Slot Machine FAQ

Posted by Cliff Spiller . Last updated:

Get Answers to Your Slots Questions

We receive questions every day about gambling online and online casinos.

Many of those questions are about playing slots – both online and in bricks-and-mortar casinos around the world.

The questions that need detailed answers get their own pages. You can find those pages on our main slots page.

But the other questions – the shorter and easier-to-answer questions – you’ll find all of those below. And if you have any questions we didn’t answer here, just send us an email and let us know.

50+ Slots Questions & Answers Start Here


Can I win at slots?

In the short term – sure.

In the long term – no. Slot machines are programmed to pay out no more than 98 or 99 percent over the lifetime of the machine. And many machines have worse odds than that.

So the short answer is they’re designed to give the casino an edge. That’s how they make their money.

That said, it’s possible to win a large jackpot or to win more than you spend (especially if you walk away after you’re up). But I wouldn’t walk or log into a casino expecting that to happen.

How much money can you win playing slots?

You can win millions of dollars playing slots.

Less than a year ago, a man won a bit more than $14 million playing the Megabucks slot machine in Las Vegas. He deposited a $20 bill and hit the jackpot partway through it.

In May 2009, a guy from Greece won 6.3 million euros playing the Mega Moolah slot machine.

The biggest win to date is $3k9.7 million. He, too, won it after putting $100 into the Megabucks slot machine at Excalibur.

What are penny slots?

These machines let you bet 1 cent per line, which means you could play 1 cent per spin.

But I don’t think most people do. When I play I always play 1 cent, but I always play all the lines (usually 30-60) which comes out to 30-60 cents per spin.

Which slot machines have the best odds?

According to the Wizard of Odds, the higher denomination machines will have the best odds. Other than that, the non-progressive slots with low payouts will have the best odds.

The higher the denomination, the better the odds. For that reason, it is better to play one coin per line on a 5-cent game than five coins per line on a 1-cent game. – Wizard of Odds

The machines with the worst odds are the ones with progressive jackpot and slots with features, bonus rounds, etc.

What are slot tournaments?

These are kind of like poker tournaments. You buy in for a set amount. Your job is to win more than the other players using the set amount of credits the casino gives you.

The buy-ins are pooled together to create a prize pool. Then the casino splits the prize pool (minus their cut, of course) among the top x or xx players. How many players get paid depends on how many people buy in.

Which slot machines are the most fun to play?

This is a personal choice. It’s kind of like asking what the best car to own is, or what the coolest video games are. It’s up to you.

That said, I prefer the video slot machines that get their themes from video games (Hitman), movies (The Dark Knight, Jurassic Park) and comic books (’60s Batman, Iron Man).

What slots have the best payout percentages?

This is hard to say because not all online casinos post payout reports. But the casinos with the highest payouts all pretty much come from Microgaming. Their average is right around 96%.

Who won the biggest slots jackpot online? says in May 2009 a guy from Greece won 6.3 million euros playing the Mega Moolah slot machine.

Are online slots as good as bricks-and-mortar slots?

Yes. You have just as much, if not more variety. You can play most, if not all the same slot titles. And you can win just as much money.

Plus, depending on your temperament, you don’t have to deal with smoky casinos, drunks, crowds or have to wait your turn to play your favorite slot machine.

Can you play Las Vegas slots online?

Yes – but I don’t know if they’re ALL available online.

Machines I know for sure are online include titles like Monopoly, The Dark Knight, Wizard of Oz, Willy Wonka, Sex and the City, Superman and Hitman.

There’s more, I’m sure. Just check out the websites for Bally’s, IGT, Microgaming and Playtech.

Can Americans play slots online?

Yes. Most casinos powered by Real Time Gaming accept U.S. players. Many sites that use BetSoft software do, too.

Is it possible to play slots for free?

Offline? Unlikely.

Online. Absolutely. Most online casinos let you play their games for free. This is a great way to test out their software first before making a deposit.

To find a free slot machine just hover over the machine you want to play and look for a ‘practice’ or ‘free play’ button/link.

How do I enter a slots tournament?

Just pay your entry fee. Then show up when the tournament starts.

What strategy should I use playing slots?

There is no strategy that will help you beat slots. So just use whatever strategy you think is fun.

I like to bet the min for all the lines. And I usually do that while playing on my original deposit. But once I have won more than my original deposit, I’ll increase my wagers to double the min. If I triple my bankroll, I’ll triple my bet, and so on.

How much money do I need to play slots?

That really depends on how much money you have to play with and how long you want to play.

Unless I’m on a crappy machine, I can usually make $20 last 40 to 60 minutes playing penny slots.

