game
7.JokerizedYggdrasil98%Play Game
8.Ooh Aah DraculaBarcrest99%Play Game
9.1429 Uncharted SeasThunderkick98.6%Play Game
10.BloodsuckersNetEnt98%Play Game

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you actually win at slots?

To get the chance to win at slots, you should only play games on licenses online casinos that run platforms audited by independent authorities.

Seals of approval coming from authorities like the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) and the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) certify the Random Number Generator (RNG) of the games are fair.

When you play Slots online, always choose online Casinos approved by the UKGC and the MGA.

How to win at slots online?

To win at slots on a single spin, you can only choose the size of your bet and spin the reels. The game's RTP is what determines if you win money or not.

Albeit those are more commonly used on table games, you can follow strategies like the Paroli or the Martingale betting system. These systems and betting patterns help you to minimise variance and play for long-term results.

How to win at slots at a Casino in Vegas?

Both short-term and long-term strategies are the same in all types of slots - let them be in Vegas, Atlantic City, Europe, or online.

How to win at slots every time?

There is no system, strategy, or secret to win at slots every time you play. Even books like "Strategy System: How to Win at Slot Machines" by Greg Elder and "Learning to Win: How to Make a Profit at Slot Machine Gambling" by Dr. Jon Hiram Friedl Jr indicate that there is no surefire strategy or secrets to winning on slot machines every time.

What are the best slots to play?

The best Slots to play are those with the highest Return to Player (RTP). These are the games where you get the highest winning chances and more player have big wins on these slots

How much can you win on slots?

The sum of the payout depends on the combination you line up on the screen and the size of your bet. The maximum win on slots varies from one game to the other. Progressive Slots are the games with the highest possible wins — but also the most expensive ones to play.

How often do you win at slots in a casino?

There is no mathematical approach to predict when a slot is about to pay and how often you can win at slots.

How to pick a machine with the best odds of winning ?

The Random Number Generator (RNG) makes every spin independent from all the ones that preceded it and the ones that will follow.

Famous chaos theorists argue that patterns can be found also in the ways the slot's RNGs determine the combinations and Slots can be solved. However, such patterns haven't been identified yet.

About the Author

Hi, I'm Giovanni Angioni and I am the head of PokerNews and CasinoSmash at Oddschecker Global Media (OGM), a company operating under the Flutter umbrella.

Giovanni Angioni

Over the past 15 years, I spent most of my time studying different casino games to improve my gambling knowledge and figure out ways to help people enjoy their time on the casino floor.

This guide on how to pick winning slot machines and the slots tips in it are one of the reasons I have even been nominated for an international gambling award.

To come up with this collection of tips to win at Slots, my team and I have:

  • Tested more than 1,000 Slot machines
  • Watched more than 15 hours of YouTube clips
  • Interviewed 20 professional gamblers with decades of experience in gambling



This article was originally published in February 2016 with the title "Casinos Don't Want You to Find Out How to Pick a Winning Slot Machine. Last updated: May 2020

Disclaimer: Gambling is a game of chance and there's no sure-fire formula that guarantee winnings. You can improve your winning chances by using the right in-game strategies but there is no way to predict when a machine or a Casino game is going to pay. Also, this page contains affiliate links. If you click through and play, we might earn a commission. That’s what allow us to keep CasinoSmash free and bring you the best online Casino bonuses!

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