Introduction to Thinking Person
You walk into a casino intending to play slot machines and do what, exactly? Randomly play whichever slot machine happens to catch your eye without thinking about it? You should have a plan: Here’s mine, which I learned by doing and fully explain how Learning to Win, now available in hardcover.
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How to Start Planning
The most common way to start a plan is to realize you need one. Are you winning at slots? No? Then you need a plan. Are you winning enough at slots? No? Then, once again, you need a plan.
A large part of starting and having a plan is organization. How you reach the level of organization you need for playing slots like a thinking person is entirely up to you because that’s how organizing works. YOU decide how YOU organize as well as how to become more organized as needed.
This freedom means you figure out how to organize my plan for you. You decide how to remember its parts, how to keep track of each piece, and how you implemented it. You determine if you use a pen and notepad for keeping track of things or use a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet instead.
Whatever you decide, your approach to organizing works just fine. Every approach works,
Step 1 – Decide on Your Gambling Goal(s)
Before walking into a casino, you need to know what you want. Why? Because otherwise, how will you know when you’ve gotten what you want?
Consider these three top-level slots gambling goals:
- Complimentary Gifts
For you, which goal jumps out at you as most important? Are any of them tied or nearly tied as most important? If you were to rank them in order from most important to you to least important to you, how would they rank?
There are only six possibilities. Is it 123? 132? 213? 231? 312? Or 321?
Decide. Then, as a reminder to yourself, enter your choice of goal at the top of your notebook, whether that notebook is physical or digital.
Great! Well done! This is excellent progress! What’s next, you ask? Picking your favorite casino.
Step 2 – Decide on Your Casino(s)
There are nearly 1,000 casinos in the U.S., from high casino resorts with 18-hole golf courses and 1,000s of slot machines to tiny convenient store “gasinos” with only a few (perhaps illegal) slot machines.
What’s your favorite casino? I’ve asked this question of slots enthusiasts over 6,000 times as I welcome each new member in my 57 private, state-by-state slots enthusiast community FB Groups.
The most common answer is, “The casino closest to where I live.” That’s a great answer, because it’s so very, very true.
By the way, if you don’t mind my saying so, my favorite answer is, “Any casino I win at!” Nice! But please, when I ask you, please feel free to tell me whatever your answer is!
Given the most common answer for favorite casinos is the nearest casino, what casinos are near you? In your notes, make a list. Google it, if need be. Or click on your state in my State-By-State Online Resource for U.S. Slots Enthusiasts, which will take you to my slots article for your state.
Okay, now you have a list of local casinos. That’s good. However, maybe you travel a lot? Like, spend half the year in Florida or make regular trips to Las Vegas or Atlantic City?
It can be hard to make a list of Las Vegas’ 66 casinos or even the nine casinos in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Unless you live in either of these cities, I would avoid adding these casinos to your list, at least for now.
Later, you can expand your plan to include cities full of casinos like West Wendover, Las Vegas, Reno, Biloxi, Tunica, and others. It’ll be the same plan, only bigger and perhaps more organized.
Step 3 – Online Stuff
Great! You have a way to keep notes that works for you, you’ve identified your gambling goal(s), and know your favorite casino(s).
Next, you’ll need to get online even if you only have only one casino near you. I’m not suggesting you go to the casino’s website since those are nearly useless – although I like those new casino websites which now have interactive casino maps.
Instead, you need to get online to go to your state’s gaming control board. For 36% of you, in 18 out of 50 states, your gaming commission will offer monthly return statistics with slots player win percent by casino or groups of casinos. And for 6% of you, in 6 out of 50 states, you’ll get return statistics broken down by slot machine denomination.
These return statistics reports, if your state offers them, are must-have information. Again, I’ve collected the links you’ll need in the Payouts & Returns section of my slots article for your state.
Check what’s available. I’ll wait. Even if your chosen casino is tribal, check anyway. You may be surprised to know that several states also report returns for their tribal casinos.
If your state offers return statistics, learn how each casino near you ranks by player win percent. For a great explanation of what I’m suggesting you do yourself, see my interview with the local ABC27 Evening News in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, when they did an investigative report on their local casino.
Step 4 – Let’s Go to Your Casino!
With that preparation under our belt, which perhaps includes watching my 11 Practical Slots Money Management Tips and maybe also my Learning How to Play Slot Machines Primer if you’re very new to playing slots, it’s time to go to the casino.
