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Reason I like Bovada #2:

Good Odds

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The odds are always against you when you gamble, so it pays to play at a casino that offers good odds. I spent some time looking for an online casino with good odds, and I found it in Bovada. Let me first tell you about the competition, though.

It's disappointing that most online casinos are greedy when setting the odds on their games. They think they'll make more money by setting the games tighter, so the player has less chance of winning, but they're wrong. Most gamblers eventually gamble away all their playing budget anyway. They're going to lose the same amount of money no matter what, the only question is how long it takes them to do so. And when they play at a tight casino and lose quickly, they're less likely to return.

A casino which offers good odds will make just as much money as a tight casino, because the players will usually gamble away whatever they deposit anyway, no matter what the odds. The only difference is that with better odds, they'll get to play longer before they go bust. And that means they had more fun in the process, and they're more likely to return.

Bovada is one of they few casinos that understands this. They offer games with good odds, knowing that if your money lasts longer, you'll be a happier, loyal customer. Among their offerings are:

  • Two blackjack games returning over 99.8%
  • Single-0 roulette
  • Full-pay Jacks or Better (99.54%)
  • Nine other video poker games returning over 99%

You don't have to play at Bovada, but wherever you play, make sure they offer odds at least this good!

All in all, I think Bovada is the best bet for U.S. players.

Try their blackjack for free.
One click and you're in.


Gambling problem?
Call the 800-522-4700 hotline, and read this.

Also, know that Parkinson's drugs encourage gambling.

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Gambling Problem?
Call the 800-522-4700 hotline, and read this.

Also, know that Parkinson's drugs encourage gambling

Slot Machine Strategies

Last update: March 2016

Play this slot machine with play money or real money at Bovada

No popups, no download, no registration, no B.S., just the game. One click and you're in.

Let's be clear: no strategy will make you a consistent winner. These tips can increase your chances of winning, and help you save money you'd otherwise lose, but the odds are still against you.  Anyone who tells you that their strategies will help you win big is simply telling you what you want to hear.  Anyway, let's get to the strategies:

Play the lowest denomination machine you're comfortable with.
Even though lower-stakes machines have worse odds, you'll still lose less money on them.  A 90% 5-coin nickel machine loses $18.75/hr. on average, while a 98% 2-coin dollar machine loses $30/hr.  (The disparity in payouts between different denominations usually isn't that extreme, but I'm just showing that even when the difference is extreme you'll still lose less money by playing the lower denomination machines.)

Choose machines with the smallest jackpots.

The smaller the jackpot, the easier it is to win, increasing your chances of walking away a winner.

Limit play on progressives with huge jackpots.

On the machines with huge progressive jackpots, a huge portion of each bet goes to feed the meter.  For example, on Megabucks, a whopping 10ยข of every $1 goes to pushing the meter higher.  Excluding the jackpot, Megabucks returns only about 78% on average.  If you must play a big progressive (because you want a shot at a huge jackpot), play a two-coin machine instead of a three-coin machine, and look for a $0.05 or $0.25 machine instead of a $1.00 machine.

Avoid video reels.

Video reel slots often pay back a percentage point or two less than their physical-reel counterparts.  That's because the video slots take some time to display all the special little entertainment features, and while that's happening the casino isn't making any money, so they take a little more from you while you are playing.  Also, the ability to play 5 coins and 9 lines ($1.45/spin on a nickel machine) could seduce you into betting a lot more than you should.

Use a slot card.

Get a slot card and use it at any casino you play at. While the cashback rewards for slot points are usually insignificant, playing on a slot card means that the casino may give you free meals and will usually mail you offers for free or deeply discounted rooms, and that can save you a bit of money.

Contrary to popular myth, using a slot card has zero effect on whether you win.  They're two separate systems and neither has any knowledge of the other.  I won several jackpots at Fitzgeralds in Reno with my slot card in.  (I was playing only because they were running a special promotion which improved the odds of winning. Normally I don't play slots because I can get better odds at table games.)

Play in the less stingy casinos.

In Vegas, off-strip casinos generally have the best paybacks, downtown is in the middle, and the Strip is the worst.  ("Off-strip" means any casino that's not on the Strip or downtown.)  In the Wizard of Odds 2002 survey of nickel video reels, off-strip machines paid 92.07% on average, downtown was 91.66%, and the Strip was 91.47%.  The exceptions downtown are La Bayou and Mermaids, both of which had terrible paybacks.

Play machines which are advertised as paying back a specific high percentage.

Most casinos won't tell you how much their slots pay back, but some do.  On the Vegas Strip, Riviera has specially-labeled 98% dollar slots.  The last time I was in Reno, Fitzgeralds there had a section of about 50 dollar slots whose average payback was 97.4%.  If you're playing dollar slots, I recommend that you play only these machines, or at other casinos which advertise a specific high payback.  (If you know of other casinos which list the payback of any machines, please send me a picture!)

Ignore claims such as "Loosest Slots" or "High Payback".  Those terms are meaningless since they're not specific.  Also ignore specific numbers married to vagueness, such as "up to 98% return".  The machines have to be labeled without qualification for the claim to be meaningful.

Learn other games.

Play anything but slots and you'll almost certainly lose less money.  Video poker is a good game to graduate to because it's still a machine, for those who like machines.  Table games are even better because the odds are better and you get to play with other human beings.  Check out how your expected loss for playing 10 hours of slots vs. other games:

Game

Avg. Loss for
10 hours play

Slots, $1.00 (2-coin game)

$800

Slots, $0.25 (3-coin game)

$360
Video Poker, $0.25 (5-coin game)
$125

Mini Baccarat, $5/h.

$80

Roulette, $5/spin

$79

Blackjack, $5/hand

$25

Craps, $10/round
($5 Pass, $5 odds)

$25
Assumptions: Slots played 800 spins/hr.  Slot paybacks are average for all machines in Las Vegas Strip & Downtown casinos as published in Jan. 2002 Casino Player (94% for quarters and 95% for dollars). Video Poker played at 400 spins per hour with proper strategy, 99.5% payback machine, with 2% subtracted from the payback to account for not hitting the jackpot in 10 hours of play.  Mini Baccarat, Roulette, Blackjack, and Craps played at 30, 150, 100, and 30 rounds/hr. respectively. Table games played as per crash course strategies listed below.

If this piques your interest, check out our crash course on table games.

Play Slots Online

Play this slot machine with play money or real money at Bovada

No popups, no download, no registration, no B.S., just the game. One click and you're in.

Again, I suggest you play something else rather than slots because the odds are so bad. Of course, if you play online with fake money then it doesn't matter.  A good casino for free-play is Bovada, since it requires no download and no registration -- one click and you're in.  You can play with real money too, though I hope you won't. Last update: March 2016