Which Machine in a Bank Should I Play?

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Brian Christopher gestures to a bank of slot machines

You’re staring at a bank of slot machines, and it’s a game you’re interested in sitting down to play. But which machine should you select?

You have 2 to 5 of the exact same machine to play on. Which one do you pick? The middle or sides or what. Some people say they never pick the middle and others say the ends only.

Ben B.

In a previous post we spoke about how the machines by the aisle pay more jackpots, but that’s because they get played more often, not because they pay better. So let’s use this as an opportunity to talk about the factors that should go into picking a slot, vs. ones that don’t matter.

Factors to Consider When Selecting a Slot Machine

  • Progressive sizes: If the progressives in a bank of machine aren’t linked, it’s a smart move to review the sizes of the progressives and play the machine that has the highest progressives available. That way, if you win the progressive, you’ll win the biggest one available to you.
  • Your own comfort: If someone’s sitting in a particular machine, you may want a bit of space, and so you might choose to pick a machine that’s a bit further away so you and them both have some room. Casinos are a form of entertainment, so why not be comfortable while doing so?
  • Signage That is Specific About a Machine’s Payback: In rare occasions machines will have a specific payback percentage posted on them. If not all the machines have this signage, it is worth playing the one that is transparent as it’s usually being displayed as a marketing attempt to get more people to play that machine.

Factors That Don’t Matter When Selecting a Machine

  • Payback on Aisle vs. Inside: In most cases casinos don’t set individual machines within a bank to different payouts. Choosing between an aisle and an inside machine for payback reasons isn’t something a player needs to worry about.
  • Avoiding a Machine That Just Paid: Slots don’t rely on its history to determine its payouts – the game is pre-designed with a house edge that it will achieve over time. Any outcome is possible on the next spin, even one that just paid out well.
  • Signage That Promises “Up to” a Certain Percentage: When a sign promises “up to” a certain payout on a bank of machines, that’s likely only a single machine within the bank, and you’re not as a player going to be able to tell which that is, especially not within a session or two.


As players, many of us want to find the magical slot that pays out better, but there are only certain things that are within our control. It’s best to focus on those aspects we can, and not stress too much about those we can’t.

Have a question? Submit yours here!

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4 Replies to “Which Machine in a Bank Should I Play?”

  • HT says:

    Of course, if the machine just paid out its PROGRESSIVE (or a meter-triggered bonus), THEN you might want to avoid it because the progressive or meter will have rresetting it’s lowest point (although that refers back to the point about progressive sizes).

    • FlipTheSwitch.com says:

      Yep, that’s a fair point – if another machine now has a higher progressive, it might be worth moving so if you hit it again, you get the better value! That’s a fair reason to move on. Of course, if it’s a linked progressive, that might even mean looking around the casino for other options.

  • Lisa Barnett says:

    Love your information!!!

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