We all know that most casinos derive a large percentage of their revenue from slot machines. Yet, the most frequent question I get asked is, “Can slot machines be beat?”
First, let’s define the word “beat.”
- In my opinion, a casino game can only be beat if a player can gain a mathematical advantage over the house. Some may feel otherwise. If a person went to the casino and played Roulette and came home with more money than they went with, they may feel they beat the casino.
- For me, this is not beating the casino. Even though that person won more than they lost they did it on a machine that has a built-in house advantage. That means that even though that person won, the casino is guaranteed to make money on that machine over the long-term.
- To beat the casino a person must find a mathematical advantage. For instance, if a player can learn to count cards in blackjack it is possible to gain a 1-2% advantage over the casino. If the player can maintain that edge they are in a position to beat the casino. Statistically, they have the advantage and the casino is not in a position to make money off of them over the long-term.
Let’s get back to the question at hand, “Can slots be beat?” Unfortunately, there is no secret system to beat the slots and in most situations the casino has the advantage and there is nothing a player can do to completely eliminate that. However, there are many things a player can do to reduce the “house edge.”
Now, let me tread carefully with my next statement to avoid giving my readers false hope. There are a few exceptions where there have been slot machines that were beatable. These have been few and far between but they did exist and may still be out there.
The key to finding a beatable slot machine is playing progressive jackpot machines. A progressive jackpot builds as players play the machine. When most people think of progressive machines they think about the large progressive jackpots that offer $1,000,000+. However, those aren’t the machines I’m referring to.
There are many slots that offer progressive jackpots at smaller amounts and conceivably some of these can be beat. Let me first say that the entire process is beyond the realm of this post, but I will do my best to explain the concept.
- Let’s say that we have a slot machine that is set at a 95% payback and has a progressive jackpot that starts at $1,000. As the jackpot starts to rise, so does the payback percentage of the machine. In other words, when the progressive rises to $2,000 the payback percentage may now be 96% and at $3,000 it may now be 97% and so on. Conceivably, in this example the payback percentage would be at 100% if the jackpot got to $5,000. At that point it would be an advantage play and would be considered beatable.
Before you race off to find a progressive machine that can be beat, here are a few things to consider. First of all, there are mathematical calculations that need to be done to figure out what is known as the “break-even point.” Again, those calculations and that discussion are beyond this article. Also, in order for the player to actually receive the benefit of the advantage, the progressive jackpot must be hit by the player. That is why the smaller progressives are targeted because the odds of hitting those jackpots are greater.
This article is to give the reader an understanding of what it means to be able to beat a casino game. In most instances slot machines have a built-in house advantage and are unbeatable. The best a player can do is try to reduce the advantage by implementing methods such as machine selection, bonuses, etc. Here is a great article listing some of these slot strategies.
However, for those of you who are holding out hope that there is a slot machine out there that can be beat, there have been machines that were beatable and I dare to say that there still are but realize it is no easy task to find them.