PICKING THE RIGHT MACHINE
Players divulge the methods to their madness
By Frank Scoblete
People work hard to earn their money. In fact, as my son says, “It’s called work because it is work.” With the exception of some high rollers who might be so rich that spending amazing amounts
causes them no pain, the rest of us have to be aware that hard-earned money is being wagered on machines that are programmed to ultimately beat us. In short, we have to be careful and treat our money the way we treat a newborn baby—gently.
One key to spending money in the slot world is quite simple: How do we choose the machines we wish to play?
Now, some players know in advance exactly what machine or machines they will play. I am guessing, however, that most slot players are not that single minded. I’m guessing that most players wait until they are in the land of the machines before they pick the one or ones they wish to play.
I took some time to talk to some slot players to ﬁnd out how they pick their machines. After all, they are playing their money; money earned from work or from when they used to work. The retired are still spending money they earned.
“I do not know in advance what machines I will play. I like to play it by ear. If I notice that a certain section of the casino has some cheers or whoops and yells, I’ll gravitate to that area and see if I can get into the winning action.
“This approach works best on the weekends when the casinos are more crowded than they are during weekdays. Nights are best at all times for my way of selecting a machine.
“I’ll stay for a short while at a machine but if I ﬁnd that I am not winning some money then I will look for another machine to play. I have no loyalty to a machine. It pays then I stay; it doesn’t pay then I leave. Just like that!”
“I look for the big cash payout on the top jackpots. I am a progressive slot machine player. I don’t want a few hundred or even twelve-hundred dollars. Come on, I want to win the really, really big jackpots.
“Part of slot play for me, a large part, is fantasizing about what I would do with the money from a really big win. I’m willing to risk a certain amount of money on a casino trip. I am, after all, going to the casinos to wager money. I have no fear of wagering my money.
“I pick the big progressive jackpots. Those machines are my babies.
“I play slots exclusively but my husband is a big craps player. It’s hard to tear him away from the craps table. On some occasions we’ve had great nights, too.
“Casinos are our recreational activity and we make no bones about it. Some people like to go camping but just drop me oﬀ at the casino is all I ask.”
“I am a truly conservative player. I stick to the old-style machines and I take my time playing them. So I am slow.
“I’m retired and I have a small amount in an account that I use for my monthly trips to the casino. I have a couple of favorite casinos and those are the ones I go to on my trips. I stay two nights.
“I pick machines kind of based on feelings. First oﬀ, they do have to be stand-alone machines that are simple to read. I don’t go for the wild multi-line machines that can take numerous coins. Give me a two- or three-coin machine. These are ﬁne by me.
“When I see a machine, I try to get a feeling as to whether it is going to be a winner for me. I am not saying I am a psychic but nevertheless I try to connect in some ways with the slot machine. Does this work for me? Maybe, sometimes; maybe not other times.
“I am very careful with my money because I live on a strict budget. Casino playing is part of my budget.”
“My work is very hard. I work in a busy hospital as a nurse and I can tell you when I am done with my day’s work, I am exhausted. When I go to the casino I actually go to relax at a machine and let the worries and activities of my life fade away into the background.
“I want a relaxing time at the machines I pick and I therefore pick the ones that don’t have too many players around. I like a kind of meditative approach to my play. I am not a very fast player. I try to just disappear into the playing and let my brain just do as little as possible.
“I don’t play video poker because I don’t want to think about decisions; I just want to ﬂoat away. That might sound nutty but it works for me.
“There are some slot players who want a lot of action but I just want to relax. It’s as simple as that for me.”
All the best in and out of the casinos!