How to win at slot machines – Interview with gambling expert Michael “Wizard of Odds” Shackleford

How to win at slot machines – Interview with gambling expert Michael “Wizard of Odds” Shackleford

hi and welcome to our series of
educational videos
that are designed to make you a smarter
gambler my name is Steve Bourie
and I’m the author of the American casino
guide which is the number one
bestselling book in the US on the
subject of casino gambling and travel
any the only book that comes with more than
one thousand dollars in casino coupons
if you want to know more about me or my
book be sure to visit my website at

In this video I’ll be speaking
with gambling expert Michael Shackleford
who is also known as The Wizard of odds and
I asked him all about slot machines
we videotaped this interview with Mike
in Las Vegas in September 2010
and am sure that it will help to answer many
of the questions that you have
about slot machines. How do slot
machines at work?
The way slot machines work whether they
physical reels or a video slot is the
moment the player
presses the spin button random numbers
will be picked
from a certain range and they will
be mapped to positions on the reel
one random number for each reel
the game will score whatever the player
got and pay the player
so each wheel is independent and the
outcome is determined
the moment the player hits that spin button.
Does it matter if you push the spin
or pull the handle? Absolutely not
whether it be
pulling the handle or pressing the button
the moment you do either one of those
is when the machine picks it’s random
which determine what you will win Is
there such a thing as a loose
or a tight slot machine? There is a
difference between
a loose machine and a tight machine
according to
the the prompt chip which is the
computer chip that the
slot machine manager decides to put
in that machine
one slot manager may decide to
set his slots at 92 percent and another
one at 90 percent
however the players are not going to
know what chip is in that machine and
you hear players complain all the time
this machine is a cold machine
the reason that player is complaining is
probably because he just had bad luck
it takes millions of spins for a slot
to start to approach the the theoretical
percentage that it’s supposed to pay
in the short run anything can happen as
with any form a gambling
Is there any way to tell if a casino has
tight or loose
slots? Nine years ago I did a survey of
all of Las Vegas and tested how
loose they set their slot machines and
a few rule sof thumb that I can give you
and there are plenty of exceptions to
rule one is that the nicer the casino
the tighter the slots and rule number
the further away you get from the strip
the looser the slots Can someone in the
back room
just flip a switch to change the
payback percentage on a slot machine
while you are playing it? There’s a
common myth
that some guy in a back office somewhere
can flip the switch
and change the slot machine from being
loose to tight that
absolutely is a myth with most slot
if you want to change the theoretical
return percentage
you have to get a key open it up change
the chip
do some paperwork here in Nevada you
would have to
fax a form to the Gaming Control Board
telling them that you made this change
because they can do surprise inspections
at any time
and make sure that the returns on the
machines are set to what you say they’re
set to
an exception to what I just said is
what’s called server-based slot machines
is a not very common yet but some
casinos are using them
now with server-based slot machines
the return percentage can be
changed from a distance
by say the slot manager
at his desk However there are
regulations in
place to prevent abuses of this
as I understand it the
the machine cannot be changed
unless it hasn’t been played for at
least four minutes if I’m not mistaken
Is it a good idea to always bet maximum
It depends on the game With slot
if you’re playing a progressive game and
you have to make a max coin bet to
hit the progressive
indeed you should bet maximum coins
If there’s obviously a big incentive
to play max coins, for example one
coin in
jackpot pays 1000, two pays 2000
but 3 pays10,000
that is a big economy of scale for
betting three coins you should do it
however if there is just a small
or no incentives at all to bet max
coins I would recommend
not doing so The way a slot managers set
their machines
the higher the denomination the higher
the return percentage
so if you want to get the best return
out of a slot machine
I recommend playing the highest
denomination you’re comfortable with
and then the fewest coins possible
if you play machine for 30 minutes and
then leave, someone then plays and hits a
would you have won if you had stayed?
It’s a common myth that players will
that after they left at machine that
somebody else came down, played it
and stole their jackpot For example
I was playing this machine for eight
I took a break to have lunch or go to
the bathroom somebody sat down and met
my machine
and hit that jackpot that should have
been mine
and it’s a absolutely
unjustified accusation to make
every single time you play a slot
machine the results are independent
of anything that’s happened in the past
The odds are absolutely the same on
every single spin much like say craps or
If a machine just hit a jackpot, is it a
bad idea to continue to play that
Another myth about slot machines is that
once it hits a jackpot you should leave
it alone because it’s gonna be cold for
to get back in balance Absolutely not
the odds are the same every single time
you play it
even if the last 5 spins all hit
jackpots the odds are still gonna be
the same on the very next spin and your
probability of getting that jackpot is the
as the exact same looking machine next
to it that hasn’t hit the jackpot in
five years
Is the pay back percentage on a machine
changed in anyway
when someone uses their player’s club
The return that a slot machine is set to
pay is the same regardless of
whether or not a player puts in a player’s
card It’s a common myth
that putting in a player card will cause
the machine to pay less
Absolutely not true makes no difference
in terms of how much the machine is
gonna pay
Is a slot machine ever due to hit?
Absolutely not as I’ve said before
every time you play it the odds are the
same and
independent of the past. There’s a common myth
that the machines pay in cycles and
or at the machines have some sort of a
gravity to the return percentage and
if it hasn’t hit for a while then the
odds are going to
improve of hitting the jackpot
absolutely false
The odds of hitting a jackpot are the
same every single spin and it doesn’t
matter when the last jackpot hit
What is your best advice for slot players?
My best advice for slot players
is to switch to video poker Slot
are a lousy bet you run a lot of money
through the machines per hour
it’s the most probably the most
expensive form of gambling in the casino
If video poker interests you whatsoever
I would highly recommend studying video
poker and looking for the good pay
tables do a little bit of homework
and your money will last much much
longer in video poker than slot machines
How can people learn more about you and
your work? iIf you want to improve your
odds in any casino game I welcome you to
visit my website
it’ll show you the correct strategy to
at least a hundred different casino
games or you can buy my book gambling
which will show you how to play the most
common casino games
Don’t forget that you can see more of
our educational gaming videos on our
YouTube channel
just go to

