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The Not, Not, Not of Slots Play:

The unwritten slots rules to live by

By Scobe’s Slant


Somewhere around 80 percent or so of casino players are slot players. They dominate the landscape. Casinos are monstrous forests of slots with a smallish village of table games. Prior to 1984 both Atlantic City and Las Vegas made most of their money at table games; after that year slots became the prince and princess; then the king and queen, and finally the emperor and empress of the casino empire.

Just travel around the country and visit casinos in state after state. Slots rule. Had slot machines not existed I doubt if casino gambling would have spread to almost every corner in the United States. Indeed, there are even some casinos that are all slot machines; I doubt you’ll find a casino that is all table games. (If you do find such a casino write me a line.)

Now with all those slot players spread throughout the length and breadth of our great nation, you would think that all of them would know the manners of their chosen delight and also what was true or not true about those machines. Sadly some small percentage of slot players violates these unwritten rules or hold totally erroneous opinions that they try to foster on other players. Here are some of the typical slots “nots” to know:


  1. “I left the machine to go to the bathroom, came back and you won my jackpot! You stole it from me!” No one can win your jackpot because no jackpot is slated for you. The RNG (random number generator) is selecting sequences in less than a second and even if the person pushed your hand aside and pressed the “play” button what came up is not what would have come up for you. So do not, not, not think that anyone can steal your wins.


  1. “That machine is cold. But that one over there is hot.” Sorry slot machines are neither cold nor hot. They may have been cold or hot up to this point but from this point into the future you cannot tell if a machine will warm up or cool down or be inconsistent. In point of fact, just based on winning decisions slot machines tend to be “cold” because players lose more decisions than they win. However, should a big hit or two occur, even though the player has lost many more decisions, he will still think the machine is hot. In such cases money talks, so do not, not, not think in hot and cold terms when it comes to the machines. They are just machines.


  1. The Secret Button. My brother-in-law once informed me that an unemployed slot mechanic who hangs out on the beach with him explained that you could win on the slots by pressing a certain button in the back of the machine. That mechanic had been out in the sun too long. There is no “okay, give away the money” button at the back of any slot machine. It is not, not, not true. You have to be off your rocker to think that such buttons exist.


  1. Changing the Game. Some slot players believe that machines will change their programming if someone has won too much money on those machines. Or they believe that if they use their players’ card the machine will tighten up or loosen up (take your pick) by so doing. Both are not, not, not so.


  1. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Never ask a slot player whom you do not know, “So how are you doing? Are you winning or losing?” That’s bad manners. My mother used to tell me never to ask anyone how much they made at their occupation. My mother was right. Do not, not, not ask anyone how much they have won or lost. (The exception can be a relative or friend or spouse who might need something to gloat over.)


  1. Don’t Hover. Do not stand over another player’s shoulders and watch them play (unless you are with each other). Do not kibitz with them either. Such a thing is uncomfortable for the other player. No one wants a stranger’s body easing up on them, then hovering over them, and annoying them with chit-chat. Most slot players enjoy a certain solitude when they play; that’s why some play the machines, to get away from it all. Do not, not, not intrude on their solitude.


  1. Be Proud. Never feel bad when you tell a table-game player that you play the slot machines. You don’t have to be defensive about your choice of enjoyment. If you enjoy slots then that’s your game. I have heard too many slot players meekly say they play the slots as if that is somehow a character flaw on their part. Do not, not, not feel inferior because you prefer the machines to the tables.


  1. Winners & Losers. Slot machine wins do not mean there is something special about you. You won; you are great; sorry, no. Slot machine losses do not mean you are a hopeless pariah; sorry, no. These machines are random; a monkey could play and win; a monkey could play and lose; Albert Einstein could play and win; Albert Einstein could play and lose. (Of course, the real miracle would be Albert Einstein doing either one since he is dead.) Do not, not, not think that winning or losing on the slots has any other meaning than winning or losing on the slots.


So there are eight “nots” that will stand you in good stead when you venture into the wonderful world of slot machines. Have fun!



Frank Scoblete’s newest books are Everything Casino Poker: Get the Edge at Video Poker, Texas Hold’em, Omaha Hi-Lo and Pai Gow Poker!; Casino Conquest: Beat the Casinos at Their Own Games!; and Slots Conquest: How to Beat the Slot Machines! Frank Scoblete and his partner Casino Player columnist Jerry “Stickman” teach private lessons in dice control. All books available from, at your favorite bookstore, or by mail-order by calling 1-800-944-0406.

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