Know What You Are Doing

It's no longer only a matter of walking up to a slot machine, inserting a coin, and pulling the handle. You have to know what you are dong if you reasonably expect to have fun and want to improve your chances of winning something.

You should be able to find a slot game to match your playing objective. If you want to become instantly rich, pick one of the giant jackpot link progressives. If you only want to win enough to pay for your vacation or get the kitchen remodeled, look for an individual freestanding progressive machine with the right-size jackpot.

If you want to relax and get away from it all, play online casino slots or one of the video poker games. If you want to watch people or listen to the live casino entertainment, pick a nickel or dime machine near an aisle or next to the show lounge. And so on.

One thing to look for is whether or not your machine has a credit feature. If it does, you may not immediately be paid in coins when you win something. Instead, what you've won will first be credited on the machine. Then you have the option of pressing a collect button to receive payments for the credits, or you can use the winning credits to further play the machine without inserting more coins. A numerical display or meter on the machine will indicate the amount the machine owes you. These credit machines confuse a lot of people, and quite a few slot players walk away from the machines that owe them money. The credit feature is not a new idea, but it is becoming increasingly prevalent. Always be sure to check for this feature before playing any machine.

Also, be sure to notice little signs that read, "It Is the Player's Responsibility to be Certain All Coins Inserted Have Registered in the Machine before the Handle is pulled." This is important. Even if you do insert the maximum coins that the machine will take, if each coin has not registered properly as indicated by a corresponding light on the front of the machine, you may not be paid for what you may have won.

You also may notice a sign in fine print that reads, "Malfunction Voids All Plays." If you have any suspicion that your machine may not be working properly, report it. You are only hurting your own chances of winning if you do not report a malfunction.

Be sure you know what a jackpot looks like, so you don't play one off accidentally and then not get paid. You would be surprised how many people hit jackpots and do not know what they won until someone tells them. Because the jackpot bell frequently will fail to ring, if your machine does have a bell, it is extra important to pay attention.

Also, be sure you know which symbols represent the highest possible jackpot on your machine and if the machine itself pays that jackpot or if a slot attendant has to pay it. Very often, when jackpots are only partially paid by the machine, the unwary slot player will scoop up the coins from the tray and walk away, never to receive the remaining and much larger winnings that would have been paid by an attendant. On the largest jackpots, especially the progressives, the slot machine will usually pay nothing, and the player must wait for the jackpot to be hand-paid.

Once you do hit a jackpot that is partially or totally paid by an attendant, do not leave your machine for even one second. Do not insert any more coins or even touch the handle. Do not allow anyone else to touch your machine. Until all your jackpot money is in your hand, do not take your eyes off your machine. At the appropriate time, a slot employee will ask you to play off your jackpot that is, insert another coin and pull the handle in order that the payment transaction can be completed. Only after you have done this can you relax.

And, finally, why not quit while you are ahead, or at least put some of your winnings aside after a good win, celebrate and enjoy the feeling of being lucky. Some people, once they've won something, become greedy and end up stuffing everything back in the machine. Quit after winning, even if for only an hour or two. If, after taking a break and congratulating yourself on your good fortune you decide to try your luck again, more power to you.