99 thoughts on “How to win at slot machines – Interview with gambling expert Michael “Wizard of Odds” Shackleford”

  1. The newer games have minor/ major progressives that must award by a certain number, also you can now touch screens and press "stop reels" buttons or hit a button and randomly stop the action as the reels slow to a stop. Games are now completely interactive…this guy is old school…todays slots are player interactive and you can definitely alter the outcome. I lived in vegas ten years and have been playing slots fairly successfully for 20 years and todays slots are way different.

  2. Casino's base all decisions on the house edge, or what odds give them a more favorable outcome. Slots are their biggest money maker and they allot them the most floorspace. Worse yet, only the casinos are regulated by the Nevada Gaming Commission to set a "fair" return rate, typically somewhere in the 80% to 98% range. Gas stations, grocery stores, and the airport can be as low as 50%. A section of machines can advertise 99% return, but only one of the machines in that bank has to comply, not all of them. Have fun, but keep it sane.

  3. he said "random numbers will be picked from a certain range" What does he mean "a certain Range"? Are there "ranges" of pay out, big pay out, no pay out, etc…?

  4. "There is a common misconception" that slots are random.  If you see a sign that says 95 or 99% payout then you know it is not truly random.  If the slots were random then there would be no way to determine payout percentages.  If a set of machines are set to pay out 95% per year and on the 364th day they have not paid out that percentage, guess what the machines will do???  They will start to pay out more CUZ THEY WERE PROGRAMED TO DO THAT.

  5. He actually is not correct, although this video is old. THERE is technology that allows the casino or slot manager to change the outcome of the wins. He touches on it, but it is being used in WA state.

  6. Awesome Vids!! My Coworker Jus Came Back From Vegas A Few Days Ago & He Said That He Played A High Domination Slot Machines $5.00 & $10.00 Machine @ The Cal & Fremont Station (Downtown) He Didn't Win Anything BIG, He Siad The Most He Won From The 5.00 Machine $120, The 10.00 Machine $140 & Both Machines He Put In $100.00.. So My Question Is,If U Play A Higher Domination Slot Machines Don't U Get A Higher Payout???

