Have you ever taken a moment to count, or even estimate, just how many online slots games are available these days? There are thousands upon thousands of them! Over the years, dozens of big-name software developers have each created hundreds of online slots for real money play.
You’d be a fool to think they are all created equally. Some carry immense progressive jackpots. Others are designed with intense 3D graphics. And of course, many have much higher payout ratio’s than others.
So many online slots games – which one should you choose? You could pick the one whose theme appeals to you most. A lot of players do. But there’s more to be considered. Unfortunately for us – not the online casinos that host them – that’s almost always a bad idea.
If you’re going to play online slots for real money, here’s a few tips to get your started in the right direction.
View the Online Slots Game’s Paytable
Understanding how to win, and how much you can win, on a slot machine, is the most important aspect of all. If the game has more than a dozen symbols, and the majority of them pay very low amounts – lower than it costs to spin the reels – you can expect it to have a low variance.
Low variance means it will hit lots of winning combinations, but they will rarely pay above cost. That’s great if you’re in it for entertainment. Your bankroll will usually stretch farther. But the odds of hitting a big win – not so good.
Cost To Play All Coins
It’s always better to play max coins in online slots games. How many coins will it take to activate all paylines, and at what domination will you have to pay for them? Can your bankroll afford to spin at that rate for any length of time?
A 20 payline machine will accept 20 coins. If the minimum stake is $0.01, that’s only $0.20 per play. But the majority of online slots games are designed to hit big pays more often when playing at the highest stakes. So, if the max coin size is $0.50, you’d be paying $10 per spin to get the highest payout ratio.
This is why you find so many seniors at the 3-reel classic slots in land-based casinos. They know they can play these machines pretty cheap, and get the best odds of winning. Take heed of the max coins, and max bet size, when seeking the best online slots games to play.
Play Popular Online Slots for Real Money
Take a few moments to do some research. Online slots players love to talk about their game play in community forums and blogs. See what they are playing. The most popular online slots games have attained that popularity for a reason, and it’s not just entertainment value.
Are Progressive Worth Playing?
Microgaming‘s Mega Moolah, available at site’s like Royal Vegas, is a huge hit with veteran players because its four-tier progressive jackpot hits so frequently. It hits so often because so many people play it. As long as that cycle keeps going, it will continue to make millionaires every few weeks, and decently wealthy player every day.
If you’re going to play a progressive game like this, don’t switch games all the time. It takes time, patience and luck (and strict bankroll responsibility) to hit a life altering win.
We’ve all seen the big Hollywood movies, depicting high-class gentleman in Armani suits betting on blackjack, roulette or baccarat. They usually win, too. Reality isn’t scripted in Vegas, but there are some things we may be able control, like valuable casino comps – if we play our cards right.
The truth is, you don’t have to be a wealthy, sophisticated, professional gambler to earn a succulent meal or a free night in a luxury suite. You just have to appear to be wealthy and sophisticated. Convince just one member of upper staff that you’ve got money and are willing to spend it, and they’ll be eating out of your hands.
The Power of Significs
Casino employees are trained to watch out for high rollers. Convincing them you’re a VIP-level player is a simple matter of significs, or the semiotic relationship between signs and what they denote.
In essence, people see (and believe) what they expect to see.
Walk in the doors with a finely pressed suit, perfectly trimmed head/facial hair, and a lovely lady on your arm, and it sets off their sensors before you even make your way to the casino floor. You won’t be approached with comp offers at this point, but continue to exude the air of a comp-worthy patron, and the results can be astounding.
Looking The Part
There will be hundreds of people betting on blackjack. You won’t get anywhere if you can’t stand out among that crowd.
If you don’t have a fine suit, you need to get one. Even if it’s a rental or borrowed, pulling off the right look is imperative. Get a tight, business-professional hair cut and some good styling gel (not the flaky stuff).
Don’t take this the wrong way, but if all this work doesn’t give you a look of sophistication – maybe you are overweight, underweight, or, for lack of a better term, too nerdy to sophisticate – you’ll need a sexy lady on your arm to complete the ensemble.
Even if you have to convince your sister, or a friend’s sister, to play the role, make it happen. Surely they’d love to stay in a swank, penthouse suite as much as you would. And if a less than handsome gentleman has a far more beautiful woman by his side, the casino will have no trouble believing you’re beyond wealthy.
