How to Win at Slot Machines

How do slot machines work?

To learn how to beat slot machines, you first need to know how they work. Slots are among the most popular casino games worldwide, both in land-based and online casinos. Slots are almost entirely chance-based, which means there is very little strategy involved, and every player has the same odds of winning. Simply spin the reels and hope to match symbols along the various paylines.

Our 5 tips for online slots

When it comes to succeeding at online slots, knowledge is power. You will never be able to improve your luck playing these games, as they are completely random and chance-based, but you will be able to give yourself the best odds of winning if you follow our 5 expert tips on how to win at slots:

1. Choose your slot carefully

The first thing to understand is that no two slot machines are ever the same. Not only do different machines come with different themes, soundtracks, additional features, and symbols, but also they all have different Return to Player (RTP) rates. It pays to go for a game with a high RTP rate, so check the RTP % at the online casino before you start playing.

2. Practice with free games

Before you start playing slots for real money, you have the option to try free slot machines. Not only is this great fun, but it also gives you a chance to get to know your game and all of its secret quirks. Play a slot with bonus rounds, as this is a great way to hone your skills. Don't start playing with the idea that you'll soon know how to win at slots in Vegas - always start with free games.

3. Study the pay table

Each slot machine comes with its own unique pay table. The pay table shows what each symbol is worth and which ones are the most lucrative. It'll also tell you whether or not the game has wild symbols and scatters.

4. Stick to your budget

One of our most important pieces of advice is this: set your budget before you start. Do not start spinning those reels until you've decided on a maximum amount that you are prepared to spend. If you reach that amount, stop playing. Never bet money you can't afford to lose.

5. Aim for smaller jackpots

Games with smaller jackpots tend to pay out more frequently, so if you're after a win but aren't bothered about chasing the big bucks, games with smaller jackpots are ideal. We know those huge progressive jackpots are enticing, but your chances of claiming one aren't very favorable!

What is an RTP rate on slots?

RTP stands for "Return to Player". This number is the percentage which represents the average return a player can expect for a particular slot game. The RTP percentage is typically calculated on at least 10,000 spins and represents a rough average return. For example, if an online slot machine has a 95% RTP, you can expect to win $95 for every $100 you wager.

Understanding slot machine pay tables

Before you start playing any slot machine, it's a good idea to take a look at the pay table. That's because if you're trying to win big on slots, it's worth understanding how the features of your chosen game work. The pay table will show you a list of all the symbols used in the game and how much they're worth if you're lucky enough to line them up.

The pay table will also tell you whether or not the game uses special features such as multiplier symbols, wild symbols, scatter symbols, or bonus symbols. If bonus symbols are noted, you can expect a bonus round in the game, where you might be able to claim added extras like cash prizes and free spins.

Symbol guide

Use the symbol guide to review all of the icons used in the game.


Don't forget to check if the game includes wild symbols or multipliers.

Scatter symbols

Find out what the scatter symbols are and whether any are lurking in the game.


Find out how to win the biggest jackpot on the slot machine.

Bonuses and special features

Check whether the game includes bonus rounds or other special features.

Playing slots in land-based casinos

In land-based casinos, you will often find rooms full of slot machines from various game manufacturers. Games are played in a very similar way to their online counterparts, although due to space limitations, the selection may not be as great.

When players say they know how to beat slot machines at a casino, it really means increasing their chances of winning at slots. As usual, you'll be relying heavily on pure chance. There are many theories, for example, that machines can be "hot" or "cold" depending on when they last paid out, or that those closest to the walkways are "looser" to entice customers. However, this is very unlikely to be the case - casinos are, after all, in the business of making money and don't want to make it too easy to win.

How to win on penny slots

One type of slot machine you will find almost everywhere, from your local casino to the Las Vegas Strip, is the penny slots. By betting such a small amount of money, you might think the payouts won't be that big. However, by playing the maximum number of paylines and credits, some players have been known to walk away with hundreds of dollars from a penny slot machine. They're definitely worth a shot if you're on a smaller budget.

Understanding casino bonuses

One of the biggest benefits of modern online slot gambling is the addition of casino bonuses. There is a wide range of different bonuses that players can take advantage of when playing slots online. Let's take a more detailed look at some of the most popular ones.

Welcome bonuses

Most online casinos offer generous welcome bonuses to entice new players to sign up. Often these come with significant wagering requirements, so you'll need to wager that money a number of times before you can withdraw it. The good news is that slots often contribute the most towards completing these wagering requirements.

Free spins

Free spins bonuses are triggered within games and give you the opportunity to spin the reels without paying for the privilege. These often occur during bonus games or regular play. It's common to win several free spins at once when playing online slots.

Cashback bonuses

Claim back some of your losses with a handy cashback bonus. This kind of bonus often comes with no wagering requirements, making it much easier to claim than many other bonuses.

How to beat slot machines: Managing your bankroll

Like all casino games, slot machines come in a wide variety of denominations. It is possible to bet pennies or a hundred dollars per spin if you want, but what you need to avoid at all costs is running out of money too early! There is no technique for how to win at slot machines every time - remember that you're dealing with pure chance.

Although it might be tempting to put all your money into a single spin, we highly recommend practicing what the pros call bankroll management. By placing bets according to your budget, you'll be able to keep playing longer even when you don't win big.

Your exact recommended bet size depends on the size of your bankroll and how fast you play. You can calculate your bet size by looking at how much money you're willing to bet and how much you are not willing to lose. This is a great way to stay on top of bankroll management.

Frequently asked questions about winning on slot machines

How do I pick a winning slot machine?

The best slots strategy is to pick a game with a high Return to Player (RTP) percentage. Slots with an RTP of 97% and above tend to pay out more over time. Find more high RTP slots at the top of this page.

What triggers a slot machine to hit a jackpot?

Jackpots on slot machines are triggered by matching the right symbols. Each spin is completely random and usually nothing else is required to trigger a win.

Is there a trick to winning slots?

It all comes down to chance. The outcome of each spin is completely random and cannot be predicted. However, some slots have a higher RTP percentage, which means they have paid out more historically. Check out some of the highest RTP slots at the top of this page.

Is it better to play one slot machine or move around?

There is no difference between playing on one slot machine and playing on multiple. All slots work through a Random Number Generator (RNG). This means that the outcome of each spin is completely random.