How to Beat Real Money Slot Machines

Online Slot Machine and Row of Casino Slots

Slot machines are by far the most-popular casino games. Not surprisingly, many gamblers wonder if there’s a way to beat slots.

Full disclosure: you can’t guarantee slots winnings without discovering some sort of glitch. Developers design these games to give the house an advantage.

However, you can boost your chances of beating slot machines by understanding the intricacies of slots strategy. The following guide discusses various tips that will give you better odds.

Research Payout Percentages

Most online slots offer plenty of information. You can find payout percentages for the vast majority of mobile slots with a little research.

In many cases, you’ll find the return to player (RTP) in the info (“i”) screen. This scenario prevents you from having to put any effort into the matter.

Assuming the info section doesn’t list the RTP, you can perform some simple internet searches. For example, you might enter “[game name] RTP” to find what you’re looking for.

Unfortunately, land-based slot machines don’t provide payout percentages. You’ll only find information on these games in rare cases.

Megabucks, for example, offers 88.1% base RTP. The only reason why its payback is available, though, is because Megabucks is Las Vegas’ most-popular progressive slot machine. Outside of this, you’ll mainly be guessing on land-based payout percentages.

Stick With Online Slots

If you’re uncomfortable with not knowing the RTP for a slot, then you should probably stick with online games. You’ll almost always find the payback when playing a mobile slot.

Furthermore, online slots tend to pay better than the land-based variety on average. The typical mobile game features around 96% RTP.

Again, as a player, you won’t know payout percentages for individual land-based slots. However, slots in brick-and-mortar casinos generally average somewhere between 90% and 95% RTP.

The latter end of this range isn’t far off what the typical online slot offers. Of course, you don’t want to accidentally choose one of the games that only offers around 90% payback.

Understand How RTP for Progressive Slots Works

Payout percentages for progressive slots work slightly different than non-progressive games. After all, these machines feature jackpots that grow slowly with every bet.

Progressive slots take a small amount out of each wager to seed the top prize. The RTP grows as more bets are made and the jackpot goes unclaimed.

A progressive game’s base RTP is the value when the jackpot is first seeded. For example, a game may feature 94% payback when the progressive jackpot is at its starting value.

The RTP continues growing as the top prize increases. The payout percentage when considering both the base RTP and increasing jackpot is known as theoretical payback.

I use the word theoretical because the odds of you winning a progressive jackpot are slim. Therefore, you can’t exactly expect to realize this additional payback.

That said, I suggest referring to the base RTP first. You want a more-realistic Idea on how much money you stand to win from a game.

Play for Progressive Jackpots that Have Grown

Even though you want to concentrate on the base payout percentage, you should still look for progressive jackpots that have increased. High RTP is always worthwhile, even if it’s theoretical.

In some cases, slot machines can even boast over 100% payback when their jackpots grow large enough. Here’s an example on such a scenario:

  • A slot features 95% base RTP.
  • Its jackpot is seeded at $100,000.
  • The progressive prize grows to $2.2 million.
  • You estimate that the theoretical RTP is now 101%.

The only problem is that you won’t really know when a game is offering around or above 100% RTP. Only the developers have all of the info to make this determination.

Nevertheless, you’re better off playing games when the jackpot has grown. You stand to win more money just in case you ever do get lucky and haul in a progressive jackpot.

Understand the Feature Buy Option

Feature buy (a.k.a. bonus buy) is an option that has appeared in some slots within recent years. It gives you the ability to trigger a bonus immediately.

This option provides instant satisfaction and allows you to choose a game’s biggest prize immediately. That said, bonus buy is rather tempting to use.

The downside, though, is that it requires a large cost. You normally have to pay 100x your stake to use feature buy.

Even when you’re betting a small amount, this cost can be extremely expensive. If you don’t win anything worthwhile in the bonus, then you’ll lose lots of money.

Here’s an example on how this scenario can play out:

  • You’re wagering $2 per spin.
  • Feature buy costs 100x the stake.
  • You spend $200 to activate the bonus.
  • You win $40 in the feature.
  • 200 – 40 = $160 in losses

You might try bonus buy once in a while if you’re well-funded. However, I certainly don’t suggest using it very often. You’re taking a big gamble whenever initiating feature buy.

