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Where, Oh, Where are the Loose Slots?

1 October 2001

By Gayle Mitchell

The most-often asked question at slots.casino.com is where do I find the loose and best-paying slots? For the novice, a 'loose' slot is a type of slot that has more paying symbols, and is programmed with a higher percentage payout; the only slot any serious player wants to chose.

However, unlike video poker players, who read a pay schedule on the machine thus determining a full-pay vs short-pay version; a slot player must spend some time 'on jackpot-research' wandering the casino floor towards a profitable end. Also, like any casino game, you want to monitor your gambling bankroll. I have watched gamblers step inside a casino and dump more coins than their weekly lunch money into the first slot they see. These random choices cost money and can be avoided with a quick recon trip around the casino. In my books and seminars, we learn that you should never choose and play a slot machine at random or by chance. Location, location, location is the key here, with basic slots. Our job as serious slot players is to crack the slot mix or slot placement code. You have to put yourself in the mind of the slots manager.

As a slots manager, I will put my loosest slots in high-traffic areas where passersby can see a lot of slots players winning often. I also want slot players held captive deep in the underbelly of the casino, where they get comfortable and not leave immediately with their winnings. You will often see slot players spinning their reels near the entertainment lounge, around the gaming tables or casino entrance. As a slots manager, I know these people are there for a short time only, and then they will move on. So, why should I reward them with a loose machine? An excellent place to start is in the center of the casino near the main cashier's booth and scope out those basic slots with single paylines, two coin max and double bonus options.

Competing casinos with 'come-hither' signs offering up to 98%, or 'certified' 100% slot payouts can narrow the search for dollar players. As you scope out the slots before you; look up to zero in on the denomination you can best afford. How many times have you dropped coins into a machine that quickly drop out, as you realize you just put quarters into a dollar slot? A lot of slot players like to play two machines at a time, side-by-side. If I were a slots manager, I would know this and place tight slots next to loose ones. What one giveth, the other taketh away. So, don't play two slots next to each other. And, for the same reason, don't play next to a winning machine. Location is not as important with progressives, but 'best-payouts' are words that spring to mind with mega-jackpots aplenty at casinos worldwide; however, a search is in order for the largest primary and secondary jackpots. Scanning the casino floor for the largest progressives' numbers will benefit the player. Shop for value. One bank of machines can be paying more than the next, and you will be glad you took the time to look around.

As you wander the progressive carousels, look for near capacity with few seats empty; those players have already done the research for you. Mega-jackpots that rapidly increase way over the minimum are 'due'. Case in point: as I write, the MegaBucks jackpot is over 32 million and previous win was 27.5 million. Mathematical odds suggest a hit real soon. You can track these jackpots at: www.a2zlasvegas.com/games/progressive/jackpots.html, or call 1-888-448-2WIN for daily updates. You should be aware that these slots have comparatively low payback percentage rates. 80% is not uncommon, and the jackpot might be paid out over 20 years.

Take a seat once you choose the best progressive, but keep in mind one constant rule: always play max coins at progressives -- it's mandatory. Bonus Video Slots are now everywhere in casinos. While location is not a key factor here, there is no question that big payouts are. Frequent payouts, albeit not always as much as you bet, are paid approx. every 2-3 spins. A hunt is still required; this time for secondary jackpots. I stood between a Jackpot Party slot and Sphinx machine; one offered a secondary of 22,500 coins, the other 10,000 coins. I promptly parked in front of the Sphinx. Primary jackpots are not to be sneezed at either; one version of Monopoly offers 100,000 coins. A couple of other tips: Avoid the tight (low-paying) slots in restaurants, bars, airports and supermarkets.

Talk with other slot players. An 'us-against-the-casino' mentality makes most people willing to share information. Talk to the change people and ask them where the best slots are located, or which slot machines they recommend. These people make their living primarily on tips, so they may clue you in, hoping you will return to thank them with a tip. When is the best time of the day and week to play slots? Best time of the day is in the wee hours of the morning (2 to 6 a.m). The best days of the week are after a weekend. In both cases, you will be playing just after the tourists, who have spent a long time priming the slots--not always with maximum coins or correct strategies. Plus at this slow time, many more machines are available to choose. In the end, a short walk around the casino not only fills your exercise requirement for the day, but can provide a pocketful of coins. The quest continues, 'tis a matter of knowing what to look for, yes?

Armed with this slots education and a small amount of patience, you can confidently find the slot of your dreams and hey, don't forget what your Mom told you: "Always share"!
Gayle Mitchell
Gayle Mitchell, one of the first women to break through the “felt ceiling” of the previously male-dominated world of casino gambling gurus, is now regarded as one of North America’s leading experts on casino gambling.

Gayle’s commitment to educating the gambling public began almost 20 years ago, when she walked into a Las Vegas casino and experienced for the first time the thrill that comes with winning even a small bet. She made up her mind then and there to learn every game in the casino, and a short time later resolved to make a career out of sharing her insights with other gamblers. She had always considered herself to be a good teacher – she believes in keeping things simple – and decided that she would commit herself to showing newbies how to become knowledgeable, intelligent gamblers.

Gayle started her own publishing company, and her first book came out in 1997. Today she is the author of seven books, seven EBooks, and a set of five Tips booklets, and has presented many seminars on casino gambling. Currently she teaches Learn to Win Programs with other leading experts at GamblingTeachers.com. The site is a player-friendly Free Gambling Learning Center offering 300+ online lessons for popular casino games plus Gambling Teachers Blog. Gayle also operates www.gamerisms.com, which is a games glossary site for sport, casino, skill and video game players.

“It’s a fact that less than 2 percent of casino players know the profitable, correct strategies and/or rules for most casino games,” Gayle says. “Our group of career teachers and writers are working to improve that statistic.”

Gayle Mitchell Websites:

www.gamblingteachers.com
www.gamerisms.com