  7. OoOh Ok.. Thanks I'll Keep That In Mind, I When I Go Up.. Hopefully I'll Do Better Than My Coworker Did.. As I Get Closer Going To Vegas, That's if U Don't Mind,I'll Ask U Few More Questions Before I Leave.. Won't Be Till Next Year June Though.. It's Gonna Be Our A looong Waited Family Trip…

  8. Hello, It's Me Again. Got Another Question.I Was Wondering What Will Happen If I Won A Large Amount Of Money On A Slot Machines, Lets Say It Was $5,000 Or Any Mount Or Even A Jackpot, But Its Wasn't My Players Card?? Will They Check?? Can I Still Keep The Money? Or Is There A Law Where U Cannot Use Someone's Player Card??

  9. If a machine hits a jackpot then it is technically the same odds to win a jackpot on the next spin HOWEVER entropy on slots means it is actually higher odds in reality rather than programatically. 

  10. I enjoy them as something fun to pass the time once in a while. But I budget "fun" money and keep to that amount, I put aside half my wins and play with the other half, I use a calculator so I know when I've reached the end of my amount, so even if it's a loss it's not that bad.. oh and I always play assuming Im going to lose, slot machine odds suck!

  11. This guy is totally wrong.  The machines DO go into winning cycles. They HAVE to go into winning cycles in order to achieve the payback percentage on the computer chip, usually around 90%, (give or take), that is just common sense. Otherwise, the machine could theoretically just lose all the time. There HAS to be a point at which the slots payback.  All slots have meters in them that keep track of "coins in" and "coins out". (credits). When the amount of "coins in" is too many to keep the 90% payback in balance, the meter signals the machine to give some money back to the player. Likewise, if a machine hits a jackpot, the meter will then signal the machine to start collecting more money from the player, (if "coins out" is too many), so the average will stay around 90%. This may happen over a certain period of time, and at varying intervals, but the computer chip makes SURE it does happen at some point, although that part is unknown to the average player, so there is more to this than meets the eye.

  12. My thought on the "random number generator". If each spin were random totally based on that then regardless of the denomination the outcome would be the same but its not. On minimum credit the machine will hit like crazy with bonus potential but in raising the bet a machine could go dead. Yet upon returning to the minimum bet hits again.Showed a slot machine tech friend this in actual play and he couldn't explain it. Any slot player who has played a lot sees this regularly

  13. The wheels on some machines if not all are not independent. If you are on a machine that gives you a prize when symbols don't have to be in line, you will notice that different symbols change as you bet more or fewer lines. The only thing for certain is,,the more you bet the more you will loose.

  14. It's random based on if you've upset or offended a casino employee. Or at least that's how it felt for years. I now seem to hit jackpots at a particular casino so much that now it takes them an hour to, I assume, view all the video of my time up to the jackpot.

  15. yesterday I lost $300 on 25 cent slots so im going to a different casino sunday with $400it dawned on me id rather lose that on $10 a pull than 25 cents atleast u may hit something good thats a stratgey

  16. This is BULLSHIT !!!One of my relatives got 25 slots machines , and his first question before purchease was : ,,Is there a posibility that this machines ruine me?"  The answer was NO.  Because they are predetermined to give back AFTER they collect. So is no 5 spins in a row jackpot.  And after  a massive win the machine WILL collect like hell EVERY TIME !

  17. What does it mean when he says play the highest denomination you're comfortable with and the "fewest coins possible?"
    Is he saying to play the fewest turns with higher amounts? I'm lost.

  18. He is payed by the CASINOs   !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!    This is sick!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. Lol. I watched the youtube casino engineering video that shows how they are built like mouse traps. So many eye pleasing views and sounds, you keep betting even if your losing. And table players get free drinks to throw off judgement lol. But while in high limit. A spoke to a guy and he stated he brings in ten grand . Plays a quarter video slot on max bet. Gets a big hit or jackpot and leaves. Dont know if this is true or not lol. I watched him play and he hit big and left.3 grand 4 times in 25 mins.

  20. If you ae one of those people that rubs the screen and then complains that the touch screen doesn't work you are part of the problem. If you have a ring on and you are doing this you are scratching the monitor. that's why it doesn't work. Stop the abuse. lol

  21. and for the love of fuck. if you think something is wrong with the machine please stop playing and find an attendant. they will call one of us Slot Techs. Many machines only keep a game history of about 10 games. Some have more. If we can't prove what you say is true there is a good chance you won't get paid. Don't rely on surveillance catching it either. They don't always have a good angle on the machine you are playing not to mention many cameras are cycled through and not necessarily on all the time. PLEASE STOP PLAYING AND ASK!!!

