We look at the history of One Arm Bandits, the principles they work under and if there's a way to get the edge and increase your chances of hitting the jackpot.
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Fruit Machine Strategy

It is worth starting a discussion on Fruit Machine strategy by saying that in the long term there is no way to beat the house and to point out that slots always win over time. That is to say that Fruit Machines over time always have a negative expectation for the player. Modern day video slot machines use random number generation and ensure a set payout over time. The attraction of the game (apart from the fact that many are entertaining to play) is the possibility, however remote, of winning a large sum of money for a small stake.

The odds of many games in casinos can be altered by the skill of the player. In for example blackjack, a poor player will have a lower expectation of winning as they do not understand optimal playing strategies. Additional strategy can be adopted ultimately tipping the payout expectation from negative to positive by for example playing skilfully and card counting. Fruit Machines do not offer the player much ability to influence the outcome and over time a player's payout expectation should be negative.

That said there are a few rules that should be observed when playing Fruit Machines
  1. Play what you can afford to lose and bear in mind how long it will likely take for you to lose that. If you have £10 and choose to play a £1 machine it is likely that you will be out of funds in 5 minutes, maybe less. If you were to play 10p a spin then the time you are at the machine and the variety of wins you are likely to encounter increases.
  2. Play Max coin bets only where there is a mathematical reason for doing so. Sometimes the max coin bet increases the payout percentage and other times it does not. If it does then play that way otherwise this bet merely offers a faster way to accumulate losses.
  3. Always play the Max coin bet if there is a progressive jackpot offered. If you are playing a machine with a progressive jackpot then you will only be able to receive the progressive (in the unlikely event you hit it) having played a max coin bet. If the progressive is £1m and you don’t qualify on the grounds that you didn’t play max coin then you’ll be most disappointed even though you won say £5000.
  4. The best strategy regarding Fruit Machines is to treat them as electronic games providing entertainment value. If you win, great, but don’t expect to.