Is there a right way and a wrong way to play slots? There certainly is – and they vary between brick-and-mortar slot machines and online slot machines. There are a lot more social rules in place when it comes to entering a real-life casino, and hardly any when you’re playing online. Let’s explore a few important things when it comes to slot etiquette, and gaming responsibly.
Playing Slots - Responsible Basics
Unlike playing card games like Blackjack or Poker, there’s really no “strategy” to playing slots, right? While you don’t have to think about your next move too much, and what you do won’t have an effect on the next numbers and symbols on a slot machine, since every “spin” is random. This is both right and wrong – you can’t affect the outcome but you can set up a personal strategy, which will keep the game fun.
Sticking to a budget – don’t just gamble your whole deposit away in one sitting – that’s never good. People who gamble have to be good at practicing moderation. This is all part of the fun of the game – you have to know when to stop playing and walk away or give yourself a break. We know – it’s easy to lose yourself in the game sometimes. But we like to compare this to sitting down and eating a whole box of chocolates. A few chocolates are divine – but eating the whole box isn’t a good idea.
Online casinos make this very easy – you can set a betting limit before you even hit the slot machines, and you can stick to it. Responsible gambling is important for all casinos – in fact, in order to get their accreditations, they have to give you responsible gaming assistance. So – don’t eat all the chocolates at once, and set your daily budget before you start.
If you’re playing at a live casino, the scenario is pretty much the same. Setting a daily budget is very important – don’t just waltz in with your credit or debit card and start gambling. Casino games are fun, and slot machines are built for your entertainment, which means money can melt faster than you anticipate.
Do's of Progressives - tips, facts, and payback percentages
If you can, bet max on progressive slots. If you’re playing to win and you’re feeling lucky – this is something to keep in mind. What are progressive slots? Here are a few facts:
Like with a lottery, the jackpot in progressive slots increases every time someone makes a bet.
There are famous progressive slot games – like Megabucks, which is a “real-life” casino game, and the legend goes that there is a curse associated with it.
There are “progressive jackpot teams” – this is when larger teams of people get together and gamble on a progressive jackpot – if they win, the whole team splits the money. Of course, the point of it is that the more people in a team the bigger chance at winning. And who wouldn’t rather split a 5 Million dollar jackpot 10 ways, as opposed to not win anything at all! Some casinos ban this type of gaming – but most allow it.
Mega Moolah is the most famous progressive jackpot online, ever. It’s well known and a lot of online casinos offer players a chance to play it. It was designed by Microgaming, and it’s known for making the most millionaires out of any other slot game.
An important fact to know is this – it’s not just a “do” of progressive slot machines – it’s a “must” – while you can vary your bet on the other slot machines, in progressive slots you HAVE to bet max coins in order to qualify for getting the progressive jackpot. So don’t think you’re playing for the progressive if you’re betting the minimum! Read the rules carefully and see how much your bet has to be in order to qualify.
See what kind of a progressive slot machine you’re playing – there are three kinds! Even playing online slots doesn’t automatically mean that the whole world is included in the progressive jackpot – check out what a progressive can be:
Standalone progressives – this is a brick-and-mortar casino favourite, and it means that the progressive jackpot comes from all the people who have played that particular slot machine. It’s a “standalone” machine.
Local area progressives – again, this works in a brick-and-mortar casino, and it’s when multiple slot machines are linked together in a network. So, you’re playing for a progressive jackpot from a number of machines in the same casino.
Wide area progressives – this is when machines across multiple locations that are far away from each other come together to make up a jackpot. This is actually possible across different casinos, but it’s also what playing online is – after all, the jackpot is a collection of different players from all around the world.
Payback Percentages in Progressive Slots – this is something to be mindful of because although progressive machines offer an incredible jackpot that will change your life, the payback percentage isn’t so good. This is a sacrifice most are willing to make, just because the jackpots are so insanely big – you can look at it as an “investment” of sorts. If you want to play on higher payback machines ONLY, then you better stick with the non-progressive slots.
RTP averages are calculated based on millions of games – this means that you’d have to play a lot in order to actually see this statistic work for you. In the long run, if you’re a casual player, RTP averages don’t matter as much as you think, even if you choose the ones with higher payback percentages.
Do Set Your Goals
While this isn’t a marathon or a business challenge, knowing what your goals sure helps to make you feel like you are succeeding. What are some goals you can have when you’re playing slots?
Entertainment – it’s easy when you come for pure entertainment – this is the least stressful form of gambling because you don’t have any expectations. You simply come in, sit down and have a blast. If you had fun for thirty minutes – goal accomplished.
Maximum jackpot – fun is fun, but it’s more fun when you know you have a shot at total glory. If your goal is to participate in the biggest jackpots, find out which games have the biggest jackpots right now. It’s always changing, so better see what the jackpot du jour is – you don’t want to sit down at your favourite game only to later realize someone claimed the jackpot already.
Playtime – there are slots that tend to stretch the gameplay forever – they are animation packed, full of fun little bonuses and free spins. These types of games usually have “pick’em bonuses”, or extra gameplay when you hit scatters. These games will also reward you with going up in levels, and revealing secret rooms, special plays and different storylines.
It’s easier and more rewarding to play if you know what you’re after. Use the “play for free” option to test out all the different slot games, especially if you’re aiming for gameplay quality and entertainment value.
