Do Slot Machines Really Have Better Odds Than Table Games?

Professor Slots claims slot machines have better odds than table games. Is he right?

I have a love-hate relationship with slot guru Professor Slots. In that, I love to hate him. You may think hate is far too strong a word. But truly, I do hate him. I hate that he tries to profit off gullible or problem gamblers by essentially promising to divulge winning slot strategies. He has a seven-part video series on YouTube about these winning strategies. I’m not sure what’s left to pay for with his private consultations or his 30-day guide to help you take advantage of the casinos “with winning slot strategies.”

One of the things fraudsters like Professor Slots and his ilk tend to do is have you believe they know the secret sauce. Or that, at the very least, they have the ability to take the mounds of available data and break it down into digestible stories like no one else can. Stories that make for clear strategies. Take one of Professor Slots’ recent videos called “Why Winning at Slots is Kept Secret from You”.

Towards the end, Professor Slots questions the myth regarding a popular mathematical refrain, that table games are better, statistically speaking, than slots:

“For example, they say table games have better odds than slot machines. What? Sorry, but no. Again, there’s proof in the state return statistics from Nevada and New Jersey.”

That’s quite a statement. Certainly against the grain. But he says he has proof in the form of the state return statistics from Nevada and New Jersey. So let’s check out state return statistics from Nevada to verify.

I’m going to look at the statewide, nonrestricted locations for June 2022 from the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB), which is what I assume he’s referencing. If we look at the win percentage of popular games (page 2) it shows that the casinos’ win percentage for craps is about 13%, blackjack is 10%, and baccarat is about 21%. Quite a shocker, since these are widely regarded as some of the best games, house edge-wise, in the casino, at 1.36%, 0.28% (with good rules), and 1.06% respectively according to Wizard of Odds.

Let’s look at the win percentage for slots. The statewide casino win percentage on 1-cent slots was about 10%, 5-cent slots were just under 6%, and dollar slots were at 7%. This, seemingly, is far better than their table game counterparts. I guess the mathematically inclined professor is right. Slots do have a better house edge than table games. At least according to these state return statistics. Or do they?

In the introduction, the NGCB provides some clarity about how casino win percentage is calculated:

“The “Win Percent” for games provides a ratio which has been adjusted for effects of credit play. The “Win Percent” for slot devices provides a ratio which represents the reported win amount divided by the total dollar amount played by patrons.”

Bogan, known as @red318is on Twitter, provided a succinct breakdown of why this difference in win percentage calculation matters:

Bogan is completely right here. And a representative from the NGCB confirmed this. To expand, if a player bought in at a blackjack table with $100, played through $1000, and left the table with $50, it would be reported as a win of $50 and a 50% win percentage for the casino. But say a slot player also started with $100, played a total coin-in of $1000, and left with $50. It would be reported as a win of $50 and a 5% win percentage for the casino. The NGCB offered more elaboration on table games for when markers are involved:

“[I]n addition to table games credit play would be included in the calculation as well.  For example if a player was issued a marker (credit) for $10,000 and left the table with $7,500, the win amount would be $2,500 and the hold % would be 25.0%.”

It’s an odd nuance, these win percentage calculations, but important to know when breaking down casino game revenue. Especially when you create stories based on that data.

Does this mean that table games, mathematically, are worse than slot machines? No. Years of irrefutable study dictate that isn’t true. Certainly, some slots are better than others and, in certain circumstances, there are some slots that can be better than some table games. But this idea that the casino industry is keeping this “secret” from you and the state return statistics prove so is hogwash. This is public data and savvy gamblers would have picked up on this in droves. These numbers speak more to how much the average player wins at these games during that time period, but not the statistical house edge.

I take to people selling “winning gambling strategies” with such vigor because I detest those who take advantage of people, either willingly or ignorantly. If you’re a low roller or new gambler, you don’t need to pay someone for “guaranteed” methods. There are some exceptions, of course. I quite enjoy reading books about poker strategies, money management methods, and casino game basics. Though these works tend to come without a promise of profit.

And I have no problem paying content creators for providing value. Hell, I have my own subscription newsletter. But anyone offering you a game plan to winning doesn’t have your best interests in mind. They just want to separate you from your money. The casino is adept at that enough. So save the cash and use it to pad your bankroll for your next trip.

Adam Bauer

Writer, gambler, famous travel influencer. Proud sponsor of the American Society for the Prevention of Bloggers.

About the Author

Adam Bauer

Writer, gambler, famous travel influencer. Proud sponsor of the American Society for the Prevention of Bloggers.

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