Securing a Bankroll
This part is entirely up to you. You must be able to buy a substantial number of chips, at least a few thousand dollars worth. I would never suggest borrowing this kind of money. Betting on blackjack may afford the lowest house edge, therefore highest odds of holding onto that cash, but there is always a risk in gambling.
To put it simply – don’t do anything stupid.
Betting on Blackjack Etiquette
Finally, you need to be well educated in blackjack. I don’t just mean you need to know the rules of the game, either. You need to learn perfect strategy and the proper etiquette to use when betting on blackjack.
Never play out of turn, never touch the chips once their on the table, and for God’s sake, never ask the dealer for instructions on anything. Your job is to exude ultimate sophistication. You are a veteran blackjack player who knows all the rules and never hesitates to make a decision. If you can’t pull this off, you’ll have failed before you ever stepped foot in the casino.
Step one, practice perfect strategy online or at home with a few friends. Unless you’re already a math whiz, don’t worry about card counting – just the basics will do.
What do you do when dealt a 12 with the dealer showing a 6? What if you have 17 and the dealer is showing 10? You must be able to answer these question and more in a split second, and play your hand accordingly.
This notifies the casino that you know what you’re doing, but more importantly, it guarantees the lowest possible house edge. Even if you don’t win any money here, the real goal is not to lose any. The profit comes from the comps.
Your demeanor is as important as your skill in betting on blackjack. Losses don’t bother you, and wins are nothing more than are whimsical fancies. There’s no pouting or excessive celebration allowed. Play it cool, like money means little to you, and the casino will be more than happy to comp you everything they can in hopes of getting their greedy hands on the fortune they think you possess.
Just a few short weeks ago, players were singing the praises of Evolution Gaming‘s new Live Dealer Baccarat Controlled Squeeze. Incredibly popular with the more superstitious variety of gamblers, the squeeze effect makes this form of live baccarat one of the slowest you’ll find. On the heels of that launch, Evolution has switched into high gear, now launching a new Live Dealer Baccarat Speed.
How do you make baccarat move along at the fastest possible pace? By doing everything that the Controlled Squeeze version doesn’t. All cards are dealt face-up for instant recognition by players, the video stream is limited to just one camera angle, and player’s have less time to get all their wagers in before the hand proceeds.
Live Dealer Baccarat – Decisions, Decisions!
In the old days, baccarat was considered one of the easiest, low-house-edge games to play in any casino. There was but a single decision to be made, and it wasn’t a difficult one. Should you bet on the Player, or the Banker?
There’s not even a question as to whether you should bet on the Tie. That’s a sucker bet and anyone with half a brain cell knows it.
Based on the house edge, the Banker bet is the proper choice, carrying a house edge of 1.064%. The house edge on a Player bet is slightly worse at 1.228%. (And yes, those figures include the cost of 5% commission on winning Banker bets).
But now, with so many different varieties of live baccarat popping up, there are more decisions to be made than ever. So many questions arise – so many decisions to be made – and everyone wants to make the ‘right‘ choice.
So we ask… Is there any advantage to playing at slow or fast pace? And does the superstition behind squeezing the baccarat cards having any real baring on a player’s odds of winning?
Live Speed Baccarat vs. Controlled Squeeze
In Baccarat Squeeze, all cards are dealt face down. Squeezing the cards means that the edges of some of the cards will be shown, but only the suits along those edges are revealed, not the actual numbers. This gives players a hint as to what the number might be.
However, by this time, all bets are already placed. Knowing the numbers won’t have any actual baring on the outcome of the hand. The superstitious belief is that a player can somehow mentally impact the actual number on the card before it is revealed.
Thus, theoretically speaking, there is no advantage to live dealer baccarat with a squeeze. What Controlled Squeeze games do provide is an added element of suspense and entertainment, and the slower pace has it’s benefits as well. More on that in a moment…
As for live baccarat speed games, the only real difference is that the cards are played face up, making for a much faster game. The odds of a Banker, Player or Tie bet winning do not change in the slightest.
What does change, however, is the rapidity of a player’s wins/losses. Let’s not forget that the house always has an advantage. That means that, odds are, you will lose some money before your session is over. As the name suggests, playing Baccarat Speed is only going to speed up the rate at which the casino expects to win your money.