  22. How to win at slots:

    1. Get as much money as possible. Take all the money out of your 401K, pawn off/sell all your belongings, max out your credit cards, sell a kidney.
    2. Buy a pack of adult diapers. Put the diaper on.
    3. Go to the casino, sit a the machine and begin playing. You have to outlast the machine, it will eventually give you the jackpot. You just have to outlast it.

  23. If you have a gambling addiction or no ANYONE who does, click on my name, then click on my video named CASINOS, SATAN'S HOUSE OF FALSE HOPE MESSAGE. If you like it, share it with a friend. God bless.

  24. the worst machine to ever play with is a greedy bad bitch.
    you spend all u got and the odds to win is when you dump

  25. Ballys in AC had RIGGED machines. I played a Double Joker 1,00 Slot machine..and after you dump in about 1K it would give you a double Joker Royal in Hearts. Play 5 minutes mor and it would give you 5 Queens for 500.00 back… you broke even. Now before anyone says "that was random:. It happened several times over several trips inthe SAME order of cards after putting in same amt.. same exact machine (it was the only one that allowed for up; to 20 coin bet at once. I even told a friend sitting next to me..Im going to hit on a Heart Double Joker Royal…I DID..and told him NOW I will hit 5 Queens for a 500 bonus..he said SURE. It hit 3 minutes later. he said ITS RIGGED!!! YEP!!

  26. Your format for this Q & A Presentation was an effective tool decision.

    The one point that wasn't mentioned and you might consider adding is –
    Although the machine can be set and adjusted for the various "Odds for Payout" and the gentleman explained the – associated facts / machine operations – there are a few more that your clients may be unaware of or confusing –

    * The RULE of AVERAGES – (In and above what the machine is set to do) – and the guidelines he mentioned – which are the routine answers the casino and gaming manufacturer recite, as well.
    (It's impt he indicated – most – and are supposes to – can be and potential) – when referencing the machine, casinos, Gaming Control Board – as there are exceptions to every rule and to all mechanical and technical machines –

    There are hundreds of variables in addition to the protocol – and I would be more comfortable if those whom play – don't feel – one or another situation will, won't, or couldn't ever – happen.
    (There has been legal actions taken against Gaming Machine Mfgs, Casinos, and Restaurant/Bars – w/regards to Video Poker/Slots – NOT PAYING PN THE ODDS LISTED – (this was back in the late 80's/early 90's) but the point is:
    "When it is a tech/software/and mechanical/equipment – those whom have access to the equipment CAN MAKE ADJUSTMENTS – and there ARE occasions they do – the Why's are a whole other video –
    However, he is correct – they are audited to check compliance –
    POINT HERE – they have a great deal of opportunity to re-set correctly –
    All this to get to the more current Q's a client may/should consider:

    – there is little to NO comfort in the 4 minute rule
    – there is greater concern with the now Remote Access to adjust
    – there is next to NO way to know if the property is making adjustments to machines – (during your stay or play windows of time – or even, though less probable – targeting specific clients – which can connect to – the Players Cards)
    Those Players Cards – and the concerns – I feel can be Valid – in certain venues –

    Now on a more fundamental secure/positive note –
    The reputation of the property is always available by asking a local AND – ODDS ALSO APPLY TO YOUR TIME TO WIN :-)!

  27. they are not random at all, because every slot machines after a good hit will hit nothing untill you lost almost all your wins back before it hits again.

  28. If this works, then why sell it? Could you not be rich all the time if you "know" how to keep a steady cash flow daily? Kinda bull shit I think…

  29. fuck that!
    wanna win??
    cash in a 100$ for all fives!!
    put in 5$-15$ at a time only! and bet 5$ each spin, you will hit bigger sooner than later and you wont even spend 100$
    your return will be higher
    make sure to switch games as often as possible with this strategy

  30. Hello Mr. Bourie
    im interested in getting the American Casino Guide, but before I put out any money, I need to know if you have the Seminole Hard Rock Casino. Tampa, FL is listed, and if so, do you have coupons in the Guide for that casino? Thank you.