Factor Volatility into the Equation

Volatility refers to how consistently or inconsistently slots deliver short-term winnings. A highly volatile slot, for example, is really inconsistent in the short run.

You need to be aware of the volatility behind whatever game you’re playing. If you’re dealing with a small bankroll and want to make the funds last, then you’ll want to avoid extremely volatile games.

In contrast, you might be the type of player who seeks big payouts at all costs and doesn’t mind increased risk. In this case, you’ll be more comfortable with high volatility.

Some developers offer volatility ratings for their slots. You need only visit the info section and look for the rating in such cases.

Other developers, however, don’t provide the same courtesy. You’ll have to estimate the volatility in this case by looking at a game’s maximum payout and its features. Simply put, a slot with a huge max payout and more features will involve more risk.

Chase Bonuses & Comps

You certainly don’t want to gloss over the comps and bonuses that casinos offer. Instead, you should be taking advantage of these deals whenever possible.

Both online and land-based casinos offer comps. With online casinos, you’ll automatically be enrolled for the VIP program after completing registration.

Brick-and-mortar casinos, meanwhile, require you to sign up for the loyalty program online or at the player’s desk. Once a member, you’ll receive a player’s club card that can be used on any slot machine.

Online casinos provide the added benefits of deposit bonuses. You’ll qualify for a bonus after depositing at a gaming site.

Here’s an example on how an online casino bonus works:

  • A gaming site offers a 100% match bonus worth up to $200.
  • You deposit $150 and, thus, receive $150 in bonus funds.
  • You get to keep any winnings earned through the (non-cashable) bonus.

Realize That there Are No Guarantees

Even when you do everything right, slot machines provide no guarantees on winnings. Even the lowest-volatility slots can be really unpredictable.

You want to realize going in that the tips above, while really helpful, won’t eliminate the house edge. You’ll need some luck to pull in winnings.

Of course, the hope is that you get lucky and win a huge jackpot. Provided you understand that this isn’t a realistic goal, you’re more likely to take a sensible approach to slots.

Work on Bankroll Management

Continuing off the last point, you always want to prepare for the worst with slot machines. Bankroll management will help you do so.

It helps you manage slots funds in a way that mitigates the risk. Provided you only bet money you can afford to lose, you’ll have no fear of playing slot machines.

Here’s an example on a bankroll management plan:

  • After going through your finances, you determine that you can comfortably play with $300.
  • You bet $1 per spin on average.
  • You perform approximately 500 spins an hour.
  • The average RTP on your favorite games is 96.2%.
  • 500 x 1 x 0.962 = $481 in hourly winnings
  • 500 – 481 = $19 in hourly losses
  • 300 / 19 = 15.79
  • Your bankroll will theoretically last for 15.8 hours.

As with many other things regarding slots, your bankroll calculations will be completely theoretical. Nevertheless, a bankroll plan at least provides a roadmap for how to bet your money. You can input your own variables into the example above to figure out a good plan.


Slot machines may feel like they’re all about luck. As covered throughout this post, though, you can do certain things to boost your odds.

RTP has the biggest long-term impact on winnings. By playing slots with high RTP, you stand a better chance of winning money over the long run.

Online slots typically offer better payback than slot machines in land-based casinos. Therefore, you should concentrate the bulk of your play online.

You also want to chase bonuses and comps whenever possible. These rewards will pad your slots bankroll.

Speaking of which, bankroll management helps you make more-sensible decisions. As a result, you’ll stay in the game longer.

In summary, you can use the tips in this post to boost your odds of winning. With luck, you might even win profits.

Petko Stoyanov
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About Petko Stoyanov
My name is Petko Stoyanov, and I've been a gambling writer for more than ten years. I guess that was the natural path for me since I've loved soccer and card games for as long as I can remember! I have a long and fairly successful history with English Premier League betting and online poker, but I follow many other sports. I watch all big European soccer leagues, basketball, football, and tennis regularly, and I keep an eye on snooker, volleyball, and major UFC events.