Superstitions tend to exist in every form of gambling. Whether its blowing on the dice at the craps table, or bringing those bum-ugly troll dolls to the bingo hall, good luck charms are all-too common in the casino industry. For baccarat players, squeezing the cards is every winner’s secret weapon.
In Macau, Baccarat Squeeze is played at the majority of their tables. I don’t mean the majority of baccarat tables, but the majority of all tables throughout the casino. Baccarat is the most popular game among Chinese gamblers, and they sure are a superstitious lot! Without the squeeze option, they probably wouldn’t even bother playing.
What Is Baccarat Squeeze?
Squeezing the baccarat cards, as it’s called, is a process in which one player (or the dealer, at some casinos) will carefully turn up the edge of a card to reveal only the suit symbols on that edge (not the number). Otherwise, the rules are exactly the same as traditional baccarat.
Wait a minute, isn’t baccarat dealt with the card face up? In most countries, yes. But not in Macau. Even casinos in Australia, Canada and the United States have taken to playing the face-down squeeze variety. It’s become so popular, in fact, Evolution Gaming has several live dealer baccarat squeeze games, and just last October, released three new Live Dealer Baccarat Controlled Squeeze tables.
What’s the difference? In standard Baccarat Squeeze, the dealer squeezes the cards to reveal the edges. In Baccarat Controlled Squeeze, that job belongs to a player. To be more precise, it belongs to the player who stakes the highest amount of money on the hand.
Okay, but how does a player squeeze baccarat cards from a computer or mobile device thousands of miles away? That’s another great question. In this case, the highest-wagering player gets to click on the edge(s) of the card(s) they wish to reveal. The table’s are specially designed with glass inlays, and the cards are dealt atop that glass. The covering below the glass is automatically pulled back just enough to reveal the chosen edges.
In standard Live Dealer Baccarat Squeeze, its not up to the players to decide which cards are squeeze. Instead, which ever hand got the most bets placed on it – Banker or Player – will have it’s card squeezed by the dealer.
What good does it do to see the suit symbols on a card? Glad you asked. It won’t reveal the number on the card, of course, but it can give information as to what numbers could be on the card. If we see the top and side edge of a card, and it reveals two hearts on the top, plus 3 on the side, we can surmise that the card is either a 6, 7 or 8.
But the bets are already made – the cards already dealt – does this really change anything? This is where superstition comes into play. Many Chinese gamblers believe they can alter the suit symbols they haven’t seen yet. Maybe they really need that card to be a 6. In a live baccarat setting, you might see the player blowing on the card or – in the most passionate of cases – even stabbing through the middle of the card with a pen. This is to remove the suit symbols that may be in the middle of the card, supposedly turning a 7 or 8 into a 6.
So that’s it? Yep, that’s it. Chances are, you’ve had one of two reactions at this point. You either think Chinese gamblers are completely out of their minds, or you’re the superstitious type and are scrambling to find an online casino where live dealer baccarat controlled squeeze is offered. If it happens to be the latter, Royal Vegas is a good option.
How many times have you been to a casino? How many times did you walk away with a profit? If you answered ‘Never‘ to either of these questions, the following gambling tips are for you. I’ll provide the most basic casino strategies any novice gambler needs to know before placing a wager.
Please be aware that this is not intended as a complete or comprehensive list of casino strategies. It’s merely a guide for beginners to help avoid many of the common mistakes new gambler tend to make before they gain a little experience on the gaming floor.
How to Bet On The Slots
The vast majority of today’s slot machines are multi-line and/or multi-coin games. Novice players walk up to these machines with dollar signs reflecting in their eyes, having no clue what all those paylines and coins actually mean, or what to do with them.
First of all, a multi-payline slot should always be played at full lines. If it has 25 paylines, all 25 need to be activated to have the best chance of winning. That means you have to be careful what size coin you play, because that amount will be multiplied by 25 when you press spin (one credit per payline). For instance, a $0.01 bet will cost $0.25, whereas a $1 bet will cost $25 per spin.
In multi-coin slots, you will be able to choose whether you want to insert 1, 2, or 3 – sometimes up to 5 – credits per play. There is usually a benefit to betting the max number of coins, with the payout for higher winning combinations being higher at max bet.
