To most slot players, aloose slot machine (or fruit machine to our friends in the UK) is defined as one which pays out money with some regularity. On the opposite end of the spectrum, a tight slot is usually defined as one which doesn't pay out very often. Many players resemble knights of old in search of the Holy Grail as they travel from casino to casino looking for the fabled loose slots.
So do loose slots really exist? Well, the answer isn't as simple as you might imagine. Since there's no rigid standard on what makes a machine loose or tight, the answer is really left up to the various definitions which differ from player to player. For the purposes of this article, however, lets assume that such slot machines do exist.
The Loosest Slot Machines and Payback Percentages
Keep in mind, though, that just because a machine boasts a 98% payback percentage, that doesnt mean that youll necessarily get $98 back from a $100 deposit. The 98% refers to a long term payback, and this could play out over millions of spins. There will be periods where the machine pays back more money, and there will be periods in which the machine seems like Mr. Scrooge from A Christmas Carol.
Another way to determine whether a slot is loose or tight is to figure out the payout percentage for a jackpot on a given machine. For example, lets say that a slot has 3 reels and has 20 stops per reel. The jackpot symbol is represented by a 7, so its safe to assume that this symbol will only appear once on each reel (in this example, you need to line up three 7s to get the jackpot).
To figure up the odds, multiply the number of stops on each reel (20x20x20). This would give us 8,000 possible combinations. Of those, only one (7-7-7) would be the winning combination, so your chances of getting a jackpot on this machine would be 1 in 8,000. Not the best odds, but it still beats your odds of winning the lottery (or Keno, for that matter).
Most casinos will have some loose machines on the floor so that they can advertise them in the paper and online (98% slots!), as well as creating an atmosphere of cheering and screaming winners. If customers walk by a casino, hear bells and whistles and see patrons jumping about after winning a jackpot, its likely that they might head inside to try their luck. Its also likely that older casinos (or less established online casinos) may offer machines with higher payouts in an effort to increase business.
Where to Find Loose Slots?
Here are some places where you can find loose slots:
1. Near the snack bar or coffee shop - A player who is eating or drinking is not gambling. The casinos would prefer that you be out on the floor pumping your money into the machines. For this reason, they may place loose slots nearby so that youll see people winning and cut you break short in order to get in on the action.
2. Around the change booths - If you hear the sound of winning slots, youll be more likely to brave the lines in order to get more change.
3. Crosswalks - No, Im not talking about out in the street. Crosswalks are areas which players must pass through in order to get to other slot aisles. Loose machines are often strategically placed to draw you into certain areas where tighter machines are waiting to pick your pockets.
4. Carousels with high visibility- Elevated areas can be seen from almost every angle on the floor. Placing loose slots here will guarantee that the maximum number of casino patrons will bear witness to the latest wins.
Of course, keep in mind that the casino operators are a tricky bunch. While the above suggestions may apply much of the time, also remember that the casino will move machines around to keep astute players from ever zeroing in on a consistent winner.
If you really want to hedge your bets, you might try talking to some of the locals. Of course, these folks might not be willing to help, as pointing out the best machines might cut into their own slots profit. Another option is to give a generous tip to one of the slot attendants and see if they can recommend any machines. While its worth a try, it doesnt guarantee you that youll be a big winner (although the attendant will be happy).
Where the Tight Slot Machines Are Located
While youre searching for the loose slots, you might also keep in mind the most likely places where tight machines can be found. These include:
1. Near the sportsbook area - If people betting on sports are constantly hearing winning slots, they might be tempted to stop losing big bucks on sports and go outside and try the slots. For this reason, the machines near this area tend to have a pretty low payback percentage.
2. Near the gaming tables - Most people either like slots or table games. Therefore, the casino usually isnt going to waste time by placing loose slots near people who dont care about slots in the first place.
3. Near shows or ticket booths - If people are getting ready to go see a man get mauled by a tiger, theyre probably not going to jump out of line to play a slot.
4. Near the entrance - You would think that this would be the best place to put loose machines, but its not. If winning machines are near the entrance, then customers will linger around the entrance and never venture further into the casino. From a casino operators standpoint, the casino is like a giant spider web. You dont want the bug on the edge of the web - you want him smack in the middle so hes good and stuck.
While none of this information will guarantee that you win at slots, it might at least help your odds by just the smallest percentage. And in a game built around percentages, that could make all the difference. Good luck and good hunting.