  31. i love to gambling in fact i hit 3000 jackpot in quick hit machine like 2 years ago…honestly i go to the casino to have fun of course i go to win money we love money but i dont go to play 3..5..or 10 bucks bet i play at 40…50 o 60 cents i stay playing for hours and believe it or not at 40 50 60 cents i have won 200 bucks in the same machine what i do is if i see that some machine isnt paying i switch to another one …sometimes i change the bet from 40 to 1.20…from 50 to 2.00 etc….good luck is the best ally also…

  32. I live in a state that only has Native American Casinos. I also have discussed the"90-95%" payout with other fellow patrons from these casinos, and they explained to me that since they are not regulated by the gambling commission (since its located on Indian Land), that they do NOT have to follow specific guidelines regarding payouts. This means that do not have the RNG in the machines that each individual native american casino can set their own payouts for machines. Could this be true?

  33. The truth about slots is not with the RNG but the extreme number of BLANKS on each reel!!!! The BLANKS never pay and the high number of BLANKS on each reel interferes with the paying symbols on the Payline making it almost impossible to hit big Jackpots!!!  It's a total rip off by the Casinos and criminal high theft against the public!!! There should be only three Blanks since there are only three 7's, three triple, double and single Bars, three Cherry's, three Tens, three Fives on all three reels or more!!The high number of Blanks stacks the odds extremely high against the public making huge profits for the criminal Casino Enterprises also called racketeering and fully approved by the Government!!!

  34. What determines if you have coupons for a certain casino? My local (Hialeha Park Casino) in Florida sells your book but only gives a hat! Only one casino in South Fla gives free play: Mardi Gras in Hallandale.

  35. Best to stay away from these bandits and learn black jack were you atleast have a fair chance of hours of play with minimum loses if you don't get foolish and bet too high on a hand.

    You may aswell try your luck on a crap table than sit at these videotape bandits.

  36. out of controlled Pirates kiss your hard-earned money goodbye. unless you're losing easy money. if you work really hard for your money and a deserve more than you get paid you're just another created slave

  37. Video poker machine , you can also put thousands of doulas and still get nothing in one night !it designed to get our money.

  38. You have to be an evil person who doesnt really care about people to own big casinos like Wynn and Trump. They are psychopaths. Millions of lives are ruined because of gambling. whether its suicide, prison from stealing money from gambling addiction, or just losing everything and not just all of your own money but possibly family members money as well. These people care more about profit and making money themselves then the people.

  39. What about mean reversion? Your video makes it seem like you lose a bunch of money over a significant sample size and you get none of it back. In that case, the machine is rigged far worse than whatever the average payout odds are. This is why slots really are a scam, they don't even return what they claim. The odds they use are over a sample size that no player will achieve. Why aren't the slot machine companies more transparent with the actual odds?

  40. All people who gamble on slot machines should watch the two youtube videos "pokies are designed to addict and rigged to win" "slot machines: addiction by design" before they spend another dollar.

    The videos explain the tricks that slot machines are programmed with to making us feel like winners . . .even while we are losing . . .it's a form of mind control you wouldn't believe.

  41. Is he sitting in front of a green screen or something? At around 3:56 his hand keeps disappearing behind the slot machine.

  42. I work at black bear casino in Minnesota it’s a native owned casino and a couple years ago they were in the news paper because they didn’t pay the yearly amount of payouts and had to pay a fine because the fine value was far less then the yearly payout.dont gamble as a source of income because it’s not at all.dont invest money u can’t afford just because u think you will earn more money or some lost money back.u can put 100$ in a penny machine and bet 40 cents a spin and lose that whole 100$ without a SINGLE line pay.its not likely but it is possible and there’s nothing you could do about it

  43. liberty justice i think your right , my wife and i go to casino on strip , got loose slot andmade six one thou wins then machine stop giving walked away wife went to room i stayed and watched other players on same machine they loose their money went back later , other player loose money like machine turned off. this went on for a good ten hours or so then watched another player win one thou he left happy , my wife sat down machine kept putting out money mor come out than went in and kept playing for about six hours and made 3 thou then machine slowed then stopped and was eating money like no tomorrow so she stopped so ya machine does run on cycles so when machine is paying and win big amount hey don't leave it thinking it not gonna pay anymore. at another casino ,man won 700 dollars he happy and left wife sat down after about twenty dollars in bang hit a thousand after that hit 200 then man that won 700 came back not looking too happy .(never leave hot machine) casino on vegas strip women won three thou. machine stopped she went home next day one oclock she back to same machine which was on it's feedme cycle an she put back all the three thou plus digging out more money from purse to try get her money back . so machine don't pay don't play! and when you win go a little more it can pay again but stop when it don't.

