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How many spins do you give a machine to hit?

Level Contributor
532 posts
37 reviews
39 helpful votes
How many spins do you give a machine to hit?

For those of you who play the slots a good bit, I was just curious - how many spins do you try on a slot, until deciding its not in a paycycle.

I generally play by allocating a fixed amount of cash for a session, and then I try to find a preferred slot (ie one that is known to have a good paytable, reasonable hit-rate etc) and play on that machine until I get a decent hit, or until 25%-30% of the session stake is used.

I have been thinking that maybe I might want to go a little deeper than 30% into the session stake (maybe play the machine until 45%-50% was spent), and was wondering how some of you other guys and girls tend to play. Do you have a set number of spins before moving to a new machine, or some other techinique that you like to use?

Thanks to all for opinions.

New York City, New...
Level Contributor
4,314 posts
6 reviews
32 helpful votes
1. Re: How many spins do you give a machine to hit?

I don't have an exact science to the length of play before moving on. The environment factors in heavily - if the machine isn't paying at all and the location isn't giving me a good vibe, I'll cash out alot quicker than if I was more comfortable surrounded by good energy. I also give machines that I've played and won on more time that new machines that I'm trying for the first time.

Xalapa, Mexico
Level Contributor
217 posts
14 reviews
12 helpful votes
2. Re: How many spins do you give a machine to hit?

Slot machines contain a "random number generator" (RNG) micro-computer that constantly (even while the machine is not being used) spits out numbers. These random numbers correspond to positions on each of the reels in the machine. When you pull the handle or push the "Spin" button you aren't really initiating anything except the spinning of the reels which is merely for show. You are simply telling the machine to display the reel positions that correspond to the last set of random numbers that were generated.

The above is important because it de-bunks some long-held assumptions about slot machines. Like the roulette wheel, where every play is completely random and independent, one pull of a slot handle is completely random and completely independent of the previous or next pull. It all comes down to the precise moment that you pull that handle or push that "Spin" button (i.e. which set of random numbers you select). Pulling the handle or pushing the button a 100th of a second later would yield a totally different result.

The result of the above is this:

If someone gets a big payout at a machine that you just left, don't feel bad because you "missed" a payout. You would not have gotten that payout if you continued to play. Again, this is due to the rapid generation of random numbers.

A machine is never "due to hit". The payback percentage and hit frequency are calculated over the long term.

A machine can go for days on end without a decent payout but there is no reason it can't have two large payouts in a short period of time.

Playing faster will not increase your chances of winning. The RNG will generate thousands of numbers between the spins of even the fastest player. While a faster player may seem to win more, it's simply because they've spinned more for a given amount of time.

In addition:

The number of coins you play has nothing to do with the numbers that are generated.

It makes absolutely no difference to the machine, or the results, if you pull the handle or press the "Spin" button.

Have a strategy for both playing the slots and managing your money. You can refine a strategy for yourself based on some well-known practices:

Decide on a "loss number". If you sit down at a machine and don't win anything in 6 or 8 or 10 or 12 spins you move on to a different machine. Or if you hit that many losing spins after getting a payout from that machine you move on. This will help keep you from "putting it all back in" hoping for another win, but at the same time keeps you at a loose machine. If you try 3 or 4 different machines without much luck, move on to a different casino.

Your bankroll for a particular gaming session should be the amount that you're willing to lose in that session. When your bankroll (and any winnings you may have added to it) are gone, you're done playing for that session. Go shopping or sight-seeing.

Decide how to handle your winnings. Pocket 25% or 50% or 75% of what you've actually won and add the remainder to your remaining bankroll for more playing, or keep it all. I like to take my session bankroll to a change both and change it into rolls of coins at the beginning of a session. I plug all of the coins from the rolls into machines and any coins I have "won" go into a change bucket. (Casinos usually have small plastic buckets with their logo on them stacked up around the machines.) When I've finished putting all of the rolled coins in the machine, I take the bucket of coins (my "winnings") to a change booth to cash them in. This makes it easy to tell if I've come out ahead or behind for this particular session and by how much.