Perhaps the best place to start with explaining how to win at slots is for you to stop. Go to the casino and STOP. Stopping is crucial to thinking, where thinking is the key to success at slots.
Too many slots enthusiasts take a random approach to playing slot machines. Well, I suppose I shouldn’t say too many. It’s not too many when they’re the slots enthusiasts from whom casinos make their profits, which allows casinos to stay open for the rest of us.
If casinos didn’t make a profit, a considerable profit, they wouldn’t stay open. They couldn’t. But that doesn’t mean you need to fund their operations. Leave it to plenty of other slots enthusiasts.
So, when you arrive at a casino, stop. Listen. Walk around. Observe. And don’t gamble! Yet.
You’ll get better at slots, whichever slots gambling goal you have, as you become more familiar with your casino. Is it busy? Is it not busy? Have you gone enough times to this casino to know the difference yet?
Get to know your casino as you play slots. Get GOOD at it.
I’m a science fiction fan, so I’ll use a time travel metaphor. Imagine you’re picked up by a time traveler in their space-time ship and dropped off at your favorite casino some day last week during the time of day you usually go to your casino.
What day of the week is it? Don’t look at your watch or your phone. Based only on the feel of the casino, tell me the day of the week.
If you spend enough time at your casino, you will be able to feel the difference between days of the week. Call it a noise or energy level, but no two days are the same at a casino. Mondays feel different from Tuesdays which are different from Wednesdays and, although they are close, even Fridays aren’t the same as Saturdays.
As you get better at listening and observing while you’re in your casino, this evaluation will be easy. Yes, it’s an evaluation. Eventually, with practice, you’ll be able to tell what time it is, as well as what day. With time and practice, that is.
Step 5 – An Unnumbered Slots Strategy
As you may know, I have seven numbered winning slots strategies. These strategies are essential for you to know, but they are not under discussion now.
The purpose of this discussion is to finally offer you my two other unnumbered winning slots strategies. You just learned the first, which is to listen and observe your casino’s environment to the level where you know what day of the week it is, if not also the time of day.
But how are observational skills valuable for winning at slots? Why is getting great at that a winning slots strategy? Simple.
Everything you see at your casino, besides the other slots enthusiasts, is controlled. And, as your observational skills improve, your ability as a thinking person to evaluate what the casino is doing turns into one of the best ways to win at slots.
Experts carefully design the casino floor layout, including the high-limit slot room’s location and interior layout. The aisles and more extensive walkways leading to bingo rooms or the food area are precisely how the casino wants them. It’s all presented to you to ensure the casino makes a profit.
A profit from you.
Everything you see and hear is a full-blown marketing strategy with the goal of casino profit. But, once you notice, once your observational skills get exercised and revved up, you begin to see and hear for yourself what’s happening, what the casino is trying to do to you.
And, as always with me, once you notice something planned is happening, you can learn to take advantage of it. Not only does this strategy not have a number, but I also don’t have a name for it either. Maybe you can email me with your suggestion?
But here’s how it works.
Each slot machine in most casinos connects to the casino’s central computer server. But not riverboat casinos due to infrastructure limitations. Riverboats have nothing under the floor but water, meaning there’s no place for lots and lots of cables. Also excluded are small convenience store-style casinos which can’t afford the server.
And what’s on that computer server remotely controlling the odds of winning on every slot machine is most casinos, whether they are “old” 3-reel slot machines or the most modern touchscreen video slot machines? An algorithm. A program based on the casino’s setup plan.
My seven numbered strategies take advantage of what that algorithm is doing. Not every method works at every casino. But each casino might have an algorithm of which one strategy takes advantage. As best I can tell, Strategy 1: Only Win Immediately (The 5-Spin Method) works most often at around 1-in- 4 casinos.
However, this observational strategy works at ALL casinos with a central server.
Here’s this observational strategy: Listen to the casino. Is it more busy than usual or less busy than usual, but not because the number of people playing slots has changed? If it’s hectic or bustling, play a slot machine. If it’s not unusually busy, save your bankroll for later and find something else to do until you hear the casino get busy.
That’s it. That’s my observational slots strategy.
Step 6 – Another Unnumbered Strategy
The real reason why many casinos don’t allow pictures isn’t about privacy protection or even copyright infringement, although those reasons also exist.
