Emotional Control is Key to Slot Machine Success

We all play slot machines because they are enjoyable and entertaining. That isn’t a groundbreaking statement, but what many gamblers fail to realize are the consequences of allowing your emotions to be manipulated while you are playing.

If I had a nickel for every time I heard a story about someone who was winning but could not get themselves to cash out and lost all the money back to the casino, I would be a rich man. They were unable to control their emotions and let themselves get caught up in the moment. Once it was over and they lost, regret set in.

How do you break that cycle?

  • First, gamblers must maintain emotional control. The best way to do that is to remove yourself from the situation. Two of my biggest recommendations are to limit the length of your playing sessions, and to cash out anytime you have a substantial win. Let’s take a closer look at each one.
  • If you are playing slots for hours on end there is no way you can maintain emotional control. Many slot players like to get into the “zone.” This zone is a place where nothing else matters. All their outside troubles are gone. It’s almost like they’ve entered another world. The problem with this is mental focus and discipline are lost.
  • You may be saying to yourself, “That’s why I gamble, so I can forget all my other problems and have a good time.” If that is the case, you are playing with fire. Yes, we gamble for enjoyment but as soon as it becomes a means of escape your emotional and logical control are gone. This can lead to irresponsible financial decision making.

Let me state first and foremost, cashing out or money management in general have no effect on your odds of winning. However, they have a large effect on bankroll management and whether or not you leave the casino with money in your pocket.

One of the biggest mistakes players make is altering their play based on wins. In other words they begin betting higher stakes and playing longer because they are winning. Usually, this results in giving their winnings back to the casino. Your level of play should not be determined by your wins and losses. You should determine the denomination that you are going to play and how long you are going to play BEFORE you begin playing.

Once these parameters are set, they should not be deviated from based on your rate of success. If you are winning, those winnings need to be secured. You should set those winnings aside and play from your initial bankroll. That way you are guaranteed to walk away with money in your pocket.


  • Let’s use actual numbers to give a clear interpretation. I decide before I sit down to play that I am going to play the 25 cents denomination slots for no longer than 2 hours. I have a bankroll of $200. About thirty minutes in to my session I get lucky and hit a jackpot for $300. I immediately cash-out the $300 and continue to play on my original $200. After 2 hours I have $100 of my original $200 left. I cash-out the $100 and walk away with $400 in my pocket.

That seems easy enough to follow, but easier said than done. Many gamblers make the mistake of either going to a higher denomination or playing longer than they intended. They might begin to play the $1 denomination slots after their $300 jackpot win, or extend their session to 4 hours trying to hit another jackpot. Soon their original $200 is gone plus the $300 jackpot that they won. They rationalize it by saying it wasn’t their money anyway because they won the $300. Nothing could be further from the truth. As soon as you hit that jackpot for $300 that money now becomes yours and it needs to be viewed as such.

Here is a previous article on more money management techniques.

Discipline and control are not words people want to hear when they are gambling, but without them it is difficult to win. Sure you may get lucky and hit the million dollar jackpot, and I may discover the cure for cancer. These things are possible but not likely.

Let me know some experiences you have had where you were up big but unable to walk out a winner.

2 responses, Add Yours

  1. Gambler
    January 21, 2015
    07:05 am

    So let me get this straight!!! I have a bankroll of $300 and Let's say I put $25 into a $1 denomination machine!!! I'm betting $1 per spin, on my third spin I hit a mini jackpot for $200, so that winning is going to be $222 including what I started with total!!! Cash it out and then keep playing with the rest of my bankroll that is now $275!!! Or make it even again at $300?

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    2. Jaz
      January 22, 2015
      03:48 am

      @Gambler Hi,

      I would cash out winnings exceeding certain amount, say $200 and keep playing with the remaining bankroll until I'm done.

      Taking your example, after 3rd spin I would cash out $200 and keep playing with the remaining $297.

      I hope this makes sense.

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