Maybe a 3-reel slot with three 7’s on a line pays 25 credits for 1 coin, 50 for 2 coins, 75 for 3 coins and 100 for 4 coins, but when betting 5 coins, the payout is not a direct multiple, but much higher – maybe 200 or 250 coins. Therefore players must bet max to have the best odds of walking away a winner.
When to Hit 12 in Blackjack
It’s the worst hand a blackjack player can be dealt – the dastardly 12. If you hit, you could bust. If you don’t hit, you’ll probably lose anyway. But hey, it’s no sweat.
The most basic casino strategies tell us exactly when we should – and should not – hit a 12. It’s this simple:
If the dealer is showing 4, 5 or 6 – Stand.
If the dealer is showing 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 10, J, Q, K or A – Hit.
That’s right, it’s almost always better to hit a 12. When the dealer is showing 4, 5 or 6, it’s more likely that the dealer will bust. And what a great feeling that is to beat the dealer with a 12! Any other time, the odds may be against you overall, but probabilities state a Hit is the better move.
Roulette Gambling Tips – Don’t Fear the Field
There’s a wide variety of bets to be made on the roulette table. Yet most beginners will stick to just two kind of bets – straight bets on a single number (pays 35 to 1), and even money bets (black/red, odd/even, high/low).
It can be a lot more interesting, and equally rewarding, to place bets on groups of numbers in the middle of the betting table. You could wager on a group of 3 numbers, 4 numbers, 6 numbers, a columns of 12, or progressive groups of 12.
Each of these bets – straight bets, even money bets, grouped number bets – may offer a different payout for winning, but they all come with the same 2.70% house edge. The most basic casino strategies wouldn’t deter a novice from making these wagers.
The only thing you should never do is play American Roulette (the one with the Single Zero and Double Zero). This nearly doubles the house edge to 5.26% on every wager.
A slot machine’s reels are its most prominent features. They spin gloriously to their individual stops, telling us if we’ve won – anything from a massive jackpot, to a small chunk of change, to nothing at all. The reel speed – or speed at which the reels spin – has no effect on the outcome. However, the same can’t be said of a player’s experience.
I overheard a conversation the other day at my local casino in which two ladies – friends I assume, as they were seated side by side playing the slots – were questioning the reel speed of their machines. One slot machine’s reels were spinning noticeably faster than the other.
They questioned whether that might have any effect on the game play, or more importantly, if it could effect their chances of winning on each game.
Can Reel Speed Effect Payouts?
The truth is, the outcome, or payout percentage, is not effected by the reel speed. The way these machine’s are programmed, each result is determined by a random number generator (RNG) that triggers the moment the Spin button is pressed – not as the reels are coming to a stop. No matter how fast they spin, the end result will be the same.
A lot of the older slot machines, which can still be found in casinos around the world, actually give players the option to choose the speed they want the reels to spin at. There aren’t too many of these left, comparatively speaking, but they do exist.
In fact, the ladies mentioned above didn’t realize this, but one of the machine’s did have a reel speed selection feature (which is why is what spinning a bit slower), while the other (the one that was spinning faster) did not. I was inclined to point that out to them before I moved on my way, not wanting to seem like a creep who listens in on old ladies’ conversations at the casino.
Does Reel Speed Matter?
If you happen to find yourself playing a slot machine with the option to change the reel speed, I highly recommend choosing the lowest setting. Not because it will increase your odds of winning, but it will decrease your odds of losing your entire bankroll.
You see, every slot machine has a ‘Hold‘ percentage – the amount of money it keeps from players, on average, over a period of time. Players who get lucky enough can win money, but those who don’t – which is, unfortunately, the majority – will inevitably lose.
If you have a $100 bankroll, and are spinning slower reels at 5 times every minute for $0.25 per spin, you could theoretically lose your entire bankroll in 1 hour and 20 minutes. That would necessitate losing every single spin, though. That should never happen, and if it did, I would hope you would choose a new slot machine after no more than a few minutes of play.
Today’s faster slot machines, especially those known as ‘rapid fire‘ slots, can have players spinning up to 20 times per minute. That’s once every 3 seconds! At that rate, your $100 bankroll could be wiped out in as little as 20 minutes.
As every responsible gambler knows, slot machines should be enjoyed as an entertainment opportunity. We don’t play them expecting to win money. We play them because it’s fun, and affords a chance to win money. Thus extending your entertainment dollar to cover as much time as possible is crucial having a great game experience, win or lose.