Casinos don’t allow pictures because they don’t want us to study their layouts. Studying their layout later makes it easy for us to figure out the design, and why it’s exactly the way it is, which is one step away from figuring out how to win at slots.
Are you a facility planner like, you know, for factories? Me, I’m more of a hobbyist at facility planning. Combined with a pattern recognition ability, it’s a powerful tool. You’ve heard the three most important things about real estate, right? Location. Location. Location.
The casino has planned the location of every slot machine in the casino. And the casino’s central server algorithm matches the odds of winning to those locations.
Why is this? Like my prior unnumbered strategy, it’s all about marketing and casino profit. The profit which might instead be ours if we take advantage of this casino setup.
This strategy works at every casino larger than a convenience store. It works at non-tiny casinos with and without a central server algorithm. Yes, that means it also works at riverboat casinos without a central server.
Once upon a time, before central servers with its algorithm came into existence at casinos, it was the only non-luck-based way to win. On a past, hour-long, YouTube live stream, I called this unnumbered strategy The World’s Oldest Winning Slots Strategy.
Since then, I noticed strategy 1, the 5-spin method, appeared on an old episode of Columbo from the 70s, where he solves a murder while on a vacation cruise. But I still think this unnumbered strategy is the oldest.
What casinos are trying to do is to let others see you win. Why? So those others get excited and spend some money playing slots.
In this way, the casino recoups from others some or all the winnings paid to you. That’s the why, but what’s the how? How do you find these slot machines at your casino? Well, it helps you to know that they exist.
There are up to three slot machines in your casino set up to have significantly higher odds, so that others can see those big wins. These winning machines aren’t entirely easy to find and, if you do find them, they are likely busy – for a good reason. Why?
This unnumbered strategy isn’t entirely unknown. More than a few slots enthusiasts know about it but stay quiet. Or they only don’t consciously know but have a gut feeling about that machine.
During a recent consultation session (Book Your Session!), I played a YouTube video for my client where a slots channel showed a few seconds of the YouTuber walking into the high-limit slots room at my client’s favorite casino.
There aren’t many of these walking videos. Why not? Because the casino forbids it, even if they allow recording of a slot machine’s screen.
And that’s all the video evidence I needed to point out to my client which high limit machines were likely set to win. And you know what? He already knew.
My client was so familiar with that casino’s high-limit room that he knew from experience that the slot machines I pointed out was often winners, payout out far more often than most other slot machines.
And you know what else? When you turned up the volume of the video, the YouTuber even said so! But neither my client nor the YouTuber could explain why. But now you know why.
With this oldest strategy, there are up to three slot machines with astonishing odds of winning. But there are many other slot machines with above-average odds of winning. The machines with the best odds will likely also be busy by slots enthusiasts who know the casino the best. Instead, look for those above-average slot machines.
Here’s how to find these above-average slot machines so you can start taking advantage of them as a thinking person.
- Stand in front of a slot machine.
- Turn around, so your back is to the front of the slot machine.
- What do you see in front of you?
- If you see a wall, try another slot machine.
- If you see other people looking back at you, turn around and start playing that slot machine.
As a training example, look below at the free stock picture of a casino room with many slot machines. Of the slot machines shown, which have the view we want? How many do you count?
I count six candidate slot machines visible from a distance:
- The first two machines in the first row and possibly the third machine.
- The first two machines in the second row.
- The first machine at the fourth-to-last row from the back wall.
Those slot machines next to the wide aisle are the machines I’d pick. There may be others on the opposite side of the aisle not seen in the picture. There’s more to consider about location, but this simple approach narrows down a room full of slot machines to just a few.
That right there is your advantage play for how to win at slots.
I’m trying to keep this strategy explanation simple and straightforward, possibly leaving more to discuss if/when you book a consultation session. Now’s not the time to give my thoughts about the wide-area, multi-casino progressive slot machines near the picture’s center.
Well, I will say such overdone displays make the casino seem a little desperate, which raises my suspicions. But we can talk about that some other time if you want.
Summary of Thinking Person
Luck is a minor factor when playing slot machines. Yet luck is what most slots enthusiasts rely on to win. But most of the time it’s not luck but, instead, how its operator sets up the casino. Don’t play slot machines, but instead the casino which set up the slot machine.
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