What is a hot/cold slot machine?

A hot slot machine is a machine that’s paying out a lot and/or often. A cold slot machine is the opposite.

It’s nothing more than a name, though. There really is no such thing as a hot or cold slot, nor are there any benefits to playing on or avoiding a machine you may think is hot or cold.

These are just myths.

Is there an advantage to playing higher limit slots?

Maybe. The Wizard of Odds says that higher denomination machines have better odds. But the differences, as I remember them, are pretty small.

If you play for higher limits, you can win more money, too. You’ll earn casino comps at a faster rate, which increases how much cashback you earn as well as perks like buffet coupons, deposit bonuses, gifts, junkets and so on.

What is a progressive jackpot?

A progressive jackpot is a jackpot that is created by the players. Whenever you deposit the min required to play for the jackpot, a small fraction of your wager goes to the pot.

The pot continues to grow until someone hits the winning combo and wins the jackpot.

An example of a progressive jackpot is Mega Moolah. This has paid out millions of dollars in jackpots over the last several years.

What types of features do slot machines have?

Lots. For example:

  • Scatter symbols
  • Bonus games
  • Free spins
  • Interactive bonus games
  • Cascading wilds
  • Stacked or expanding wilds
  • Multipliers
  • Ways win
  • Wilds
  • Nudge and hold
  • Free spins

What types of slot themes can you play?

Lots. For example:

  • Movies
  • TV shows
  • Celebrities
  • Animals
  • Cars
  • Video games
  • Pop culture
  • Game shows
  • Comic books
  • Horror
  • Retro
  • Pirates
  • Romance
  • Wild West
  • Sports
  • Money / wealth
  • Ancient Rome
  • Ancient Egypt
  • Action
  • Fairy tales
  • Food
  • History
  • Mystery
  • Seasons

Can you recommend a good slot machine system?

No. And that’s because there’s no system that will help you beat slots. Slots are a 100% random game.

Anyone trying to sell you a slot machine ‘system’ is ripping you off.

How do you tell what combinations win?

All slots machines (offline or online) will have a help section or key. They will tell you what the winning combinations are, what they pay out and how bonus rounds are triggered.

You can usually find the ‘view pay’ or ‘learn more’ section in a corner around the slot machine.

How are slot machines different from playing the lottery?

As far as hitting it big?

The United States Powerball has odds of 80 million to 1. The Megabucks slots jackpot has odds of 49 million to 1.

So, really, not a big difference. Both are unlikely to happen to you or me.

But as far as little wins, you’ll see more of them playing slots. And I think slots are more fun to play anyway.

Are online slots rigged?

No. I’ve never heard of a slot machine being rigged.

All slot machines – and nearly all online games – use what’s called a Random Number Generator. These come up with totally random results, which are tested and verified by third-party companies.

The thing is … casino slots have a house edge of 2-15 percent. And there’s no way for you to beat slots without cheating. None. So there’s no reason for casinos to rig their slot machines.

Will I ever win a jackpot?

A small jackpot?


I’ve won a couple myself. The wife has too. Many penny machines have small or medium jackpots for low-limit slots players. These aren’t any more than $30, $50 or $100 – which pale in comparison to the six- and seven-figure jackpots we hear about – but are jackpots nonetheless.

A larger jackpot, though? Probably not.

Do slot machines have a pattern or sequence I can use to determine when I will win?

No. Slot machines are totally, 100% random.

A slot machine’s outcome, past, present or future, has no bearing on the results of your next spin.

Which is better – online or real slots?

I think that depends on the experience you want.

I prefer online slots because you don’t have to travel anywhere. You don’t have to spend money on food, entertainment, hotels, car rental or airfare. You can instead spend it all on slots.

I also don’t care for a lot of noise, drunks or smoky, crowded casinos.

So I think online slots are better. But you might feel differently. The only way to know for sure is to try them both out.

Should I bet the max?

If you can afford it and in doing so you can still play for as long as you’d like, then sure.

Otherwise I see no reason to. The odds of you hitting a jackpot are slim, to say the least. So I would only wager an amount of money that still allows me to have a good time.

Can you cheat at slot machines?

Sure can.

People have tried all kinds of scams like putting a string on the end of a coin (yo-yo), using fake coins, shaved coins, and tampering with the slot machines’ insides. Plus plenty of others.

Most cheaters had the same outcome, though.

Going to jail.

Are bonus round winnings predetermined or do my choices affect what I win?

The Wizard of Odds says – from what he’s been told – the player really is in charge of his or her own destiny. The outcomes are NOT predetermined.