Casinos have been around for hundreds of years. Thanks to the computer geniuses that brought us the world wide web, online gambling showed up about two decades ago. As technology progressed, we gained the ability to play the same games on a mobile casino for real money in the late 2000’s.
Mobile gambling has actually been around longer than that. I believe it was 2003 Microgaming launched the very first mobile casino app, but that was in the draconian days of flip-phones with arrow-keys to make selections. In terms of modern, touch-screen technology, mobile casinos didn’t begin to flourish until about five years later.
Now days, everyone uses their Android and Apple iOS smartphones and tablets for gaming. Some prefer social games, like Candy Crush or Words with Friends. I prefer something with a bit more of a bite to it, and there’s nothing quite like the exhilaration that comes with playing a mobile casino for real money.
Every game you can imagine is available these days. Hundreds of classic and 5-reel video slots grace the menus. Video poker and table games like blackjack, baccarat, roulette, craps, three card poker, ultimate Texas holdem; I could go on and on. Thanks to HTML5 optimization, mobile casinos have it all, and you don’t even have to download an app to access them (although it is an option).
Sounds great, right? And it is – but just like those social games I mentioned above, mobile casino games can be quite addicting. The thrill of the win can be like a drug-induced high. And if we’re not careful, we could find ourselves spending a lot more money on these games than we ever intended.
It’s awfully easy to keep clicking the Spin button on the slots, or doubling up a blackjack bet to regain the previous loss. But we can avoid such problems by simply being aware of what we’re doing, and how much we’re doing it, at all times.
Appreciating the Entertainment Value
The golden rule to gambling is to appreciate it as the entertainment option that it is. You don’t go to the movies expecting to win back your price of ticket and popcorn. Playing a mobile casino for real money affords that opportunity, but you should never play with expectations of a profit.
Those who think they can just play until they win are what critics and statistical data collectors refer to as ‘problem gamblers’. No one wants to end up in that category, and if we’re conscious of our actions, we never will.
Set Strict Deposit Limits
Think about how much money you make each week. Think about the bills you have to pay each month, and the amount you spend on other necessities like food, fuel and toiletries.
Now, think about what you have to spend on entertainment. Maybe you have an extra $200 each week. You’ll want to hold onto some of that for random things, like date night or a spontaneous outing with your friends.
If you split it in half, that gives you $100 to play around with. You know you can log onto your favorite mobile casino and deposit that $100, confident that you can afford to lose that much.
Don’t worry, this isn’t a negative way of thinking. It doesn’t mean you are going to lose, or that you’re even planning to lose. It just means that if you do lose, it’s okay. That’s a huge positive in my book.
It’s also a good idea to set time limits. If you only spin the reels or play blackjack for 15 minutes at a time, chances are your bankroll will last a lot longer. And if you do run out of funds before the week is out, that’s okay, too. There’s an easy solution for that.
Switch To Free Play Mode
You don’t always have to play a mobile casino for real money. All of those games – well, the vast majority of them, at least – are also available to play for free. The only games you won’t have access to are the live dealer casino games. Because the operator pays to maintain the studio and hires professionally trained dealers to run the tables, they like to make sure there’s always cash flowing in.
All of the other games, though, can be played anytime you like without spending a single coin of your own money. Yes, the overall experience may lose some of the exhilarating bite I spoke of before, but it’s still entertaining, and it’s a great opportunity to learn how to play new games you never tried before.
Practice Before You Play for Real Money
Would you go to the track and bet on a race if you didn’t know anything about the odds or horses that were running? Hopefully not. The same goes for casino gambling. Why would you risk real money on a game that you know nothing about?
Practice mode is the perfect way to learn the rules for any game you’re unfamiliar with. You may decide you don’t like that game, or you may find it’s your new favorite. Either way, knowing how to play is imperative before you try any game at a mobile casino for real money.
Be An Opportunistic Player
Free play mode is also a great way to incorporate and fine-tune your strategies. Maybe you know all the rules of blackjack, but do you know the best times to hit, stand, double or split your cards? Intuition is a wonderful thing, but it would be unwise to deny the law of probability.
If you really want your bankroll to last as long as possible, with the highest chance of actually winning some money, developing a solid strategy is the only way to go.
If your bankroll runs dry, don’t contemplate depositing more than you can afford to lose. Instead, think of it as an opportunity to improve your play until the next payday rolls around.