Do Bet Wisely
Don’t always go for the maximum bet (unless you’re playing a progressive and want to aim at the jackpot). You’ll need to pace yourself in order not to run out of money. It’s easy to blow through your budget when you only play maximum bets. In brick-and-mortar casinos, the slot machines give you all sorts of denominations. A lot of the older casinos will also offer a “zone” where all the machines only cost 5 cents or even 1 cent to play. This stretches out the whole game and you can spend more time playing and having fun!
Do Wash Your Hands
We don’t literally mean washing your hands – this is an old gambler’s tale. Many people believe that if you have a streak of bad luck, you have to go wash your hands and your luck will get better. In a way, it’s washing away the bad luck. This might be better advice than you think, even if you’re playing video slots in an online casino. Sometimes we just get stuck in a rut – it’s a fact, even in online slots.
Some of us are stubborn players and think it’s us against the game – we’ve seen a lot of people who “won’t get up until their luck turns” – often just for the point of it. Instead of going to wash your hands, go take a break. Make tea – or a cocktail, and relax. Remember that this is supposed to be fun – and if you keep on loosing maybe it’s time to take a break, come back and try a different slot? Knowing when to “wash your hands” is something that every gambler must know.
Do Tip Your Dealer, and Your Waiters
There are a lot of people who work in casinos that really hope for your tips. Tips are what makes the service world go round – although it’s not mandatory, it’s always a great plus. And don’t overdo it with your tips either. A casino waitress told us once that gamblers who gave out ridiculous tips would expect a ridiculous level of service. It’s a big casino – if you want VIP service go to the VIP tables, but don’t expect that extra tips will get you extra service. Okay – maybe a little. Tipping your dealer when you win big is also a custom – it’s not because they tipped the cards in your favour and changed the odds, but because they provided you with a fun experience and contributed to your incredible day.
Now that we have explained what you must know about the “do’s” of playing video slots, it’s time for the “don’ts”. There are a lot of “don’ts” in the gambling world, and thankfully slot machines don’t have as many as let’s say Poker or Roulette. There aren’t many tales of high-noon shootouts because someone upset someone else at a game of one-armed-bandit. But here, it’s the etiquette that matters the most, especially when you’re at a brick-and-mortar casino.
Let’s face it – when you’re playing in the confines of your own home, you can do whatever you want. Take these rules to heart when you venture out on the casino floor:
Don't Hog Seats
These are the rules – one game, one seat. We know it can be tempting to rest for a while, drink in hand and chat to your friends. But if you’re not actually playing, you’re kind of hogging a machine without even making use of it. This can mean that you’re hogging the space in front of someone else’s favourite game. Plus, it’s a bit like sitting at a restaurant and not ordering anything. The seats are there for gamblers.
Don't "Steal" Machines
Back in the olden days when slot machines still had “slots” – the universal signal of putting the game “on hold” was leaving a coin in your coin cup on the machine – this signalled that you’re off to the washroom, the ATM, or to get another drink. Now that the days of coin cups are over, you have to watch for other signs that say “busy” or “taken”.
Why can’t a person just come back and start playing on a new machine? Because in the gambling world, players like to stick to one machine. This is true for almost all casino games. It’s a bit of superstition but most players get a “feeling” for the game and if they are confident they’re about to win big but need to run to the washroom they’ll go ahead and run but they’ll be sure to leave a “signal” behind. In most cases, this will be a chair left leaning against the slot machine. In other cases, it may be a personal item or a drink.
Don’t leave purses, wallets, phones, cards or any other expensive items – you might not get them back! And keep an eye for these “signs” – you might have to deal with an upset gambler in a few minutes.
Don't Be a Rude Smoker
While smoking is still allowed at some casinos, there are certain etiquette rules that have to be followed. Casinos seem like natural places to have a “smoky” atmosphere, but the fact is that a lot of them have already banned smoking. Even though this is the case, you can still smell the residue years later if they haven’t invested in replacing the carpets!
Either way, there are non-smokers even in smoking casinos. Some of the biggest “no’s” of ashtray etiquette is putting your ashtray on someone else’s slot machine. These machines tend to be close, and you might not think it’s a big deal, but trust us – it is. It’s actually one of the most common complaints that are smoking-related.
Also, refrain from blowing smoke into someone’s face! If there’s someone sitting near you, blow away from them.
Don't Invade Others' Personal Space
Again, casinos can be very crowded places (this is why we prefer to play online slot machines – on a couch while camping or while self-isolating) and personal space is not something to be taken lightly. People often associate personal space with luck. This might be very true because if someone feels like their space is being invaded, their stress levels rise significantly. And when your stress levels rise, you don’t play a smart game – you’re distracted, angry and irritated.
This usually isn’t a problem – people rise to the occasion, and when they get bumped or nudged simple apologies will be enough to keep a peaceful atmosphere. But keep in mind that although you might be in a jovial mood – a lot of other players might not be. Maybe they’re having a losing streak, had a fight with their significant other or have simply had one too many and they are what people refer to as an “angry drunk”.
Make sure to keep your feet, arms, drinks and ashtrays to yourself in order not to irritate others.
Final Slot Tips
Finally – we want to leave you with a bit of gambling wisdom that every person should know about slot machines- DO play for fun. Always. Don’t make assumptions about how much you’re “supposed” to win, and don’t start planning on buying that superyacht you have always wanted as soon as you get out of the casino. No matter the higher payback percentages, or if you’re only betting one cent at a time. Fun is the most important thing about slot machines.