Slot Machine Placement and finding "Loose Slots"
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Slots whether played online or at a land based casino, are the most popular of all casino games thanks to the fact that they are highly entertaining and don't require much concentration or skill to play. At the end of the day though, we all want to walk away from the casinos a winner, and slots can offer life changing jackpots.
So if you're a slots fan planning to visit Las Vegas in the near future, you've probably done a little research on slots play in this fabulous city and are sure to have come across an article or two on the theory of slot machine placement and how casinos supposedly use it to their advantage to hide their "loose slots" get you to play low paying machines.
Here we'll take a look at the various aspects of slot machine placement and "loose slots" in Las Vegas casinos and dispel some of the popular myths surrounding it.
Many gamblers believe that casinos hide slot machines with higher payout rates in some specific locations such as at the back or in the darker recesses of the casino floor, while putting their lower paying machines in the high traffic areas in order to increase their profits. This myth has been propagated as fact by many authors and even the renowned Frank Scoblete published a book in 1994 entitled Break the One-Armed Bandits in which he purported (based on information gleaned in an interview with a casino manager at the time) that casinos do in fact place higher paying slots in specific areas to influence which ones player play.
While this may have been true at a specific casino or over a decade ago, recent research has shown that it is simply no longer the case and that placement is either random, or all machines are programmed at the same payback levels.
Nevertheless, speculation and conjecture abounds amongst players and online with regard to where the loose slots are located on the various casino floors in Las Vegas. Here are a few common myths about slot machine placement that would seem to make sense if you didn't know any better:
1. Loose slots are surrounded by tight machines
This myth is a common one due to the fact that despite it not being proper Las Vegas casino game play etiquette, many players like to play multiple machines at a time and you'll often see someone sitting at a machine whilst playing those on either side of him/her too. Oftentimes one of these machines will seem to payout way more than the other two and this will then be thought to be the "loose one" when in fact, the results are completely random (thanks to the built in RNG) and just happen to produce wins on the day.
Another thing to keep in mind is that if you do play a slot as well as both machines on either side of it, if one machine does happen to payout more than the others, by playing them simultaneously your wins may be negated altogether due to your losses on the seemingly "tighter" machines.
2. Higher paying slots are located at the entrance to the casino
Casinos are said to place their higher paying slots in high traffic areas so that passers-by will see other people winning and be tempted to play themselves. This myth probably goes back to the early days of downtown Las Vegas where casinos were located so close to one another that people walking down the road could look in and see people winning, which would in turn make them feel that a casino was lucky and should be visited.
Anyone who's visited Las Vegas recently will know that the majority of casinos are now situated in Mega resort complexes with multiple entrances, making this one a lot harder to believe. And as mentioned previously, research does not support this one either!
3. Loose slots are located along the aisles
Many players believe that casinos strategically place looser slots along the aisles in an attempt to get players to venture down the row where they then hide lower paying machines. Yes, it would work in theory, but that would also mean that players could pick up on patterns and once these "secrets" get out, the casinos would suffer a huge blow financially if they didn't then move the machines around.
4. Avoid the slots around the table games area
It is often believed that casinos place lower paying slots in areas surrounding the table games to catch players who are tempted to play their last coins at these on their way out or to the cashier, but as mentioned, there is no research to back this one up.
5. Machines near the cashier are looser
The logic behind this belief is that the casino wants those standing in line waiting to cashout to see people winning at the slots so they'll be tempted to leave the line and play more instead. Once again, it does seem to make sense but there is a lack of evidence to back it up.
The above are just a few of the many slots placement myths that you may have heard. The problem with these so called "formulas" for placement is that no casino is the same, each has its own VP of slots who decides on the machine placement and if you were the one making the decisions, you'd know all of these myths and then do the exact opposite in order to "catch" people.
Ultimately, casinos don't have to do anything extra to deceive patrons ‐ they already have a built in insurance policy on most games, it's called the house edge. So be realistic and know that the chances of finding a truly loose slot are slim to none, and what you should be doing is enjoying your time at the casino and playing the slots that give you the maximum entertainment value for your money.
So make sound decisions about which games to play based on their actual payout rates, and enjoy your time in Las Vegas. Or simply stay at home and play slots at your favourite online casino where placement of the machines is virtual and you can easily scroll down the list and pick one at random.