The three-reel machines with only one "payline" (the line that goes across the reel display indicating where the symbols have to line up) offer the best overall percentages for coming out ahead.

Higher denomination machines have higher payback percentages. You'll probably do better playing a single coin in a dollar machine than three coins in a quarter machine.

Don't listen to those who say "always play maximum coins". It's your money you're putting in those machines. Play the number of coins you feel comfortable playing. The more coins you play the faster you will go through your bankroll, the shorter your session will be, and the fewer spins you will get. (Naturally, if you luck up on a loose machine, playing maximum coins may be called for.)

Don't forget to insert your players card in the reader before you begin playing and don't forget to take it with you when you leave.

Slow down your play by using coins. Pulling the handle instead of using the "Spin" button will also lengthen your playing time. If you get to the point where you feel like pulling the handle is too tiring, that may be a sign it's time to end your gaming session and try some other activity. Slot play should be fun. If you find yourself mindlessly pushing a "Spin" button watching the "Credits" display count down you've probably had enough fun for awhile.

Most casinos will "cap" (i.e. hold) a machine for you if you want to take a break or go to the restroom. Ask a slot or change attendant if you want your machine capped, but be sure to take your money with you.

Personally, I've had decent results with dollar machines at the Riviera and Circus Circus. That may not be just a coincidence. The older places near the north end of the Strip may set their machines looser to try and draw players away from the newer, fancier resorts. If you're not having any luck on the Strip, try hopping one of the free shuttles to one of the off-Strip casinos.

While I have no way of proving it, it seems like the slots tighten up on Friday mornings and stay that way through the weekend (to make more money off of the crowds that drive in). If you stay includes weekdays, play the slots then and switch to table games on the weekends.

Exmouth, United...
Level Contributor
326 posts
3. Re: How many spins do you give a machine to hit?

I usually move on if a machine feels cold, although I do have 2 top tips to give a guaranteed win…………..

1.Stroking the reel area during a spin, along with muttering something that sounds like a black magic incantation.

2.Tapping the start button during the spin (the trick here is to repeatedly tap as fast as possible before the reels stop).

Why o why do they always have to sit next to me!

I've read the posts, next time I'm getting a gun!

Level Contributor
532 posts
37 reviews
39 helpful votes
4. Re: How many spins do you give a machine to hit?

Hey Lenny

You offer some excellent suggestions for forcing the machine to payout. However, the preferred technique that I read about was the East Indian gentleman who came in and build a little shrine around the machine, then dressed up in robes and swords and began to play!

Level Contributor
341 posts
5. Re: How many spins do you give a machine to hit?

your bang on alex!!!!

Exmouth, United...
Level Contributor
326 posts
6. Re: How many spins do you give a machine to hit?


Guaranteed to work……….or your money back.

I bet it worked for him.

I also thought of making a small offering to the god of gambling, nothing big, maybe like a hamster or gerbil.

Marilla, New York
Level Contributor
144 posts
7. Re: How many spins do you give a machine to hit?

Sit next to me, a couple of spins and you'll win, guaranteed.

Exmouth, United...
Level Contributor
326 posts
8. Re: How many spins do you give a machine to hit?


If they sit between us..............double guaranteed to win.

Richmond, Canada
Level Contributor
899 posts
12 reviews
17 helpful votes
9. Re: How many spins do you give a machine to hit?

Hi LV Funn,

I use the "play down" rule. I love slots, and for instance, if I put $20.00 in a machine, if no hits by the time I hit 50 percent ($10.00 left point), I move on. Even though it is a random number generator, some machines I do better on than others. If going for the amount of spins, would be five to six and if absolute zero response, I move on. It's no fun, if you don't get any wins on the machine.

Exmouth, United...
Level Contributor
326 posts
10. Re: How many spins do you give a machine to hit?

For all you doubters………..


If it worked for the Nepalese, that’s good enough for me!

So in November I’m going, gun in one pocket, gerbil in the other.