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Best of Alan Krigman

Gaming Guru

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Where do the casinos put the slots that pay the most?

16 September 2013

Question: Casinos used to position "loose" slot machines near doors or at the ends of aisles to show passers-by that people were winning. Are these still where they put the best machines?

Answer: Play wherever strikes your fancy. Clever placement of high-payout slots is a phony "secret casino bosses don't want you to know." Casinos may have tried such things occasionally in the remote past. But it's now only a myth perpetuated in publications aimed at gullible folks eager to believe they're getting "inside information" kept from the general public by some conspiracy.

The idea is untenable for two primary reasons.

First, casinos don't have to strategically position machines to create a winning atmosphere. This may have worked in the era of mechanical slots. Then, all you heard and saw were handles being pulled and released, wheels clicking into position, coins falling into trays, and jackpot bells and lights. Today's computerized machines boop, beep, and flash even when nobody's winning. For instance, you get a fanfare at "jacks or better" poker for a high pair – which isn't a win, just a "didn't lose." And coins don't clink until you "cash out" – which may not be profit but only a fraction of your starting bankroll. Also, when someone hits it big, canned pandemonium blares all over the floor.

Second, return percentages on machines at any denomination in a single casino are usually within a narrow range. Potential gains don't differ significantly for reasonable amounts of play.
Alan Krigman

Alan Krigman was a weekly syndicated newspaper gaming columnist and Editor & Publisher of Winning Ways, a monthly newsletter for casino aficionados. His columns focused on gambling probability and statistics. He passed away in October, 2013.
Alan Krigman
Alan Krigman was a weekly syndicated newspaper gaming columnist and Editor & Publisher of Winning Ways, a monthly newsletter for casino aficionados. His columns focused on gambling probability and statistics. He passed away in October, 2013.