  44. Why is there no mention of Money in – Money out? Now that all slot machines are controlled by a computer, the computer can assure the casino it will only pay out a certain amount or keep a certain percentage!

  45. I know of a casino that produced a millionaire every moth for the first few months on the slot machines when they first opened 20 years ago. Since then i don't think they produced anymore millionaires since then. They did it just for marketing reasons. So i don't think the gentleman is telling us the truth about the machines or maybe he does not know how slot machines work

  46. well let's see, you could either a) do tens of thousands of spins over the course of years and see if a jackpot ever occurs b) keep playing and realize that just maybe slot machines are completely impossible to win unless a casino manager fixes it for you personally c) talk with a casino manager and see about them fixing it up for you, and realize that they might want you to do sexual favors for them or someone else who works there for them to agree to it.

  47. You guys never ever talk about how you push the button it freezes to play at that time which I've learned a lot of money on that and if it's predetermined whenever you push the button then you stop it an Nguyen and I do that on the bonus the bonus won't be paying out anything so I start freezing it stop stop you know it changes from what is predetermined I think can you answer that question

  48. Maybe because I don't have a addicting personality i knew it was all a scam when I went to the casino the first time put in a few hundred bucks and realized when I was doing 3$ pulls the machine would act like I won but give me a 1.75 back but count up by pennies so it seems like alot. After that happen five six times. I knew it was a gimmick,15 years later I can proudly say I am only down $100 from the casino slots, never played again.

  49. I just want 99 cent shrimp cocktail back in Vegas. It was better when the mafia was running Vegas.

  50. Couple years ago I was playing a machine called sizzling 7s . The rebels only had 1,2,and 3 bars . Then they had red Stevens, fire 7s which they called sizzling 7s . It was a $1 machine. $1 will only give u bars. $ 2 will give u bars with 7s ,different payouts. Example if u had $ 2 and got 3 different kinds of 7s u would get $ 100 . If u got 3 sizzling 7s with $ 2 u would get $ 500 . Now with $ 3 u would get $1000 . Now to the point . I always put a $ 100 bill to start with . The first spin I hit the $ 1000 . I kept hitting this machine and the cops they give u ,well my wife asked for 1 of those carts . The top and bottom of the cart was full of cups ,no lie or bull shit . The attendant had to restock the slot machine so many times it was funny . What is crazy all this happening less than a hour . Also it was the same attendant each time. So the next to last time ,the attendant got on his radio and talked to someone like I was cheating the machine. So the attendant had someone come down and gave me $ 1000 in hundred Bill's. Which was weird . So the attendant and the other big shot opened up the machine to inspect it ,looking for a JAMES BOND CHEATING DEVICE. Of course there was not. What's is funny is that this older gentleman sitting next to me starting bitching ,yeah when u winning money your cheating but when ur losing money they get a bone. So after 5 or so minutes of them looking around ,they closed the machine. Being a smart ass ,I looked at the older gentleman and said ,that's okay when I pull the handle ,I am going to win another $ 1000 dollars and dont u know that is exactly what happen. The 2 workers I thought were going to have a heart attack. After the $ 1000 slot dollars came out there were still $97 on the meter . I looked at the older gentleman and said here play these $ 97 in slot tokens ,dont u know the attendants push the cash out button after I got my $ 1000 out. They said this machine is out of order until further notice.As I started to push the cart toward the cashier ,the older gentleman said smiling ,II TOLD U THAT WOULD WORK .we both starting laughing our butts off . In total i had $18,572 dollars all together. After getting that i walked back to the same machine.They had it taped off like it was a murder scene . The gentleman i gave the $ 97 dollars to was up above $500 dollars . He smiled and we both laughed ,then he cashed out .He went 1 way and i headed for the door . It was a great day.

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