Before we get into all of the tips and tricks that we've picked up over the years, we should make the following thing clear: there's nothing players can do, at least not directly anyway, to affect the outcome of a slot machine.
As bizarre as it may sound, a player who sits down to take their first spin is just as likely to win the maximum jackpot of a particular game as a player who has been feeding coins into the machine for hours. The same is true on the web, where all results are generated completely at random.
But, with all of that said, there are some things you can do to improve your experience when playing the slots.
Before you settle on an actual slot, first off take a good hard look at where you're planning to play it. Why? Because not all casinos are created equal.
If one casino offers a match bonus of 100% and another offers a match bonus of 200% and 50 free spins for new players, but they both offer the same library of games, then it should be pretty obvious which one to choose – the second one!
Signing up for a few different casinos that offer free spins is a good way to enjoy some real cash action for free without having to deposit any of your own money, not to mention the fact that it will help you get familiar with a few different titles.
Elsewhere on this site we've talked about how variance, paylines and jackpot size affect what sort of results you'll see from a session spent playing a particular slot. In a nutshell, lots of paylines and a relatively small jackpot means that a game is low variance (or low risk) and your starting bankroll will last for a long time.
A higher variance slot with a bigger jackpot and/or fewer paylines is riskier and will eat away at your bankroll more quickly, but you'll stand to land much bigger wins if you do get lucky.
Another number to consider, if you can find it, is a game's payout percentage. This number refers to how much of their cash the average player will get back. For example, a payout percentage of 95% means that players will theoretically get back 95 CAD for every C$100 they spend on the game.
When you decide on a game, look at things like the bonus features it offers and the number of symbols in play. A game with lots of paylines might appear to be a very safe bet but, if it has lots of different reel icons, then you might find it quite difficult to land any big wins.
When it comes to bonus rounds, 15 free spins with a 2x or 3x multiplier is pretty much par for the course. Make a mental note of how often (and how much) you win over the course of 15 spins during standard play. The random nature of slots means that things will never convert perfectly, but if you're going spin after spin without any wins to show for it even during standard play then you might want to move on to a different game.
If for no other reason than how irritating it is when you land a huge win only to realise that you hadn't bet enough to make that payline active, we recommend playing the maximum number of lines when you hit the slots.
Consider how many times you're likely to spin the reels in an hour (or whatever length session you want to be able to play for) alongside the number of paylines to cover when setting your maximum bet – there's nothing worse than settling down for a nice long online gaming session and blowing your bankroll in a matter of minutes.
Online casinos let players control the speed of the action, often allowing you to skip the animation of the reels landing entirely, so be careful that you don't play too quickly. If you haven't set a hard limit for your session bankroll, you can end up burning through cash very quickly.
This point may sound like common sense, but be sure to withdraw some of your winnings after landing a prize as well as investing some for future play. Even if you go on to lose later, it's a great comfort to remember that nice meal or new shirt that you paid for using your winnings from last time.
As with any other type of slot, there's no science to predicting when a progressive jackpot game will pay out. However, you wouldn't guess that's the case when you look at websites out there that track progressive jackpots!
It may be impossible to predict when a game is due to pay out, but it does make sense to go after the games with the biggest jackpots when you're playing progressive titles. With that being the case, a quick glance at a site that tracks progressive jackpots can be a good way to figure out which game you should play.
If you've come to this page expecting all sorts of tricks, like how to predict when a slot is about to pay out or when the best time of day to play in order to land a jackpot is, then we suspect that you'll be leaving disappointed.
We're sad to say that there simply aren't any magic tricks like this that will help you win big every time you hit the slots. If there were, we'd tell you! Unfortunately, all we can do is wish you the best of luck.