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Reason #4 like Bovada:

It's fair and safe

Online gambling is largely unregulated in the U.S.  That means the casinos serving U.S. players generally don't answer to anyone.  If you have a problem with a casino (like they won't pay you), then you're usually out of luck.  I can't count how many players have written to ask me for help because they didn't get paid by some other casino.  (Not that I helped them—if a dodgy casino won't pay you then you're on your own.)

That's why the most important thing in playing online is to pick a good casino.  The good ones know they make more money with fair games and consistent payouts, because that ensures repeat customers and good word-of-mouth referrals.  It's no coincidence that the most successful online casinos are the ones that focus on their customers.

But some casinos aren't so smart.  The stupidest ones actually rig the games, promptly get blacklisted at sites like Casinomeister, and then their business dries up.  (It's pretty easy for watchdog mathematicians like the Wizard of Odds to determine whether a casino is cheating.)

Cheating is rare.  You're more likely to have a problem getting a payout.  Some casinos try to find excuses to not pay winning players, especially players who have won big.  And again, since online gambling is unregulated in the U.S., if you can't get a payout from a casino, then you're usually out of luck.

So all this is another reason why I advertise Bovada, and have done so for over ten years.  They use industry-standard software, it's absolutely fair, and players get their payouts, consistently.  I have a choice in whom I advertise, so I purposefully picked a casino with a good reputation where I'm confident my readers will have a good experience.

To be clear, Bovada's not perfect.  Once they got duped by a vendor (Betsoft) who provided progressive slots whose jackpots weren't winnable.  When I discovered this I alerted Bovada, and they pulled all the Betsoft games from the site, but I thought they were slow to do so and didn't offer proper restitution to affected players.  Still, even with this incident, their overall history is better than most; as just one example, there are many other casinos still offering Betsoft's questionable games.

Another good thing about Bovada is that they allow me to mediate if one of my readers clicks over to them, plays the games, and has a problem they can't get Bovada to resolve.  Believe me, I wouldn't offer that service if I got more than a trivial number of inquiries over the years on that topic.

Bottom line: I'm confident that Bovada is fair and safe.  You might have a good experience with another casino...and you might not.  I trust Bovada, and that's why I picked them.

Visit Bovada


Gambling problem?
  1. Call the 800-522-4700 hotline or get online help
  2. See these horror stories.
  3. Know that Parkinson's drugs encourage gambling.
Play these
free slots now

Gambling problem?
  1. Call the 800-522-4700 hotline or get online help
  2. See these horror stories.
  3. Know that Parkinson's drugs encourage gambling.

Slot Machine Par Sheets

Last update: May 2018

Play this slot machine with play money or real money at Bovada
My article on how slots work explains how the probabilities result in a specific payback.  In brief, the frequency of the various symbols dictates how likely you are to line up the various winning combinations, and those probabilities married to the paytable determines the payback of the machine.

Every slot maker creates a "par sheet" that lists the symbol frequency and the paytable.  This allows the payback to be calculated, and a programmer to write the computer code.  Slot manufacturers guard these par sheets religiously, for no good reason.  (We can analyze games like craps, roulette, and blackjack because we know how those games work, and people still play them anyway.)  However, with some sleuthing I've been able to track some down several par sheets, and they're all listed here below.

While this data has largely been secret before my investigative efforts, it's not really a useful secret, from a player perspective.  Knowing the reel stripping for any particular slot doesn't give you any kind of edge or help you develop any kind of strategy.  If you're flipping a coin, you know the only possible outcomes are heads or tails, but that knowledge doesn't allow you to predict what comes next.  The real value of these is for those who are creating their own slot machines.

List of Par sheets

  1. In the Money.  A Bally game from 2000.  First published in the 2005 edition of Casino Operations Management.
  2. Blazing 7s
  3. Red White & Blue.  A 94.675% payback flavor.
  4. Red White & Blue.  An 87.47% payback flavor.
  5. Double Diamond
  6. Phantom of the Opera
  7. Lucky Larry's Lobstermania 
  8. Money Storm 
  9. Generic 1987 IGT slot.  This is from the 1998 edition of the book Casino Operations Management.
  10. Vamos a Las Vegas (VLV).  A slot by the Wizard of Odds.  This is a fake-money, online version (not a real-money slot).
  11. Bluejay Bonanza.  This is the fictional machine I created to explain how slot paybacks are calculated.  The article doesn't contain a par sheet per se, but the tables in the article contain the same kind of data that would go into a par sheet.


Play slots online

I suggest you play something other than slots because the slot odds are so bad.  You could also play online with fake money, because then it doesn't matter if you lose.  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 (or at least won't bet more than you can comfortably afford to lose).


Play these
free slots now

Gambling problem?
  1. Call the 800-522-4700 hotline or get online help
  2. See these horror stories.
  3. Know that Parkinson's drugs encourage gambling.

All my slot machine articles

  • Slot machine basics.  How much it costs to play, how much you can win, expected loss, why they're a bad bet, why they're popular, how you can limit your losses, speed of play
  • How to play slot machines
  • Slot returns.  How much they pay back.
  • The Randomness Principle.  Slots don't continually get looser and tighter as they're played.  They don't have to.
  • How they work. Explains the randomness principle, and runs through the math to show how a game returns a particular payback percentage.  There's a companion page on Par sheets.
  • Slot Machine Myths
  • Slot Machine B.S.  Wrong info that's published elsewhere.
  • Strategies. Tips for increasing your chances of winning, and saving money.
  • Slot Jackpots.  Odds of hitting the jackpot, progressive jackpots, and other jackpot topics.
  • Skill-Based Slots.  The scoop on the new games in which your results aren't entirely determined by chance.
  • Slot Machine malfunctions. How and why slot machines screw up, causing players to think they've won the jackpot when they really haven't.
  • Slot Machine Simulator.  I programmed an exact replica of the Blazing 7s slot (odds-wise).  Click it to play thousands of spins in one second and see how you do.