That said, it is my understanding that in bonus rounds where to pick icons on the screen the player does indeed control his destiny. The game shuffles the prizes and you pick them, like on Deal or No Deal. It also may be that the game is continuously shuffling them until you do make a choice, much like the rest of the deck while the game is waiting for the player to discard. – The Wizard of Odds

Can casinos change the payouts of each slot machine?


Offline they don’t do it much because they have to fill out forms whenever they do (at least in Las Vegas).

Can you own a slot machine in the U.S.?

Yes. But it depends on the state you live in. It may also depend on the make/model/year of the slot machine and how you intend to use it.

What is the lowest denomination you can play?

Penny slots. You can play for one cent per line.

What is the highest denomination you can play?

$1,000 per credit.

What slot machine has the most lines you can play?

Slot machines called ‘ways win’ or ‘all ways’ give you 243 different ways to win. Slot titles that fit this category include The Dark Knight Rises, Playboy, Battlestar Galactica and The Lord of the Rings.

Most, if not all of these machines come from (non-U.S.) software companies like Microgaming, Playtech, NetEnt, etc.

Can you play for real money from your phone?

Yes. Your tablet, too.

U.S. players can play mobile slots from Real Time Gaming and BetSoft powered casinos

Customers from outside the U.S. will have many more options (tens, if not hundreds) from casinos using Microgaming and NetEnt software.

Is there a Dark Knight slot machine?

Yes. IGT makes it.

You can find this slot in Las Vegas casinos and online (non-U.S. casinos). It’s one of my favorite slots to play.

Why are slot machines so addictive?

Humans receive a shot of dopamine as a reward whenever you complete a task. This can include checking text messages (after hearing the ding), flashing lights or even small wins paid out on a slot machine (even if you paid more money to play than you won).

Between the dings, bells, lights, (small) wins and words of encouragement (Epic Win!),  slot machines give us lots of opportunities for dopamine shots.

Dopamine makes us feel good. In turn we do more of what gives us dopamine shots – playing slots.

Other than that – some people are problem gamblers. Others might be chasing that big win.

Why do professional gamblers avoid slot machines?

Because there’s no way to beat slot machines in the long run. No one wants their paycheck dependent entirely on luck. That’s unlike blackjack, poker or even sports betting where it’s possible for a professional to gain a long-term edge.

How can I make $500 per week playing slots?

Get lucky.

Show someone else how to “beat” slots and charge them $500 aka rip them off.

Jokes aside, there’s no way to consistently make money playing slots. It’s all luck.

What is a flat top slot machine?

These are slots with fixed jackpots, unlike progressive jackpots that continue to grow until someone wins it.

Which slot machines are the most fun for low-limit players?

This depends on you. What do you like?

I think the video slots with interactive bonus rounds are the most fun to play. And I don’t mind getting worse odds playing them.

Which is better to play – slot machines or table games?

From an odds perspective, on average, table games.

Slots have a 2-15 percent house edge whereas most table games fall in the 1-5 percent category. Others, like blackjack (and blackjack variations) have a house edge less than 1 percent.

Where is the best place to play slot machines in Las Vegas?

The casinos I like most are:

  • Treasure Island
  • MGM
  • Mirage
  • New York New York

They all have IGT slot machines. Most are easy to get in and out of, too, by tram or by car.

Can you play slots on Facebook for real money?


Since progressive jackpots pay out so much money, why wouldn’t you always play a progressive?

They cost significantly more money to play and the chances are slim you’ll hit the jackpot. I’d much rather use that money to play more at a lower limit.

Why are slot machines called one-armed bandits?

They got their name from the single lever on the side (to spin the reels) and because they take your money.

What is a wager or play-through requirement?

This refers to the deposit bonus many online casinos offer you when you sign up and make your first deposit. If you accept the bonus, you need to wager a multiple of your bonus or deposit and bonus.

For example, say your casino has a 20x play-through on both your deposit and bonus. If you deposit $1,000 and receive a $1,000 bonus, you’ll need to wager $40,000 before you can ask for a cash-out.

If you ask for a cash-out too soon, you risk forfeiting your bonus and any money you won with it.

Is autoplay bad for slots players?

I don’t think so.

But I wouldn’t use the autoplay button because it hurries the action along whereas I’d rather take my time and make my bankroll last.

Can I play two slot machines at once online?

Yes. But not every casino lets you.

However, if you play at two different casinos, you shouldn’t have a problem playing more than one slot machine.

Cliff Spiller

Cliff Spiller is a veteran casino writer with decades of experience writing online casino reviews and game guides. His betting strategy articles, and gambling news updates have been a fixture in the industry since 2004.

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