Slot Machine Do’s & Don’ts and Handpay Guidelines

Slot Machine tips
Slot Machine Do’s & don’ts and Handpay guidelines

Vegas Slot Machine Tips

Slot machines can be daunting at first. However, as there’s no skill requirement for most of these games, they can be the easiest form of gambling……as long as some simple guidelines are followed.

How to play slot machines for dummies

  1. Insert your players card, and wait for your card to be recognised. Your name and point balance will normally be displayed on the digital panel.
  1. Insert cash (usually bills only).Warning: Before inserting any bills into the slot machine, look to see what denomination is written on it, and the number of lines that can be selected. Even seasoned gamblers get caught out thinking that a $1 denominated machine will cost them $1 a spin. Be careful! On a 20 line machine, if all 20 lines are selected, then that’s $1 x 20 that’s being wagered. That’s $20 that can be accidentally spent in one press of the button. On the flip side, it’s also no fun hitting a jackpot, only to realise that you had just one line selected! So rule of thumb, check the denomination of the machine and number of lines selected before pressing any spin buttons.
  1. Select the number of lines you want to play and how much you want to bet per line. Then press ‘Spin’.
  1. Alternatively, the ‘Max Bet’ button can be used. This automatically selects all lines, at maximum credit per line, and spins the reels, in one press of the button.
  1. Video slot machines are entertaining, have low minimum bets and have exciting bonus rounds. While less entertaining, traditional reel slots are the most popular for Vegas high rollers, simply because of the good wins they generally give. Video poker slots also remain popular, but do require some level of skill.
  1. Higher denomination machines normally have higher payback percentages. I like higher denomination reel machines that have fewer pay lines; my favourite being slots with just one pay line.  I use the logic that my full wager is on that one line; not dissipated across multiple lines. This logic works for me and I find it holds true, as the majority of my wins have been on these reel machines.
  1. If cost is a concern, consider smaller bet sizes and/or combining your budget with a trusted companion. A combined budget feeding into a combined player’s card, will accumulate points faster. As a consequence, that card will rise through the tiers faster, and higher tiers are awarded more points per play.
  1. When you are finished playing a slot machine, press the ‘Cash out’ button and remember to take your redemption ticket out of the machine. Warning: Be careful not to walk away from a machine without your redemption ticket. Also, be careful not to mistake a slot machine’s free games bonus round or malfunction for having no more credit in the machine. It is quite common to see people inadvertently leaving credit in a machine, or worse, running across the casino floor back to a machine that still has their redemption ticket.
  1. If your machine malfunctions, activate the ‘Service’ button to alert floor attendants to the issue. While machine malfunctions and handpay wins are remotely alerted to the floor attendants, there’s no harm in calling out to any attendant that happens to be passing by.
  1. You can use the redemption ticket in another slot machine, redeem it at the cashier’s desk or in any of the casino redemption kiosks.
  1. Redemption tickets can only be redeemed in the casino that they were generated.
  1. Using Freeplay credit generally requires having existing credit in the machine, to the value of the Freeplay bet that you are about to place. The machine’s credit is used for the spin, however the amount spent is immediately reinstated from the player’s card back to the machine credit, once the spin has been taken. All wins gained while playing with the Freeplay credit are added to the machine credit balance and can be redeemed as normal with the ‘Cash Out’ button. Check with the players desk for player card pin number and information on using your player’s card and Freeplay credit.

NYNY Casino Floor

NYNY Casino Floor


  1. A win that is greater than the minimum taxable win amount, is paid out by a floor attendant. When paying a handpay, the attendant will want to see photographic proof of identity. Completing the paper work can take some time for them, so be prepared for a bit of waiting around before they return with your winnings. Many non-U.S. passport holders are exempt from paying tax on their winnings, so make sure to have official identification with you.
  1. Where two or more people are jointly playing a machine, casino rules state that handpays will be paid to the person that triggered the winning spin. This is irrespective of who funded the machine and/or whose player card is inserted. Cash attendants normally ask who they should pay the win to. However if there are any disputes around this, they will default to their rules, and can go as far as to check their cameras.
  1. If you’re lucky enough to win a handpay, your slot machine will start flashing to signal an attendant. The attendant will normally pay the handpay to you in cash, before returning the machine credit amount that was on it before the handpay was won. Warning: Be careful not to walk away from a machine with only your handpay, and not the remainder of your credit.
  1. It’s quite normal practice to tip the cash attendants that pays your handpay, and the supervisor that attends as witness with them. Whether to tip or not is a personal choice, but consider in advance what approach you want to take with this. It can be difficult to decide in the moment, particularly if there are a few attendants in “witness”.

There’s nothing Sweeter than a repeater.

For video slot machines, the bigger wins come from the bonus rounds, so I aim to get a bonus round within 40-50 spins. If playing a higher denomination machine, I prefer machines that have ‘Scatter’ Bonuses. This way I don’t have to play all lines to be eligible for the bonus.

If I get a bonus round within those 40-50 spins, I consider myself lucky, and aim to leave the machine with as much of the bonus win intact.

I usually press the button just a couple more times after the bonus round, so that I can round up or down my credit. These extra spins help reduce the amount of loose change that I’II eventually cash out, and there are occasions that the additional spins have won me a second bonus round, and as they say, “There’s nothing sweeter than a repeater“.

I always walk away from a machine if I haven’t won a bonus round within 40-50 spins; I prefer not to pay for the bonus.

To keep my budget under control, I use only $20 bills. As I combine my budget with my partner, we normally insert $20 each into the machine that we’re playing. This way we limit how much we spend on it. Also, if we accidentally selected a machine of higher denomination than we expected, we’re somewhat limited in the amount we can lose. The payback percentage is higher for higher denomination machines, so we prefer to play $1 denominated machines that have fewer lines. These games include Wheel of Fortune, Top Dollar, Triple Cherries, Diamond Deluxe.

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