What is the allure of Slot Machines?

As I told the players in last weeks poker game, I went to Tunica MS Casinos this past weekend with my girlfriend.

I play poker, blackjack, craps, and possibly some pai-gow poker to pass the time.

Girlfriend plays slots, 100% of the time. She is smart girl, and plays some chip and giggle poker ($5 buy-in sit-n-gos home games). We played some mock games of blackjack and she understands the fundamentals. She has played craps with me at a casino many years ago.

But she does not do anything but play mindless slot machines. She basically played non-stop from 10 am to 12 midnight Saturday. I was with her for about 10 minutes at one point and I was absolutely bored to tears.

Obviously she is not alone, as most of the casinos patronage is on the slot machines and not at table games.

So what is about slot machines that can make reasonable normal people stay hours and hours and hours.

Mods, I think this is a game room topic and not IMHO, but I defer to your judgement.

Slots are simple and fun. Push the button (getting hard to find actual pullable handles anymore), watch the spinning reels and flashing lights, hope for something good to happen. Might get one of the mini-game bonus rounds, which feature clever/amusing animations and more shiny amsuements. Plus they bring you “free” drinks. And you can people watch, etc.

Table games are harder. Rules, strategies, usually higher stakes, fewer chances for that one big win. But the drinks seem to be served a little faster.

I like to play penny slots when I’m tired or drunk. Blackjack involves more effort, even if not attempting to count. Sometimes like to sit at the bar and listen to the band or semi-watch a ball game while I play a bit. Also usually get some “free play” on my player’s card, and I like to use that on the dollar machines–it’s fun to get a few spins for relatively big money at no risk.

Table games require knowledge of the game and the need to make strategy decisions. A lot of people aren’t comfortable with that. With slots there’s no strategy to learn. No way to make a mistake. You can play at your own pace. It makes cool noises and has flashing lights. And you still have the chance at a big payout.

So basically, they probably like it for the exact reason you hate it. :wink:

One advantage is that you don’t end up with an asshole at your table. If you get someone sitting next to you at a slot and you don’t like them, you can easily move. If you get a know it all at a table game, you have to hope there is another table that is open and has a minimum you want to play.

A good day at the roulette table for me is turning $50 into $100. I’m not going to lose more than $50 and I’m not going to win more than $100. The slots player may not come back with any money, but they have more of a chance to turn $50 into $10,000 than any craps or roulette or blackjack player.

Uh, . . . no.

It’s the thrill of the potential big payout. Like Lotto. There is nothing inherently fun about picking numbers. Craps and cards are actual games, but picking numbers? In fact a lot of people just let the computer pick the numbers.

So why pick numbers if there’s no fun in it? Becasue of the potential big payoff. A slot machine you just push a button. Over and over and over. No one in their right mind would do that for “fun.” But attach a multi-thousand dollar payout carrot to that? THAT’s why people play slots.

I stand by my statement. Give a million roulette players $50 and how many are going to come out with $10,000? Not too many. Maybe if you let it ride on one number and turn it into $1750, then maybe put it all on a 4 way and win that one. Give a million craps players $50 and I doubt any will ride a long enough streak to win $10,000. A million slot players put in their $50, you can pretty much bank on one of them winning at leat $10,000. The slot player is facing lousy odds to win anything, but the chance of a big win far exceeds that of the table games.

Craps, blackjack, roulette, and the like were all designed hundreds of years ago by gamblers.

Modern slots (i.e. not the old-timey one-armed bandits) were designed by psychologists to be skinner boxes. Everything about them is purpose-built to stimulate the areas of your brain that will keep you in your seat: they give you a sense of accomplishment, a sense of pleasure, and a sense of positive anticipation amongst others. Every sensory aspect, from the feel of the button, to the sound of the reels spinning, to the colors on the winning fruit, to (in some casinos, according to rumor) the smell of the slots area – every sensory aspect is carefully calculated to make you want to continue playing.

We like slots because we are animals, and because some of us know how to manipulate animals. This is nothing to be ashamed of: if we didn’t like slots either we would be inhuman robots, or the psychologists designing the machines wouldn’t be doing their jobs.

Every game from slots to table games has the odds in favor of the house. And the more you play the more the odds become reality.
Since I already know the house has the edge (granted the edge varies by game), and I am usually not at the casino by choice but dragged there by another party I have to go in with the mindset that the money spent is for entertainment.
So I have to choose how I want to be entertained for however many hours. Playing slots I can stretch $20 for quite a long time, watch some colorful graphics, play some entertaining mini-games, and keep to myself for a few hours.
Playing table games I’m forced to interact with people, am bored by the age old games, and will be out my $20 a lot faster.

Bank on one of them winning $10,000? OK. He can go hang out with the 2,535 winners of roulette. 1 person out of every 1,444 people will turn $50 into $64,800. Assuming he shares with is loser friends, then that’s 6.5 people with your necessary $10,000. So that’s 6.5/1444= 0.45% winners. You really think that 1/220 people go from $50 to $10,000 playing frickin’ slots?

Slots nowadays actually are pretty dull. There’s no anticipation, no thrill and they pay off without you needing to do anything but press a button. I got bored very quickly when I tried them.

That requires they are will to start betting over 1000 a pop, What are the odds they make it to $10000 never betting more than $5 at a time?

That’s it for me. You can play penny or nickel slots for a good while on $20, getting the occasional small win and plugging it back in, etc. The only way I’m going to play for the same length of time in blackjack is to be good at blackjack.

Only thing better than slots is blowing $20 at the track. I can make it last all day on $2 bets and usually break even or make a little profit just by picking horses with names I like. Even when I come out behind, a nice day outside watching the ponies isn’t a bad way to drop twenty bucks.

Well, when my wife and I go to vegas, we play a lot of slots because its a compromise. I like playing poker. My wife doesn’t play poker and she doesn’t understand the rules to any of the other games in the casino and has no desire to learn but she knows how to press a button.

So we compromise and play slots because all you have to do is press a button and at random intervals bright lights and sirens will go off to let you know that you have won.

I miss having a reasonably sanitary racetrack to go to. I always spend more on beer than betting at the track.

Intermittent positive reinforcement is powerful enough to cause a type of addiction in some players.

Testify! I don’t get much chance to visit casinos, but slots give me no sense of fun.

My wife and I like to find two identical machines side-by-side, put the same amount of money in each, and see who can last longer.

This introduces a competitive aspect which makes it more interesting, and also forces us to play slowly, since we alternate spins and make comments, etc.
When one player gets down to $0, the other cashes out and we move on. It’s fun, it’s relatively cheap, and yeah, there’s bells and whisltles and flashing lights and stuff. Nothing wrong with going with the Vegas/glamour/decadance flow when we’re on vacation.

Not to mention that Vegas player’s clubs really pay off. We haven’t paid for a hotel room in years, and all we play are penny slots. You can play $50/hand blackjack for hours and the pit boss might give you a free buffet pass. But we can go to the M Resort, play penny slots for hours on $20, suck down prodigious quantities of Sierra Nevada, hit the best buffet in town with line-jumper passes, get spa treatments and enjoy a couple of nights in a really nice hotel and it won’t cost us a dime.

Don’t knock the penny slots.