Is There a Right Time to Walk Away from a Slot Machine?

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Cash out button on an Aristocrat machine

One aspect of playing slots that always is a question for many players is when to walk away from a machine. Here’s one example:

How do you know when to walk away from a slot machine? I see several people feeding machines hundreds of dollars and not winning.

Linda G.

There’s no one specific time to walk away from a machine, as any outcome is possible on the next spin. Having a cold run, or a hot run, means nothing to the machine when it comes to what the next spin will yield.

We do have some suggestions though, mostly from a bankroll perspective, that players can consider.

Set a Stop Limit

We don’t recommend feeding machines endlessly. Put a set amount in the machine – $20, $100, some number that makes sense based on your bet. When you hit the end of that money, it’s time for a decision. Are you going to keep playing or walk away? 

We recommend you make a decision that works for you, and keep to that decision if you reach that point.

Adjust That Limit if You Win

If you start to win on a game, we also don’t recommend continuing to play it down to that original limit. We instead recommend adjusting that limit.

Let’s say you put $100 in, and that’s what you’re willing to give the machine. Now let’s say you get a good bonus and suddenly you’re at $200. This may be a good time to say I’m still only going to give the machine $100, and I’ll stop once I’m at $100.

An alternative to this approach is to cash out the bigger ticket, and put a fresh $100 in, which avoids accidentally playing beyond the amount intended.

Cash Out When Ahead

Another technique is to simply cash out when you get ahead. This may not be practical if you win on your first spin, but if you get a good bonus or otherwise find yourself doing well, it may be a good time to cash out to lock those winnings in.

It can be tempting, and easy, to keep playing because now you’re up, but there’s always the risk the machine takes it right back. Getting up means taking breaks, and those breaks are times when the casinos don’t have chances at your money.

Move When It’s Getting Frustrating

One area of risk for slot players is getting emotionally charged when a machine is particularly punishing, and wanting to chase those losses for a bonus or a long-awaited win. But that can just lead to even more losses.

If you feel yourself getting frustrated or upset, that might be a good time to stop and take a break, regardless of whatever limits you might have previously set when sitting down for a game.


There’s no one right time or way to move on. But by setting limits and taking breaks, you can reduce how much you may lose in a visit, or protect some of those winnings when you do have some luck.

Have a question? Submit yours here!

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