Android Apps, Best Casinos Reviewed, Blog, Canada, Casino Games, Casinos, iPad, iPhone, Payment Options, Safe Casinos, Strategies
Your good at math. You have a tidy bankroll stowed away. You’ve decided it’s time to turn your stash into more extra cash by playing real money blackjack online. That’s not a bad idea, seeing as blackjack is the most profitable game in any casino – but let’s back it up a moment.
Ask yourself a few questions first. Have you ever played blackjack? Do you truly understand the rules of the game? Are you aware that there are dozens of rule variations you could come across? Have you developed an optimal strategy for the type of blackjack game you intend to play?
If you answered ‘No‘ to any of these questions, you’ll want to keep reading.
Usefulness of Free-To-Play Blackjack Apps
I know you want to play real money blackjack online, where you can actually win cash. But the best way to learn the rules and develop a proper strategy is to practice. Playing free blackjack games just for fun is the best way to accomplish that.
Not just any blackjack app will do, though. You need one that allows you to set the various rules, and provides optimal strategic data for all hands. There are some great blackjack training apps out there that offer these features, compatible with all iOS and Android mobile and tablet devices.
Some of my favorite blackjack apps include:
Know The Rules You’re Going To Play
Selecting only the best rules for the lowest house edge isn’t going to get you anywhere. There’s no casino out there that’s going to provide all the best rules on a single table. Instead, you’ll need to see what rule variations are available at the online casino you intend to play at (see next section for more info).
Because these free-to-play blackjack apps allow users to set the rules, you can enter the exact rules in the settings menu before you start practicing. This way, when you do start playing real money blackjack online, you know you’ll be working with the best possible strategy, giving you the lowest house edge and, therefore, the highest possible win rate.
Real Money Blackjack Online
Never assume that all internet blackjack sites are created equal. For every reputable operator out there, there’s a rogue operator hoping you’ll deposit with them instead. Take your time. Do your research. Find an operator with a long-standing reputation for honesty, integrity and quick, reliable payouts. Royal Vegas is a good example, as it meets all of these standards.
Also make sure players from your country are accepted, and that the deposit/withdrawal methods meet your needs. Then, peruse the available blackjack games and see what rules they offer. If the rules are appealing, make sure the pay table is too.
A natural blackjack should always pay 3:2. If the payout is anything less than that, find a better game. Decreasing the payout for a natural blackjack is the easiest and most covert way for casinos to hike up the house edge by as much as 2.27%.
Finally, remember that it’s impossible to turn the tides completely into your favor. If it were that easy, casinos would be out of business. The best you’ll manage playing real money blackjack online is a house of about 0.4%. With the right knowledge and strategy, you’ll only need a bit of luck to overcome that minuscule edge.
A lot of people play slots for real money on their computer or mobile device. Most are responsible about it, but not all. Unfortunately, it’s not just the weak-spirited who don’t know when to quit. Software developers are actually designing their games to induce dangerous habits; what’s commonly known as the ‘Machine Zone‘.
Most of the daily tasks we perform that take any notable amount of time can put us into a zone. For example, when I’m writing, I love to get into a zone. I perform better, the words pour out faster, and the end result is often more pleasing to the cerebral palate. I feel empowered in the zone, but sluggish when I’m not, and I’m sure you can all relate to this in some way or another.
This same effect can be absorbed when we play real money slots online. Getting into a zone seems to increase the entertainment level – or at least, that’s the perception our minds tend to take. But the ‘Machine Zone‘ can be a very dangerous place.
This zone leads players to forget about their real purpose for playing. They are no longer playing to win, nor are they playing for sheer enjoyment. They are merely pushing buttons to keep the game moving as quickly as possible, because the thrill comes only from the zone.
Zone Induced By Incomprehensible Rules
The more confusing a game is, the more zoned out players tend to become. Slot machines confusing, you as? But they’re so simple. Line up the right symbols, get paid. It’s as easy as that – right?
Think about it. At the most basic level, slots offer 3 reels with a single payline. There’s no question as to how to win. Line up three matching symbols on that line and you are awarded a payout. But how often do we see these real money slots online? And when we do see them, how often do we actually play them? Probably not much, if ever – am I right?
