I’ve been to Las Vegas so many times, I have become an expert on all things Sin City. I’ve given so many Vegas Tips over the years to friends and associates that I figured I’d just continue the trend right here on our blog.
Obviously, since this is a new blog, you didn’t get a chance to hear the first 3,420 tips I gave out to my power circle. However, instead of starting over and back tracking to help you catch up, I decided to just keep moving and start with Vegas Tip #3,421.
AIRPORT SLOT MACHINES
When you arrive in Las Vegas for your expo, you will walk off the gate to the sounds of bells, whistles and sirens. There are approximately 1,300 slot machines at McCarran International Airport. And while it’s kind of fun and exciting to make that entrance, it’s rare that you will actually sit down in front of a machine and begin gambling. Most folks like to get to their hotel quickly so they can give all their money to that venue.
It’s only when you’re leaving town that these machines start calling to you as you wait to begin boarding.
I’ve always been told to stay away from those slots. I’ve been warned that they are programmed with less odds than the machines on the strip. Not being much of a gambler my whole life, I believed that advice and never put anything into those puppies–until one strange two hour business lunch.
About ten years ago I was asked to fly to Vegas from Los Angeles for a business lunch. My flight was to land at 11am and my next flight back to LA was leaving at about 3pm. Pretty much enough time for a two hour meal and brief conversation.
The engagement was very productive and as I got back to the airport to head home, I felt pretty good about the potential relationship with this party I had connected with. I was a smoker back then so I made my way to the smoking room at the airport to have a couple butts before my flight boarded. In Las Vegas, the smoking rooms are full of slot machines.
“Ah what the heck,” I thought as I opened my wallet to see how much cash I had.
There were two twenties in my bill fold and I decided to stick them both in the dollar machine. Even not being much of a gamer, I know to always play MAX credits when using slots. It makes no sense to play the minimum bet because the pay out is much larger with all allowed credits in the game. This game had a $2 max credits requirement so with $40 on a dollar machine, I was gonna get 20 spins.
Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing.
I got down to my third cigarette and my final spin and bam! One seven, two sevens, three sevens and all the bells went off. In my subconscious mind I knew I won something but didn’t think it was gonna be all that much so I had a very casual response as people started gathering around me.
“You just won $5,000.00,” a little elderly woman said to me with a beaming smile.
“I did?” I asked. I looked at the machine and yes, I most certainly did.
Truth be told, after paying taxes on it, it was more like $3,200 in winnings, but even still, not bad for a little lunch break out of town.
According to Gray Cargill of VegasSolo.com, “I’ve seen many reports on TripAdvisor’s Vegas forum from people who won enough money at the airport to make them happy. According to Chris Jones, Acting Manager of Public Affairs and Marketing at McCarran, two players at McCarran won $392,000 and $259,000 respectively within four days of each other in May 2008. One lucky traveler won $3.9 million at a progressive Wheel of Fortune machine in January 2005. ”
WizardOfOdds.com released some great slot machine myths and facts. Here’s a few below:
Just about everything that players believe about slots is untrue. Here are the most common myths and facts.
- Myth: Slot machines are programmed to go through a cycle of payoffs. Although the cycle can span thousands of spins, once it reaches the end the outcomes will repeat themselves in exactly the same order as the last cycle.
- Fact: This is not true at all. Every spin is random and independent of all past spins.
- Myth: Machines pay more if a player card is not used.
- Fact: The mechanism that determines the outcome of each play does not consider whether a card is used or not. The odds are the same with or without one.
- Myth: The machines by the doors and heavy traffic flow areas tend to be loose while those hidden in quiet corners tend to be tight.
- Fact: I’ve studied the relationship between slot placement and return and found no correlation. Every slot director I’ve asked about this laughs it off as just another player myth.
Of course, the best way to win in Vegas is…to simply not play. About 80% of people who gamble anywhere on their visit go home in the negative. Another 11% come back even. And the remaining 8-9% return ahead. You’ve worked too hard to hand over your earnings that easily.