That’s because they are so simple, that they cannot put us into the zone. Therefore, after a few minutes, we may become bored. Designers know that they can’t make a profit that way. Who would play slots for real money if the games are boring?
Now imagine one of today’s more popular designs. 5 reels grace the screen with 3 or more rows across, and the paylines can range up to 50+. And how about those Microgaming slots with 243 Way to Win? I’ve even seen real money slots online boasting thousands of ways to win!
Do we know where all those paylines lead? Of course not. When you win on such a machine, do you actually take time to note the path the winning pattern took across the reels? Not likely. We look at the section of the screen that tells us how much we’ve won and host a quick mini-celebration in our heads as we click the Spin button again.
Avoiding the Machine Zone
As I said, today’s slots are often too confusing to bother figuring out. We get in the Machine Zone and we play, play, play until all of the money we put into it is gone. And when we’re not careful, we can become addicted to that zone. That’s when we bet more than we can afford, ruining relationships, severing families apart and becoming another dreaded statistic.
Knowledge is power, and recognizing the zone when you play slots for real money is, for some, the only way to avoid it. Time your sessions, don’t play games you can’t understand and never – ever – use the Auto Play feature.
Talk of skill-based slot machines has run rampant through Las Vegas casinos for the last year. Nevada passed a bill that legalizes skill slots in September 2015, and while manufacturers have been busy trying to create them, they quickly learned it’s not so easy to take games of skill and turn them into slot-style games with a guaranteed house edge, as per the state’s regulatory guidelines.
Last week, a pair of tech students from the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) turned up at the 2016 Global Gaming Expo (G2E) where they demonstrated a new game they developed that just might become the first skill slot to pass rigorous testing from the Nevada Gaming Control Board. It’s called ‘Line Em’ Up‘, and was inspired by extremely popular, puzzle-based social games like Candy Crush and Bejeweled.
Troy Pettie and Evan Thomas, both 20 year old students at UNLV, not only designed the new game, they founded their own company to house it. The company is called Guru Games, and these boys are confident they’ve got what it takes to bring the first skill-based video gambling machines to the gaming floors of Las Vegas casinos.
Line Em’ Up Skill Slots
“This is an original skill-based game called Line Em’ Up,” said Pettie while demonstrating the game at G2E.
Like other strategy puzzle games, the object is to line up matching symbols, but they won’t diappear when you do. The goal is to match as many lines as possible on a 4×4 grid before running out of moves. Lines can run horizontal, vertical and diagonal, and require four in a row (including Wild symbols) for a win.
“It’s inspired by Bejeweled and Candy Crush,” explained Thomas. “We took what we loved about those gaming mechanics, what made those games popular, and then we took what we know about gambling games and traditional slot machines and we melded the two to make something that’s seamless, unique and something that could actually work in a gambling space in a casino.”
How To Play
Players begin by choosing a bet size. The screen then fills up with symbols that drop into place (7’s, Bells, Cherries, Lemons, Gold Bars, Wilds, etc). Players will then receive a number of ‘Moves’, based on how many eligible moves there are on the screen.
If a game starts with zero moves, it’s usually an automatic loss, but as the duo explained, any game that starts with at least 1 move is destined to win.
“All zero movers are losers, but all boards that have moves are guaranteed to win,” said Pettie. He noted that even a zero-move game can be a winner, if the symbols happen to fall with a matching line of four symbols already completed.
Strategy Matters in Line Em’ Up
Just winning is one thing, but winning a larger sum of money is the real trick, and that’s where strategy comes into play. The more lines that have all matching symbols, the more money a player will win.
“The order of the moves matter,” explained Pettie in an interview with Las Vegas Review-Journal, “because it can impact how many lines you can ultimately make.” During one demo round, he was given a board where he could have made a line of 7’s in the first move, but instead, he made a different move that pulled a Wild over first, and was able to complete two lines, 7’s and Cherries, in two moves.
Best of all, said Pettie, “our math is it meets all the Nevada gaming regulations.” According to his partner, their algorithms guarantee a minimum 3.5% house edge for casinos, even by the most skilled of players. For those who don’t invoke perfect strategy, the house edge rises to about 6%.
The Line Em’ Up skill slots can be played right now for free on Android mobile devices as a social gaming app. But these boys have much bigger plans for the game, and are currently “in talks” with slot machine manufacturers to get their new game beyond free-to-play app, and into a live Las Vegas casino.